Best Game of Thrones Board Games – Ranked & Reviewed (2019)
Dun dun dun-dun-dun-dun-dun dun dun dun-dun-dun-dun…
A Game of Thrones has been a pretty wild ride. My best friend showed me the first episode years ago that he had saved on a DVR. It was late at night and we decided to throw it on before we called it a night. He went to sleep and I proceeded to marathon the entire first season.
My eyes were bleeding in the morning and that damn catchy theme song was stuck in my head.
I needed more.
This was back in 2012 slightly after Season 1 aired, the hype and popularity of the show were still rising. Luckily enough for everyone now, in its final TV season, A Game of Thrones has so much to keep fans going and a whole host of options for the board game nerds out there.
If you can’t wait between episodes, check out some of these Game of Thrones-inspired board games to get your fix. Nothing hits the fandom itch quite like a board game… or maybe the next book… if it ever comes out.
“War makes monsters of us all.” — George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire
The official A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is inspired by an older game called Diplomacy. Any fan of the series will know that the war in Westeros is clearly heavily diplomatic, and usually violent and bloody. Alliances come and go and usually at the worst possible moment for someone involved.
Throughout the course of the game, players will be making political decisions and issuing orders in secret. In the following phases of the game, the orders will be carried out. You could spend the first half of a round convincing a player to march with you against your enemies only to find your stronghold besieged by your “allies”. It’s happened to me before and will most likely happen again.
Each player controls one of the great houses and will be fighting for domination of the Iron Throne. You’ll find all of your fan favorites in the game: Lannisters, Starks, Greyjoys, Terrells, Baratheons… they’re all here.
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game captures the essence of the books and HBO show beautifully. Players will be making alliances but they’ll also be leaving their allies in the field undefended a few turns later because it’s no longer profitable to be allied. It’s a brutal game with a heavy mix of warfare, diplomatic alliances, and inevitable betrayal.
Just make sure you set some time aside for it. You can probably get through a few episodes in the time that it takes to play one game. It’s one of our favorite 6-player board games and tabletop war board games, in general.
Versions & Expansions:
- Game of Thrones: The Board Game (First Edition) (2003)
- A Clash of Kings 1st Edition Expansion (2004)
- A Storm of Swords 1st Edition Expansion (2006)
- A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) (2011)
- A Dance with Dragons 2nd Edition Expansion (2012)
- A Feast for Crows 2nd Edition Expansion (2013)
- Mother of Dragons 2nd Edition Expansion (2018)
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game
“The grey sheep have closed their eyes, but the mastiff sees the truth. Old powers waken. Shadows stir. An age of wonder and terror will soon be upon us, an age for gods and heroes.” — George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire
CMON (Cool Mini or Not) is known for putting out awesome games with highly-detailed miniatures. Their version of a tabletop war game is no exception. A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game comes in the form of a collectible minis game in which players will have to buy and paint their minis and then will be able to field an army to clash with their opponent.
The minis are very cool looking and oddly enough, my favorites are Reek and Ramsay Bolton. CMON did an incredible job with them and they are super creepy standing next to each other. The art direction is more like the comics and deviates from the show and I think it looks great. It would be weird building and painting a mini Alfie Allen for the table.
For those of you who know CMON games, you’ll know that they mainly produce board games, and by that, I mean an entire experience in one box sort-of games. This is new territory for them. They don’t normally make tabletop wargames.
So how did they do?
You can definitely tell that the designers come from a board game background, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Miniature Wargames are usually very finicky with rules and highly-complex. A Song of Ice & Fire manages to keep everything relatively simple for a new player to get into while still adding a lot of replayability and strategy.
At this point, there are several factions you can pick from that all have different leaders and special abilities. Although the Boltons creeped me right the heck out, I still love their minis.
Versions & Expansions:
- Stark vs Lannister Starter Set (2018)
- Night’s Watch Starter Set (2018)
- Lots of expansion packs
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne
“Some had been heroes, some weaklings, knaves, or cravens. Most were only men—quicker and stronger than most, more skilled with sword and shield, but still prey to pride, ambition, lust, love, anger, jealousy, greed for gold, hunger for power, and all the other failings that afflicted lesser mortals. The best of them overcame their flaws, did their duty, and died with their swords in their hands. The worst… The worst were those who played the game of thrones.” — George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne is a hidden gem in the board game community. It’s basically built around the system used by Cosmic Encounter but with a GoT-themed skin thrown over it. It also isn’t quite as complex as Cosmic Encounter, making it much easier to teach new players.
In Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne, everyone will play a different faction and looking to spread their influence throughout Westeros. Every turn, players will deal with interactions across the whole board. These could be hostages or treaties to negotiate. How you deal with these events is entirely up to you, but could also swing influence either to or away from your faction.
The Iron Throne manages to capture a lot of the political intrigue and machinations that go on behind the scenes, while still giving a Game of Thrones feel.
If you’re looking for a highly-strategic and highly-fun game with an incredible thematic flair for Game of Thrones, The Iron Throne delivers… if you can keep it.
Versions & Expansions:
- Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne (2016)
- The Wars to Come Expansion (2017)
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition)
“The splendor of it all took Sansa’s breath away; the shining armor, the great chargers caparisoned in silver and gold, the shouts of the crowd, the banners snapping in the wind…and the knights themselves, the knights most of all.” – George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is an interesting game in its own right. It’s a living card game.
