You choose between House Lannister and House Stark. I knew I wanted Lannister, because I love them and feel they (except Joffrey) get a lot of bad press simply because the show made viewers believe they were supposed to side with the Starks. Although things have grown more complicated, it's almost like we were set up to see the Lannisters as the "bad guys," when they're no worse than the Tyrells or Baratheons. Besides, there are worse people, like the Boltons and Freys.
Anyway, my husband loves Arya, so that was fine with him.
If you've played any tabletop card game a la Magic: The Gathering, this is fairly similar. If you haven't, it could be complicated to figure out at first, but it's designed for two people and there's a very clear guide. Just to be honest, the instructions for play are about 10 pages long, so this is not just a toss the cards down and go kind of game. However, once you figure it out, there is no variation on the game play system other than card draws and your choices. That minimizes the complications.
I was impressed by the quality of the game and packaging, You get a bunch of gold tokens and power tokens, and the game includes a resealable plastic bag to store these in later. It's not a big thing to include, but I have a lot of board games and card games - and many have nothing more than a hole to throw tokens in. The bag keeps the tokens from falling into the crevices in the box or being eaten by a cat!
This is a newer version of the game, which already existed for more players. This one is simplified as the original version is reportedly better designed for four players. You cannot play this game with more than two players or teams, unless there are expansions or you create your own mixed version. Because it's newer, the cards all include images from the show.
Although there were additional plot cards, we played with the basic game first. I look forward to adding our own little rules to the game and seeing how things turn out. I would really love to get the board game of Game of Thrones, but there are only two of us and although we could give the cats free reign to play, I feel like it won't be all that effective.