Luke Hector
United Kingdom
Portsmouth
flag msg tools
badge
http://brokenmeeple.blogspot.co.uk/
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
................(sigh)..............I can't believe I'm having to do this, but this review has been requested many times ever since my Top 10 Over-Rated Games list on the podcast so it's become necessary to do so. Let it be known that I don't love every game I play and in essence I suppose it's a refreshing change to post a negative review on the site as there has been a trend of positive ones lately.

WARNING - THIS REVIEW IS A NEGATIVE ONE. IF YOU LOVE THIS GAME, FANTASTIC! IF YOU DON'T, FANTASTIC! BUT ACT LIKE AN ADULT ABOUT IT.

It is already obvious from the title and that paragraph that I really don't like this game. . . . . . . at all . . . . . and not because I don't like abstract games (yes it's an abstract game we'll get on to that later), I actually really like abstract games. Ever since my early school days of playing Chess in a pub league, I've loved the strategic, yet simplistic aspect of them. But there are many things about this game that drive me up the wall especially when I know how popular this game is with some gamers and how it "somehow" won the Spiel Des Jahres in 2011!

However, remaining objective here, I'll explain why I believe this game is immensely over-rated in my opinion, yet will highlight its positive points as well (pictures courtesy of BGG).


"The cover that's on the box is a typical example of "Bait 'n' Switch"

Designer: Donald X. Vaccarino (2011)
Publisher: Queen Games
# of Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Play Time: 45+ minutes
BGG Rank/Rating: 283/7.11
Dice Tower 2013 People’s Choice Rank: n/a
Category: Abstract Game with Area Control

You've Come This Far!

In Kingdom Builder you are attempting to create your realm by placing buildings in such a way that they earn the most gold at the end of the game.

The game board is modular and contains a variety of different types of terrain hexes. During your turn you draw a single terrain card which dictates which type of hex you are allowed to place 3 buildings on. The only other restriction is that where possible they must be connected to your settlements already in play. Certain locations on the board will allow you to grab special action tokens which give you extra ways to move or place your buildings on the board.


"Probably the best bit of artwork in the game"

Victory points (gold) can be earned by building next to castles on the board as well as meeting the conditions of three objective cards, which give extra gold for building your kingdom in a particular manner. Once the last building from a player is placed on the board, the player with the most points is the winner.

Simple and Speedy, Yet Costly Construction

Still awake after that? Wow I'm impressed! But let's start with the positive points of this game to begin with. The game is fairly quick, clocking in at around 45-60 minutes for a four player game and even less potentially with only 2-3 players. You can squeeze this into a tight time-slot without much trouble and for people like me the game is over after a short time which feels like an act of mercy more than anything else.

It's also really simple to teach among family situations hence probably why it got a place in the Jahres awards because they do like to reward games with a good family weight. There is so little to learn in this game that you can teach it in about 5 minutes and be up and running straight away. The rule book is very clear and easy to follow so fair play to Queen Games there.

However the first of the negative points (yeah the positive points is a short list) is that it's too expensive for what you get in the box. You get a bunch of basic wooden houses of your colour which even though they are wood, aren't really interesting to look at, a bunch of cards with very basic artwork to represent the terrain and conditions and several quarter boards with hexes on it that link together to form a square of 4 boards. But the game has an RRP for over £40 and most online stores are selling for around £35+. That's too expensive for what this game is and I'd have thought £25 would be a more fitting price, £30 max.


"Looks colourful yes, but that's not a difficult thing to achieve, but the terrain boards don't look like terrain!"

Particularly when you consider that the artwork in this game is very basic. It's colourful yes, but that's its only appeal and the boards look like someone just hit Copy and Paste several times in difference places with a colour palette with terrain areas going all over the place in ways that don't seem geographically logical. It does keep the variation up a little from game to game, but all you're doing is moving the various colour segments about and what position they are will make little noticeable difference in how the game plays. Amerigo has a similar modular setup, but in that you choose where you go and the size of the islands has a direct impact on the game. In here, it doesn't matter a great deal as the terrain deck and condition cards are going to dictate how your game plays anyway. And if you're colour blind, good luck, that's all I can say, good luck to you. The board gets so cluttered with coloured houses everywhere in large player games that it's difficult for even a trained eye to see what's what.

