Enthusiast Recreates Cyvasse Board Game from Game of Thrones


Michael Le Page developed a playable game based on hints and clues in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

When the ambitious schemers in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series take a break from playing the game of thrones, many sit down to play a game of cyvasse. The fictional two player strategy game features prominently in the fourth and fifth books of the series, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Cyvasse is popular in Dorne, and with HBO’s Game of Thrones gearing up for its fifth season by casting several Dornish characters, the strategy board game will likely make an appearance soon. You don’t have to wait to meet the Prince of Dorne to play the game yourself, however. Game of Thrones fan Michael Le Page has developed a playable set of rules for cyvasse, and a 3D printed board and playing pieces for the game. A complete set will cost you $305 plus shipping from Shapeways. Le Page is also working on a browser game based on the same set of rules.

“George R. R. Martin has said that the game is inspired by Blitzkrieg, Stratego, and especially chess, but he has purposely left the actual rules undefined,” says Le Page in his interpretation video about the rules of Cyvasse. Le Page used the limited details available in the books about how the game is played and filled in the gaps to make a functioning strategy game. “There’s not a lot in the book to go off,” says Le Page. “We have a list of quotes that suggest the pieces are made of onyx and ivory, Dragons can be taken by Trebuchets and that Heavy Horses were ‘circling around his rear.'”

Le Page’s version of the game is played on a 91-square hexagonal grid (like in Blitzkrieg) with three different colors of hexes, and each player begins with twenty six pieces of ten different types. Like in chess, each type of piece has different rules for movement, but unlike chess the pieces must follow a tiered system for capturing other pieces. A player’s Dragon (a tier 4 piece) can capture any other piece, while Rabble (tier 1) can only capture other tier 1 pieces. Terrain tiles add to the tier level of some pieces, and lower tier pieces can combine in flanking maneuvers to take down higher tier enemy pieces. Like Stratego, players set up their pieces at the beginning of the game in secret, behind a screen. The goal of the game is to capture the opposing player’s King. Le Page’s full rules are available on the A Song of Ice and Fire forums.

Le Page developed his rules with input from others on the A Song of Ice and Fire forums. The designs for the cyvasse board and pieces are his own, and aren’t affliated with or endorsed by George R.R. Martin’s work in any way. If the $305 price tag for the 3D printed set puts you off, you can always make your own copy of the game using Le Page’s paper version. Of course, given that in Westeros cyvasse game pieces are made of onyx and ivory, a paper version isn’t like to impress any Dornish princes.

Source: Toy News

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