A Game of ‘Game of Thrones’: Drafting a Winning Team

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This past football season, I reluctantly retired from playing in a long-running fantasy football league. Being from Green Bay, Wisconsin, there’s really only one NFL team worth paying any attention to anyway, and I’ve increasingly lost track of who is who in the NFL (not to mention keeping tabs on their stats).

This decision left a fantasy league-sized hole in my life, so when I read about Fantasizr’s Game of Thrones Fantasy League on Lifehacker, I was intrigued.

fantasizr - game of game of Thrones

I floated the idea of starting a league to my Game of Thrones viewing cohorts (we’ve seen nearly every episode together), and, despite the fact none of them has ever participated in any sort of fantasy league before, the response was enthusiastic. We didn’t quite get our acts together to draft before last week’s season six premiere, but we’re going all in for the season starting with the second episode.

Signing up with Fantasizr (an offshoot of tech news site The Verge) requires either Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Yahoo. We had a little technical trouble verifying everyone’s accounts and adding them to the league when some of the confirmation links returned errors, but after a few tries and some strategic troubleshooting texts, our very own four-team Game of Game of Thrones league was up and running.

The game offers 70 draftable players (a few of whom already met their untimely demises in the first episode) ranked by tier. The fifth tier includes all the major players (Brienne of Tarth, Tyrion Lannister) while tier one contains those who are less prevalent in the show (Olly, Robin Arryn). In addition to the individual players, there are a number “special teams” that include Dragons, White Walkers, Wildings, and Faceless Men.

As the events of the show unfold, your drafted players earn points when they achieve certain milestones in any of five categories: Violence, Sex/Nudity, Wits/Schemes, Status/Power, and Looks. The biggest single event a character can earn is seizing the Iron Throne for 200 points.

The Iron Throne
The Iron Throne: 200 points. Image: HBO.

Each of our four teams is comprised of 10 active players and a “bench” of five players, mainly in case of more untimely deaths. There doesn’t seem to be a way to trade or pick up additional players from the “waiver wire” as the season progresses, but that’s okay. After all, there aren’t many living players left to choose from except for Robin Arryn–and no one wanted him.

The draft was pretty cutthroat, with each of us scrambling to load up on the fourth and fifth tier characters in the early rounds, and my wife snapped up Bryndan Tully (the Blackfish) right out from under me. But my favorite pick was Ser Pounce (King Tommen’s cat) who, if he even shows up, probably won’t net me many points–unless he’s in the rafters watching Tommen undertake any bedroom activities.

Fantasizr Team-setting Screen
Don’t forget to set your teams! Screenshot of the Fantasizr team roster.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things go for my team, the Harrenhal Halberdiers, over the next nine weeks, and overall the group of us is even more excited than usual for Sunday nights to roll around.

If you want to set up a Game of Game of Thrones league of your own, head over to Fantasizr. There’s still plenty of time before Sunday’s episode starts.

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