Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

By Order of the Queen» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Boardgamerblues.com reviews By Order of the Queen rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jimmie Harp
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
Hello again everyone!

UPDATE 2.1.17
By Order of the Queen is now LIVE on Kickstarter!! Head over and grab your copy!!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/99575233/by-order-of-th...

Join me, won't you, as I journey near and far, gather parties of heroes and battle fierce monsters By Order of the Queen.

By Order of the Queen, designed by David Gerrard with artwork by Justin Hillgrove, and released by Junk Spirit Games, is a neat little game packed wall-to-wall with charm and whimsy. It's so family friendly that you - and your kids! - will want to get it to the table again and again. Smaller children will require some assistance with reading, but mostly everything is done via symbols (more on that later), and there's really nothing scarier than what you'd find in most fairy tales, since clearly that's what the designer was trying to evoke.

But make no mistake ; there's plenty for adults to sink their teeth into as well, and makes a nice break from the usual dungeon crawl or sci-if grimness we've all come to love as it boasts a robust and dense rule set!

You have the usual fantasy tropes - monsters, villagers under threat, the titular Queen's Orders - packed into such a superb, fantastically interlocking package that I was pleasantly surprised at just how well it all connects, since it never tramples or stumbles over itself!

There's a bit of battling , a bit of questing, and some village protection you can partake in all via specialized decks of cards.

Here's how it all works :
You and up to 3 of your friends are adventurers seeking to stop the ever-growing tide of monsters terrorizing the land of Tessandor while simultaneously venturing out on quests, fighting the monstrous Horde, and attempting to carry out the titular orders of the queen.
I say simultaneously not because you attempt all three on your turn, but that all three mechanisms are in play at once. Each turn a player may attempt only one of these things - the Queen's action being the exception, but more on that in a bit - and the real challenge is in trying to balance one against the others. If you take too long questing (and you might end up locked into a quest!), then the Horde might grow mighty, or send one of their champions against you. Put too much effort into questing or battling monsters, and the Queen's order is neglected.

During your turn you will assemble a party of heroes from the cards in your hand, with the intent of completing three of the Queen's orders before one of three terrible things happen : All of the villagers get eaten, all of the regions lose faith in their sovereign, or all the heroes in the land are retired (removed from the game; no one dies in BOotQ).

Villagers are represented by a stack of tokens (I am REALLY hoping for meeples in the finished version!), that are slowly discarded as they are eaten. The regions of Tessandor also show up as tokens, being lost or gained via various effects. The heroes start out as a fairly burly stack of cards dealt to, and discarded by, each player, but these can be retired by losing battle with monsters or simply realizing it's time to get out of Dodge, and leaving the game.

Each of these have their proprietary locations on the board, with a small area nearby for a smart little mechanic termed Threat.
Threat tokens are placed near each of the three areas by myriad effects, and during the End of Turn step, the Threat areas are consulted and monsters are spawned, heroes flee the land, or regions are lost to dissent, each based on the number of threat in their specific area.

Let's talk about each action available to the heroes :
Questing. This is my favorite mechanic in the whole game. When sent on a quest, you draw a quest card, and it instructs you as to which of the four locations you'll be sending your party of heroes off to, represented by four decks. These sometimes instruct you to visit more than one location, or the same location many times. You're allowed to draw just one of the listed location(s) per turn, so some quest cards might require multiple turns to complete! Each of the location cards is a mini adventure in itself, with what amounts to multiple endings depending on how well your attribute checks go. And in one of the coolest things I've ever seen in a game of this type, each mini adventure starts In Media Res, kind of like the opening to each of the Indiana Jones films. The location cards have a map and the location's name across the back, with the front of the card divided horizontally into three sections : the top is the initial story and associated check, while the middle is a positive outcome should you complete the initial check, and finally the bottom third is the negative outcome of the initial check. I would happily play a game of just these cards, they're so well written! Each card either rewards or penalizes you based on the overall outcome. You then place the location next to your quest card as a system to track your progress. Once completed, the quest card itself offers up some type of reward.

Fulfill the Queen's Order At the start of the game, the top card of the Queen's order deck is turned face up. These have a small paragraph of flavor text relating a bit of story relevant to the specific order, as well as also sending you to one or more of the locations. Only this time, if you succeed at the location, you don't take the listed reward but add a success token to the order. During the end of turn step, you check the number of successes. If there's 8, the order is completed and the next order is turned over. If you and your friends complete 3 orders, you win!
But take care that SOMEONE is attempting this each round, as only ONE player may take this action PER ROUND.

Fight Against The Horde As the game clocks over (more on that in a moment), monsters spawn across the land, and it's your job to clear them off! This is done by a simple mechanic whereby you roll an amount of dice based on the amount of unique class attributes in your party and compare the numbers rolled to the numbers at the bottom of each monster card. You assign dice, in turn, to each monster. If the number rolled is equal to or higher, the monster is defeated. Some monsters might require more than one die. And if it's a Nemesis (the monster champions I spoke of earlier), then they can retire a hero for each of the failed rolls, whittling down your poor band of adventurers should luck not be with you.

