I received Kingsburg this past Christmas. It was such a hit with my family and friends, I decided to pick up To Forge a Realm. This was my first time playing with any of the expansions, and we decided to start slow with just one expansion – the Governors.
The governors and their players’ respective strategies were:
General & defense
Philosopher & defense
Politician & defense
Duke & embassy
Preacher & farm
For a 5-player game, I was surprised how often the duke’s ability was used. The duke upgraded to the duchess almost half the time. I found myself purposely choosing the duchess just to block the duke (not that choosing the duchess is a bad thing). The duke played a smart strategy as well by spreading out the dice on low numbers and then hoping for a major upgrade.
I chose the preacher, figuring a 5-player game would maximize his ability to score a point when someone chose not to build. It worked as planned, and I scored a lot of points with the preacher. The other players caught on and were coordinating their builds just to minimize my bonus points. Unfortunately, I had some very bad dice rolls. Prior to building the farm, I wound up with the lowest or 2nd lowest roll almost every time. The farm’s bonus die helped out a lot, but I still had 2 very lousy rolls of a 7 and an 8. I made up a lot of ground late in the game when building became more difficult for other players and when the 4th die allowed me to influence the queen a few times.
With 3 players employing the defense strategy, nobody was able to monopolize the “biggest victory” bonus point at the end of the year. The rolls for the king’s support were very favorable, and nobody lost a battle. As a result, the defense strategy wasn’t a game changer. The general (the governor, not the advisor) didn’t make much of a difference. The philosopher’s special ability was used only a handful of times. These two players struggled to keep up with the leaders. The politician’s special influencing ability was used a lot, and that player focused on the religious buildings rather than trying to “out-defense” the other defenders. This proved to be good enough to eke out the win. Final scores:
Politician – 51
Preacher – 50
Duke – 49
General – 40
Philosopher – 35
The governors proved powerful enough to make influence the outcome, but not so powerful that they changed the core of the game. Choosing the right governor and a complementary strategy can be the difference between winning and losing, but in the end, it still felt like the Kingsburg I love to play.