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Blade of the Iron Throne prides itself on a com­bat sys­tem that is not only real­is­tic, but also excit­ing in a cin­e­matic way. When we say cin­e­matic, we don’t mean unre­al­is­tic or over the top. Rather, we mean that Blade’s com­bat scenes unfold in ways that are sim­i­lar to the com­bat scenes in action movies.

To this end, Blade of the Iron Throne takes a cue from the way in which fight scenes in movies are edited and intro­duces the Lime­light con­cept as the cen­tral tem­po­ral unit of com­bats. A Lime­light cor­re­sponds to the span of time a movie cam­era remains on any given com­bat­ant or other action before cut­ting to another com­bat­ant or action.

In Blade of the Iron Throne, com­bat is not han­dled in an “I Go/​You Go” man­ner around the gam­ing table. Each player does not per­form a sin­gle com­bat round before it is the next player’s turn. Instead, com­bat fol­lows a cin­e­matic model, where each player per­forms a num­ber of com­bat rounds before it is the next player’s turn. Such a num­ber of con­sec­u­tive com­bat rounds are what con­sti­tutes a Limelight.

A Lime­light does not have a fixed dura­tion. Instead it con­tin­ues until some­thing sig­nif­i­cant hap­pens. This might be a com­bat­ant being wounded, knocked down, killed, or any­thing else that rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant change to the sit­u­a­tion as it stood at the out­set of the Lime­light. The moment such a cusp is reached, the cur­rent character’s Lime­light ends and the next character’s Lime­light begins.

Some­thing sig­nif­i­cant will fre­quently mean a change in the cir­cum­stances under which the com­bat is being waged, as in a com­bat­ant achiev­ing a sig­nif­i­cant advan­tage over his oppo­nent. Lime­lights there­fore often end with some kind of cliffhanger, keep­ing play­ers at the edge of their seat in regards to what is going to hap­pen next, when it is once again their character’s time in the Limelight.

Just like an action movie’s cam­era does not cut away after every sin­gle blow, but stays on any given com­bat­ant for a mean­ing­ful and suit­ably dra­matic span of time, Lime­light does not pass from one char­ac­ter to the next until some dra­matic devel­op­ment unfolds. This, then, is the man­ner in which com­bat in Blade of the Iron Throne is cin­e­matic — and as excit­ing as any good action movie.