August has flown by. This has resulted in my worst ever output of new content onto my website since records began! Despite time flying by, I played ninety-one games, so perhaps that’s why my fingers weren’t tapping the keyboard so much! Game of the month was tough to choose as some quality games made it to the table, so much so, I was tempted to do my first ever ‘Games of the Month’ feature. I couldn’t break with tradition though, so I have picked The King is Dead, 2nd Edition.
The premise of the board game is that the King has died and the people are angling for control over Britain. This clever little two to three player game lasts only eight rounds, and over the entire game you only have eight cards to play! You can play them on any round, so in theory you could play all eight cards on the first round and see how it plays out! You are unlikely to though. Nearly all cards will move or add some cubes around the board. These cubes represent the different nations.
Each round you will settle a region of Britain and declare it English, Welsh or Scottish. In the King is Dead, 2nd Edition board game you do not pick a side as such. Instead, you are trying to win favour with the dominant nationality by having more cubes than your opponents of the dominant side.
There are a few interesting mechanics that make what you do with your eight cards so strategic. Every time you play a card you get to choose a cube from anywhere on the map. This creates a tricky balancing act as when you take cubes off the map of a particular nationality that you think might dominate, you will also make them weaker in certain regions. This really adds to the decision-making and forward-planning you have to undertake during your turn.
The other thing to consider is that if a region is tied for dominance the French invade and take over that region. If three regions are invaded in this way, then a different win condition is triggered. The nations must then unite to fend off the invasion, so the winner is the player with the most sets of cubes, a red, yellow and blue cube being considered a set.
Add to this streamlined strategy a beautiful board and you are onto a winner from Peer Sylvester. My only gripe is with the size of the box and the amount of air within.
This game isn’t for everyone. The refinement of playing just eight cards offers a surprising amount of choice on your turn, but some might find it restrictive. However, me and my eldest son love it. I think Harrison has moved it into his top five games, I think it is certainly in my top ten, so that is a pretty good reason why it has jostled itself to being the game of the month for August!
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