Theme Be Gone!

If you are into thematic games, you're not going to find a shred of theme here. This is an abstract game, pure and simple, you're just placing houses on a board in various patterns to gain points. This concept has been used before and it probably didn't require as much of an investment to try it.

Some of the condition cards are just weird. Farmers for example requires you to build houses in all four quarters and you get points for the lowest number in a particular quarter. . . and that has what to do with farming. . . . what? Others can include building your houses in a straight line so you end up with this conga line of buildings stretching over deserts, canyons, forest and fairyland alike. Yeah fairyland is what I call the pink terrain, which I swear I have no idea what this terrain is meant to be. How often do you walk out in the country and see the colour pink everywhere? Did they run out of ideas or something? But that aside, you're building your settlements based on what the objective cards tell you, not how you would like to. Some objectives make sense such as the Miners that like building in canyons, but you could just simply invent a trade for each type of terrain and leave it at that.


"Knights - Build on a horizontal line. . . . . . huh??"

So in essence the medieval style dressing of castles and farmers and miners and knights etc. is just simply glossing over an abstract premise. The cover of the box shows a really colourful kingdom with vast landscapes etc, but when you set this game up you feel like you've just been suckered into the biggest Bait & Switch move since I Am Vlad.

Strategy For Kids, By Which I Mean What Strategy?

The game is aimed at families with young kids. There's no way I can fathom that this game was aimed for gamers. It boast words like "strategy" and "skillful" on the blurb, but there just seems to be little to none of that present here. The game is too simple for gamers and more in tune for families.

On your turn you draw one card from the terrain deck and that tells you where you're allowed to place 3 settlements. Why is that, who knows, the deck told you to so you're going to do what it says. On the first few turns, you have a few options as to where to place them. But once you've got some settlements down, it then becomes ultra-restrictive. Because if you draw the same terrain again you have to link them up to your original settlements so chances are you are lucky if you have two choices available and most of the time you'll only have one. How you link them is another choice but that's usually fairly obvious at the time and you can't predict whether you'll ever continue that link anyway due to the randomness of the terrain deck.


"Seriously what is that flower terrain supposed to be? I'm sticking with Fairyland!"

And by randomness I mean a LOT. You could have a plan to go for say, the Farmers, but to do so you need Deserts to get in that last quarter, but what a shame, the deck decides that the player before you is going to draw all the deserts. And when it's your turn, you'll just get fairyland again. You don't have much in the way of control over what you're doing because it's all defined by that one card you draw. Now if you could draw multiple cards and choose one, that would mitigate it, but no, your game could just go down the drain because dumb luck screwed you over. And luck is not something that should be present in an abstract game. How much luck does Chess, The Duke and Hive have?

The bonus action tiles that you can collect add a little extra bit of tactical play, but these aren't completely balanced. One allows you to place a settlement only on the outer edge of the board, where commonly it isn't great to do so, so it becomes a wasted tile other than just getting your buildings out quicker. But then there's one which allows you to slide a building in a straight line two hexes. Don't ask me why, it just does, apparently these houses have wheels on them or something and can travel great distances. But that last tile is easily the most powerful available to which I personally and others have won games with simply by abusing it. Now you could try and grab them first obviously (I think there's only two tiles per different spot), but then your ability to get it is again dictated by that deck with the hand of one card. Also getting multiple different tiles usually means guaranteed victory as you'll be putting houses on the board twice or three times faster than any other player.

Now some variants have been made online to mitigate this by saying, have a hand of cards, draw two and choose 1 or don't use the cards at all (what a waste of components), but ARRRGGHH, write good rules! We're not here to fix your game for you, write better rules! No player I've met in a game of this has actually used them anyway.

Fun-less Factor

The game itself as much as I don't like it isn't actually bad in the way it's mechanics work. For something that is trying to be a simple game, the mechanics themselves work fine despite no theme being present at all. But the game is bone dry to play. Draw a card, place 3 buildings, draw a card, place 3 buildings, etc. There's little banter across the table until someone takes your spot, but it's not due to skill, it's that DECK OF ONE CARD! Notice a theme here? You might as well replace that deck with a single die and say "on a roll of a three, you place in the yellow area" - it really is much like a roll and move mechanic.

