Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

King's Forge» Forums » Reviews

Subject: King's Forge -- First Impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Scott Laughlin
United States
Vienna
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
My edition of King's Forge arrived last week. We had the opportunity to experience it for the first time yesterday. Here are my first impressions.

Unboxing

King's Forge has many components and they all arrive in an attractive, sturdy square box worthy of any game shelf or cabinet. The exterior art is attractive and indicative of what's waiting inside.

Individual components are packaged in a logical way, with all of the myriad dice sorted by color in their own zip lock bag. Zip locks are my preferred storage tool, so I was pleased to see so many inside. The cards arrived shrink-wrapped tightly, preventing any damage to corners and edges from shipping jostle.

I got the Kickstarter edition, so mine arrived with tuck boxes for component storage. These tuck-boxes replace the simple, and not particularly useful, cardboard insert and are attractive components unto themselves. I don't know whether or not these will be standard in later or retail editions, so if you don't have them, the cardboard insert will have to do.

The components are all high-quality and quite attractive. The attention to detail and theme are quite high and are a vast improvement over the demo versions shown in the introductory videos. The art in this game is some of the best I've seen in a long while, making up for the possibility that cards could be thicker or in some way better than they already are. (The cards are candidates for sleeves, given how much they are moved and shuffled; the tuck boxes are oversized to account for this option.)

A note on the Dice: If you know anything about this game, you know that dice are a major part of the game. A lot of them come in the box. I've seen threads questioning the dice size. At 12mm, they are small. If you're a dice-meister, that might disappoint you. I have a contrarian view: I'm pleased the dice are appropriately sized for their primary function, namely as resource markers. (See Game Play.) If one wants to pick on the dice, I'd pick on the colors. The dice are translucent and modestly marbled. The result is that the colors (another important factor) are muted and in less-than-bright light muted enough to be confusing.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that the game also comes with a great first player marker in the form of an actual anvil. This piece, which qualifies as the game's only "miniature", brought a smile to my face.

Game Play

In short, King's Forge is deep. After reading the rules, I expected to have a pretty linear experience playing -- one action dictating a particular following action, and so on. In our first two games, such linearity did not result. Rather, the range of choices were at times downright overwhelming. This diversity of choice makes King's Forge a strategist's game (but with a twist -- see below).

Much has been written on the depth of strategy games like Puerto Rico, for example, however in such games there are certain things you "should do" in response to certain conditions and actions. Knowing these steps has a material impact on the likely outcome. In King's Forge, there really are many different paths one can legitimately pursue to victory and, perhaps more interesting, your strategy choices can change on a dime if you're presented with an unexpected card, dice roll or action from a competing player. This keeps you on your toes, if not perhaps even a bit frustrated as you see your scheming fall apart just a few moments after being formed.

So, what mechanics are being employed to make this gaming environment possible? I think it boils down to interplay between three: "worker" placement, resource management and luck.

In some sense, King's Forge is a worker placement game because you use the dice in your control to "buy" the various benefits and resources you need or want for future actions. By placing dice on various places in the Village (the Docks, the Jeweler, the Mines, the Forest, etc.), you accumulate various needed resources or modifiers. Because dice are relatively scare, and choices relatively plentiful, you must think through which actions benefit you most while also keeping an eye of which could disproportionately benefit opponents.

The dice you have to place, however, depend on how you manage the dice you have and use them to accumulate more. This makes resource cultivation and management equally important. You start the game with five "Metal" (Black) Dice. Most items desired by the King require other resources such as Wood (Green), Gems (Red), and Magic (Blue). How you parley your initial dice into other, more numerous and varied resources requires a great deal of forethought.

Confounding all this planning and management, of course, is luck. And a healthy dose of it too. First, there's luck of the draw -- which locations in the village you can place dice depends on the card order in a deck that's shuffled each round, as well as which items the King wants forged in the form of an items deck. Second, you face luck of the roll -- not only must you have resource enough to make something the King wants, you also require dice rolls high enough to forge the item. Finally, there's pressing your luck -- the longer you wait to forge items, the more complex the items you can forge. The sooner you pounce, however, the more likely you are to forge the number of items necessary to win the game.

