Have you ever dreamt of being a medieval aristocrat?
Wealth, castles, and armies at your disposal? Well, here is your chance, but there’s a catch… you are immediately at war and need to urgently use your resources more effectively than your opponents to maintain your nobility and re-emerge from the ensuing battles as the last Kingdom standing!
What's the story?
Take the Kingdom is a fantasy medieval themed card game for 2-4 players where you play as a Noble, battling to have the greatest Kingdom of the age. Everyone starts with a Castle and Land, which players can fortify using an equal amount of defence points to draft Moats, Walls, Archers and more to create a starting formation. The Nobles also have asymmetrical player powers so these will need to be considered in how you strategies' your initial placements.
Players will draw up to five cards into their hand on each of their turns and can activate up to three. Cards will vary between a range of Attacks to damage your opponent’s Kingdom, Defences to further build up and protect your own Kingdom, Mercenaries who can be deployed as attackers or defenders, Actions which cause an impact to benefit you or to harm your opponent, and Penalties which detriment you by both restricting your number of actions and reducing your ability to perform in that round.
Did I have a good time?
This game looked quite unassuming at the outset, with a compact box of cards and a massive tabletop mat that only just fit on the table. We tried to learn the game from the relatively small rule book but found that past set up, we were a little confused on how the turn order worked and what we were trying to achieve (past knowing we needed to attempt to destroy our opponent’s Kingdom). But, thanks to watching the “Quick How To Play” Youtube video from Meeple University, we were back on track after a couple of clarifications from the rule book.
Personally, I am a big fan of competitive card games, and I would compare this game to the likes of classic Dominion, Star Realms and newly released Radlands. It has an aggressive take-that nature and the entire game is built around the balancing of building up your defence and attacking your opponents. There is a lot of luck in this game as your hand is based on drawing cards from a central deck, you just need to decide when these cards are best played to really capitalise on their impact.
I played this at two player count and it was a brilliant experience! We are a competitive pair and it very much suited the style of this game. It is difficult to strategise too much as you don’t know what cards are going to come up from the deck to utilise, but we found it was a good idea to hold a couple of strong Action cards in your hand for a particularly opportune moment, and try to not use your one “Mercy” lifeline card until you absolutely have to. I can confirm I had a devastating loss as my opponent’s power was that his cannons were more powerful than the standard impact and my Castle was absolutely annihilated in a spectacular end to the battle!
I really enjoyed this game and once I understood the rules it flowed well. The game mat is absolutely gorgeous and feels like an aesthetic must-have to give the game more table presence! The card text is definitive in their meanings however the iconology could be clearer- I felt there was some doubling
up of information at the top of the card and in the center, and this could have been amalgamated in one place to make the cards a little easier to digest quickly. This also would help the rulebook to be a bit more understandable without the need for additional external explanations.
Overall I really enjoyed this game and will definitely be introducing more people to it. The set up time is fast and makes it ideal for when you only have thirty minutes spare for some intense battling! The game mat really enhanced the experience for those where visuals are important, however the game content itself is a fantastic tug of war between players. I think the box could do with a little more pizzazz to make it stand out on a shelf but it’s a great example of not judging a book by it’s cover as the gameplay is truly excellent.