Designed By: Henry Audubon
Art By: Tristam Rossin
Published By: 25 Century Games
Player Count: 1-5
Time to Play: 15-45 Minutes
Your kingdom has a problem! The forest surrounding your home has been taken over by monsters. The King has assembled a guild of villagers to help clear the woods of the foul creatures. Fight for fame and glory!
Kingswood is a light-weight worker placement game, that makes for a great introduction to one of my favorite types of board game mechanics. I know so many people are nervous to dive into a worker placement game thinking it will be too heavy or complicated for them. Kingswood is a chance to get past those fears because Kingswood is simple to learn and loads of fun to play!
In Kingswood, you will play as an adventurer in a special guild and visit different locations around the kingdom gaining resources like swords and spellbooks, which you will use to take on monsters in the forest. Defeating monsters will earn you fame. The first person to reach 20 fame will trigger the end of the game. Play will continue until the person to the right of the starting player has taken their turn (so everyone has an equal number of turns) and then players will add any end game bonuses for extra fame points and whoever has the highest total fame wins.
There are three things you need to do to get started playing Kingswood:
Set up the village - find the forest board and put it out on the table. Place the "King's Tally" scoreboard above it. Choose a special location (can be your choice or random) and grab its board and the five common boards. Shuffle them and set them out randomly around the scoreboard (make a circle with the forest board at the bottom of the circle). Place one of each of the adventurer meeples on the tavern, blacksmith, and the academy. Set the King's Guard meeple near the locations but not on any of them. And place the sword, spellbook, heart, and coin tokens within reach of all players.
Monsters - split the monster deck in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 (based on the numbers on the back of the cards). Shuffle the Chapter 2 cards and place them face down. Next, look at the front of the Chapter 1 cards. On the bottom you will see numbers, these indicate how many people should be playing in order for the card to be in use. Remove any unneeded cards and put them back in the box. Shuffle the Chapter 1 cards and put them on top of the Chapter 2 stack. Reveal 3 cards from the stack and place them below the forest. Place the deck nearby.
Guilds - every player chooses a guild to play as. They take the matching card and scoring marker. They also take the resources shown at the bottom of their card.
Once you have set up the three things above, you are ready to begin. The youngest player gets the starting player token and will be first.
On a player's turn, they have two actions: explore or collect. If a player chooses to explore they select one of the three adventurer meeples to use. That player can then use the ability of the location that meeple is at. They then move the meeple to a new location and may use the ability of the new location. Moving one space to the right or the left is free, but if a player wishes to move their adventurer more than one location away from their starting space they may pay 1 coin per space they wish to move. Players cannot move a meeple to an already occupied space (either by another adventurer or the King's Guard). The player then moves the King's Guard meeple to their original starting location.
If a player chooses to use the collect action instead, they can move the King's Guard meeple from its current location and place it off to the side (not on any specific location). The player then also gains 2 coins from the supply.
Most locations have a choice of two abilities that a player can choose from. If the location being used says "Choose 1" you may only take one of the available actions.
When a player chooses to visit the forest location they may fight as many of the face-up monsters there that they would like. In order to fight a monster, a player must have enough resources. If a sword, spellbook, or heart is used they become exhausted (flip over to the grey side) and cannot be used again until they are refreshed. If a coin is used, it is returned to the supply. When a monster is defeated, the player immediately earns any rewards and fame listed on the card. Should a player have enough resources to tackle another monster (or two) they may continue to fight if they wish.
Once a player's turn ends, the forest location gets refilled to three monster cards. The next player then chooses whether to explore or collect and play continues. This will repeat until someone reaches 20 fame and then the end of the game is triggered.
Once each player has taken their last turn, tally up any bonus points awarded (some monsters will award special points at the end of the game) and the person who has the most fame once the final points are scored is the winner and gets all the honor and glory that comes with that title!
We had a feeling we were going to love Kingswood from the moment we opened the box. The art is stunning and there are so many funny little surprises hidden in the pictures. For example, one of our favorites is that the bakery is made of loaves of bread. One of the special locations is also a game parlor, which is just awesome that you can visit a game parlor inside a board game.
We loved that once you get through the initial setup of the game, it is really simple to get into playing. For those that aren't familiar with worker placement, Kingswood makes it easy to understand the concept by having limited options to pick from. It helps dip your toes into the water of moving workers to take actions, without having an overwhelming number of choices to pick from. No analysis paralysis here!
For those that are familiar with worker placement games, Kingswood is still a great game. Having multiple choices per location and six different locations to pick from offers plenty to do. Having multiple special locations and guilds to pick from offers a variety of different game options to help keep things fresh. Since the guilds are all different, there is even a bit of asymmetry here!
For those that like solo games, or are currently socially distanced from their game group, Kingswood offers a solo mode as well. With a little creativity and a camera that can be held above the game, it could even be possible to play Kingswood remotely over zoom (or your choice of video calling programs).
Kingswood will definitely be making many appearances at our future game nights!
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