A Living Card Game
For those of you who don’t know, a living card game (LCG) is similar to a collectible card game (CCG) but without a lot of the randomness. First, the base game is released and it has everything players will need to start playing and creating their own stories in Westeros. Every month, a new expansion or set is released. As time goes on, you’ll have cards that have evolved with the storyline of A Game of Thrones. So just as Arya started out as a spritely little tomboy and grows into an assassin, so too does the card game evolve over time. The difference between a living card game and a collectible card game is that each particular expansion is identical. You won’t have to go hunting through booster packs to find your favorite cards.
A Game of Thrones has been around for several years now, and most of us had no idea what kind of rabbit hole it would turn into when we first were introduced to it. The GoT card game is similar in that regard. The first edition was a fun game and the artwork reflected that. It’s kind of goofy and silly at times. The second edition of the game has much better artwork and is an overall more polished product.
So look for the box with “Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons” on the box. That’s the second edition.
Versions & Expansions:
- A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (First Edition) (2008)
- A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition) (2015)
- Dozens of expansions for both editions
Risk: Game of Thrones
“I prefer my history dead. Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood.” – George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire
Unlike other alternate-themed Monopoly games, the alternate-themed Risk games all have some kind of twist to them. For example, Lord of the Rings Risk has a Fellowship component and one of the Star Wars Risks has a brutal Order 66 rule that basically wipes the board.
Game of Thrones Risks basically adds just a more immersive form of Risk. It can be played like a traditional game of Risk and comes with 2 boards, a larger normal sized board, and a smaller board for 2 players. The advanced version will have players competing to complete objectives and capture certain areas of the board for victory points, which is vastly different from other Risk games I’ve played.
Risk is one of the original tabletop war games and one of those games that has been around for years. I still enjoy the various versions of Risk I’ve played and have a lot of nostalgia invested in them from my childhood. However, trying to compare them to modern board games is difficult. The mechanics can seem… a bit dated. Personally, I enjoy a game of Risk. I also have years of good memories associated with Risk. So as with Monopoly, if you like Risk, you’ll enjoy Risk: Game of Thrones.
A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch
“I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.” – George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
What does Catan and A Game of Thrones have in common? Sheep…?
There’s not a whole lot tying the two themes together but luckily the game has basically been revamped to add some Game of Thrones flair. Instead of the entirety of Westeros, A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Night’s Watch focuses on the Night’s Watch and the Wall.
You’ll still have your classic Catan experience, like yelling across the table that you have sheep for trade while all of your friends avert their eyes, but there are some new elements thrown in as well. Players will be building the infrastructure behind the wall to support the Night’s Watch, and each player will be using hero characters from the show to give themselves a boost throughout the game.
The game does run like a normal Catan game, but there’s one major difference. The wildlings from across the wall will be attacking and raiding the town. You’ll need to defend the wall from attack and if there are 3 successful wildling attacks, the victory goes to the player with the most guards in position on the wall. It’s not nearly as satisfying, but there’s a lot of unsatisfying moments in Game of Thrones.
If you love Catan, be sure to check out our overview of all of the best Catan expansions.
Versions & Expansions:
- Brotherhood of the Watch Expansion (2017)
- Brotherhood of the Watch: 5-6 Player Extension (2018)
Monopoly: Game of Thrones
“There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man.” – George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire
Betrayal, corruption, blood feuds, violence, and intrigue… oh, are we talking about Monopoly or A Game of Thrones?
Well, now you can have both.
By combining the inherent betrayal, violence, and warfare of Monopoly with A Game of Thrones, you’ll get a slightly less bloody version of Monopoly.
All joking aside, it’s Game of Thrones-themed Monopoly. It doesn’t really play any different than any other version of Monopoly but it’s fun for Game of Thrones fans. If you like Monopoly, you’ll enjoy this. If you hate Monopoly, you’ll hate this.
Currently, there are two different versions released. There’s a Collectors Edition as well as the newer edition that came out in 2019 The 2019 version has a mini Iron Throne that plays the theme song. Just in case you needed it to get stuck in your head again.
Before you flood the comments section with angry comments, check out my article on Monopoly. I know it’s infamous for being awful, but if you actually play by the rules and expect to get stomped, it can actually be quite fun.
Versions & Expansions:
Monopoly: Game of Thrones Collector’s Edition (2015)
Monopoly: Game of Thrones (2019)
A Game of Thrones has been building it’s fandom for many years. I was lucky enough that it fell into my lap and I was able to watch the explosion of popularity from almost the beginning (very hipster of me, I know). It’s such an interesting world that George R.R. Martin created and there are even more ways to explore after you’ve finished with the books and the show. It’s such a fantastic blend of interesting characters, political intrigue, and brutality.
Playing some GoT-inspired board games is an excellent way to kill some time before the next episode is out in this final season. I used to play old seasons in the background during a game night with a few friends.
Hopefully, this list helps you scratch the Game of Thrones itch. Probably the only thing better than a round a Game of Thrones: The Board Game is finally getting to read book 6…
If you have any other GoT board games you know of that didn’t make our list, or just want to talk board games or Game of Thrones (no spoilers) please leave a comment below.