User Rating Comment Status
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Sep 2009*
I am the designer of this game. I'll give some brief comments about the game and it's designs, and after that I'll explain my rating.

the game

11 Kings is another game that I designed with a particular group and occasion in mind, but it has been played with other gamers as well.
Originally it was intended for a group of non-gamers that shared 'geofiction' as a hobby. They were all interested in board games, but were not game players really. Their interest was focused on civilization games (a genre that seems closest to their hobby), but expressed a preference for greater flexibility with regards to setting and historical development. To some extent, it could be said that they were interested in a board-game version of 'interactive geofiction'. ('Interactive geofiction' is geofiction as a game. Participants create fictional geographical entities on a shared world or continent that somehow interact with each other. Generally there are not many rules to this type of games, the main rule being a form of 'realism', meaning that anything that is possible according to the current state of science in the given/described circumstances is allowable provided that all participants involved in that development agree.)

Hence, I created 11 kings as a civilization game with a flexible map, unnamed technologies (effects are determined, but the name/nature of the technologies is to be decided by the player who invents it), secret unit deployment, trade, and a important role for diplomacy, which is one of the key parts of 'interactive geofiction' games.

my rating

It may seem strange to rate a game you have designed yourself, but I chose to do so nevertheless. This rating reflects my opinion of the game as a game-player. It is not intended to boost the rating of the game, and in fact, I do not rate all my game designs highly.

There are two civilization games for big groups of gamers: Civilization, and 11 kings, and these two games are as different as day and night. Still, I enjoy both. Civilization is mainly a game of trade and dealing with calamities. 11 Kings is much more a game of diplomacy and empire building.
11 kings does not work well with smaller groups of players, however. I think that 8 players should really be considered the minimum. Civilization, on the other hand, starts to be fun with 5. With really big groups of gamers, Civilization starts to get extremely slow, mainly because of the order of the calamities and all the advances that need be bought. 11 kings does not get much slower or faster with different numbers of players and takes between 6 and 9 hours, which is considerable shorter than Civilization, even with smaller groups.

I rate Civilization a 9, because I think it's one of the best games ever designed. With a really big group of gamers (10+) I would prefer to play 11 kings, because of the above considerations. But for rating purposes the games are somewhat difficult to compare because they are very different in orientation and mechanics. With a big enough group of gamers, 11 kings is - in my experience - a lot of fun, but that may be partly dependent on the type of gamers participating, and their interests.
With these provisions, I rate the game an 7.

what's wrong with the game?

Bookkeeping! I enjoy bookkeeping in games, but I'm aware of the fact I'm in a rather small minority. In 11 kings there is some bookkeeping. Every turn income, purchases, events, etc. have to be recorded on a sheet of paper.
Secondly, the game is also a bit fiddly, mainly because of the hidden movement / hidden unit deployment.
Basically, what's wrong with the game is that is very old-fashioned. Long play time, fiddly, bookkeeping. All of these are very much out of fashion nowadays, but so is apparently my taste in games, because those are exactly the kinds of things I like.
Robert Carroll
United States
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Apr 2009*
Free Print & Play civ/empire building game played with modular hex board.

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