If that sounds like a lot of luck to you, you're right. The relatively strong influence of luck in King's Forge leads to my only caution about the game: if you can't stomach fate punishing well-laid plans, then perhaps King's Forge isn't for you. In our second game, for example, I had dice more than sufficient to forge two items in one turn -- a major advance toward victory -- yet, the outcomes of rolling those dice wasn't sufficient to craft either. Was I frustrated? Yes. Did I ultimately lose? Yes. Was I discouraged from playing again? Heck no! Despite feeling the wrath of the dice gods, I couldn't wait to set back up and go again.

Final Thoughts

In summary, I highly recommend trying King's Forge. King's Forge is a beautiful game, both inside and out. Game play is complex, diverse, strategic and engaging. You have to adjust your thinking with every turn of a new card or roll of a die. All of the requisite thinking is made all the more pleasant by the eye candy which is the art. These qualities make King's Forge a great option for tabletop gamers that prefer medium+ game experiences, appreciate theme, and value long-term replay-ability.
28 
 Thumb up
3.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Sibicky

Washington
msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Wonderful review, thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Juneau
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmb
Nice review.

By the way, what size card sleeves are required for those that wish to use them?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Rhind
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
875 020 079
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scott, well done. I've playing the PnP of this for quite some time as I missed the KS. One of my favorites! When it hits CSI (I assume it will) I will definitely upgrade my game to the "real thing." Can't wait to review it on my new YouTube channel and site in the coming weeks and months ahead.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Geringer
United States
Forestburgh
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jeffrhind wrote:
Scott, well done. I've playing the PnP of this for quite some time as I missed the KS. One of my favorites! When it hits CSI (I assume it will) I will definitely upgrade my game to the "real thing." Can't wait to review it on my new YouTube channel and site in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Ohh, you are doing to be waiting a long time if you are waiting for it on CSI. Apparently, the game designer suggested you need to go to a FLGS if you want a copy as if we all have one right next door.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Laughlin
United States
Vienna
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for the feedback folks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Oakley
United States
Brandon
Mississippi
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PonSquared wrote:
jeffrhind wrote:
Scott, well done. I've playing the PnP of this for quite some time as I missed the KS. One of my favorites! When it hits CSI (I assume it will) I will definitely upgrade my game to the "real thing." Can't wait to review it on my new YouTube channel and site in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Ohh, you are doing to be waiting a long time if you are waiting for it on CSI. Apparently, the game designer suggested you need to go to a FLGS if you want a copy as if we all have one right next door.

Should be available on gamesalute's website I think, right? If not, that's unfortunate.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gardner
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Says: "Sold out"
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles A. Smith
United States
Olathe
Kansas
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Game arrived in excellent condition. Opened the box, cards, dice, and Queen's Jubilee deck. My immediate reaction?

WOW! (...pause) WOW!

Thanks to Clever Mojo Games and Game Salute for producing a high quality King's Forge. Backing King's Forge on Kickstarter was one of my smarter choices, and renews my confidence in everyone involved. Anyone thinking about Kickstarter should take a look at their page to see how it's done right.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamesalute/kings-forge?...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Starling Games
United States
Londonderry
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Glad that you're all enjoying the game - and yes, while it's sold out at our warehouse, you should still be able to get your hands on it from local game stores. Be quick though - there's not many copies around.

Michael
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
You can't handle the truth?
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Greybear wrote:
Anyone thinking about Kickstarter should take a look at their page to see how it's done right.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamesalute/kings-forge?...

And if you want to see how it's done wrong, look at most of their other Kickstarters?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles A. Smith
United States
Olathe
Kansas
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yea, a great Kickstarter for Game Salute, redeeming them for problems with the Card game of Oz. Not sure if you (Curt) have King's Forge. The tuck boxes are essentially useless but reflect the developer's eagerness to do right by his subscribers. The sparkly dice are not necessary either, but the chrome it adds is terrific. I was really surprised by the quality of all the components. Now I wish I had ordered two sets, because this baby is going to worth something down the line.
laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Howell
United States
Lenexa
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review, thanks. Should I avoid buying this if my playing partner is a little AP prone?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Laughlin
United States
Vienna
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Nice review, thanks. Should I avoid buying this if my playing partner is a little AP prone?

Good question. Possible, however it's not a complete brain burner. There's value in thinking ahead, however everything's right out in the open and, in the end, the dice rolls will drive the ultimate results.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Howell
United States
Lenexa
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My playing partner plays Seasons, Bruges, and London. Would you say KF is about on the same complexity level? He does get stuck in AP at times, not all the time but sometimes. Last time we played Bruges his last turn took over 10 minutes LOL.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls