Game of Thrones fans are used to waiting — from long breaks between seasons to the longer waits between books, and now the agonizing wait for the HBO prequel series House of the Dragon. While Westeros is worth the wait, there are some ways to get your fix and fill the time with other related media. That includes video games, tabletop RPGs and board games.
Fans have been making games set in George R.R. Martin’s fictional fantasy world since well before HBO turned A Song of Ice and Fire into a TV show. However, the global success of the show certainly didn’t hurt the development of a playable Westeros. Now you can find video games from the franchise on just about every platform, from console-based RPGs to addictive mobile apps. You can also gather some friends for a Dungeons & Dragons-style role-playing game or a more straightforward board game.
Of course, we could spend hours describing all of the Game of Thrones-adjacent merchandise and playable content out there. For example, this extravagant $150 Game of Thrones Collector’s Chess Set by USAOPOLY is technically a franchise game of sorts, though it is functionally no different from any other chess match. That’s a shame since Martin describes a unique chess-like board game in his books called Cyvasse.
For a better idea of where to start, however, we have narrowed it down to the seven most beloved and enduring Game of Thrones games to take you back to Westeros for a while — at least until The Winds of Winter and House of the Dragon arrive. Scroll down for a brief description of each one.
‘Game of Thrones’ (2012)
An action role-playing game simply titled Game of Thrones came out in 2012, available on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The single-player game follows its own original plot within the world of Westeros, and is set around the same time as Season 1 of the show. However, it is considered more faithful to the books than the show in many ways.
The game has gotten mixed critical reviews for its graphics, repetitive gameplay and other aspects. However, to this day it remains one of the biggest and most ambitious console games in the Game of Thrones universe, and for that it gets a lot of credit.
‘A Game of Thrones’ Board Game
Game of Thrones Board Game Goes Digital: On October 6th, Asmodee Digital and Dire Wolf Digital‘s A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition will launch, but until then Asmodee has offered a substantial discount of 20% for… https://t.co/DCWVt3peqE #ASoIaF #TWoIaF #GRRM pic.twitter.com/GlvuO3fEX4
— Elio & Linda (@westerosorg) September 18, 2020
A board game — again titled simply A Game of Thrones — first came in in 2003, long before the TV series was released. The game was based entirely on the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and was created by Christian T. Petersen for Fantasy Flight Games.
Each player plays as one of the Great Houses of Westeros — Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Targaryen, Tyrell, Martell or Arryn — and competes for control of territory on the board. Depending on the number of players, controlling a certain number of cities or castles on the board will make you the winner.
The game has been through a few additions and expansions as new books came out, and to adapt to the TV show. Throughout all that development is has remained a general success among fans, and a niche hit in some circles. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is available here on Amazon.
‘Beyond the Wall’
Behaviour Interactive’s Beyond the Wall is a mobile game with a surprising amount of detail and nods to the deep lore in both the TV show and the books. It centers on the Night’s Watch, challenging players to defend The Wall through strategy and turn-based combat.
Beyond the Wall was released on iOS and Android devices in 2019, and it delighted book fans for its focus on Bloodraven, the mysterious character who teaches Bran to use his Greenseer abilities beyond The Wall. It is still available in the app store today with a solid 4.6-star rating.
‘A Telltale Games Series’
One of the most versatile Game of Thrones games to date is a 2014 release from Telltale Games. It is available in a mobile format on iOS and Android devices, on computers through Microsoft Windows and OS X, and also on consoles including the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones is a single-player episodic adventure game similar to other titles by the same studio. It follows its own original storyline set during the time of the TV series in Westeros, following obscure characters who only get a passing mention in the books. It is no longer available on the iOS store, although versions of it can still be found online or in hard copies. Versions can be found here on Amazon.
‘Crusader Kings II’
Perhaps the most beloved video game among Game of Thrones fans is not an official franchise release at all, but a mod of Crusader Kings II. Crusader Kings is a historic strategy game about campaigning for territory and vying for political power, so it’s no wonder that fans used the Steam Workshop to modify this game for Westeros.
The game allows users to start a campaign from various points in Westerosi history and play out the campaign from there. It has an extensive database of information from the books and the show, allowing users to play as Great Houses or obscure ones. Updates have even expanded the game to include Essos — the continent to the east of Westeros — and beyond.
Crusader Kings II is an older game by now, but it has seen a resurgence within the wistful Game of Thrones fandom in recent years, especially with the rise of live-streaming. YouTuber Joe Magician streamed several successful campaigns over the last few months, making a strong case for House Dayne’s supremacy.
‘Reigns: Game of Thrones’
Another strategy game, Reigns: Game of Thrones remains popular to this day — especially because it has adapted to so many platforms. The game can be played on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows or the Nintendo Switch. Either way, fans will be challenged to rule their kingdom effectively or face the consequences.
Guardians of Order TTRPG
Lee Moyer’s artwork is the only one I have seen that tackles the reflective/transparent quality of the Others’ armour. These are scanned (by PressureCereal on Reddit) from the ‘Guardians of Order’ GoT RPG rulebook. ~S https://t.co/htiEXtkwUr pic.twitter.com/O0piRZrw8V
— A Clash of Critics (@AClashOfCritics) September 22, 2020
Finally, one of the most natural extensions of any high fantasy series is a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) and A Song of Ice and Fire is no exception. In 2006, Martin himself announced a TTRP set in his fictional world produced by Guardians of Order, and designed by a huge team of fans. The game was released in two versions: one using the familiar D20 system employed in Dungeons and Dragons, and one using a unique rule system designed by Guardians of Order in-house.
The game was a huge success upon its release and in the years to follow, though Guardians of Order ceased operations not long after. Sadly, that means that the books and other materials for this TTRPG are out of print, and are generally very expensive on the secondhand market. For many fans, homebrew TTRPG content is more practical.
Game of Thrones is streaming now on HBO Max, and is available on DVD and Blu-ray here on Amazon. A spinoff prequel series, House of the Dragon, is filming now in the U.K. and is expected to premiere on HBO in 2022. Martin promises his next book in the series, The Winds of Winter, soon. In the meantime, the games above may be the best way to get your fix of Westeros.