So rather than being "bad", the game is simply just "boring. Very boring. And that is a bigger sin for me in a game than bad mechanics. If a game is designed badly, then you at least laugh about that aspect, take the hilarious review of Oneupmanship by Tom Vasel for example. If it's a thematic game, you can still get into the theme even if the game isn't designed very well. But here, you're just sticking buildings on the board as dictated by the game itself. You can poke fun at a bad game, but you can't at a boring game. If a game is boring, it sucks all the fun out of the room and leaves a depressed hulk of flesh slowly deflating on to the table, which you can fold up and put in the box with the game when you're done. 3 days I spent on that guy's shelf. . . . .


"The board gets very cluttered with more players, hard to tell what's going on a lot of the time"

And don't play this with AP players. Seriously, usually when you draw a card, you don't have many choices for where you can go, but that won't stop players from analyzing out all the potential points from every single space around their current settlement. If they have two or three bonus location tiles, it's even worse. So if the gameplay itself doesn't bore you, the waiting for your turn to come back will do. I said the game was fast, and it is, 45 to 60 minutes is fairly quick, but you will want this game to be over in 15 minutes let alone 60!

I actually cheered when I saw that the Dice Tower trio all gave it stick on their Top 10 Disappointing Games list, and that's a word I could use to describe my initial thoughts. The game had been hyped to me with the award and among die-hard Euro gamers and being that I like abstract games, I was keen, but boy by half way through the game I was begging for a quick and painless end. Repeated plays (mostly by lack of anything else to play at the time) didn't make the game any better or any more varied despite different condition cards appearing.

Verdict

I cannot recommend this game at all. It is without doubt one of the worst games I've ever played. That being said, if you are hoping to get younger players involved in something that requires a little more thinking than the usual roll and move mechanics, then this could fill that void for you nicely. The problem is, there's so many other better family weight gateway games out there. Ticket To Ride, Forbidden Desert/Island, even Small World, these are not only great games but great gateway games too and at least two of those can be picked up cheaper as well, yet have much nicer components and a theme to go with them. £35+ is just too expensive for this. I'm looking at Hive Pocket on my shelf here which was less than £13 and that's a better game. Pay a little extra for Hive Carbon and that looks great on the table. I think after I'm done with Top 10 Thematic Games on the podcast, I'm going to do a Top 10 Gateway Games list and suggest some better alternatives.

Some do really love this game and fair play to them, different folks and all that and considering this game is ranked in the high 200's I'm clearly in a minority. But there a lot of people out there who don't like this game either. There is no middle ground here, you either love this game or you absolute detest this game hence the Marmite reference. I'm most definitely in the the latter camp and hopefully with this review you can make your own decision about whether this style of game will appeal to you. But it's never going to be anything but dull for me and there are so many better Euro games out there.

I hope I never get to play this again, this was the game that put Queen Games on my "caution" list. Thankfully they have redeemed themselves a little with Alhambra and a lot with Amerigo, but I put this at No 1 on my Top 10 Over-rated games for a reason. It won an award and is ranked in the high 200's, but I struggle to see why. The only high point I can see is that if someone bought me this game, I wouldn't have to go cold this Winter. . . . . .


You Will Like This Game If:

You want a family friendly game to include the kids in.
You don't like anything too complex in your games and prefer simplicity.
. . . . . . . . . . I actually can't think of a third point to put in here, honestly I can't.

You Will Not Like This Game If:

You want something particularly tactical and/or strategic.
You are interested in theme and artwork quality in your games.
You aren't comfortable with being effectively eliminated as a result of bad luck.
16 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like Marmite...

and what could be a 3rd point to like is if you like games wherein you must cleverly overcome the in game limitations to achieve the objective, and this means using your brain.
37 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Harrison
United States
Fisher
Illinois
flag msg tools
So long ...
badge
... and thanks for all the fish.
Avatar
mb
Hmm. Your likes and not-likes are poor predictors of why I like Kingdom Builder. I rate Kingdom Builder almost exactly the same (8.66) as I rate Chicago Express (8.65) and Puerto Rico (8.67).

