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Subject: Kingsburg, Alien Frontiers, or Castles of Mad King Ludwig? rss

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In the market for one of these but I'm on the fence. I've read and watched many reviews on all three. All have their pros and cons. I like sci-fi and fantasy themes equally. I know Kingsburg almost needs its expansion (which is out of print). Alien Frontiers is about $20 more. Castles doesnt really fit worker/dice placement but it looks fun and interesting. Which one would you choose?
 
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Shawn
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I played Kingsburg online for a bit and quickly got bored with it. I'm also very hesitant to spend more than $40 on a game. I'd much rather get 2 $30 games than 1 $60 game. I also think Castles of Ludwig looks like it is a lot of fun so, if it were me, I'd get Ludwig......which I just did, yesterday, when it dropped below $40 whistle
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Joel Oakley
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I have only played Alien Frontiers, and the down-time between turns along with its mean game play just killed it for me.

If I were going to pick one, I would probably pick Kingsburg. It looks more fun to me than Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
 
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Scott Fishwick
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Troyes

Kingsburg for me is too roll dependent, and has too much emphasis on catchup mechanics.

Also, I can imagine the strategies being very similar each time.

(can't say I've played the other two).
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George Louie
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I love Alien Frontiers. Others have said the downtime was really bad, but that hasn't been the case with my group. We usually discuss the moves to keep everyone involved.

We tried Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but didn't really like it. Not sure what we expected, but it just wasn't that much fun. My friend returned it to Amazon the next day.

I've never played Kingsburg, so can't really say anything about it.

So, my vote would be Alien Frontiers...
 
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Chris Hayes
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I can't offer an opinion on Kingsburg. I own Alien Frontiers with all of the expansions. It is my favorite game. I own and like Castles. Two completely different games. AF can be mean. Castles a lot less so. Castles is cheaper. I will never turn down the chance to play AF.

I should mention that Alien Frontiers was my first game purchase. It got me hooked into the hobby. However, it has been years since I played with just the base game.
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Carlos Brito
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Of those 3 I prefer Kingsburg by far (but I suppose you'll find many different opinions). It is very nice even without the expansion.

Alien Frontiers is interesting but I think Kingsburg is better. As someone else mentioned Troyes is somewhat similar to Alien Frontiers in the dice allocation mechanism but also I think Troyes is much better than it.

I haven't played Castles yet though I have it since last month. I bought it due to the hype but then I read the rules and it didn't get me very excited: it seems too similar to Suburbia, a tile-placement game that I didn't find so nice.
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Wow, thank you for the responses. As I can see by the many posts, my indecisiveness is warranted! I guess this may come down to which one has strategy without being overwhelming to casual gamers, but can still be fun and interesting to experienced players. Man, I wish I could get all 3!
 
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Pat H
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I've owned kingsburg and troyes and sold them after getting AF.

Im not sure you would go wrong with any of them, but if you get Kingsburg, would highly recommend the expansion.
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Max
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Alien Frontiers, hands down.
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chris thatcher
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I have both Alien Frontiers and Kingsburg. I would say Alien Frontiers is definitely more cutthroat than Kingsburg, maybe more of a gamers game. Kingsburg is more a family type game. I think Kingsburg definitely needs the expansion to retain longevity.

I think both games are really good, and im glad i have both.
 
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Julie (Juju) B.
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I've played all three and personally prefer Kingsburg. I would second that Troyes is a better game though if you want dice.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Alien Frontiers, then Troyes, then Kingsburg.
 
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So by my unofficial count so far it's
Castles:1
Kingsburg:3
AF: 4
Troyes:2

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Virginia Milne
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I played Alien Frontiers on my iPad and the experience encouraged me to obtain the game in cardboard.

The downtime question.
Some groups have it and others don't. Maybe it boils down to players who do not make their plans during other player's turns, but instead wait for their own turn to begin before they start seriously thinking.

"Thinking in other players playing time" might seem a small and obvious thing.

Some times it is not. Last week I was playing a game, (not Alien Frontiers) It was a new game ( Cult of the new, oh bugger soblue) We had two newbies, and they waited for the beginning of their turn before they did any thinking. They did not have much gaming experience. Prior exposure to Firefly and Ticket to Ride would have given them all the preparation that they needed to tackle this new game. Two and a half hours later the game finally crawled to an end. One of the newbies won it, because the experienced players had gone to sleep ( a defence mechanism, to prevent them from ripping out their own throats snore )

Down time is definitely reducible with the right approaches.
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Traci Weiland
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smytty94 wrote:
I guess this may come down to which one has strategy without being overwhelming to casual gamers, but can still be fun and interesting to experienced players.


