Readers of my Thrones & Bones series know that each book's appendices includes rules for an original board game, games that actually appear in and are important to the plot of their respective story. For the very first book, Frostborn, the game was called Thrones & Bones. A popular pastime among the people of Norrøngard in the world of Qualth, it is inspired by a real-world Viking game called hnefatafl. The rules borrow from several hnefatafl variants (no one knows how the actual Vikings played the game but there have been many diverse reconstructions) and add some new-to-Thrones & Bones elements that make it a unique game in its own right. In fact, I was deeply honored when Board Game Geek created a page for it christening Thrones & Bones a real game!
But one of the best things about being an author has been interacting with my fans and a real delight has been seeing the amazing Thrones & Bones fan-made sets that readers around the US and in the UK have created! Then, earlier this year, my good friend and fellow author J. F. Lewis (Staked, Grudgebearer) decided he wanted a really nice, wooden Thrones & Bones set. He commissioned an artist named Jack Windsor of Ignited Arts & Design to craft one. And suddenly the world's most beautiful Thrones & Bones set was born. And it held that position... until now!
Behold! This is a custom hand-made Thrones & Bones set, created for me by the very same Ignited Arts & Design. The board and pieces are all built and decorated by hand; all components made from hard maple wood.
The playing pieces are based on the designs done by Justin Gerard for the novel itself, while those dragons in the corner are inspired by a shield carried by my character Ynarr Ulfrson of Norrøngard, as drawn by Andrew Bosley. The Shield Maidens stand on raised spaces decorated with, what else, their shields, while the throne where the Jarl starts play features the Norse rune known as the Ægishjálmr, the Helm of Awe, a powerful symbol of protection. Meanwhile, the barrow mounds, the starting position for the Draug attackers, are decorated with the swords and axes that the playing pieces themselves wield.
Frankly, I'm blown away! Grateful to Jack Windsor for his talent and J.F. Lewis for being driven to finding him.
(And I'm happy for Lewis' set and mine to jointly hold the title of "Most Beautiful Set(s) in the World.")