Whoever said it was good to be the King or Queen, is a liar. It’s a responsibility fraught with constant danger and dangerous unease. it’s a position that balances finances, diplomacy, religion, and the intricacies of the armed forces. There are rival kingdoms and evil forces lurking in the shadows. The needs of your people bear an overwhelming weight on your shoulders. There are the religious groups who hold great power. On top of it all, there is only so much money that you can hold in your bank.
All of that being said, UK-based developer Nerial has created a charming and fascinating game that makes being royalty a fun, entertaining experience with their game series, Reigns. A strategic game with a card focus, the original Reigns released in 2016 for Steam and mobile devices, becoming a strong sensation amongst the mobile space and made its way to the Nintendo Switch this past Summer.
Now, with special approval from HBO, Reigns has entered the bleak and bitter world of Westeros to create Reigns: Game Of Thrones. As someone unfamiliar with Reigns, I came into the game not knowing what to expect. After some time being the King I always wanted to be, Regins: Game of Thrones is a perfect blend of strategy and narrative that greatly embraces the world created by George RR Martin.
Game Of Thrones is an HBO TV series, based on the series ” A Song Of Fire And Ice” from author George R.R Martin. The series tells the tales of two families, each with their own ambitions and desires to seize The Iron Throne. And the challengers who come from beyond the Seven Kingdoms and the dangers beyond the Wall. The series is a tale of war, power, lust, heresy, betrayal, faith, ruling, loyalty, and dragons. Game Of Thrones is a drama of warriors, soldiers, kings, and queens, struggling for power. Since the show’s beginning in 2011, Game Of Thrones has become a cultural sensation, earning several Emmy awards and bringing epic fantasy back into the spotlight of television. Currently, the show has gone on for seven seasons, with the eighth and final season scheduled for airing in 2019.
Reigns: Game Of Thrones begins from the perspective of Lady Melisandre, a mysterious witch who serves The Lord Of LIght. Through her fire and magic, she envisions the main characters of Westeros taking the Iron Throne and ruling Westeros. Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Daenerys Targarean, Jon Snow, and the rest of the characters are present. By choosing one, you embark upon their story, and the decisions that you make will determine their rule, as well as their fate.
Make the correct choices and your rule continues. Make the wrong choice, and death is certain. Along the way, there will be objectives to complete and goals to be obtained. Additionally, there are hundreds of cards to collect, each with their own choices and scenarios to fully complete the larger narrative.
Reigns: Game Of Thrones is a “swipe-em up,” where players swipe left or right depending on the situation. As the King or Queen, consorts will come to you, offering suggestions on how to deal with certain situations. It is up to you to swipe left or right, saying yes or no to that suggestion. Consorts will suggest negotiations, tactics, diplomacy, and consulting the religious sects in the kingdom. You’ll even be able to enter taverns and participate in tournaments.
The outcome of all of these instances and dozens more boils down to swiping left or right. Your choices won’t be mere yes or no but will go into more advanced circumstances, such as deciding to execute Queen Cersei or allow due process. Each playthrough presents new situations and goals. The more cards collected and goals achieved, the more characters are unlocked to progress through the game.
There are consequences in Reigns: Game Of Thrones. Each choice made will provide either positive or negative feedback to the four pillars of your kingdom: The military, the faiths, the people, and the bank. Regins: Game Of Thrones is all about balance. If a pillar gains too much power or loses all power, they will overthrow you. For example, my military became immensely powerful and was higher than the other pillars.
A card was drawn, inviting me to a special bath, which actually meant that I was thrown into a pit of fire to die a painful and excruciating death. These circumstances will inevitably occur in a playthrough of Reigns: Game Of Thrones. The more players play, the more they will be adept at avoiding such deadly fates. However, even if a player dies, they can restart an adventure with that character and make different choices, making death a rewarding penalty.
Reigns: Game Of Thrones is incredibly rewarding and even addicting. A quick playthrough will have you swipe through dozens of scenarios, and even if your reign is short, there is always a sense of accomplishment. The suggestions and decisions come at you in a rapid-fire way, keeping players on their toes and encouraging the player to think critically, but quickly. This makes each experience fresh and fun. Some have even said that the gameplay mechanic is inspired by dating apps, such as Tinder.
Part of the enjoyment of Reigns: Game Of Thrones is through the game’s presentation, which utilizes a minimalist color and illustration style, as well as the orchestral score from the show, performed by legendary composer Ramin Djwadi. Making choices, even those that involve death is done so in a light-hearted and entertaining style. The game’s minimalist presentation and gameplay help lighten the tone, even when giving the order too punish citizens or go to war. Granted, there are still grisly deaths and acts of violence that you will encounter, and their brutality isn’t lessened. In one playthrough as Lady Sansa, the Many-Faced Man assassinated me, literally tearing my heart out while alive. But, despite this horrid moment, the minimalist style made the death not as dark.
Whether it’s on Steam or your smart device, Reigns: Game Of Thrones is a fantastic strategy adventure. Its presentation works incredibly well and its gameplay is not only unique but wildly engaging. The amount of variety is astounding and the way it works with the Game Of Thrones is excellent. The game is the best strategic experience for casual players and fans of Game Of Thrones, especially the most loyal of them. Nerial should be commended, and I am eager to see more. Brace Yourself, Winter Is Here!
Reigns: Game Of Thrones was reviewed, thanks to a generous donation of a review copy from Sandbox Strategies.
Platforms: Steam, Android, iOS
Available on Google Play, App Store, Steam Store.