Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kingdom Builder

Sorry this is late. I am traveling and I have a very spotty Internet connection. As a result, I was unable to actually upload this post until Wednesday.

 Kingdom Builder is a strategy game published by Queen Games themed around the concept creating your own kingdom by strategically placing settlements across the region, taking control of key areas and earning the most gold at the end of the game.

The strengths of this game are its simplicity, its strategic depths, and its replayability. Each game you randomly create the game board by combining four of the eight hex boards, which vary not only in the arrangement of the different terrain tiles but also in the key locations that will be available to the players. You also randomly select three of the ten Kingdom Builder cards, which detail the way that gold is earned at the end of the game. These two elements ensure that each game will be quite different than the one before, giving Kingdom Builder its high replay value.

Each turn, you place three settlements on the terrain that matches the terrain card you drew, and then may place bonus settlements based on the key locations that you control. Your settlements normally must be placed adjacent to your other settlements if possible, although there are several different ways of sidestepping that rule - either by not having a valid adjacent location or by utilizing the special abilities of your key locations. Once the first player has placed all of his or her settlements, each other player gets one more turn, and then the game is over. It's fairly easy to explain to new players, but the strategic depth of each turn is deceptively deep.

Overall I definitely enjoy this game. The production values are high, the components are well made, and it's an enjoyable strategic exercise without feeling overwhelming. The base game is designed for 2-4 players, but it does include a single player variant, and an expansion to add the ability to play with up to 6 is also available. Two minor quibbles, however: first, the fantasy "kingdom builder" theme is mostly just window dressing and doesn't really impact the gameplay; second, the rules have obviously been translated into English from another language, and are not always as clear on first read as I would have liked.

Nonetheless, Kingdom Builder is a great game, and one I definitely recommend you try.

No comments:

Post a Comment