Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/07/preparing-to-take-t...
Part 1 - Setting Up a Long Game
I am a fan of Diplomacy, but the 16 hours it takes to get a 1/3 of the way through the game just gets to me. I wish the game was shorter or had an end game condition, however, this just does not ever seem to happen. I also always get stuck next to the backstabber and end up slowly sinking to my death over the course of 4-6 hours. I have no chance of winning, but I can't just get up and quit. I just want to get up and yell, "KILL ME ALREADY!" However, that just wouldn't be nice. So, I sit and sit and sit and eventually everyone gets tired of playing and we call it quits with no end in sight. I wish there was a way to get this game experience in less time. Enter A Game of Thrones The Board Game....
Now, the original game came out in 2003, but has been hard to find for years. In late 2011, Fantasy Flight released a Second Edition to the game. When the Second Edition was released, I began hearing about A Game of Thrones for the first time. I heard that it was similar to Diplomacy, but in 3-4 hours--that sounds like my kind of game. For the first part of the year, I have considered picking up a copy or getting a trade worked out. Both were easier said than done; not many copies were on the trade market yet, and the retail price was too high for me (MSRP $60).
After much searching and debate (wasn't sure if I would be able to garner a group to play), I saw a trade opportunity and jumped on it. I immediately set to getting a group together to play. I did a fair amount of research on the rules. I watched some videos, listened to some podcasts, and read over the rules and rules summaries. I also passed along this information to those coming to play. I knew the game was deep and I wanted to try to have a group that was educated about the game. This ended up being a good move. Even after reading over the rules repeatedly, I still forgot some things and forgot to emphasize other details. One of the guys had also played the first edition of the game, which also helped when teaching the game.
I strongly suggest that when you are getting ready to play a heavy game like this one that you do as much preparation ahead of time as possible. Read the rules, check out some internet forums, watch some videos, read some reviews, and listen to some podcasts, then get your players the most helpful information and encourage them to read over it. This will help the game run so much smoother. Even with doing all of this, our game went for five hours (the estimated length for this one is three hours). If your game group is use to these longer complex games, it shouldn't be as big of a problem, but our group is used to playing 1-2 hour games in that light to medium weight game range. So, this one was a little overwhelming at first.
Next time, I'll share our game experience with A Game of Thrones.