“Winter is coming”, a phrase that penetrated the depths of pop culture only after HBO’s TV series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Although the series ended with mixed feelings, it hasn’t diminished fan’s love for the series including François Alliot, founder of Nerial, and the creators of the Reigns series who has been a fan of the original books and the TV series. Following the success of the previous Reigns game, Reigns: Game of Thrones was released, combining the fast-paced gameplay of Reigns with the intricate world relationships of Game of Thrones.
If you have any experience with the Reigns series, then Reigns: Game of Thrones will be no stranger to you. The general premise of the game is the same. Players have to balance the distribution of power in their lands between the four main factions, Military, Religion, the People, and the Bank. Each turn players will be presented with two options. Depending on the option they choose, different factions will gain/lose influence. As players make more choices, it becomes increasingly hard to keep the power balances across all factions, and as winter creeps closer players will be driven to the limits.
Although the game only features a limited number of characters, each play-through shuffles which events you will get and which order you get them in, making it an almost unique experience each time you rule. Despite the game’s simple “swipe ’em up” controls, the actual game can build up to be a lot more complex, with projects that players can fund which don’t show effects until x turns.
Whilst some turns, players are faced with generic events set in the seven kingdoms, occasionally, players will also encounter events that are quintessentially Game of Thrones like the encounter with Lady Melisandre, The Red Witch. Upon meeting lady Melisandre, players will have the choice of whether or not they want to look into the flames and receive R’hllor’s gift. These gifts have lasting effects on future runs.
Although I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones, I cannot deny the certain appeal it has. Without a doubt, Reigns: Game of Thrones inherits a lot from its predecessors. Each event has consequences that make you think twice before swiping. The political and strategy elements of the game fit perfectly with the lore of Game of Thrones and the intricate relationships between the characters in the series enhance the little details in each event, creating persuasive narratives from the point of view of each individual ruler.
The game is incredibly simple to play and that makes it incredibly easy to find yourself playing reign after reign without feeling repetitive. above all the small events, there is still the inevitable winter phase and the encroaching wight walker threat.
As good as the narrative is written, there is still a problem with combining Reign’s gameplay with the already rich lore of Game of Thrones. As players are only presented with two options per each event and the events aren’t all tailored for the specific character, the game fails to fully represent the characters of the series, which is arguably the most intriguing aspect of the Game of Thrones series.
However, whether you’re a die-hard fan of GoT or just a casual viewer, the Reigns: Game of Thrones is definitely a game worth trying. If you look at the game as what could happen in the series rather than a representation of the TV series or the books, the game can be incredibly fun and challenging.
▍Reigns: Game of Thrones Gameplay Trailer