But mostly I’m not sure why you say that lack of tactics and strategy are good descriptors of Kingdom Builder. I find that my play features both. When I play, I am thinking about both the short-term and the long-term effects of my placements.

In fact I find Kingdom Builder more strategic than tactical. Sure, you are playing a single card now, but you play it with all your future possible draws in mind. I expect the better player to win a game of Kingdom Builder, and in my experience he or she does.

As I said in my game comments,
HuginnGreiling wrote:
There are a few games that are feel-good games for me. Snowdonia is one; Finca is another. Morels and Tokaido almost are but don’t quite make it.

Kingdom Builder and Takenoko hover right at the border of this boundary and I think the reason they don’t sit squarely within it like Finca and Snowdonia is the same reason Tokaido and Morels sit just outside it: depth of play. Snowdonia and Finca both incorporate their share of unknown factors, but they are decidedly susceptible to thinking ahead during play. Morels and Tokaido both allow degrees of thinking ahead, but their depth of play is foreshortened by their simplicity.

Kingdom Builder flirts with just this. It’s undeniably simple, and you certainly don’t play your cards: You play the board. The whole game is playing the board. Because you know that the cards will send you sandstorming across the landscape like bugs from an upright fan, sticking where you hit. So you want to aim where on the wall you hit. You want to make surgical strikes, in and out, darting in as close to a special bonus ability as you can and darting out again to another as soon as possible.

But everywhere you hit, you stick. And the more types of terrain you adjoin yourself to, the stickier you are. And where you stick, you ooze until you fill up the available terrain. Pray God you didn’t join yourself to another type of terrain, because there you are again, then. You want one way in, one way out, nobody sees, nobody knows. And since somebody always sees and somebody always knows, you’re stuck hopping into small ponds of terrain and out again, or toppling, Sovietlike, from terrain to adjoining terrain, sprawling across the board like a walking catfish drawn to nomad camps.

Scoring cards help with this. Once you consider that they (generally) simply identify quads or lats as additional locable goals on the board, you realize that they’re easier to hit than bonus tiles, and prioritize accordingly. But since bonus tiles let you rush the end of the game by placing additional settlements, it’s tempting to get caught up in the fun of placing a third of your remaining settlements in a turn. But if you aren’t placing them in scoring areas, you might as well have spared yourself the bonus tiles and concentrated on filling scoring conditions.

It’s a lot to think about for a game that consists in drawing a card and playing it. The game is what it is meant to be I think; it could bear a little more mental burden and move up into my group of choice feel-goods—exactly why Go is at the top of that list—but I’m not dissatisfied with it as it is. As long as expansions keep on bringing more of the same, I’ll keep buying them.
I’ve never seen someone effectively eliminated from a game of Kingdom Builder as a result of bad luck. But I have seen it as a result of bad play.

I play Kingdom Builder because I want to think deeply. So it confuses me how you describe it as not being a game for people who want to think deeply, then complain that one of its flaws is that people think deeply about it.

Could it simply be that you don’t want to think deeply about Kingdom Builder? I’d be curious to see how you stand up to someone who plays Kingdom Builder very well. Because there is more to Kingdom Builder than you are making out.

And there’s no need for your ever liking it; you are welcome not to. But I think your predictors of who will and who won’t like Kingdom Builder are very off. My wife tells me that she loses too much at Kingdom Builder because it takes such deep thinking, and so very much of it.

Also, I hate Marmite.

59 
 Thumb up
0.06
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Hector
United Kingdom
Portsmouth
flag msg tools
badge
http://brokenmeeple.blogspot.co.uk/
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is a difference between deep thinking and over thinking. I have seen people get AP on Smash Up, a game which does not have deep strategic depth but people over think it.

Kingdom Builder is the same. There isn't depth here but boy I see people go into their own world for ages over where to place their house in one of two available spots. I have won this game, but I put that down to getting the cards I wanted when I wanted them, not from tactical mastery of the game. You can plan all you like, but if you don't get your card, too bad, so sad, you are out.

