The third season of the popular HBO show Game of Thrones starts on Sunday, but not in India. Fans of the show here, however, should definitely buy the Game of Thrones board game, by Fantasy Flight Games, which is available online.

A quick word of warning, though—this isn’t just a quick game to pick up and play. It requires a commitment of several hours—you’ll end up taking an hour just to set up the board before the first move is even made.

We recently got the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, and it took a long time just to unpack all the small parts in the box. Once you’re done, expect to spend a fair amount of time scratching your head and reading the manual. It’s better to just dive into the game with the manual at hand; after a couple of rounds, we got the idea, and the second game went much more smoothly.

The game is set around the events of the books, following the death of King Robert Baratheon. You can play with three-six players, with each player getting control of one of the great houses of the land of Westeros. Each house has its own advantages—for example, the Starks are relatively isolated in the north, safe from early attacks, while a Lannister player will start with a lot of resources near their castle. As anyone who has read the books or watched the show knows, there is only one goal—to claim the Iron Throne.

Each player starts with a small army, along with some order tokens, and their house cards, representing the characters from the show. The actual game is a combination of turn-based strategy, along with diplomacy. There are only 10 turns, so the strategy needs to be deep or you’ll find yourself in trouble quickly. There’s a lot of diplomacy involved as well, because of the way the game works.

Instead of each player taking their turn, you all have to issue your orders in secret. Once every player has decided what to do, you carry out those orders at the same time. This means that you’re making decisions based on what you think the other players will do, but this opens you up to misunderstandings and betrayals.

So, let’s say that you’ve surrounded an enemy stronghold, but lack the troops to storm their castle. You could hold the siege, while asking a friend to loan a few troops to the cause. Of course, if they choose that moment to betray you, they might end up with a fresh castle of their own, and you might end up with dead troops. Since you don’t know what the other player is going to do, strategy will take a back seat to diplomacy and outright bluff.

With only 10 turns, it sounds like the game shouldn’t take long to play, but each game lasted 2-3 hours, not counting the set-up time. It’s an engrossing game.

At first, you’re not going to know how to do something simple like moving your armies or keeping them fed, but it gets easier after some time. That’s when the back-stabbing begins. Over the next several hours of play, you’re going to definitely lose a friend or two, simply because their city made too tempting a target to pass up. Well, when you play the game of thrones, you win or die, so what were they expecting anyway?

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is available online for $59.99 (around 3,300); with shipping, it costs approximately 5,500.

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