The game employs a fourth clock that drives the Event Deck. This is a graphic of the four phases of the moon across the top of the board. At the end of each player turn, you advance the moon token one phase. After four phases have passed, you flip up the top card of the Event Deck. As if the game didn't have enough going on...
The card instructs you as to how much threat to place on each of the three Threat areas, what the "Event reward" might be (used in conjunction with the location quests), and perhaps a positive or negative effect on the overall game state. The game starts with The King's Funeral event card in play, so right from the beginning things are in full swing!

The attribute checks I spoke of earlier are executed with a simple system of comparing symbols that suddenly adds a surprising amount of depth to the game as you assemble your party each turn with the intent of having the greatest amount of the symbols you need. These check can be mitigated a bit by single use item cards, gained in various ways.

Finally, each player is randomly dealt a guild card, which affords them a permanent item and a guild effect : when discarding your party at the end of your turn, you compare the guild symbols on each hero card with your specific guild's symbol, and if you're discarding enough of those symbols, you gain the effect's benefit.

Gimme a minute to catch my breath...

Ok...whew...

This game is INSANELY fun to play! Seriously, after the third game on my initial playthrough night, I wanted nothing more than to play again! I've played numerous times since then, and each time I have to restrain myself from resetting and going again. You and your friends will be cheering each other's parties, high five-ing, and just generally laughing and having a blast.

Now the copy I was sent is a prototype, but still very evocative of the finished product, with finalized artwork on the board and components. The board is laid out crisply, with each respective deck's area clearly defined.

And the artwork? Whimsical and dream-like, but executed with a flare that's usually not found in this sort of game. Nope, usually you'd find artwork that's far more .....er....cartoony. I'd liken it to some of the fantasy artwork employed by the various artists who have taken a stab at the Lord of the Rings series over the decades.

This is usually where I list the drawbacks to the game I'm reviewing, but I am really struggling to say anything AT ALL negative about this. Discovering hidden jewels like this is what makes this hobby sizzle for me.

It's just that good.

And holy cats this is just about as good of a gateway game to bring non-board gamers into the hobby as I've ever encountered. One of my friends who's played is ready to back the KS!

Did I say it's just that good?
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Vermont
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good description. I'm seeing aspects of gameplay I had missed before.

When rolling for quests, is it just a matter of "roll a 6", or do you have to select a character to influence the roll or something of the sort?

The quest aspect still seems like it's just a roll where, instead, some gameplay aspect could be added to cause the player to think a bit?

I hope I'm missing something.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jimmie Harp
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
Desferous wrote:
Good description. I'm seeing aspects of gameplay I had missed before.

When rolling for quests, is it just a matter of "roll a 6", or do you have to select a character to influence the roll or something of the sort?

The quest aspect still seems like it's just a roll where, instead, some gameplay aspect could be added to cause the player to think a bit?

I hope I'm missing something.


Hey thanks! I appreciate that!

During a quest action you're simply tallying up the attributes in the party and rolling that many dice to test against whatever attribute turns up on the location card the quest sends you to. There may be modifiers to that roll depending on various game effects.

So, for example, the quest sends you to Ironstone Crags, and the initial (top 1/3rd) of the location requires a Strength (muscle arm symbol) test, you just look at each of the four heroes in your party and add up the strength symbols on those cards, and that's how many dice you roll. 5s and 6s are successes, and it only requires one success to pass.

Does that help?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Vermont
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes, it does help! Thank you for responding!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben S
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
So you can influence the probability of the dice rolls but are still beholden to their results.

The reliance on dice is the only thing holding me from backing this. If every decision ends up boiling down to a game of chance, it doesn't seem like it would be very satisfying.

Thoughts on that element?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gerrard
United States
Snohomish
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wanderwell wrote:
So you can influence the probability of the dice rolls but are still beholden to their results.

The reliance on dice is the only thing holding me from backing this. If every decision ends up boiling down to a game of chance, it doesn't seem like it would be very satisfying.

Thoughts on that element?


Yes, as in nearly every game that has dice in it, you are beholden to the results of the dice. There is a lot of mitigation in By Order of the Queen though. The game comes down to building the best diverse team to tackle whatever happens to your group, giving yourself a better chance to hit the success roll you need to hit as you go through the location cards.

There are ways to give yourself more dice and there are ways to reroll dice as well.

This type of mechanic identical to how Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror work btw. When you roll dice.....sometimes they don't go your way. but there is a probability you have to play with. If you only need one of your dice to hit a 5 or 6, rolling three dice is better than rolling only one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben S
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Kind of a stupid question I suppose but thank you for taking the time to answer it, David!

I am coming from a D&D background so I know that dice aren't always my friends and I think that I was a little let down after looking over all the great layers in BOtO and seeing that, no matter how many good (or bad) decisions the player will make, the end result will always come down to a simple roll of the dice. I think that's more of a personal hold-up than any real flaw with the game, though. Guess I'll find out when my copy arrives (I did make the decision to back it)!

Congratulations on the campaign! It looks a lot of fun and will bring something new to my table. Pleased to see you're still kicking around comments sections and helping people, too.

Cheers!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.