Friday, 28 February 2014

Once a Lord always a Lord, but three times a Knight is enough.

The 3 player league took a back seat this week due to the emergence of my new purchase Kingdom Builder. This new addition was not, as one might expect, bought owing to reports from the pages from this esteemed blog but rather down to the fact that I was milling around my local games shop and running out of time. It was a recognisable title at the right price point and I needed to get out of there before the weight of choice crushed me into buying nothing.

The choice, it turns out, was a good one. Three games in total was played such was it's popularity. Both James and Paul had read up on game play before the evening and so we launched straight in. Our scoring methods were to be dictated by Knights, Merchants and Citizens for this first game and by all accounts this was a good combination for new players. The choices were easy to work out and left us to concentrate on getting the adjacency rule right. I tried to do well in all categories but was beaten by Paul and James's superior specialisations. James with a sprawling metropolis and Paul with his handy network of location connections. In the end Paul steamrollered us into dust.

Paul - 49
James - 43
Chris - 40


With the game's tactics safely tucked into our belts round two started with new boards and completely new scoring cards - Farmers, Hermits, Fisherman. James's two paddock tiles meant that he spent a portion of the game making very useful small settlements all over the board. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to build in one sector and failed to score in Farmers. This game was a different experience from the first. The combination of location tiles and scoring cards made the choices very difficult and the game moved along much more slowly. The game looked close and the final scores revealed the same.

Chris - 46
Paul - 45
James - 44

In our final game with Lords, Citizens and Discovers selected James found him self wedged in one corner unable to break out due to the combination of terrain cards he was getting. Each card meant he was performing the gaming equivalent of "stacking shelves", as he put it. Meanwhile, whilst Paul was cutting me a break by not blocking off my chain of settlements, I was sealing off the entrance to the Oasis sector, keeping all to myself. Earlier each of us had missed the opportunity to place our little houses in the city island and it remained unpopulated for the rest of the game. James eventually broke out of his corner but it was just too late to influence the scoring effectively.

Chris - 65
Paul - 63
James -57


  1. It's a good game. But I'm in the minority on this as I'm the only person (except maybe Andrew?) who doesn't seem mad keen on it. I think it's very clever though, and I like the rule-variation system (mechanic?) whereby there are lots of different versions.

  2. Yes, it's strange what games do it for you and which don't. I quite enjoy the aspect of differing scoring combinations, not too much down time between goes, and it rewards creative thinking or spotting openings. I think it's weakness is the cards. In our last game James really was banjaxed by the cards.

    I can't get excited by Ticket to Ride. I'll play it but would rather not. My views on co ops are known.

  3. Adam shares your views on co-ops. I'm a little ambivalent - I prefer a bit more of a melee, but a team effort once in a while is a nice change.

  4. It'd be nice to give Kingdom Builder another go - it clearly has plenty of depth to it. But there always seemed to be else on offer that appealed to me.

  5. I think Kingdom Builder is good, but I don't yearn to play it. It feels almost too mathematical - there's always an optimal move, and if you make that move more times than your opponents you'll win. That feels just a little too dry to me. But I don't dislike it, I just don't love it.

  6. I love love love it!

    Chris - the more you play, the less the cards feel like a limitation on what you can do.

    And Joe - I don't feel like there's always an optimal move at all, there are usually loads of options to consider, and even more once you add an expansion or two.