Few activities one can partake in are as vicious and bloody as a game of Risk, which is why it shouldn't surprise you that HBO has partnered up with HASBRO to produce a Game of Thrones version of the stalwart board game.
The first, and most obvious change to the standard game of Risk is the world map, which throws out our lacklustre landmassess in favour the continents of Essos and Westeros, each with their own boards. Which of these boards is put to use depends on which of the game's three modes is being played.
The five-person game mode is called 'War of Five Kings' and requires players take on the roles of houses Tyrell, Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, and Martell, and smash out their differences on the Westeros board. Two-person mode, on the other hand, is fought on the Essos board, in which the two players fight as house Targaryen and house Ghiscari for dominance of Slavers Bay.
Put the two boards together, and the game becomes a two continent, 7 player, all-out war which includes seven great houses from A Song of Ice and Fire.
The choice of Game of Thrones as a Risk theme couldn't be more perfect. Risk is a game of tactical warfare, but also subterfuge and betrayal. Keeping your winning objective (as dictated to a player by their objective card) secret from the others around the board is vital, otherwise alliances quickly form to put a stop to your plans only to disintegrate once you've been shanked in the back more times than Julius Caesar.
Even before you chuck in the Game of Thrones trappings, it already sounds like an invention born from the mind of George RR Martin.
The game is made up of 650 individual parts which includes two game boards, seven custom player boards, over three hundred army units, maester cards, territory cards and gold dragon coins. That's a lot of swag for one board game, and at the reasonable price of $74.95 I suspect that a lot of people out there will be nagging their Khaleesi for an early Christmas present.
This isn't the first Game of Thrones board game to make a splash, there's also this one, which has proven extremely popular of the past couple of years. If you're into subterfuge and betrayal, and let's face it, underneath the veneer of civilised behaviour we all are, then you might also want to consider the Battlestar Galactica board game or The Resistance, both of which require you to lie, cheat, and deceive your way to victory.