Bill
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East Haven
Connecticut
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The Edict of King Budeaunia: Unearthing some quirky, fun worker placement.

Once upon a time, King Budeaunia had a wonderful dream; a vision of a relaxing hot spring in which he could relax all day long. This dream became an obsession, and now the king is willing to hand over his throne to the first person who can discover such a hot spring. Armed with little more than a shovel and some chutzpa, you and a throng of other ambitious souls dig deep into the earth hoping to uncover the warming waters that will transform you into instant royalty. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that giant frogs and dragons live under the ground and most assuredly will try and eat your face. Hey buddy, you dropped your shovel... why are you running away?




The Edict of King Budeaunia is a worker placement game for 2 to 6 players in which you dig down through stacks of tiles in search of a pair of hot springs located somewhere in the bottom third of each stack. Should one player discover both springs, the game immediately ends with their victory. If separate players each uncover one hot spring, then the winner is one with the most victory points between the two. Your workers earn victory points by acquiring treasures and defeating subterranean monsters as they tunnel downward.

Each player begins with two workers at their disposal. These workers can be placed near one of the dig sites (stacks of tiles) to interact with the tiles in one of four ways.

The first way is to investigate the dig site by peeking at the top 3 tiles. While investigating, any monsters and Kantrome stones (extra tough layers of rock that require two workers in tandem to remove) are flipped up earning you 2 coins each for the discovery. All other tiles remain face down. While this is a great way to learn what the dig site holds and earn some money, it also gives your opponents some information about the tiles that they can then capitalize on if you are not careful.

The second thing your workers can do at a dig site is, unsurprisingly, to dig. Digging up a tile can reveal treasure, precious minerals, potentially dangerous underground rivers, Kantrome stones, and monsters, all of which can potentially earn you points, coins, or a combination of the two. If you have already investigated the stack or watched one of your opponents do so, you should know what to expect. You can also dig blindly, hoping to grab something good before it becomes common knowledge, but being surprised by a cave-dwelling beast or stumbling into a rushing underground river can send your worker to the hospital.


To the left: Some of the surprises you will uncover as you dig, including a Kantrome stone, a Goblin, a Mineral Deposit, a Treasure Chest, and below, an Underground River and one of the two Hot Springs.

If you have two workers available you can place them together at a dig site and detonate a Kantrome stone (I would like to take a moment to confess that I have no idea what a Kantrome stone is or how some medieval townsfolk could successfully detonate one, so let's just call it magic and move on). There can be a real benefit to timing this explosion just right, since when it blows, you not only remove the Kantrome stone as an obstacle but you also earn two coins for each visible Kantrome stone on all dig sites.

The last action your workers can take is to fight. Move them to a dig site and roll the six-sided combat die to battle the monster on top of the stack. Roll the pickaxe symbol and you have successfully bopped your foe on the head; add a gold coin token (worth 5 coins) to the tile to show the damage (Once there are gold coin tokens equal to the creatures health on the tile, you have won and take the tile as a trophy) and roll again if they are still kicking. If you roll the monster symbol, your worker is wounded and moved directly to the hospital. Rolling the crossed swords symbol does nothing unless you had the foresight to hire a guard at the beginning of the current turn, if you did your guard scores a hit on your foe for you.

With all these coins just ripe for the taking, you may be wondering how to make your money work for you. One way to spend your money is to hire a guard for 2 coins at the beginning of each of your turns. Guards can help protect you should you uncover a monster with a dig action and they put the odds in your favor if you choose a fight action. You can also spend 5 coins at the end of a turn to hire a third worker, giving you an additional action in each future turn. But perhaps the most tactically important use of your bankroll is the hiring of specialists.

