Monday, 6 October 2014

Playing 'Battles of Westeros' boardgame

Ok, it is time to have a game! We used the first introductory scenario, 'Clash on the King's Road'. No special rules and only a fistful of characters, just to get on the core rules. The Starks will be led by Lord Rickard Karstark and Maege Mormont, while the Lannisters will be under the leadership of Ser Kevan Lannister and Ser Addam Marbrand.
The Starks control two vital points and must keep them; the Lannisters, of course, must conquer both. If the Lannisters hold both points by the end of turn 5, they will win. Otherwise, the Starks will rise with the victory.

Aerial neutral view. You don't see a thing, I know. Let's get closer pics
So, how do you play this? Let's see. Do you remember when I tried Memoir '44? Then you know how to play this. The game literally is a Memoir meets Westeros. The same dynamics rule the game, but with some deviations to make the adaptation feasible.
For example, units are not just bowmen, cavalry, infantry, etc. Each of them can be formed up of noobies, regular troopers or veterans (their status marked by the colour ot their banners, green, blue, red), that determining their actions (how many moves/attacks/etc.). Actions are not only made through cards on the different flanks; you have a mixed system of dice and cards. You roll a number of dice that tell you the order tokens you are to use each turn. You will use green tokens to activate green units, blue tokens for blue units, red token for red units and the fist allows you to activate any kind of unit.
Besides, the leaders can use the orders deck. Each turn they get a number of orders cards which can be used exclusively on units within two hexagons reach from them. That means that being close to a character will make those units more likely to conduct themselves better than those others isolated from the chain command and acting on their own.

Well, if you read through this I bet you are rid of it and wanna get some juicy pics. Let the battle start!

The Starks have the initiative on the first turn. These bowmen shoot on the Lannisters on the other shore.

They roll two dice. Green signs. As the target is a blue unit, no harm is done. Booo bowmen!
The Lannisters charge! Green results on a blue target. Booo horsemen!
Both players activate their units alternatively, using their order tokens or order cards at will. The turn will end when both players have no units to activate or decide not to activate any other one.

Melee! The Lannisters make a move on both Stark flanks. That is dreadful indeed! First blood for the Lions!
An overall view will help, I guess:

My friend is wearing the Stark colours but don't trust her, she's playing the Lannisters. Betrayal!
The Lannisters advance paying debts as they move!

The bowmen climb up to the hill and kill some infantry
But these Lannisportians (?) take the ford!
Not if I can avoid it!
Oops! Addam Marbrand avoids me to avoid it!
This is becoming a slaughter quite quickly. Pure Game of Thrones
 As you can see, the alternative activation of units proves quite effective for gaming purposes, any immediate strategy you may have can be smashed several times during a single round. That is great, as makes you be constantly aware of any event that may occur, but on the other hand I must confess I was a little bit overwhelmed by a few special rules regarding unit recovery or reactivation.

The Lannister offensive is stopped at this shore...

... But not over here!

They are temporarily forced to fall back 
But reinforcements soon come in assistance
 On the King's Road, Maege Mormont and the Lannister cavalry held a bloody struggle.

A bear there was, a bear a bear...
All black and brown and covered in hair...
 The southern ford was at stake, the Lannisters were slowly reaching the victory point inch by inch...

This pic is probably meanless to the spectator. Try imagine a battle, special effects an lots of blood
This view may help you to understand what the hell was really happening here
The Lions finally reached the turning point of the battle, slaying Lord Rickard Karstark!

Hear me roar, you puppie!
Looks quite clear what's going on...
The stubborn She-Bear still keeps the Lannisters at bay
But oh, woman, you should be doing that on the other side of the board!
The bloodshed goes on and on
And at the end of turn 5 the Lannies own the two victory points!
 So this was it, victory for the Lions, who immediately started to sing the Rains of Castamere!

My main mistake as the Stark player was not to move Maege Mormont to the fords to block them. had I done that, the Lannisters would probably have been stuck there, not galloping freely to get the victory point.

The game is not bad, not bad at all. But I have mixed feelings about it. In the beginning I was expecting some kind of Memoir, seeing how things were, but this one is way more complex, with tons of tiny special rules that made me confused, specially those about recovering, as I told earlier. That slowed the game for us, which was a little bit disapointing. Anyway, I may have another look to the rules, as I believe we made some mistakes. Next battle will be faster!

So this has been the A song of ice and fire project for the moment! Now I still have to move on tons of other pending projects...


  1. Sounds good though. Despite the odd errors once a few games are played I'm sure you'll be able to rocket along at a decent pace.

    1. Absolutely, the game works good, and for sure all I say is due to my misunderstanding of the rules. I believe some more bloodshed is needed to make everything go swift and smoothly :D

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! Glad you like it! I still need some more battles to become confident with the rules, but just give me some more time... :)

  3. Ahhh ... how deluded are the kings and queens of Westeros. Don't they know they are going to lose when three big dragons come a calling? ;)

    1. :D :D :D
      I'd really like to see how a dragon would work in this game!