…but I’m not too preoccupied to go down to the store and play a test game between House Lassiter and House Baratheon.
The first cool mechanic is the Plot deck, a short stack of around ten cards that’s separate from your regular deck. Every round, you choose one of these for your initiative score, amount of points you can put into building, and special stuff. You build that little Plot deck, and you choose every turn, and I just think that’s cool.
Then you have characters with two numbers on them: cost and strength. Less numbers, more good. They do, however, have one to three icons on their sides, representing which types of challenges they can be a part of: Military, Intrigue, and Power. Committing more characters with the chosen icon than your opponent does wins you the challenge; each challenge has a different reward. Military kills someone, Intrigue discards cards, and Power wins Power. Lots of other stuff, like being unopposed in a challenge because the other guy doesn’t have any available characters with that icon, or having a special ability that says so or whatever, gets you Power. First to 15 Power wins.
Basically, this game is very simple to learn, but there is lots going on and it doesn’t feel like it all emerges from fiddly little special abilities. It feels like interesting emergent strategies from out of a simple rule set, and that equals a good time. My only warning is that it is possible to get, well, I have to call it mana-screwed, which is all the more galling when there’s only one “color” of the stuff. Whatever. Quit smirking, Aaron.