The game comes with four specialists, that can each perform a powerful special action at the end of the turn if you choose to hire them. The Digger immediately performs two dig action on one stack, and avoids the negative effects of tiles that would normally hurt one of your workers. The Feng-Shui Master allows you to look at the top 5 tiles of a dig site, you do not flip over monsters and Kantrome stones nor do you earn any coins for discovering these tiles, but you do instantly learn a lot about the make-up of a dig site. The Dowser allows you to look at any three consecutive tiles in a dig site (again without flipping any or earning coins) and can be very powerful since she allows you to look directly at the bottom, top, or middle of a stack. These three specialists each cost 3 coins to hire and doing do keeps your opponents from hiring them until after your next turn. However if you are desperate to use the power of a specialist that an opponent is holding, for 5 coins, the Fixer can be hired and will copy the power of one other specialist for your use.

Coins also come in handy when your workers are sent to the hospital. Normally being in the hospital keeps a worker out of the game for a full turn as they recover, but for 2 coins you can speed up the treatment and get your worker back at the end of the turn in which they were injured.


Just above the board is the Guard card you take to show that you have hired a Guard for your turn. At the top of the board itself, you can see the four specialists: from left to right, the Dowser, the Digger, the Fixer, and the Feng-Shui Master. Just below the specialists is the hospital, where wounded workers recover. Also visible are five of the six dig site tile stacks.

The game plays quickly; the 30 to 40 minutes listed on the side of the box is fairly accurate, perhaps running a little longer if you are playing the full compliment of six players. But, in that short time the game manages to generate some interesting tension. Edict is essentially a race downwards in search of the two hot Spring tiles and you need to balance momentum with caution. You can dig blindly and progress quickly if you are lucky, but if you become reckless you can easily blunder into some situations that can slow you down. Careful investigation can indicate the best path forward. However, you can easily tip your hand and allow your foes to reap the fruits of your research if you have not prepared to do so first. The timing of when you choose to hire specialists becomes crucial as they let you perform stealthier investigations that give less information to your opponents and more powerful dig actions that can push you ahead quickly while earning you additional victory point or coins. If you are clever with your use of specialists, you can employ them to outsmart and outmaneuver your opponents.

Another nice wrinkle is the potential for two players to discover one hot spring each, making the one with the most victory points the ultimate winner. This outcome is quite possible and players must consider the difficult choice of wether or not to divert some of their resources from their excavations to pursue some extra victory points. A dragon, while difficult to defeat, earns you a very enticing five points as a trophy, but any battle is a calculated risk. It's entirely possible that you could heavily wound the dragon before one bite sends you to the hospital, where you are forced to watch one of your opponents step in and land the killing blow to earn the points for themselves.

To succeed in The Edict of King Budeaunia, you will be find yourself alternating between planning carefully and pushing your luck. The game plays well from two all the way up to the maximum of six players. Two players matches are very strategic, and you must always be wary of any moves that may end up giving your opponent the upper hand. As you add players, the game gradually becomes more tactical as the changes in the game state increase between any one of your turns and the next, but the decision space remains exciting and enjoyable. At all player counts it remains well focused, with a small number of mechanisms that urge players in one direction, but with allowances for extremes of both caution and chaos in their strategies. Finding the balance can be exhilarating.


To the left are the six available teams of workers. Apparently, even the local Priest and Nun want a shot at ruling the kingdom.

The production is generally excellent, with thick tiles and coins, as well as an attractive board. The six teams of workers are each different and the fact that each of the starting worker tokens bears a distinct face is a nice detail. The art style is clearly anime influenced, but the color palette is surprisingly subdued for a board game, approximating the feel of a colored pencil drawing. Once the game is set up on the table, there is something very warm and inviting about the overall picture it creates. The no-frills, stickered combat die is a little disappointing, but otherwise the components are a visual treat.

If you enjoy worker placement and the idea of a quick and quirky race directly downward intrigues you, I would strongly suggest tracking down a copy of The Edict of King Budeaunia. The theme is unique, the look is charming, and the gameplay has a lot to offer for such a relatively compact experience.

-Bill Ruth
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Thanasis Patsios
Greece
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Great writeup for a great little game!
 
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George I.
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Thank you for the write-up! By the way, it's not a worker placement game, but an action point allowance game. There is no blocking, you just use your 2/3 workers as you wish.
 
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