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By MICHAEL ERB
The old King is stepping down and is set to name a successor to the throne. Five people stand in line to become the next ruler of the land.
You are not one of them.
In the board game “Succession” by Your Move Games, players take on the roles of five characters who seek to cement their place in the royal court by becoming the loyal henchman of whoever ascends to the throne. That’s right; you want to be the new king’s (or queen’s) best friend.
To do so you must gain favor with the person you believe most likely to be named as the King’s successor, while also gaining them favor with the King himself.
“Succession” is a game of bidding and manipulating, both those in line for the throne and the other players. Throughout the game you play Intrigues which cause candidates to gain and lose favor. Intrigues can either succeed or fail based on the number of votes they get, both through the playing of Influence cards and the paying of gold. If there are more votes for the Intrigue, the effects take place. If there are more votes against, then the Intrigue fails.
Most Intrigues cause a gain of Standing for one candidate, and loss of Standing for another. The main game board shows the five candidates for the throne — Galahad the Knight, Ulysses the King’s son, Arianna the King’s daughter, Archie the Bishop and Venetia the Merchant. If at any time one of these characters gains 10 Standing with the King, they are named as his successor and the game ends.
But causing candidates to gain and lose standing also causes them to give Credit and place Blame. The game takes an interesting twist by allowing the player with the highest number of votes to assign Credit and Blame, so even if a player is defeated by the combined votes of several players, if they have the highest number of votes (per player), they can take action this round.
Credit allows you to gain favor with one of the candidates, while Blame costs you favor. This level of favor is important for two reasons: You get gold from each candidate each round based upon how much they favor you, and the only way to win is to have the highest favor with the candidate who is named as the successor.
The players choose one of five characters to play — Ambassador, Squire, Royalist, Taxman and Wizard — each with their own board and own special abilities, such as receiving more gold or paying less for votes. The player boards show their favor with each of the candidates.
In addition to Influence and Intrigue cards, players can also play Events. These affect the players, allowing them to steal cards or influence from other players or to affect the voting.
The really cool twist of this game is the social aspect. Every round and with every action the players are all engaged, as the rules encourage you to constantly wheel and deal. Have a card that can cost another player standing with a candidate? Then how much gold is it worth for you to use it on someone else? Selling votes, Influence, Blame, Credit and just about any kind of back-stabbing, political maneuvering you can imagine is a major and very fun part of “Succession.”
The components of the game are really nice quality and the artwork is done by Phil Foglio who is well known for his cartoons and work on different fantasy games and Dragon Magazine. The writing and artwork combined give the game a really tongue-in-cheek feel, but the gameplay is very deep and engaging. Played with the right group, this game is both hilarious and brutal in just the right combination.
For more information on “Succession” or other products from Your Move Games, visit www.yourmovegames.com and for more game reviews and discussion visit my blog at http://merb101.livejournal.com.
Edit: A review copy of the game was provided for this article.
- Last edited Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:35 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:56 pm