Like I said it's a love or hate game, so it's cool that people have different views. However when people start throwing down the classic "you don't like it because you don't know how to play it" excuse that's different.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
farmergiles wrote:
There is no middle ground here, you either love this game or you absolute detest this game hence the Marmite reference.



Just sayin'
45 
 Thumb up
0.03
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
farmergiles wrote:
However when people start throwing down the classic "you don't like it because you don't know how to play it" excuse that's different.

The problem is that the criticisms you make are exactly the ones that are always made by people who don't know how to play it. So people who *do* know how to play it are certainly going to object!
34 
 Thumb up
0.04
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MLeis
Estonia
Tallinn
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with a couple of points in this review but I thought I'd comment on some things I where I don't agree.

farmergiles wrote:
the game has an RRP for over £40 and most online stores are selling for around £35+. That's too expensive for what this game is
Agreed. I'll just point out, though, that I picked it up from a local store for €25 and have seen it on sale for €20.

Quote:
And if you're colour blind, good luck, that's all I can say, good luck to you. The board gets so cluttered with coloured houses everywhere in large player games that it's difficult for even a trained eye to see what's what.
It appears that lots of effort has gone into making the game eye-friendly (and colour-blind-friendly). The terrain and the player's colours are very contrasting and different terrains have very different texture.

Quote:
Farmers for example requires you to build houses in all four quarters and you get points for the lowest number in a particular quarter. . . and that has what to do with farming. . . . what?
It is a design-for-effect. The scoring rule promotes spreading settlements evenly on all four sections, akin to how farmers are spread out in a country (contrary to, for example, city-dwellers that are concentrated in cities).

Quote:
chances are you are lucky if you have two choices available and most of the time you'll only have one.
This simply doesn't correspond to my experience. I've noticed I typically have two or three reasonable options available, plus a few unreasonable ones. That said, chronically having just one option can happen if the player has made strategic errors in their choice of special moves or with what terrain their settlements border.

Quote:
Seriously what is that flower terrain supposed to be? I'm sticking with Fairyland!
I just call them 'flowers'. But given that it's an abstract game and that all buildable terrains work exactly the same, I don't really see why it matters so much what it's supposed to be.

Quote:
luck is not something that should be present in an abstract game.
Lots of excellent abstract games (backgammon, poker, rubber bridge, etc.) have a luck element.

Quote:
The bonus action tiles that you can collect add a little extra bit of tactical play, but these aren't completely balanced.
I kind of agree that the tower is generally (depends somewhat on the objectives) less powerful than the paddock. (The Crossroads expansion balances this, making the edges more important and providing other methods of movement. Of course, that's only for information, ideally the base-game would be balanced in itself.)

Quote:
getting multiple different tiles usually means guaranteed victory as you'll be putting houses on the board twice or three times faster than any other player.
This part doesn't make any sense. Firstly, having multiple different tiles doesn't guarantee anything because almost everybody gets multiple different tiles. Secondly, having different tiles doesn't, in itself, make you build settlements faster as it depends entirely on what tiles those are. Thirdly, placing tiles two or three times faster than others just doesn't happen. Most importantly, depending on the objectives, the number of settlements on the board can be much less important than their locations.

Quote:
the game is bone dry to play.
I agree that the game doesn't have the kind of immersive fun you get from a thematic game or the kind of diplomatic fun you get from a conflict game. The fun in Kingdom Builder is like the fun you have in any abstract game - the satisfaction of pulling off a good move.

Quote:
You Will Like This Game If:

You want a family friendly game to include the kids in.
I haven't played it with kids but I'm not sure if the game is suitable to them at all. The problem is that the tactics and especially the strategy in Kingdom Builder are often very counter-intuitive. It takes the kind of abstract thinking that doesn't develop at an early age. Also, I fear that kids will struggle with the juggling of multiple objectives that change from game to game.
34 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
'You Will Not Like This Game If:

You want something particularly tactical and/or strategic.
.....
You aren't comfortable with being effectively eliminated as a result of bad luck.'

Oh dear. Nothing wrong with disliking a game but this criticism is wide of the mark.

