This past weekend I had the opportunity to play a few good games. It’s certainly been a little while since we’ve been able to wrangle some time from the calendar for such idle pastimes, but it was very much enjoyed!
In among the litany of older games that hit the table, my gaming compadre James and I also managed to get in a few new games, and I thought some of these deserved special mention, so today we’ll begin with:
There is not much that can be written about this game that hasn’t already be written, it’s one of ‘those’ games that hits the game market like a tempest of expectation and hype, reviews on release were plentiful, and from what I’d read, dripping with praise. A portion of my cynical nature supposed this to be largely hype driven hyperbole, Donald Vaccarino certainly has his share of fans following his smash success ‘Dominion’ - and any game with his name on the box is going to garner attention regardless of its idiosyncratic merit. In short: I was fully prepared to find this game overhyped.
I was surprised. Kingdom Builder is a simple game: play a card, put some pieces down, maybe use a special power; no intricate network of interlocking mechanisms and rules here.
Despite and also because of this simplicity Kingdom Builder is actually a highly enjoyable game, while the actual ‘what you do on your turn’ rules are straightforward, there are some extra elements on the board that make for a nice level of thought and engagement. It is, in other words, an excellent game that feels like it lasts just the ‘right’ amount of time. In fact, it’s one I’m seriously considering buying - and I normally don’t buy games that James owns (since I can just play them with him). Kingdom Builder has the dual honor of being both one of the simplest games I’ve played in a long time, and also one of the best.
Congratulations to Mr. Vaccarino, I tip my hat to you and humbly swallow my cynical thoughts. Kingdom Builder is a light and truly enjoyable game.