Don't worry: No show spoilers here.
If you're a Game of Thrones fan then perhaps, like me, you've spent hours reading recaps, reviews, and complaints online, and hours more watching videos of fan theories, dissection, and speculation about the final season. If so, you've probably been served an advertisement for the officially licensed Game of Thrones free browser game at some point (or, from my experience, at all the points).
This morning, a bit sad that the eighth and final season was over, I finally capitulated and clicked on the ad.
Then I clicked roughly one million more times, because it turns out Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming ™: The officially licensed browser game is, in fact, extremely clicky. I can save you a million and one clicks by letting you know it's not going to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your life.
Apart from the pleasant GoT music that plays while you click on stuff, even though it features a bunch of familiar faces, it's not a very Game of Thrones-y experience at all. But what the hell else am I gonna do while I wait for The Winds of Winter to be published? Let's get clicking.
In your first hour you'll be delivering more clicks than Bran delivers expressionless stares, as the game sort of teaches you the basics. Place and upgrade buildings by clicking them, and speed up the process by clicking again. Place farms and barracks and mines and hospitals and towers and tents and click them all, then click them again to speed them up, then click them again to upgrade them, then click them again to speed up the upgrades.
Don't forget to claim your rewards by clicking on the list of rewards and then clicking the claim button for each. It's just like that scene in Game of Thrones when Jon Snow walked around touching every building in King's Landing repeatedly and watching a bunch of grain and timber fly off into some stockpile offscreen.
There's combat, too, that thankfully doesn't require clicking but does require some keypresses to activate your heroes' powers. I've got Robb Stark, Sansa, and some non-canon commanders in my army fighting through groups of enemies, again and again and again. Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where an army on horseback rode into the King's Landing throne room, defeated another army on horseback, then triumphantly rode away and into... the throne room again, and defeated another army, again? Maybe that scene got cut.
All that said, Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming ™: The officially licensed browser game is pretty nice-looking—it's been a while since I've played a browser game, and I don't recall many of them looking so pretty. The game does, as you'd expect, try to get you to spend money on stuff by purchasing diamonds to buy gifts and speed up waiting times for upgrades and take other shortcuts.
And it of course wants you to log in every day for rewards—if I log in tomorrow, I'm told I'll 'get Varys.' Feels a bit weird to be offered the services of such an accomplished Master of Whispers simply by remembering to log in on a certain day. I'm pretty sure Varys himself would be quite displeased to be given away so cheaply, especially to a person I named 'Lord Hot Cake.'
I admit I am more invested in the officially licensed Game of Thrones browser game than I would be in some generic free-to-play online strategy game, simply because it sometimes shows Jaime Lannister on a loading screen and occasionally you can hear a line of audio from Sophie Turner that's been clipped from the show.
But your time and clicks are probably better spent with some of the other Game of Thrones games on PC, or by using one of these great GoT mods. As a mindless clicker this browser game is far from the worst, but when it comes to giving you a Game of Thrones feeling it's as empty as Xaro Xhoan Daxos' vault.