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The King is Dead 2nd Edition Review (Digital Eyes)
The country was divided again. The Scottish were biding their time in the North, the Welsh were ready to pounce from the West, while the English tried to show some sort of semblance of the controlling power in the rest of the British Isles. At the same time, foreign countries were keeping a keen eye on the developing situation, ready to take advantage of the chaos that was about to ensue. It was up to us to marshal our troops and exert our influence, trying to ensure that the resulting dominant power that would eventually claim the throne was in our favour - and all of this only happened, because The King is Dead by Osprey Games.
It is SUCH a shame that they had a cool theme (Siam/Thailand) and chose to go with something that is so well represented elsewhere for the reprints. That's about my only knock, and it's not that important given the abstract nature of it all anyway.*
There are a few things I really enjoy in games.
One is not knowing what the hell to do, and looking around and knowing that everyone else is in the same boat. It's not the mindbendingness of it - i.e., it's not because I enjoy the puzzle or the challenge of trying to think 5 moves ahead- it's because it's funny. What do I do here? I don't know.
Sort of related to that is that the reason you don't know is at least partly because you don't know what others are going to do either. Thinking ahead is a little fruitless.
The other thing is when games really lean into the strengths of the medium. More and more, I feel like a big strength of board games is their ability to hit the above stuff with simplicity. With simple rules and a common space you can do so much. The rules here are so simple - you have 8 cards to play; play a card, do what it says, take a cube, or pass; if everyone passes we work out who wins; if all the regions are done and a colour wins, whoever has the most cubes in that colour wins; if the black colour wins it's whoever has the most sets of the three colours, there, we are done - yet so much agony and interesting gameplay arises as a result of player choices. Often, perhaps unintuitively, the wider the array of rules/options the more strictured the play.
Love this game. In that Euro thread I said it's a good option for people pining for some El Grande but without enough players or time. Obviously it doesn't play 5, but given a choice between the El Grande table and the KvS/KiD table personally I'm opting for the KiD table every time.
BTW I have a physical copy and the production is very nice quality wise. I don't care about that kind of stuff so I'm not normally a good judge but it's noticeably quite good (for me to notice is a good indication).
*Perhaps given discussions elsewhere it was a conscious choice to steer away? I don't know. But medieval Europe/Arthurian... eh.
mc wrote: *Perhaps given discussions elsewhere it was a conscious choice to steer away? I don't know. But medieval Europe/Arthurian... eh.
Yeah, from a player facing POV this is one less non-euro themed game on the shelf. Yay? Should designers (and publishers I guess?) stick just to themes from their ethno-geographic region or at least one they can lay claim to through right of descent? I can strap on a kilt and sporran and quote Robert Burns (as i am wont to do) but is it more legitimate or authentic just because i have a wisp of scots blood?
Guess the "better get along or the nasty english will settle this" vibe from Siam is worth dumping (though the game mechanics are kinda anti-colonialism if you think about it) but not sure if any Thai were polled for their opinion. An arthurian theme probably matches the audience for Osprey better, or just making it a straight historic "War of the Roses" theme or whatever.
I feel like there are some fan made maps out there which I should check.
Also while I think of it its worth noting there are a couple of rule changes between editions. in particular (from memory) there is a rule where if you cant win with your last play you cant play - this avoids king making - and this seems to have been dropped; also having the black faction (Britain/France) win is made harder in this edition i think there are 4 discs instead of 3. Nothing to stop you playing with whatever you like of course.