Designed by Henry Audubon | Published by 25th Century Games
1-5 Players | 15-45 Minutes
Join a guild, boost up your character and venture into the forrest to defeat monsters to earn fame and honor in this family-friendly, light RPG adventure game
In Kingswood, you’re competing against other prominent village guilds to be the first to reach 20 fame points. You do this by earning coins and powering up your character with health, weapons and magic book tokens. Spend your tokens by taking on a variety of monsters, each with different requirements necessary to defeat them.
To setup the game, each player must choose a guild to start their adventure. Choose between the Silver Shield, Krom!, The Arcanum, Treetop Order, House of Music and Murder of Crows. Each guild features a unique starting token set to help you on your way.
The scoring board is placed in the middle with a set of 6 location boards placed around it. Each location represents a place you can gain new abilities, refuel exhausted skills and attack monsters. Players will choose 5 common locations and one of nine special location offering unique opportunities for all players.
You then place 3 adventurer meeples on 3 specific location boards. These form a rondel mechanism that allows limited access to certain locations as you attempt to move them clockwise and counter clockwise around the set of 6 locations on your turn. There is also a king’s guard meeple that comes into play working to deny players access to certain locations as the game goes along.
Much of the game is about bagging the biggest, meanest monsters. The monster deck is broken into 2 phases: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. Chapter 1 cards are determined by the player count. They are placed facedown on top of the Chapter 2 deck and then 3 cards are revealed… the 3 monsters available to attack.
Once the characters, monster cards and boards are in place, players take turns exploring and collecting. On your turn you choose one of the three adverturer meeples to use. Players will then take the ability featured on the meeples’ current location (giving you additional resources, allowing you to recharge exhausted tokens, etc.) and then moving the meeple to an adjacent location around the circle. Players may move freely to an empty neighboring location, but will have to pay to travel further. The location housing the king’s guard is off limits to the adventurer meeple, but can be removed instead of moving an adventurer on your turn (earning the player 2 coins).
The forrest location allows you to attack monsters. When choosing an adventurer who interacts with the forrest location you’ll have the ability to tackle as many available monsters as you have the means to defeat. Monsters are defeated by spending your hearts, weapons, magic books and sometimes coin. These tokens are considered exhausted and must be refilled before you can use them again. Some monsters provide bonuses in addition to fame points.
Certain Chapter 1 monsters can provide additional end game points when paired with additional Chapter 2 monsters.
Play continues until one player reaches 20 fame points. Afterwards player count up their fame points along with additional bonuses they may have achieved and a winner is declared.
COMPONENTS & ARTWORK
The games components are a bit of mixed bag. The location and game boards are acceptable and the guild and monster cards are good, but the resource token are very light weight and are sometimes hard to handle. The meeples are light weight, but they are screen printed for coolness and seem to work fine. The artwork for the game is good… more kid friendly and the monsters are anything but terrifying.
I was pleasantly surprised by Kingswood. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but it turns out to be a high-accessible adventure game that works well for kids and adults. There is a very light RPG element. Building up your character is simple and fun and makes the pursuit and conquer of the monsters straightforward and achievable.
The board’s rondel mechanism gives the game a unique twist and bit of a strategic edge, forcing you often to make challenging decisions when your options are limited. The king’s guard is always causing trouble limited players entrance into his location. There was always a bit of standoff around the game table as to who would be the poor schmuck who finally gives in and removes the guard. There’s always the option to move the adventurer meeples in a way that limits your opponents access adding additional layers to the game play. I wouldn’t call it hate movement because players can always gain something on their turn, but it is fun to cause a little trouble.
I found myself playing this game way more than expected – mainly due to my kids repeatedly asking for it. The game benefits from a super simple setup and that makes it hard to say no. Overall, the game has a breezy feel to it. Upgrading your character is fun and easy. The challenge really comes in the planning and manipulation of the meeples on the board. A little luck of the draw comes into play as well. You’ll want to hit the forrest at just the right time to defeat as many monsters as possible. The 15-45 minute time frame on the box is pretty accurate, so the game packs a good amount of adventure in a small time frame.
At this point, hopefully it’s clear that players looking for that deep dungeon crawler/rpg are going to need to look elsewhere. But while it’s not super deep, I found Kingswood enjoyable for what it is. While it may not for everyone, it might be right for more people than you think. Sure, you’ll find much more enjoyment if the fantasy theme appeals to you, but I wouldn’t say it’s a requirement to appreciate Kingswood.
This is a gateway game for kids, but it’s also a gateway game for kids at heart. It appeals because of its ease of play and the rondel mechanic will seem fun and fresh. Pull your kids away from the tv, unplug the video games and introduce them to Kingswood.