Are you addicted to Game of Thrones? Join the club; we meet every Sunday. Anyway, the release date for Game of Thrones Season 4 is not until April, and that is far too long for a nerd such as myself to live without its iconic intrigue, deceit and nudity – I mean ingenuity. Ingenudity? Whether you crave the show or the book, gaming has given us a cure.
It’s no secret that games let you do things that you could never get away with in real life. If I shout a dragon to death in Skyrim, I get called a hero. When I did that in real life I got charged with animal abuse. And just as they served as an outlet for my hate of reptiles, a certain game helped me with my Game of Thrones urges. No I don’t mean the official Game of Thrones RPG, because that was plain terrible and helps no one.
No, I’m talking about Mount & Blade: Warband, a strategy RPG world domination game produced by companies Paradox and Taleworlds back in 2010. The basis of Mount & Blade: Warband is your character’s rise to power in a war torn land, with the consistent and vehement bickering of royal families scattered across the globe, each faction writhe with betrayal, backstabbing’s and beautiful women. Hmm, sound familiar?
There is a mod available called A Clash of Kings that changes the game’s setting to Westeros – the world of Game of Thrones. The mod is so expansive that it includes everything from the Wall to even the unexplored land of Essos. Your own Game of Thrones has been designed perfectly before you, just waiting for you to make the first move.
A Clash of Kings is set for the beginning of the second season, as the War of Four Kings is at its peak. You will find Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark, Tywin Lannister and Stannis Baratheon roaming the land, their armies great in number and in threat, each aiming to destroy the other – just as it is in the show. And it is your role to find your place among them.
As is the usual Mount & Blade character creation, you design your character’s background, ie. Noble or peasant, fighter or scholar, duty or power, and such choices affect not only your character physical stats, but also their social standing in Westeros. This will help decide what kind of role you will take in the war. You then begin your quest in Storm’s End, King Renly’s domain. Mount & Blade is an entirely non-linear gaming experience, so once you are past the starter mission, everything is up to you: Westeros is yours to save, or to destroy.
From there, there is so much you can do to immerse yourself in the world that HBO and George RR Martin are keeping away from us for so long. Choose from dozens of sigils and symbols to mark your Family House, and parade your flag down the ranks or your loyal (or hired) armies with pride. Capture Loras Tyrell and sell him back to Renly for a hefty price or a forced alliance to your cause. Besiege the Twins and kick Lord Frey out into the cold. Sail far to the east and hire the legendary Unsullied soldiers. Marry Cersei Lannister… or don’t. Unless you would also like a boar tusk to the gut. I don’t judge.
My character, Aegon Targaryen (appropriately named) initially took on the physical fighting approach, and I wandered Westeros winning and triumphing in every tourney that came about, winning not only affection and fame, but also vast amounts of riches. With this I hired my first army and, a little boldly perhaps, captured a Lannister castle. From then on, I was Tywin’s nemesis. It took time, effort, and enough gold to make Scrooge McDuck drool, but I wiped out the Lannisters entirely and Casterly Rock was mine at last! Aegon Targaryen, conquering once again!
If you’re desperate for some Game of Thrones related fun, and with Season 4 and the Winds of Winter still seeming so far away, delve into the gaming aspect instead! Explore the Seven Kingdoms in a way no show or book could ever do! Mount & Blade: Warband is available on Steam or the Taleworlds website. Kudos to the designers by the way! A fantastic mod for we GoT nerds! Have a look! And happy conquering!