From November 24th to 25th, the annual A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Chinese National Championship tournament was held at the HuiJia board game café in PuDong, Shanghai. This year, the tournament featured open registration rather than being an invitation-only event. Eighty-one players participated from fifteen cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, with the youngest player in attendance being just thirteen years old. The excited players from all over China joined in battle in Shanghai hoping to improve their skills, exchange tips, make new friends, and win the title of champion!
The Battle for the Iron Throne
The first day was a Swiss-style qualification round. This day of fierce competition began at ten in the morning and wrapped up that evening around eight after seven intense rounds of play. When the dust settled, fifteen players and last year’s champion had qualified to continue into the next day. The houses of Targaryen and Martell were the obvious favorites in this competition with five Targaryen and Martell decks leading the pack. There were also three Lannister decks, and one each of Greyjoy, Stark, and Baratheon.
Day two was the final competition featuring a single elimination system. Referees carefully checked the decks submitted by each player, and the final clash of these titans began at ten in the morning. After three hours of intense play, Ouyang Bing’s Martells and Hu Ning’s Lannisters faced off in the final match after both succeeding in two previous rounds.
The final match was a best of three games, and Ouyang Bing destroyed his opponent Hu Ning by winning the first two games in a row!
Meet the Champion
From left to right: Qiao Ke, the third place winner, Ouyang Bing, the Champion, and Hu Ning, the runner-up
Ouyang Bing (“Xiao Bing” or “Little Ice” to his friends) has been playing A Game of Thrones: The Card Game for two years, having first discovered the game while hanging out in a board game café. Ouyang Bing came to this year’s tournament after having qualified as number one last year and being defeated by last year’s champion, Terry, in the first round of finals. This year, he was determined to win. Here’s what he had to say about his time spent readying himself for battle:
I prepared for a long time. This year, in a warm-up match in Shanghai, I won the top position using a Martell deck with the ‘summer’ agenda. House Martell has the advantages of drawing many cards and having great control, so it won’t be a weak deck. According to my experience with this game, in a Swiss system match, you’re better off using a deck with stable results (rather than a ‘rush’ or a ‘surprise’ deck), though a stable deck may not be as good for an elimination match. So I chose this Martell deck with ‘Knights of the Hollow Hill’ agenda, which is stable but slow to warm up.
The Conflict Continues
As a special event on the second day of competition, Game Harbor (the tournament’s organizer) and HuiJia board game café organized inter-city matches between five-player teams. Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou all had their own city teams, and the remaining players formed other teams. A fun and lively competition followed, with each team trying to win the day for its hometown. After three rounds of play, the Capital Team from Beijing took home the victory.
The A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Chinese national championship tournament was an event showcasing the best that these skilled and passionate players had to offer. Game Harbor is looking forward to continuing to organize the annual event, and has high hopes for an even better event next year!