My first board game I bought when I re-entered this geek world was Battlelore 4 years ago. Played the hell out of it and loved it, especially with the creatures, spell casting and other "optional" rules from the rulebook. Bought all the expansions I could find and ended up overwhelmed by it's setup time, especially with the Call to Arms expansion. One thing that I realised after many games was that I was stuck to control my units depending on the cards I draw. I had not complete control over my troops. But nontheless, it was a great game with great mechanics. Finally sold my collection.
Last month I bought Battles of Westeros because I remembre the fun I had with Battlelore, love the novels and the series and wanted a great 2-player wargame in a fantasy setting. BoW was the best game out there for me.
This game is extremely well done, highly strategic and tactical and gives you entire control on your troops. You want to activat X troop, you don't have to wait to get the right card. Comanders are awesome! You can activate troops in there Zone of Control (2 hexes around them) and they have special abilities to bolster your armies.
Each armies are different. Different troops and different cards. That is awesome!
LAstly, you don't HAVE to paint the minis, each armies come with it's unique colors (Starks are grey and Lannisters are red). But you could paint them if you have the time and patience and it would look completely awesome on the battlefield!
I highly recommend you get this game if you love AGoT universe, characters and lore. It's that awesome!
It will also seem eerily similar to "C&C:A" or "C&C:N" but don't let that similarity deceive you, it is different, and also significantly better. What the poster above described, where one can't move the units they wish, nor use an effective strategy based on the terrain and troops involved, is essentially why I came to HATE both C&C:A and C&C:N, gave up on them both and sold them all on eBay. In BoW you will virtually always be able to move most, or all, of your troops every round. You also cannot depend on just a few units to win the whole game for you in BoW, the banner system in BoW limits you to activating each unit once per round in most cases…this is also really good as a player has to use all of their units to win.
Painting?…nah…who cares…if you like it, cool, but completely unnecessary.
What the game centers around, and what makes it such an interesting game, are the difficult choices one has to make every round. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true in BoW. "Should I spend that red order token, or save it because it gives me a tactics option on my next Command Card"…"I've got a great Command Card, but to use it to maximum effectiveness I need to spend two command tokens on it, which then means I have no others left"…and many other decisions like this one. What you won't generally face in BoW, unlike the stupid idiocy of C&C:A and C&C:N, is, "all my units on my left are being destroyed, but I can't move any of them…gosh this is SO much fun watching my opponent slaughter me over there while I move my inferior units over here on right, and lose, oh that was fun (NOT!)…let's do it again (oh let's NOT)."