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In A Game Of Thrones: Hand Of The King, by renowned game designer Bruno Cathala, the seven Great Houses of Westeros have assembled for a tourney in King’s Landing as the King wants to name a New Hand of the King. All of the great houses and characters are there – from Eddard Stark and House Stark, to the fiery Daenerys and House Targaryen, to the divided Baratheons and the cunning Lannisters all represented in a family-friendly cartoon art-style.
In this game, published by Fantasy Flight Games, players will employ The Master of Whispers, Varys, (also known as “The Spider”) to mix among the nobles and use his influence to convince them to pledge their support to you. The player who can convince the most houses to join their cause will become the Hand of the King (and win the game)!
The quick set-up begins with the creation of King’s Landing, where the 35 character cards (and Varys) are arranged randomly into a six by six grid. You will also place the house banners nearby and shuffle the companion cards, dealing six face-up near to King’s Landing.
During the game players take turns moving the Varys card along the grid in a cardinal direction (up, down, left or right) – before doing so you must declare the direction and a House – you must move Varys in the declared direction to the farthest character card of the named House and collect any cards of that House along your way, placing them in front of you. At the end of your turn, if you have an equal or greater number of character cards belonging to that House than any of your opponents then you take the House’s banner. The player with the most banners at the game’s end (when Varys is unable to move anymore) is the winner and is named Hand of the King! Ties are settled in favour of the player with the banner belonging to the House with the highest number of characters.
You get to take your pick of one of the available companion cards when you acquire the final character card of a particular House from King’s Landing – the companion cards apply an immediate powerful effect that can sometimes turn things in your favour – Melisandre uses her magic to give you another turn immediately; Bronn allows you to grab Tyrion Lannister from King’s landing or any play area; Sandor “The Hound” Clegane can slay any character in King’s Landing; Gendry counts as an additional Baratheon; while Jon Snow can announce a House and count for two characters of that House. There are 14 companion cards in the deck and with only six available each game there will be a different mix each time you play.
The game plays well at all player counts and includes a four-player team-play variant and the three-eyed crow variant where communications with your teammate are limited.
With a lot of game at a very reasonable price, take your family and friends on a visit to Westeros and maybe you’ll return as Hand of the King!
Player Count: 2-4
Time: 15-30 Minutes