Throne of Lies is a game of deceit. If you are an expert at lying, subterfuge and duplicity then you will feel right at home among the castle walls. Convincing others that somebody else is guilty of treason, or pleading for your life when you are accused yourself becomes second nature. Nobody is to be trusted and everyone is suspect.
Anyone that has played Town of Salem will recognise certain aspects in Throne of Lies. Whilst the mechanics are familiar, the specifics such as classes and factions are very different. The developers over at imperium42 have clearly taken inspiration from other sources as well, such as Game of Thrones. Some classes, for example, the observer, feel directly inspired by the characters you might encounter at King’s Landing such as Varys.
Throne of Lies or Game of Thrones?
You begin the game with a random class from the pool of 25 classes presently available. These classes can belong to one of four factions: Blue Dragon (Royalty and Nobility), Black Rose (Usurpers), Cult and Neutral. Your objectives change depending on your faction and as the game progresses might find you change both class and faction. In one particular game, I began life as a member of the Blue Dragon but was converted by the Cult to serve their purpose. This adds another level of complexity and tension; someone that was once an ally may no longer be watching your back.
Once your class is decided, Throne of Lies throws you in at the deep end. Once started the game cycles between day and night, and each phase offers an opportunity to use certain abilities. For example, The Prince can choose to jail somebody to interrogate at night or the observer can use one of their birds to watch somebody. You may also point the finger of treason at someone, and should enough people agree with you, they will stand trial. Should they not offer enough in the way of explanation or proof, the majority decides whether to execute or pardon, or the King may veto entirely.
Complex But Not Confusing
This is where the complexity in the game really shines. If you can convince others to execute their own ally, then you are on your way to securing victory. Why do all the hard and dirty work when a righteous mob will do it for you? Night time brings about a time to discuss your plans with your allies. Cultists, for example, all use the same room at night and thus can plot with abandon. Even those that are dead can talk amongst themselves and the Priest has a way of communicating with those that have departed as well. This feature offers a way for those who might have been killed early on to still hold sway and influence the game later.
Best Played With Friends
There is so much depth and complexity that newer players may feel overwhelmed. Personally, I found it took three or four games before I had even the basics down and those I spoke to felt similarly. But it soon becomes clear what you must try and accomplish if you hope to survive the daily deaths and executions. As Throne of Lies is only a multiplayer experience, it becomes even more joyful to play with friends. As identities in the game are random, it becomes hilarious when you accidentally foil or assassinate them. Or even do it on purpose if you feel particularly Machiavellian.
Throne of Lies is currently in Alpha testing and the developers must be commended for the speed and regularity with which they are bug hunting and producing updates. After the game’s successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, it seems the devs are keen to maintain a healthy and happy community. The game is due to be released later this summer, but for anyone keen to keep up to date with the game can do so on the developer’s website. If you do find yourself playing, please take the best piece of advice I can offer: trust no-one.