After 30 or so plays i'd say luck decided one of those games. As for not being tactical this game has it in spades. In fact its so important it's what mitigates the luck factor. I'm surprised this was not obvious to you.




18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would put it this way:

farmergiles wrote:
You can plan all you like, but so that if you don't get your card, too bad, so sad, you are not out.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
Quote:
"Probably the best bit of artwork in the game"

I think you forgot to embed an image. This was floating in a bunch of text. Took me some double takes to try to figure out which text you were referring to before realizing it was probably just a caption missing its image
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
What's interesting about this review is that many of the same negative points could be made about Carcassonne. Carc is the game I most often compare Kingdom Builder to: they are both abstract games at heart (yet with a bit of luck), with a medieval thematic motif.

What's surprising to me is that you nonetheless rate Carc an 8 and seem to play it frequently.

farmergiles wrote:
So in essence the medieval style dressing of castles and farmers and miners and knights etc. is just simply glossing over an abstract premise. The cover of the box shows a really colourful kingdom with vast landscapes etc, but when you set this game up you feel like you've just been suckered into the biggest Bait & Switch move since I Am Vlad.

Would you make the same bait-and-switch criticism of Carc's box front?


farmergiles wrote:
Now if you could draw multiple cards and choose one, that would mitigate it, but no, your game could just go down the drain because dumb luck screwed you over. And luck is not something that should be present in an abstract game. How much luck does Chess, The Duke and Hive have?
Again, do you have this criticism of Carcassonne as well, with the luck of the tile draw?

farmergiles wrote:
...it's not due to skill, it's that DECK OF ONE CARD!
Amazing how people get obsessed with the limitation of one card just b/c it's cards, and like to call it a "deck of one card". Imagine it's tiles and not cards. So now it's a tile draw not a card draw. In Carc, do you call it a "deck of one tile"?

So... are you going to re-visit your Carcassonne rating now?

farmergiles wrote:
The board gets very cluttered with more players, hard to tell what's going on a lot of the time
Personally I like this "Kingdom Building" aspect of the game. It's actually another similarity to Carc; one of my favorite things about Carc is how an organically created landscape emerges by the end of the game. KB also has this "emergent pattern," and I like to see how the different kingdom patterns end up, in different ways due to the scoring rules etc.


farmergiles wrote:
...the boards look like someone just hit Copy and Paste several times in difference places with a colour palette with terrain areas going all over the place in ways that don't seem geographically logical.
Here I couldn't disagree more. In my 25 plays, I've particularly noticed how much thought has been placed into the placement of the terrain areas that end up forming valleys, chains of mountains, etc, when you place the board tiles together. "Random copy/paste" never crossed my mind.


My other main points of disagreement are art/production (beautiful art and high production values) and lack of tactics and strategy (based on my 25 plays, there must be some tactics!).

What this game really excels at is forcing you to be creative tactically and strategically within the constraints of the card draw. It's the tension created by the card draw limitation that's pretty interesting. But new players often don't see that, and just think the card is "telling them where to go" or is overly luck-inducing and restrictive.
30 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick Teverbaugh
United States
Anderson
Indiana (IN)
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The only support I can find for this review is that he has a right to post it. That's it. There's nothing of his negative points that aligns with my experience after about 60 games. It has more strategic decisions than 98 percent of the games I've ever played. I have never had a single game where I felt luck was the factor in which player won. This really seems like the OP made a blind draw out of his collection when he wanted to do a negative review. This game shouldn't have been the choice.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for elucidating why I don't like this game. Your review pointed out all the aspects I sensed but didn't bother taking the time to explain to myself. Fortunately I don't own it and don't have to play it any more times than I have. The times I did play it, I completely agree with you about its tediousness. Please, please be over.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Chen
United States
California
flag msg tools
I am from Taiwan.
badge
This is my wife.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just have to say that maybe my family aren't the best Kingdom "Builders" out there...haha...erm... *cough*

My sister-in-law started her game with 2 desert cards in the end she won!

So yea, the criticism of starting with 2 cards of the same type is only true when it is played at a highly competitive level where all players are great players.

