I Rolled Three 1s: A Review of Kingsburg

In Kingsburg you take on the role of a lord sent from the king to administer frontier territories. That role involves building different structures in your territory to earn points. The game takes place over 5 years for a total of 20 turns. At the end of each year you must battle enemies that include goblins, orcs, and zombies. Building structures requires resources.  Those resources are gained by influencing appropriate council members. Will you influence the right council members? Will you defeat the enemies? Will your territory be the best? Try it out by playing Kingsburg.

The board looks beautiful!

The game comes with a spectacular board, numerous dice in 6 different colors, several sets of colored cubes to represent different resources, player tokens to mark structures that have been built, cards to represent the enemies that will be faced at the end of each year, and player mats that list the structures that each player can build.

This game has a very interesting mechanic of dice placement. All the players role their colored dice. Then one at a time those dice are placed on an advisor location on the board. For example, the advisor in the #1 spot would require someone to have rolled a 1 with one of their dice. Also, the advisor in the #10 spot would require any combination of dice that total to 10. No two players can take the same advisor on any one turn.  Once all the dice have been placed, then each player gains the
appropriate resources, points, or tokens.  I think it is a very fun mechanic that requires you to adjust your strategy from
turn to turn based on your dice rolls.

Here’s What I Like:

Dice Mechanic: As I just mentioned, the unique dice mechanic is very strategically interesting. I really enjoy how you have to try and make the most of your dice each turn. Do you try to block other people? Do you try to maximize your resources? Do you go for victory points? There are many options which make this mechanic a fun one!

Paths to Victory: I should state a disclaimer here and say that the only way to win is by having the most victory points.  However, I say there are different paths to victory because of the options of structures that you can build. You could play the game many different ways and still be able to be the winner.  Each structure gives the player a different benefit so it is up to the player which series of benefits they would like in the game.

Here’s What I Dislike:

Replayability: Unfortunately I feel that after 10 plays or so this game begins to feel monotonous. While the game itself is very fun, I feel that it would become the same thing over and over.  On the plus side, the game designers also have an expansion called “Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm,” which includes components that increase replayability drastically.

Dice Mechanic: I know that I mentioned it as something I like, so why is it here as well? I’m not a huge fan of games that can be won or lost based on luck. And this game is one of those. Sure, you can build the right structures to allow for re-rolls or other benefits, but I’ve played games where I constantly rolled low numbers and couldn’t make any progress. That’s frustrating.

Designer Perspective: What I would change:

The biggest problem for me is that the dice can go very strongly for or against you. Yes, you can use structures like the Market to adjust a die roll, but it can be better than that. One simple change could be very beneficial: If you roll less than10 you can flip one die over to the bottom side. So a 1 would become a 6, a 2 would become a 5 and so on. I think this rule would allow for more flexibility. The downside is that it could add to the AP in the game.

Beer Pairing:

Everyone loves building a kingdom. And everyone loves castles. So I’m recommending a beer brand that I learned about from the esteemed designer of Jump Gate, Matt Worden.

Matt, who lives in Minnesota, has mentioned Castle Danger brewery in the past. And since Kingsburg is based on the idea of building a territory around a castle I feel it is appropriate enough for this beer pairing. While I have not had any Castle Danger beer I know that I enjoy a cream ale. And a cream ale would go well with this lightish game. So today’s preferred beer pairing is Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale.

Overall Rating:

While I enjoy the game I’ve gotten to the point that it is very samey over and over. It’s relatively simple to learn and play. The artwork is outstanding. The dice mechanic is great. And it’s a lot of fun. But I would recommend also buying the To Forge A Realm expansion. At this point I’ll rate Kingsburg a 7 out of 10 on the BGG scale:

Good game, usually willing to play.

Good game, usually willing to play.


Posted on October 4, 2013, in Board Game Reviews, Board Games, The Boards and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ed – the expansion for Kingsburg makes the game DRAMATICALLY better. I was growing tired of it and the expansion bumped it up in complexity/replayability nicely

  1. Pingback: Today in Board Games – Issue #60

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