One shot play: Kingsburg

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Attended LemurCon last weekend and had a great time playing all kinds of one shots. there’s plenty of blog fodder in the weekend, but I wanted to start with something a little unusual for round these parts; a board game.

Smart Party Founder Member Simon has been getting his board gaming groove on for quite a while now. He has a weekly club night dedicated to the things, and a healthy collection to call on. Between him and Smart Party Quartermaster G2 I doubt there’s many games they don’t have. We’ve traditionally used board games as fillers between RPG sessions, or for when the party isn’t at full muster. This time round I got to sit in on a game I’d never encountered before, Kingsburg.

The idea is to accumulate favours from a medieval style court, from King to Jester. Each courtier has various resources they’ll give up if you grab them first. This is done by rolling 3d6 (surely one of the most tactile dice rolls ever?) and matching your dice to the characters. The tactics come in straight away as it’s first come first served with your pickas and every other players dice are on show.

These resources buy you structures and buildings that in turn give you kit for the game. The game is played out over 5 game years, broken down into four seasons. At the end of each year, monsters attack, and you have to balance army building with resource management. Spend or save essentially.

The whole game only takes about an hour and I found it enormously fun. With Simon on hand to explain the rules it was easy to pick up, and I never felt overwhelmed by options. All the rules are on display as there’s nothing hidden in card hands or decks to draw from. The luck of the dice has a part to play, but it seems to be more about player skill than chance. the components are solid, and the gameboard evocative.

The roleplayer in me liked the fantasy elements of the game (the monsters are orcs and demons etc), but it’s done with a very light touch. I was reminded a little of Power Behind the Throne for WFRP (which is a total ball ache to roleplay out, despite it’s beauty as a scenario). The only thing that kept me away from getting truly immersed was that there’s no concession to character in the game, you’re not suppossed to be be roleplaying a person or organisation, it’s totally abstracted. 

I’d recommend it for a one shot without hesitation. Cool game. Oh, and I came 4th out of 5. Dirty cheaters.

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