In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the warring factions of Westeros await your command, inviting you to take part in a life-or-death struggle. In every game, you choose devious plots and challenge your opponents on the field of battle, through back alley intrigue, and in the political arena. Whether you play a against a single opponent, in a game mode known as a joust, or engage in a battle of three or more players, called a melee, winning challenges against your opponents is the way to victory.
Your ultimate objective in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is to gain influence over the greatest seat of power in Westeros: the Iron Throne! To achieve this goal, you must call upon iconic characters, such as Tywin Lannister, Robb Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Stannis Baratheon, Euron Crow's Eye, The Red Viper, and dozens of others. You must maneuver the members of your House and your allies in a constant struggle to gain power. The first player to take fifteen power wins!
In the game, every player has two decks: a draw deck and a plot deck. Your draw deck has the tactical elements of your struggle, including the characters, locations, attachments, and events that you call upon in your struggle to claim the Iron Throne. You can command characters from throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, and you can march forth from the icy walls of Winterfell or gather your armies around Casterly Rock. You can even equip your characters with storied weapons, such as the Valyrian steel blades Ice or Widow's Wail. The draw deck holds these powerful characters, attachments, locations, and events. This deck is randomly shuffled and players will draw their hands from this deck.
At the beginning of each round, each player simultaneously chooses and reveals one of the plot cards from their individual seven-card plot decks. Your plot for a round determines how much gold you may spend on cards, which player starts with initiative, and how powerful your challenges are. Your plot also has a reserve value, which determines how many cards you can keep in your hand past the end of the round. Plots may also provide powerful effects that can trigger when the plots are revealed or persist to shape the entire game round. You may scorch the earth with a deadly wildfire assault, or call upon every player to support the faith of the Seven.
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition) differs from the first edition of the game due to certain elements being cut, elements being revised or updated, and elements being added. Influence was a holdover from the game's initial origin as a CCG and is now unnecessary, while crests offered nothing to distinguish them from traits and made the game more difficult for new players to learn. Existing keywords have been trimmed, and some new keywords have been added to showcase the most interesting and essential interactions.
The timing rules — such as the details of moribund, passive effects with triggers, and save/cancel responses — will be replaced with a more straightforward timing system that takes advantage of the Reaction, Interrupt and Forced triggers that have been successfully employed in some of FFG's newer LCGs.
The second edition also comes with two new factions beyond the six Houses in the first edition. New deck-building rules empower players with more choices in combining factions, alongside a means of building more focused and specialized plot decks.