Reigns: Game of Thrones is a strategy video game developed by Nerial with HBO and published by Devolver Digital. This is the third installment of the Reigns series. The first two are respectively Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty. Here we will be focusing on the third one as it is the one set up in the sadistic and brutal world of Westeros.
The game came out in 2016 and largely flew under the radar due to its gameplay. It is developed for different platforms including PC, Nintendo Switch, and even smartphones. This is a hidden gem a lot of people have not played. It offers very unique gameplay and is an awesome experience for people who love Game of Thrones.
Reigns: Game of Thrones revolves around a player sitting on the Iron Throne and trying to keep their power for as long as possible. There are a multitude of decisions to make with series of cannon problems coming from books like Undead invasion and etc. The interface, funnily enough, looks like Tinder. Basically, there are different cards coming up with a description of a problem. At this point, the player is presented with 2 choices whether to do something about it in a more active sense or something that will do for the due time. The decision making is dependent on the player and their smarts in connection to resource management. Each time the player is prompted to either swipe left or right each meaning a specific decision. Although it is available on multiple platforms, here at the office, we believe it is best played on mobile ones like Nintendo Switch, tablets, or a smartphone. It is a great pastime that can be paused quite conveniently at any point so no interference is going to ruin your experience.
Roots of Reality
Reigns: Game of Thrones is a simple game. As we have already described the interface the idea is quite understandable for anyone. There is no serious learning curve or specific skills needed to play this game. However, the game utilizes this aspect in the most awesome manner. The simplicity doesn’t draw from the interesting gameplay in any way. The decisions that the player has to take are rooted in the harsh realities of Westeros. There are political games to be played as well as a multitude of factors that can easily undermine your position. The game follows really well the traditional approach of Game of Thrones towards leadership and power.
As a ruler every decision a player makes carries significance. It affects a lot of other factors and basically creates a chain reaction that may as well come around and bite you in a very painful way. Most of the decisions cost money and the wrong ones can be detrimental to your military power. There are also other factors like reputation among the public and the church. The player needs to be extremely careful with all four of these factors as the depletion of any of them means that something bad is coming like an assassination. Keeping up with the traditions of Westeros there are multiple ways of getting rid of unwanted royalty and you may end up on the business end of a sword. It is worth noting that even if the player is extremely popular with the people the noble houses may still be willing to put a knife through your back due to the simple fact that their interests rarely coincide with that of people. Nobles or at least the ones that survive, in the Game of Thrones are usually not the most honorable and people’s types.
The game introduces a weird human factor to the player. A lot of times specific institutions may become a tad bit too powerful and pose a serious threat to your reign as a King or Queen. Most of the time, these institutions do not stand for people and are looking out for themselves. This means that a lot of times your decisions that may be directed for the better of the people will not be taken well by the stronger parties. So sometimes you will have to make decisions to save your own hide and turn the tides for your beloved people for the worse. This is one of the most fun parts of this game as it highlights the fact that every ruler needs to look out for themselves and when it comes to them vs you the one you love the most is yourself.
A lot of times things come down to balancing what others want. You cannot make decisions only by yourself. Anything that is at the detriment of a specific party will cause them to be antagonistic towards you and in the end, will come back around in the moments of need.
Power Struggles of Leadership
As we have already established Reigns: Game of Thrones is all about making executive decisions. What makes George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, a beautiful place to base such a game into is all of the political malpractices that the noble houses of Westeros employ to keep their powers. For example, Petyr Baelish is a well-depicted character who jumps through lots of hoops taking numerous gambles to make sure that he advances his career enough to get to the throne. Reigns: Game of Thrones is all about such decisions. In this franchise, it is not a secret that having power equals more people wanting to kill you than if you were the Night King.
The game offers the player a possibility to play as 9 different leading characters including Daenerys, Cersei, Tyrion, Jaime, and John Snow. Each one of them is presented with their unique skill sets and quirks including missions and locations that come from their actual background in books and TV series. The game makes it out to be like you are a ruler with al of the powers being concentrated into your hands however make no mistake – it is a fight for survival and there are no good guys in this fight including you.
The only problem that I saw with the game itself is the repetition cycle that begins after a couple of hours of gameplay. As much as interesting the decisions are and the cast of characters that the player can play with there is not so much content. However, judging by the price it is absolutely a worthwhile experience. At the time of writing this review, the game runs on Apple’s AppStore for 4.5 Euros and Steam sells it for 2.5.
A must-play for everyone who loves this franchise.