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Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm» Forums » Reviews

Subject: It's definitely bigger...but what about better? rss

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Brown Deer
Wisconsin
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My friends bought this expansion awhile back and it sat on the shelf for awhile, not for lack of gaming time. With so many new goodies flowing in, and a slight addiction to Ghost Stories, somehow this guy just managed to escape our attention. It took the return of the army guy, who had never played Kingsburg at all, in order for us to break this out.

Overview
This expansion is a set of modules that can be played either mixed or independent of each other. The five modules are: 2 additional building rows, alternate building rows, soldier tokens, governor cards, and event cards. When we played, we used the additional building rows, soldier tokens, and governor cards so this review is limited to those modules.

The additional building rows come on a new building sheet, with one row added to the top and one to the bottom. The top row lets you churn out gold like mad while the bottom row makes your military prospects look better. Governor cards gives each player a special power. Some powers allow you to influence certain advisors easier, others let your reroll dice, others give you free victory points, and some add to your combat. Soldier tokens give you some control over the dreaded reinforcement roll. Instead of rolling dice, you will select one of your tokens and add that total to your combat pool. You will have one token left over at the end and that is added to your score.

The Kingly

More! More! MOOOOOOORE!
Am I frothing at the mouth yet? What this expansion does is add more and more of everything. There are more options, more buildings, more potential strategies, and with the right governor cards in play more advisors. This leads to just, more stuff to consider and in this case, in my opinion, more is better.

Soldier Tokens
This module was available online long before the expansion hit stores, and in my opinion it is perhaps the strongest module of the expansion. You are given tokens with the value 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 to choose from instead of rolling the reinforcement die during winter. The degree of control is nice plus, there is an element of double think in later years when someone has taken a peek at the invaders. This adds a wee little bit more player interaction to otherwise a Euro-style "live in my universe" kind of game, which to me is a welcome touch.

Governor Cards
Also another strong addition are the governor cards. At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt three of these cards and chooses one. All of them are good in their one way and each serves to alter strategy a little bit. Some of them serve to complicate the strategy of other players a little bit. For instance, the duke allows you to upgrade your highest dice placement on the 12 after all dice are placed as long as no one already as placed dice on the 12. This means a poor roll can be made good (a roll or 2, 3, and 4 turns into 4 resources plus a +2 token as opposed to three resources). This certainly seems very powerful, and it is, but it is also easily foiled. In general, all of the governors provide a fun quirk that just make the decision making deeper.

Requiring Executioners

Game Changes
Perhaps what is expected most out of an expansion is some aspect of the game is fundamentally changed so that you have to reconsider strategy. I am not entirely sure this expansion achieves that. I ran my tried and true strategy last night and still won. The only difficulty I encountered was smart placement from other players, and the other players influencing the queen a total of 8 times. While I was tempted to use the new buildings, I never really saw a need to. In fact, the player who built both rows of new buildings came in dead last by a margin of 20 points. The only real game change comes from the addition of soldier tokens and governor cards. To some that may be enough, I wanted a little more.

The Not-so-good Jester

Still Kingsburg
As alluded to above, the game is definitely still Kingsburg. If you did not like Kingsburg you are not going to like its expansion. If you loved Kingsburg, you probably have this box already. Each of the modules independently does not add that much to the game, and the particular three we played were combined, it was definitely still the same game with a sprinkle of spices on top.

Storage
If you are a stickler for fitting things into the original box, either you are going to need to toss out the original building sheets, or destroy the insert. Given that the insert takes up a lot of space anyways, the problem is not all that big. However to me the complete reprinting of building sheets seems slightly wasteful given that they included individual strips for alternate building rows.

The Townsfolk Say...
It's bigger...that's for sure. I'm not entirely sure if it's all that much better. I really love the soldier tokens and the governor cards add a welcome twist, but that's about it. I don't feel compelled to use the event cards or the alternate building rows and I'm unsure if they will ever hit the table. I hesitate to recommend the expansion based on the value I got out of it, but it is a quality piece of work. Perhaps I would be less adverse to it if each module was released individually at a lower price point.
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Jon W
United States
Aurora
CO
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Good review, to the point and supported, though I disagree with some conclusions. I see this as both a case of an expansion done right (makes the game different/better, but not too different, and at a good price) and a necessary fix to the fairly static original game. I didn't care for the original all that much for two reasons, but this improves it to "playable" for me on the "variability" front.

I still think there's too little differentiation in the core dice mechanism (that is, there are too many different routes that end up in the same place), and this expansion didn't change that at all. So if that's the overwhelming sticking point, you're quite right to point out that this will not change your opinion.
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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
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The original box? That's doing something else now. What I love is that base game + expansion both fit into the _expansion_ box

B>
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Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
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I love this expansion. The new building sheets and strips are my favorite aspect of it. I'm a big fan on the governor cards and the soldier tokens as well. The only part I could take or leave is the destiny cards.
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Richard Parker

Texas
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The destiny cards seem to be taking a hit here, but I think people are missing the point that they actually can shake the game up a bit and not allow you to play your tried and true strategy. Take them or leave, like them or hate then them, they do address a few of the complaints I saw posted, they force you to adapt sometimes to unforseen events.
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