Renegade Game Studios Renegade Game Studio | Architects of the West Kingdom | Board Game | Ages 12+ | 1 to 5 Players | 60 to 80 Minutes Playing Time
About this deal
First, the concept of getting more at a spot as you have more workers there is a nice change from the norm.
I really like games on the heavier end of the complexity scale, and because I’d played Paladins and Viscounts first, I was worried that Architects might feel a bit too light for me to really enjoy. With quick turns, strong mechanics, a wide variety of apprentices to hire and buildings to construct, and an overall playtime ranging from around 1-2 hours (depending on how many players you have and how experienced they are), Architects is something that you can come back to again and again. Note that in that final round, players can still take the Guildhall action even though all the spaces are filled. For context I already own some garphill games (Viscounts, paladins, raiders of scythia and hadrian's wall) and absolutely love all of them, all firmly in my top solo games! The game offers the same fulfilling choices as Raiders of the North Sea, while upping the stakes with implementation of the Virtue track.Also, we could either find some two player variants on the internet or turn to a solo game if we don’t have anyone to play with. Throughout the game, you can gather resources, cards, build buildings, hire Townsfolk, arrest your opponent’s workers to hinder their engine and then lock them up for money. A worker sent to build allows the player to work either on the Cathedral or build one of their own building plans, giving them either an instantaneous effect or another way to score points or virtue at game’s end, as well as an amount of VP for building it. The crux of a turn in Architects sees you place one of your workers onto the board at one of the locations.
The North Sea Trilogy is well loved by many with Raiders of the North Sea being highly rated and recently turned into an app. Each player takes a player board and a set of workers in their colour, placing all 20 onto their board. This deluxe Collector's Box is designed to fit Architects, Works of Wonder, Age of Artisans, and all additional content, such as promos and metal coins. It didn’t have to be so – it’s not something due to game design but rather skimping out on supporting materials for players.Architects is fun with two, but at its best with three and four players, so being able to play a three-player game when there’s only two of you around a table is a really nice touch. The first worker you place in the forest gives you one wood; if you put a second worker there it’s two wood, and so on.
A third option: you can pay 5x silver (2x of these to Tax) to retrieve your workers trapped on a Player Board. Architects of the West Kingdom is a very good game but I confess my heart sank when I first opened the box. I’ve often pointed out that the big issue in usability for board gaming is the lack of anything resembling a consistent design language. Wanting to keep your noble status, you set to work gathering resources and money, endeavouring to build the most impressive buildings and landmarks in the Kingdom. Architects of the West Kingdom takes a typical Eurogame and gives it a shot of red-blooded Americana.There is a bit of meeple management that needs to occur in the game – it is possible to have all of your meeples tied up at action spots, jail and on other player’s boards. The winner is the player who acquires the most victory points from a combination of buildings, Cathedral progress, their position on the Virtue track, any unpaid debts, and any game-end VP conditions among their buildings. Phillips has thought of every eventuality, from double-sided player boards to aid replay-ability, down to multiplier cards for mid-game resource scarcity. What this leads to is a constant ramping-up of power, and therefore creates a need to slow down your opponents.
There’s a pair of expansions which give you even more to explore, along with the Tomesaga which lets you play the West Kingdom Trilogy as either co-operative games, or as a single campaign. Shem Phillips and Garphill Games are rapidly becoming one of the most consistent publishers of board games. This can range from gaining money and other resources to building part of the cathedral or another building. Renegade has done a good job with this one, and this one has me looking forward to the next directional game from them after this and Raiders of the North Sea series.It should be mandatory for publishers to include score pads in games with multitudes of scoring opportunities and no scoring track.