Game Night Report #22

Game Night Report

I’ve had the opportunity to play some great games lately! Featured in this edition of Game Night Report are The King is Dead, Ninja Camp and Sovrano!

The King is Dead

Photo from ospreypublishing.com

Photo from ospreypublishing.com

One night late at work while activity was low, Shon, Justin, and I sat down to try out The King is Dead by Osprey Games. None of us had played it before, but I had been excited to try it ever since purchasing it several months back. I reread and explained the rules to my coworkers and we got down to it.

In The King is Dead there are eight regions being contested by 3 factions after the death of King Arthur; the Romano-British, the Welsh, and the Scots. Players do not control these factions, but instead recruit followers from each. When one faction seizes control, the player with the most followers from that faction wins. There is, of course, a little more to it than that, but in a nut shell that’s the object of the game.

The King is Dead 3

Players each have an identical hand of cards with actions that can be played. The actions can rearrange cubes on the board, bring in more cubes of a certain color to reinforce an area, or even change the order in which regions are resolved. After a player plays an action card they may take a cube from the board and add it to their court/followers. One must be careful though… take too many of a certain color and you will weaken them to the point that they might not win the war.

In the purple region in the image below red will win control of the region if left alone. When it comes time to resolve that region since red has the most cubes, all will be removed and a red token will be placed to show that the Welsh have gained control of that region. To the northeast of that The Romano-British have already claimed Londinium. Regions that end with a tie are too weak to defend themselves from the Saxons and these invaders gain control of the region. Too many Saxon victories can cause the game to end prematurely.

The King is Dead 2

In our game both Shon and I played a heavy Romano-British game, betting on them from the start and amassing followers of that faction. I tried to grab a few Welsh as backup plan since they looked powerful as well. Justin went with a more well-rounded approach and grabbed some of each. The game was a lot of fun and forces players to strike a balance between supporting one faction, taking those faction members into your own court and leaving enough of them on the board so that they can win the war.

Outcome – Shon and I were tied for the most Romano-British (yellow cubes), and since the Welsh had the second most regions at game’s end they were the tie breaker. I had one more Welsh follower than Shon and so I won. It helped that I was the only one to have read the rulebook, I’m sure.

Sovrano

Photo from cambiumgames.com

Photo from cambiumgames.com

Nick from Cambium Games sent me a copy of Sovrano to do a review on (coming soon) and very recently my wife, Maile, and I sat down to play it. Sovrano is an abstract game that is handmade of high quality wood. The board is absolutely gorgeous and the pieces are unique. Players start with a king, 8 guards and 2 archers, each with different rules for moving and attacking. Sound like a simple version of chess? Wrong!

Sovrano 3

***Sovrano will be launching on Kickstarter soon – stay tuned to FDR for more details***

You may have noticed the three symbols at the center of the board (did I mention the board is beautiful?) comprised of 2 towers on the outside edges and a throne in the middle. The towers provide 1 point each to the player(s) who control them at the beginning of their turn, so gaining and maintaining control of them is very important. Controlling the throne space in the middle with one’s king piece is how the game ends. Well, it’s one of the ways; the other way is to kill the opponent’s king, which is an automatic victory. The player whose king takes the throne gets an additional 3 points and ends the game. In the case of a king taking the throne, the player with the most points wins.

Sovrano

The game play is easy to learn but there is a lot of depth and strategy to the game. Archers can only attack with a clear line of sight 2 spaces diagonal from themselves, and guards can counterattack as an out-of-turn action if in the correct position. The game allows for players to move up to 3 pieces in a turn, further adding to the players’ ability to make long term plans and maneuver into position. Sovrano is an outstanding blend of strategy and area control that is both fun to play and beautiful to look at.

Sovrano 2

***Sovrano will be launching on Kickstarter soon – stay tuned to FDR for more details***

In our first game of Sovrano, Maile and I battled back and forth, trading pieces for several turns as we sought control of the towers. I had the initial lead but Maile’s well-placed archers began to turn the tide of battle. I began moving my king forward slowly to get into position to take the throne!

Outcome – I won 7 points to 4 after taking the throne!

Ninja Camp

Photo from actionphasegames.com

Photo from actionphasegames.com

I had been looking forward to playing Ninja Camp for quite some time, and I recently got to play it with Trudi, Nicolle, and Cam. In Ninja Camp players attempt to move their ninja-shaped meeples around the playing area, which is made up of cards laid out symmetrically, all the while taking cards for the abilities and point value and avoiding obstacles, spaces in the player area, and traps.

Having never played the game I clumped my ninjas up a little too much at the beginning of the game and didn’t choose cards with a high enough value. Certain cards have good abilities while others are worth more victory points at the end of the game. When a player moves one of their ninjas, the player takes the card that the ninja started on and adds it to his/her hand. The player can later use that card to give his ninjas leverage in navigating the player area.

Ninja Camp 2

Ninja Camp is a small box game that packs a lot of punch. Each player’s ninjas are in a different color and different martial arts pose, further adding to the flavor of the game. The abilities granted by cards are great and forces players to plan ahead. You could Leap now or save it for later when the board gets more congested and full of holes, for example. Should you land on this card or that card so that you can use it in future turns? Which will be more useful?

Photo from actionphasegames.com

Photo from actionphasegames.com

At the end of the game players add up the point value of the cards they have acquired and the player with the most points wins! The game is easy to learn and fast paced. Our game ended in less than 30 minutes.

Outcome – Cam won with me coming in 2 points behind him in second place. I almost had a perfect score in this edition of GNR and Cam screwed it up!

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