A Game of Thrones: B'Twixt
“I will be as good a lord to you as Eddard Stark ever was. Betray me, though, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.” – Theon Greyjoy, A Clash of Kings
The tangled, political web of King’s Landing ever widens, and powerful figures conspire for greater influence and manipulate those around them. Winter is coming, and alliances are betrayed as fast as they are forged. When the dust settles, who will come out on top?
Manipulate the flow of politics in King’s Landing in A Game of Thrones: B'Twixt, the fast-paced card game for 3 to 6 players, and lead your House as one of nine iconic characters from the Song of Ice and Fire series. Use your influence to attract new allies and carefully navigate the other players’ allegiances as you strive to have the most powerful small council in Westeros. Just be wary of your own alliances—you never know when someone will stab you in the back!
Allies and Influence
In B’Twixt, the goal is to have the most powerful small council at the end of the game. We’ll explain what your “small council” is in a moment, but for now, let’s talk about how you amass power.
The two sources of power in this game are allies and power tokens. An ally is, as you would expect, a character from the Song of Ice and Fire series that provides a set amount of power to whatever council they’re in. A power token, on the other hand, can be worth anywhere between 1 and 3 power, but you won’t know how much your tokens are worth until the very end of the game.
Each player has two “councils”: one to their left, and one to their right. Whenever you gain an ally or a power token, you can choose which of your councils you want to place them in. However, there is a catch: you share each of your councils with another player, which means whenever you add power to one of your councils, you add it to one of theirs as well. Your council with the lower total power is your “small council,” and you’ll want it to have more power than anyone else’s small council at the end of the game.
At the beginning of a round, an ally is revealed from the top of the ally deck. This will be the ally that everyone tries to claim this round, which they do by bidding influence. At the start of the game and the beginning of each subsequent “season” (which is a certain number of rounds determined by player count), each player receives 10 cards from the influence deck. Each of these cards has a value, which contributes to a player’s total influence in their bid. Once each player has chosen to pass (or “kneel”), whoever has the highest influence total in their bid claims the ally.
However, influence cards are more than just numbers; they also have a wide variety of abilities that can shake up the game depending on when they’re played. Gossip and Lies can force a player to discard a card from their hand while Counting Coppers lets you draw a card for a later round of bidding. If you know you’re going to lose a bid to one of your neighbors, you can use Pulling the Strings to ensure that you still get the ally added to one of your councils. And while the massive 11 influence from The Game of Thrones may seem enticing, you must be wary of a Betrayal turning your own cards against you!
In addition to claiming the ally, the winner of the bid gets to add a random power token (without looking at its numbered side) to one of their councils as well. Remember that you can choose which council to place the ally and power token in (unless otherwise stated by an ability), and that you share each of your councils with another player, so choose carefully when claiming an ally! Of course, the allies themselves are worth more than just their power values; some, such as Tywin Lannister and Hodor , have “When Claimed” abilities that trigger once somebody wins a bid. Others, such as Ser Davos Seaworth and Benjen Stark , have “During this Round” abilities, which add additional rules to the bidding phase. Some allies, such as Mance Rayder , have negative power values, which can be used to sabotage the other players. Other allies, such as Sandor Clegane , can even kill an ally in someone’s council, setting the ally aside in a “dead pile” and out of play, which could significantly swing the power balance of the game. The opportunities are endless!
Winning the Game
At the end of winter, the game is over. To determine the winner, each player first flips the power tokens in their councils over to their numbered sides. Then, for each council, the players add up the power values of the allies and power tokens in that council to determine its power total. When all the adding is done, players compare the power values of their small councils—whoever has the most powerful small council wins!
However, if there is a tie, then the tied players compare the power value of their other councils to see who wins. This means that, even though your small council is technically the “more important” one, it’s a good idea to amass as much power across both your councils as possible. But don’t get too carried away, or you might end up helping your opponents as well—such is the nature of a game of B’Twixt!
Do you have what it takes to become the most powerful leader in King’s Landing? Outwit your friends in this thrilling game of intrigue and political manipulation and find out!
3 – 6 players