Based on your comment here, then I would go with Castles, Kingsburg, Alien Frontiers. My husband is a casual gamer. He really likes Castles and Kingsburg. He doesn't enjoy Alien Frontiers all that much.
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Matt D
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Just to throw a wrinkle in there, there is also Kingsport Festival, which is a Cthulhu re-theme of Kingsburg from the same design team. I haven't played it in cardboard but picked it up for iOS when it went cheap, and I find it compelling. I'm not sure if I prefer it to Kingsburg, mostly because I like the straightforward simplicity of Kingsburg, and I have the expansion (which, btw, I don't believe is OOP--a quick check at FFG's website shows it is "At the Printer" which just means it may be a few months before it shows up, but it is coming back).

If I had to rank them, I would say that Kingsport Festival falls in between Kingsburg without and Kingsburg with the expansion. With added bonus if you are a particular fan of the Cthulhu mythos (I am not a Cthulhu fanboy myself, and find the theme doesn't add much for me).

That being said, to your original point, I also own Alien Frontiers, and can say that both have a very definite place in my repertoire. Kingsburg is quick, light, dice rolling fun. Alien Frontiers is far more "thinky", takes longer to play, and can with a few bad rolls and bad turns of events really take a player out of the game, which for that long of a game is a bad thing. But, Alien Frontiers if definitely meatier if you are looking for that from a game.

I can't comment at all on Castles, because while I just recently acquired it, I have yet to play it. And it seems very much like apples and oranges to compare to AF and KB.
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joel siragher
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Well you should also look at Dark Horse.

This is worker placement just like kingsburg using dice to scratch the itch. The kewl part of this game is connecting towns, and building the railroad. Win condition is... well Ill let you read the reviews. Enjoy

 
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Another "I have Kingsburg and Alien Frontiers but not Castles of Mad King Ludwig" player here. My vote goes to Alien Frontiers. While I do like Kingsburg, Alien Frontiers I find more cutthroat no matter what the player count. Kingsburg I've played 3 and 4 player and 3 player I feel you have too much room to get what you want and maybe some confrontation. 4 players and the game gets interesting, someone is getting messed with in a turn because of someone else they didn't consider. I haven't gotten the expansion yet for Kingsburg to say if it will make a difference, but I'm considering it.

Mad King does look unique enough and way different to just go ahead and try.
 
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Kelly Bass
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I've played & like all 3 of them.

I like Alien Frontiers the most. Of the expansions, I only really like the Agendas in Alien Frontiers: Factions, because I like having some hidden information. I think it's a fun dice roller, can be a bit harsh at times, but we're okay with that. I can understand the downtime sentiment, because you can only plan your turn so much until you actually roll your dice at the beginning of your turn. One of the expansions had a cardboard token that you could throw at a player who is taking too long. We use that on Ernie.

I think Kingsburg is a close 2nd to AF. Because players don't necessarily place all their dice on their turn, it seems the turns are shorter and there is less downtime until you place your die/dice. My only negative is there is something about how the Monster is resolved that bugs me. Hard to put my finger on it, but it has something to do with... I'd like to be able to do better against the Monster than an opponent that has more defense than I do. Seems appropriate to me in a dice rolling game that there's a least a tiny chance I'll defeat it, but my stronger opponent won't.

Finally, Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a game I like, but certainly doesn't feel at all like the two above. With those, the outcome of the dice rolls sometimes cause hollers, shouts, & high-fives. But Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a quiet thoughtful game. There's a fulfilling fun side to creating your own castle, and maybe laughing at how ridiculous your design is.

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Matt D
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chockle wrote:
I've played & like all 3 of them.

I like Alien Frontiers the most. Of the expansions, I only really like the Agendas in Alien Frontiers: Factions, because I like having some hidden information. I think it's a fun dice roller, can be a bit harsh at times, but we're okay with that. I can understand the downtime sentiment, because you can only plan your turn so much until you actually roll your dice at the beginning of your turn. One of the expansions had a cardboard token that you could throw at a player who is taking too long. We use that on Ernie.

