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Board Games in the Age of Chivalry

Brett J. Gilbert
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2015
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All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
  As he rode down to Camelot.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘The Lady of Shalott’

This isn’t a post about anything very profound; I just wanted to interrupt your regular viewing to report on the entertaining but doubtless unintentional similarities between two new board game cover designs: Donald X. Vaccarino’s Kingdom Builder by Queen Games, and the new edition of Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms by Fantasy Flight.


The illustrations share so many cues — a red-cloaked knight overlooks a gleaming white citadel amongst an impossibly mountainous landscape — that I couldn’t let them slip by unnoticed. Both are prime examples, I would say, of a familiar mythic representation of the age of chivalry, rooted in Arthurian lore, that directly evokes “the saintly days of yore” (as Poe once put it).

And when I say familiar, I really mean it! It took me five minutes on BoardGameGeek to find the examples below, so there are probably plenty more out there. When it comes to chivalry in board games, it does seems as if there’s a lot of it about.


This post also appears on my regular BrettSpiel blog, which you are, of course, more than welcome to come visit!
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