Why we're obsessed with Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

The new tabletop game has stormed the CNET office and ruined friendships. You'd think we'd have stopped playing it.

Luke Lancaster Associate Editor / Australia
Luke Lancaster is an Associate Editor with CNET, based out of Australia. He spends his time with games (both board and video) and comics (both reading and writing).
Luke Lancaster
Watch this: Backstab, plot and murder in 15 minutes with Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

Okay, "ruining friendships" might be a bit strong, but things do get heated when we play Game of Thrones: Hand of the King in the office.

It's a tabletop game that works a bit like a competitive sliding puzzle. You and your opponents/co-workers/ex-friends move the Varys tile around a 6x6 grid, scooping up family members belonging to the Great Houses of Westeros. Whoever has the most members of a given House controls it, and whoever controls the most Houses wins.

If it sounds really easy to play, that's because it is. It's also diabolical once you start making short-lived alliances, moving to block your opponents and thinking as many moves ahead as you can without losing the plot completely.

As our resident tabletop nerd, I'm also obliged to mention that Hand of the King was designed by Bruno Cathala, one of the biggest names in board games. Cathala is the genius behind Mr. Jack, Shadows Over Camelot and 7 Wonders Duel. In case you were after some more very, very solid board game recommendations.

Game of Thrones: Hand of the King is published by Fantasy Flight Games, and you can order it through the website or find it at your local game store for $13 (about AU$20 or £10). If you're after some even more intense Gamey Throney, you should also check out A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.