I think Kingsburg is a close 2nd to AF. Because players don't necessarily place all their dice on their turn, it seems the turns are shorter and there is less downtime until you place your die/dice. My only negative is there is something about how the Monster is resolved that bugs me. Hard to put my finger on it, but it has something to do with... I'd like to be able to do better against the Monster than an opponent that has more defense than I do. Seems appropriate to me in a dice rolling game that there's a least a tiny chance I'll defeat it, but my stronger opponent won't.

Finally, Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a game I like, but certainly doesn't feel at all like the two above. With those, the outcome of the dice rolls sometimes cause hollers, shouts, & high-fives. But Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a quiet thoughtful game. There's a fulfilling fun side to creating your own castle, and maybe laughing at how ridiculous your design is.



If you don't have the expansion to Kingsburg yet, there is a mechanic in there that fixes the monster battle a little bit. Instead of everyone having the same die roll support from the king you get tokens you can spend each year of varying strength to use as your support. At the end of the game the token you DONT use adds to your victory points. So it adds a bit of tension and makes the peek abilities way more useful.

What I like about the Kingsburb expansion is that it is really I think Five expansions you can mix and match. We always use the tokens, for example, but mix up what other expansions we play with, or use none at all.
 
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Mark Halsey
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hestiansun wrote:


If you don't have the expansion to Kingsburg yet, there is a mechanic in there that fixes the monster battle a little bit. Instead of everyone having the same die roll support from the king you get tokens you can spend each year of varying strength to use as your support. At the end of the game the token you DONT use adds to your victory points. So it adds a bit of tension and makes the peek abilities way more useful.

What I like about the Kingsburg expansion is that it is really I think Five expansions you can mix and match. We always use the tokens, for example, but mix up what other expansions we play with, or use none at all.


Tell us more about this token mechanic. Do you have a particular thread to point to?

I like AF a lot! But then I'm a Cosmic Encounter fan too so I'm no stranger to mean games.

Kingsburg was super fun for about 4 plays when I discovered that I literally never had to invest in soldiers because of that King's support die roll. The odds were typically in our favor, at least enough to not feel like spending the time or resources on it. That took any monster tension out of the game. If you know a way to fix this, I would happily dust that game off again.

I keep looking at Castles but I am a big fan of Suburbia so I really don't think I need to get another one.
 
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Matt Slowiak
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TWrecks wrote:

Tell us more about this token mechanic. Do you have a particular thread to point to?


Love Kingsburg and I would not play without this mechanic. From the Expansion Description here on bgg:

an alternative (deterministic) way to handle wintry reinforcements (rather than the die, each player gets six tokens numbered 0, 1, 1, 2, 3 and 4 during setup; at the beginning of each Winter you use and discard a token to get that many extra soldiers from the King).

This simple change took this game from good to great for me. I absolutely was not a fan of the die roll. As someone else already said the expansions are mix and match. Personally we use them all when we play, but one of the great things is you can add whichever ones you want.
 
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Michael Nanthachack
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I have yet to play Alien Frontiers, or Kingsburg with the expansion. I have played Castles a few times I do enjoy it, even slightly more than Suburbia as the Master Builder adds a lot to how the game works, rather than just a sliding decrease in cost of tiles in Suburbia.

I will say that Castles is getting expansion news in a few days, so if you aren't trying to get these today, or soon, because of a sale, wait a bit and see if the announced expansion bumps Castles higher in your eyes. (As a side note, I have Castles, Alien Frontiers, and Kingsport Festival, the retheme of Kingsburg, so I think all three are worth getting.)
 
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Mark Halsey
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Gnipp wrote:

an alternative (deterministic) way to handle wintry reinforcements (rather than the die, each player gets six tokens numbered 0, 1, 1, 2, 3 and 4 during setup; at the beginning of each Winter you use and discard a token to get that many extra soldiers from the King).


@Matt - so these tokens turn into VPs if unused at the end of the game? So if I don't use my 4 for example, I can cash it in for 4 VPs when it's over?

Sorry OP. I'm not trying to take your thread but this is good info if you choose Kingsburg. It's a great game but it's also an easy game to get super lazy in. Roll Dice - choose highest spot on the board, go get a snack. It's a good family game though because just about anyone can pick it up in a round.
 
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