Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
2 Posts

King Down» Forums » Reviews

Subject: King Down - a worthy alternative to chess? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ken Savage
Austria
Vienna
Vienna
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My girlfriend ordered this one for me through Kickstarter based on the reasoning that I used to play Chess and I like miniatures. As a birthday present (which arrived MUCH later than planned), I approached this one with a cheery spirit and an open mind.

I own, and play, a lot of games. I love complex games and am generally the one who reads the rules and explains them to others. For King Down, I tried to read the rule book, with little success. I watched the single tutorial video. I then went back and tried to read the rules again. I then watched the 20 minute tutorial again. After well over an hour, I had enough knowledge to muddle through the game but had already compiled a large list of questions that are not explained at all. Seriously - the rule book is beyond poor and could not have been proof read by anyone.

A simple example is the spells in the rule book. The game acknowledges that for your early plays, you will need to consult the rule book for every spell you play. Why, oh why, were the spells not listed alphabetically? It's not hard enough to read the text in the rule book (the font and colours are a horrible combination to try and read), without having to read every spell before finding the one I'm looking for? Then, of course, many of the spells only lead to more unanswered questions....

This leads onto the rules themselves - they cannot have been properly playtested. In the first play with another, very experienced, gamer - we could not agree on how many of the cards in the game would work. Constantly house-ruling some kind of interpretation of how things should happen. Oh, and the rulebook does state that if there is a disagreement about how a rule works - the current player gets priority in the choice. Hello?!?!? All questions are generally because the current player wants to do something insane and overpowered - and that player gets their opinion as priority?!?!?

The early game is super boring. There is literally nothing better to do than essentially pass your turn and draw more cards.

Balance in the game is poor. Some pieces are quite bad and barely worth ever playing. Likewise for some spells. Some are insanely good (strike, rage, curse) but some are almost useless. When you get a good spell, you always lift it back to your hand at the start of your turn - this should never be allowed and is EXTREMELY unbalanced. To my mind, only a unit card makes sense to be able to be returned like this.

I don't understand where they got some of the quotes about the game, they have to be made up or the people giving quotes must only have glanced at the game and not played it. Anyone who says this game plays faster and/or easier than actual chess is just insane (not even saying this as a fan of chess, I don't bother playing it anymore)!

To give its due, I'll go over some positives.
The box is like a shoe box, but is sturdy enough (though had some of the crushing that seemed common from other comments) and well enough presented (however, the box is NOT what is shown in the display on Kickstarter). The card quality is quite nice (though cards do stick together a bit). The pieces are reasonably detailed, though quite thin. The spears/lances on the Pawns/Knights do get bent easily and will never stay in place. Likewise, some of the more slender pieces (Bow) will get bent out of shape very easily. The inside of the box is not very sturdy and does not have seperate sections for 6 armies (ie, the chess pieces and spirit/shadow expansions). The board is quite small and the crease seperating two halves does not go down the middle, as you would expect. Checking the Kickstarter page - I also see that the "Kickstarter Exclusives" of the "Base Camps" and "Prisons" didn't seem to come either.
(Even when I try to think of the positives for the game, I end up slipping back into negatives - as there are so many).

After playing, I have found out that there is a new version of the rules out (v1.5). Quickly scanning shows that there are still a multitude of our questions that are unanswered, but there has been a (much needed) focus on balance. We've promised to give this game one more try with the new rules, but that promise has went unfulfilled for a long time now. Having played King Down, I really wish I had never told my girfriend anything about my chess playing days....

My rating, following the BGG system, is a 2/10
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rainer Fuchs
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I agree, this game turned out to be a dud. Sounded really interesting but after playing it twice it ended up in a dark corner in the basement...
1 
 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.