I played 8ish games of this tonight, all but one of them as Lannister. As someone who plays the LCG a lot, I was looking forward to picking this up as a way to teach other people the 2-player game in a far more balanced way than the core set provides. On this point, I believe it delivers, but I will need to play as Stark more to make sure they aren't underpowered. Lannister won 7 of the 8 games, but to be fair, I won every game I played (I know I should let the new players win, but I cant help it).
While the rules remain unchanged, many keywords have been removed (only limited, stealth, and renown remain) and most text effects are less than 2 full lines. Card draw is definitely easier to come across than the core set, as are resource locations. Each house has three unique characters with a duplicate, and around 5 attachments; there are no cancel effects, but there are claim raising and lowering effects which may cancel each other out. As far as rules go, the only thing I was disappointed in was the keeping of the dead pile and duplicate characters; I feel this adds an unecessary bit of clunkyness to a game designed for new players.
I sleeved the cards immediately after opening the box. Feeling them in my hands, I was worried that not doing so could lead to them getting beat up relatively quickly. With how gorgeous the cards look, and how often I hope to break this out, I don't regret buying sleeves one bit. My cardboard tokens weren't cut off-center, but on the topic of cardboard, both the box and tokens seem to be made of a different kind than FFG usually goes for in their games.
Both as a stand-alone game, and as better introductory experience to the LCG, I think this game succeeds. It was mentioned before that $30 might be a bit pricey for what you get, and I can agree with that a bit, but I paid not much over $20 and I think it was a steal. If you like Game of Thrones, but aren't into buying $500 of cards for the LCG, buy this game. If you are thinking of getting into the LCG but think/have been told that the core set is a poor introduction, buy this game. If you are into the LCG and want a good learning set to teach others with, buy this game. If you fall into some other category, buy this game.
tl;dr - Buy this game.