Kingsburg Board Game
by The Beast! and Gary Sonnenburg
(Boardgame Beast HQ)
Kingsburg Board Game
Kingsburg Board Game
Board game manufacturer:
Fantasy Flight Games
Number of players:
Kingsburg is a very simple concept that has plenty of depth, especially if you invest in the To Forge a Realm expansion set. Roll the dice and place them wisely to accumulate goods and win the King's favor. This is a fun game that lets you control the randomness usually associated with dice.
The game and gameplay
Kingsburg is a worker placement board game where the workers are dice you have rolled. Unlike many other dice games where your roll is in direct competition with your opponent's, most of the time in Kingsburg what you can do with your roll is only loosely connected to other players' rolls.
The main portion of the Kingsburg game board shows 18 advisers to the King (rather strangely including the King himself). It is on these 18 spaces that you will place your dice-workers.
Each year is divided into four seasons. Spring, Summer and Autumn are 'productive' seasons. Here you must influence the advisers to earn goods using dice rolls.
You roll three dice each turn. You can then place each one separately on the numbered space corresponding to the number of pips on the die or you can add two or all three together and make the appropriate placement.
You can also earn additional (white) dice to enhance your total and options. Such dice must always be paired with one or more of your own colored dice.
For example, if you rolled 2-3-6 using only your three colored dice, you would have these options for placement:
2, 3, 6
Each of the 18 space rewards its workers with resources, points, defensive strength (for fighting the bad guys), or a peek at who the upcoming bad guys are going to be.
Be careful when you split up your dice, as other players may block your planned move by influencing the adviser you had your eye on. Sometimes, you can end up with unplayable, wasted dice.
Each adviser grants some kind of benefit:
- One VP
- Choice of gold or wood
- Transform one good into the other two good types
- Choice of good and +2 dice token
- 2 x gold
- Wood plus your choice of second good
- 2 x soldiers and see the monster card
- Stone plus your choice of second good
- 2 x goods of your choice and +2 dice token
- 3 x stone
- -1 VP, 3 x goods of your choice
- One of each good
- 4 x gold
- 2 x goods of your choice, 3 VP and see the monster card
- One of each good and one soldier
+2 dice tokens may only be used once per productive season, but they are very useful. You add them to any combination of dice to influence a higher adviser than you'd otherwise be able to afford.
Once all players have placed their colored dice, you resolve the awards, handing out the goods and other benefits to the players. Now the building phase begins. Kingsburg board game players may build one structure per productive season.
Structures are grouped in series of four themed buildings. Level I and II buildings are usually affordable, but Level III and IV must be planned for well in advance. Each building gives some kind of benefit, such as combat bonuses, extra production of resources, bonus VPs and others.
There are three bonuses designed to balance the game; before Spring, the King grants a bonus dice to the player with the least number of buildings (in a tie, each player takes their choice of good); before Summer, the player with the most buildings gets a VP; and before Autumn, the player with the least buildings gets the King's Envoy, a token granting the ability to build two structures in one season, or to influence an adviser twice in one season.
After the building phase of Autumn, players may exchange goods for soldiers, before facing the monsters in the battle of Winter – goblins, demons, dragons, and more – who are attempting to invade the realm.
If you have accumulated enough strength to defeat them, you are rewarded with more goods or points. If you lose them, they steal things from you – usually quite a lot. Attack bonuses for buildings are added together to the current soldier total, and compared to the monster strength.
VPs are scored on an outside track, and the game phase returns to Spring. At the end of the fifth Winter battle, the game ends.
Pros and cons
Kingsburg board game is a great concept. It's simple enough to explain within a few minutes, yet there's a ton of depth, with loads of choices to make.
This is especially true when deciding what to build, and managing the need to strengthen your army while balancing your resources and structures.
The artwork is lovely, the pieces are pleasing to handle, and everything has an air of quality about it.
Some of the expansion contents could have been included in the original game; it feels almost as if the designers reverse-engineered the expansion, purposely keeping back some of the subtleties of the game to release later.
The yellow dice can be difficult to read.
There are many strategies that can lead to a win.
Lots of replay value.
Kingsburg board game is for you, if you like to roll dice but still want some measure of control over your destiny. With many paths to victory, you'll want to play again and again to see how many of those paths you can find.
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