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Subject: Sparky Speaks: King & Assassins rss

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Shawn Sparks
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Dayton
Ohio
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Pictured: Setup for a standard game.


King & Assassins is a fantasy themed bluffing game. If you would like to read a general description of how the game is played please see the OVERVIEW section below. If you would simply like to read my PROS & CONS along with my FINAL THOUGHTS you can checkout those topics near the bottom of this post.

OVERVIEW
This game is for 2 players, one playing the Assassins and the other playing the King and his Knights. The game is played over a maximum of 15 rounds, which is tracked by an equal number of round cards. The Assassins win the game if they are able to defeat the King or prevent the King from entering the castle by the end of round 15. Eliminating assassins can be done by capturing citizens or by defeating known assassins. The King wins the game by eliminating all 3 assassins or by entering the castle before the end of round 15.

The gridded double-sided game board consists of town squares with 1 or 2 entrances into the castle and several rooftops. The King and his Knights setup on designated spots located throughout the board. Specifically, the King will always be placed a good distance from the castle entrance(s). Likewise, the citizens setup on designated spots that are also located throughout the board. The Assassin player then secretly chooses 3 corresponding citizen cards to be the hidden assassins. Assassins are only revealed when the player chooses to do so or when the final hidden assassin is captured by a Knight.

Round cards are flipped at the start of each round indicating the number of action points (AP) a player can take. These cards have an AP number ranging from 5-7 for Knights, 1-2 for the King, and 4-5 for the citizens/assassins. Players can spend these action points to move, attack an adjacent target, and capture citizens (Knights only). Here is a brief summary of these actions:
• Capturing a single citizen can only be done when a Fetters icon is revealed on a round card.
• Attacking the King requires 2 AP and requires two hits to defeat him.
• Only two Knights can be attacked per round. The first Knight requires 1 AP to defeat, while the second requires 2 AP to defeat.
• Knights only need to spend 1 AP to defeat an assassin.
• The AP cost of moving onto and off a rooftop can vary depending upon the character type (the King cannot move onto a rooftop).

Additionally there are some rules for shoving that can only be done by a Knight. This basically allows Knights to shove citizens (not Knights) around the board with a few simple restrictions such as you cannot shove onto a rooftop or off the board entirely.

So in general that is how the game is played. Here are my PROS & CONS.

PROS:
• The rules are simple and quick to read. They provide plenty of examples with illustrations and keynotes. Each player also has their own reference sheet to place in front of them for quick access to movement and attack rules. These reference sheets have everything you need on them to play the game without ever opening the rulebook.
• Its easy to teach and learn. I think you can put this game on the shelf for over a year and still be ready to play again within 5 minutes.
• The artwork on the citizen cards and markers is fantastic. The game board has kind of a simple layout, but it looks nice as well.
• Although very simple to learn and teach this game has a fair amount of strategy for its weight.
• The play time is very quick. I’ve played some very intense games in 20 minutes and walked away thinking about what I could have done differently.
• The box is small enough to transport and take on the road. The game easily fits into a small backpack.
• There is a decent amount of strategy in this game. Planning your moves and when to attack takes a lot of thought if you want to be successful.

CONS:
• I think this is the kind of game that you play once or twice and then leave it alone for awhile. By that I mean if you play it too much over a short period of time it could get kind of stale.
• Considering the retail cost of this game (or at least what I paid for it), I would expect to get a little more for my money. I don’t know if real miniatures (instead of the Candyland style cardboard punchouts) were ever an option for the publisher, but it would have been nice. Maybe the card artwork is easier to match up with the punchouts, but if that is the case then I expect a much lower price point.
• The bluffing aspect of this game for the assassins can only be done so much. You only have 15 rounds and a limited number of AP to get the job done. At some point late in the game you just have to reveal yourself and go for it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
This game is very simple and fast playing with a lot of strategy. You really have to put some thought into where you are moving and when to do this or when to do that. I kind of see this as a strategic filler with some fun bluffing tactics. So if you are looking for a game with those qualities then give it a try. Using the BGG rating guide I’m giving King & Assassins a good score of 7 out of 10 with a light medium weight of 2 for its strategy.
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Manuel Pasi
Switzerland
Zürich
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Very good review.

I agree with most of the pros and cons exact the "complaint" about the price. Considering that this game is published by a minuscule publisher I think it's very understandable that this game can't be much cheaper.
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Victor J
Australia
Sydney
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A good review, agree with most of the points raised.

Interestingly there is a different feel in playing both sides - the King can play a power game, bullying their way up the board, whereas the assassin player has to be cunning as to when revealing the assassins.
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