We're Geeks. We Play Games.

I'll put something more exciting here later.

In the meantime, have a beverage and relax. It could be awhile.

What beverage would I suggest?

  • A nice sangria.
  • An old fashioned.
  • A Long Island Iced Tea.

Warring Kingdom: Tactical Deck Building Game

"You've got to play Warring Kingdom." 

We'd run into our friend Than (of Clockwork: Dominion) at TotalCon and he was raving about the tactical deck building game he'd just played. We weren't able to play that night, but he introduced us to Harry and we ended up making arrangements to meet at a local gaming store to give it a go.

"You've got to play Warring Kingdom."

It's become a common refrain.

Harry sent us home with a beta copy and the next night we rounded up a couple of friends to play. The day after that I played with my teenage sons. And the next night we played with our spouses. A couple days later I spoke those words again as I made tentative plans to play with another friend in the near future.

What makes Warring Kingdom different? 

It's a great combination of deck building and combat. The object of the game is to destroy another player's castle. You must build a deck that will defend, attack, and afford the battle costs. Your simple choices include buying coins or recruiting warriors, town guards or beggars. There are also four decks filled with various cards of differing powers and actions, in four categories: Mercenaries, Merchandise, Weapons, Skilled Labor. There is a lot of strategy in deciding how to build your deck, knowing when to attack, and being prepared to defend.

"Warring Kingdom is a 2-4 player game with direct player Vs. player combat. You will play the role of a disgraced Lord fighting others to usurp the Crown. You must balance economic development with military maneuvers. The end goal is to demonstrate supremacy over your opponents by defeating one of them; the first player to destroy an opponent's castle wins the game."  

The gameplay reminds me a bit of Dominion meets Magic, with a little randomization thrown in by way of combat dice. When battle is declared (the attacker simply declares her intentions during her turn), the players deploy and arrange their battlefield into two rows of five and then roll five six sided dice. These dice determine which rows are activated. Roll three 5's and two 3's? Row 5 will activate three times, row 3 twice and the other rows will take a nice nap.

Combat is much easier to learn as you play than for me to describe, but I found the mix of strategy and luck to be quite enjoyable. And honestly, probably a little more true to life. 

As a fan of both deck building and player vs. player combat games, Warring Kingdom is an exciting find. I love strategy and I love destroying my friends. In game, of course. The addition of dice adds just enough luck that it balances the game for those who don't enjoy matching wits quite as much as I do. But there is plenty of strategy, building and combat for those who do.

And check out the art! I always appreciate the visual appeal of a well done game. And this is a well done game.

I should start out with a declaration: I Love Deck Building Games!  I played my first one at PAX East last year (for more go here) and have been hooked ever since.  So when our friend Than mentioned Warring Kingdom two thoughts crossed my mind: 1.) Deck Building Game?! and 2.) What do you mean you don't like deck building games?

But I digress.  Warring Kingdom plays like most other deck building games, you start out with ten basic cards and on your turn you have the opportunity to buy new cards to improve your deck.  As Lori mentioned above, the difference is in the combat (which I'm not going to go into here as she covered the basics). Unlike some deck building games there is a lot of player interaction in Warring Kingdom.  And, again, unlike some deck building games, the player interaction is perfect for the theme of the game. You genuinely feel like the Lord of the manor, sending your plebes out to do your dirty work.  It is a fitting detail and it is fun!

The other thing that really impressed me is the effort that went into the cards.  Two of the starting cards are the Beggar and the Town Guard, each of which has a special ability that, to me at least, is wonderfully appropriate.  With the Beggar you have the option of paying some coin to upgrade the card to a Warrior, basically sending him to basic training.  You are taking a weakling ne'er-do-well, investing in him, and getting a well trained weapon you can use to crush those who oppose you!

The Town Guards also have a neat option that allows you to return two of them to the supply and gain a Beggar and the cheapest of three Mercenaries.  This action is called Brawl.  In essence the two short-sighted Town Guards get into a fight and one of them beats the other senseless (now a beggar) while proving himself better that everyone thought (now a highly skilled sword for hire).  And don't sell these starting cards short, unlike their upgraded selves, these chumps work for free so you can send them out in defense of your castle without having to pay them, which will come in quite handy.

The long and the short of it is, I really like this game.  Harry has created a game that is both familiar and unique, and has worked really hard to create a game that I really enjoy.  So stop reading this and go back this game on Kickstarter because, as much as I like the beta copy we got, I want the real deal!