But I suspect those people who emphasize on this probably didn't get enough plays to get there yet. But this is purely IMHO.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick C.
United States
Milford
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Because I served, I will resist
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I could have written this after my first play. KB can give very bad first impressions. Some games absolutely require several plays to fully understand. Ironically, it's frequently some of the most simple games! Other examples include Paris Connection and Ingenious.

I always say there are a million reasons to dislike a game. KB is dry. And that's fair. But almost everything else in this review is demonstrably false. And I say that as someone who once felt the same way as the reviewer.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
travvller wrote:
Some games absolutely require several plays to fully understand. Ironically, it's frequently some of the most simple games! Other examples include Paris Connection and Ingenious.

Maybe b/c there is a subtlety to the strategy, rules and game dynamics that takes a while to appreciate. As opposed to "simple games" that are absolutely devoid of "subtlety" like LCR devil
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ted Magdzinski
United States
Charlotte
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not going to pile on the reviewer, as I can completely see why someone won't like this game, but the tactical decisions you make during the game are pretty evident. The single card draw forces you to make decisions within those constraints and I find that an elegant mechanic.

The comparisons someone made to Carcassonne are quite apt and I never really thought about it before. Nobody complains about the single tile draw in Carcassonne.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ScubaSteveKzoo wrote:
I'm not going to pile on the reviewer, as I can completely see why someone won't like this game, but the tactical decisions you make during the game are pretty evident. The single card draw forces you to make decisions within those constraints and I find that an elegant mechanic.

I think that's all the rest of us are saying too. I'm all for negative reviews, but several of the criticisms in this one are just plain wrong.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Beiter
United States
Tonawanda
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To touch on your point of why not just have a terrain die instead of a deck of cards, it is because they want to keep the terrains built upon even. They want the same amount of each card to be drawn amongst all players.
If you rolled a die, then there would be a huge imbalance on what terrains are built on, and some could be nearly vacant.

We think of the "flowers" as flower fields. A dense field with a lot of wildflowers, maybe some trees. Not as dense as a forest, but not as sparse as open plains.
They needed a terrain that could support the construction of building and yet be different enough from the others visually and still be a viable place to build.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Chen
United States
California
flag msg tools
I am from Taiwan.
badge
This is my wife.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
travvller wrote:
I could have written this after my first play...And I say that as someone who once felt the same way as the reviewer.

I will have to agree. For the first 3 games of KB I was like "meh".

The 4th game something just lights up in my head and went "ding!"

Now I love it as it is, without any variant involved.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Beiter
United States
Tonawanda
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
P.S. What is Marmite???
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
MajaiofDreams wrote:
P.S. What is Marmite???
The internet knows!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
russ wrote:
MajaiofDreams wrote:
P.S. What is Marmite???
The internet knows!

And, in context, it's a "love-it/hate-it" food. I personally love it, spread thinly on buttered toast. Others are absolutely disgusted by it devil
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
farmergiles wrote:
your game could just go down the drain because dumb luck screwed you over. And luck is not something that should be present in an abstract game. How much luck does Chess, The Duke and Hive have?

I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment, surprised no one has pointed it out yet... maybe I'm the only one who has played/read the rules to The Duke.

But, The Duke is an arguably more abstract game than KB, yet, The Duke DOES indeed have luck! Remember, you draw your new pieces out of a bag. If that's not luck, I don't know what is If your opponent draws a more powerful piece or more appropriate to what they want to do, and you draw a relatively useless piece, you do get somewhat screwed over by luck.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ted Magdzinski
United States
Charlotte
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JohnnyDollar wrote:
farmergiles wrote:
your game could just go down the drain because dumb luck screwed you over. And luck is not something that should be present in an abstract game. How much luck does Chess, The Duke and Hive have?

I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment, surprised no one has pointed it out yet... maybe I'm the only one who has played/read the rules to The Duke.

But, The Duke is an arguably more abstract game than KB, yet, The Duke DOES indeed have luck! Remember, you draw your new pieces out of a bag. If that's not luck, I don't know what is If your opponent draws a more powerful piece or more appropriate to what they want to do, and you draw a relatively useless piece, you do get somewhat screwed over by luck.
And that exactly why The Duke is my favorite abstract.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   |