“A fantastic treasure has been discovered at the heart of The Kingswood. Now the race is on, as the Great Merchant Houses pave over roads of rivals to the treasure – and use the gold to buy The Kingswood itself!”
Inthelaz Games recently provided us with a preview copy of their upcoming game The Kingswood. It is currently on Kickstarter, but you had better act soon because the campaign is ending within a few weeks. The question on your mind at this point likely is, “Should I bother backing the game?”
The answer is a resounding “YES!” We had a LOT of fun giving The Kingswood a whirl this past weekend.
The first thing that we thought of when we set up the board was that it was going to be just another tile-laying Carcassone variant. But, we changed our tune quickly once we started playing. The tile laying is certainly the bulk of the game play, but there are enough significant differences that it was by no means a clone.
The biggest, and most entertaining, difference was the meta-game of player role selection. At the beginning of each turn players secretly choose one of five roles. Each of them has their own unique ability and are able to use a super power as long as no one else chooses the same role. This produces maddening results when you choose a role looking to make a specific play and someone else had a similar thought.
Another interesting mechanic, and one that is critical to the game play experience comes through the tile laying itself. Each merchant house controls a fort lying on the outskirts of the forest. Players take turns laying tiles over the forest creating roads that help connect their forts to one or more of the treasure gates. Players can even stack tiles and, in essence, pave over older roads. This adds a significant layer of competition. Players place two tiles per turn so they can even spend part of each turn disrupting their opponents.
We played several games using the prototype that was sent our way and didnʼt run into any repetitive scenarios. There is enough variety in the tiles that they alone would keep most groups from bring bored. The aforementioned meta-game with the players roles sweetens the deal significantly. We had a lot of fun in our first five games and we expect that fun to continue for a very long time.
All of that should be enough to get any hobbyist gamer interested, but I havenʼt even gotten to my favorite part of The Kingswood: the aesthetics. This game simply oozes charm. Each of the merchant houses is represented by a different animal (Geese, Sloths, Llamas, and Manatees) and each of the five role cards has a hilariously drawn character on it representing each animal. Our personal favorite out of the bunch… a ninja manatee.
We were only playing with a prototype since the game is still on Kickstarter, but we could tell that great care was places in the design of the game board and the various components. We simply cannot wait to see this game in print.
If your family enjoys playing tile placement games and is looking for an experience that allows you to be a bit more competitive, then The Kingswood is a game that should be in your collection. Back this game right away!