Cover Your Kingdom: The Family Gamers’ O-pun-ion
Hello, my dear reader! So nice to see you again so spoon! If you don’t have much time to stay, don’t worry, I’ll fork-give you. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bored game site! We’re ready to buckle down and have a punderful time!
If you’ve just rolled your eyes, you definitely want to read on to hear about Cover Your Kingdom, a set collection game from Grandpa Beck’s Games. In Cover Your Kingdom, 2-8 players battle it out to acquire punderful creatures. Cover Your Kingdom is a spinoff of the successful Grandpa Beck’s title Cover your Assets. Players nine and up can play this game in around 20-30 minutes. So gather up your Pigxie catchers and your Minnowtaur lures, and we’ll dive right in.
Each Ruler (player) grabs a hilariously named Kingdom board and a turn guide. Deal each Ruler six creatures and put the deck in the middle of the table, within reach of everyone. Choose your first Ruler, give them the crown, and begin.
On a Ruler’s turn they must perform one action and may perform a second action. These actions can be the same.
Form a Clan
To form a clan, a Ruler must place two matching creatures (or a creature and a Wild Creature) on their Kingdom board in the appropriate place. Some creatures prefer Highlands, some Lowlands, and some don’t care. A Ruler can use two cards from their hand or a card from their hand and the top card of the discard pile.
Attempt to Recruit a Clan
If a Ruler already has at least one clan, they can attempt to recruit a clan from another kingdom, provided it isn’t the only clan in that kingdom, and it is one of that kingdom’s top clans (top of the pile).
To recruit, the Ruler declares the clan they are trying to recruit and reveals a card that matches that clan’s creature type (or is a Wild Creature). The defending Ruler can then counter with a matching (or Wild) creature of their own.
This goes back and forth until one Ruler is unable to defend their claim. The winning Ruler takes that clan including all of the creatures involved in the battle. Some creatures, like the Wild Spydra, are twice as convincing and require two creatures to counter them.
Add a Creature to a Clan
If a Ruler has a creature in their hand that matches one of their top clans, they may elect to add that creature to that clan. Rulers cannot do this with Wild Creatures, though.
Employ a Free Creature
Free Creatures don’t belong to clans. During their turn, a Ruler can elect to play a Free Creature and perform the action on the card.
Discard and Draw
Rulers cannot pass in Cover Your Kingdom, and must take at least one action. If nothing else works, they must discard a card and draw from the face-down deck. Rulers are not allowed to discard Wild Creatures or Free Creatures.
Once a Ruler has performed one (or two) actions, each Ruler (starting with the active ruler) draws back up to six cards in hand. Play passes to the ruler on the left.
Play continues until all Rulers have played all of their cards, even after the deck runs out. Once nobody has any cards, each Ruler tallies up all of the values of all of their magical creatures played in front of them. Whoever has the highest magical value wins!
Our biggest issue with Cover Your Kingdom came when playing with a smaller player count. Cover Your Kingdom shines as a smaller party game (6-8 players) where everyone is throwing jokes and having a rip roaring time. Lots of Kingdoms means lots of targets for clan stealing, and lots of spectator chatter.
With a small player count, this game drags. Recruiting becomes a spiteful activity and retribution becomes necessary if winning is on the table. We ended up with a lot of hurt feelings, due to the fairly vicious take that which is magnified with only a couple of opponents.
A small play group undoubtedly ends up rushing through the last third of the deck, ready for the game to be over.
One of our favorite things about Grandpa Beck’s games is how wholesome their titles are. Every single piece of content in the box has something on it that will probably make someone chuckle. If ever there was a call for a gateway game rife with dad jokes, this is it.
We can’t say enough about the punderful humor in Cover Your Kingdom. Many games have occasional garnishes of humor that stand out because they’re clever and unexpected, but Cover Your Kingdom has it in spades. From Narnia jokes to Star Trek quips, to bragging dragons (Bragons, of course) and emo Sighclopses, Cover Your Kingdom provides 131 creature cards and more than 131 jokes. Even the rulebook is whimsical and will make you laugh.
Artistically, Cover Your Kingdom does a great job capturing humor with its stylized illustrations. Although there are many similar cards to make a set, nearly every single card has a different quote, or different background illustration to make each card unique.
Grandpa Beck packs the replayability into the box. Out of the 14 page rulebook, fully 5 pages provide modification and variants, pulling the game to a simpler level for younger families to adding complexity for more game savvy ones.
Cover Your Kingdom is an easy choice for us when the extended family is sitting around the table after a meal. It’s easy to play and get into, it’s fun to talk over, and every card is a new treat. You’ll be showing cards to fellow players, marveling at how so many excellent puns and jokes can be crammed into such a small box. We recommend considering picking up a copy before the holiday season begins. Check out Cover Your Kingdom on Amazon or at your friendly local game store today!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Cover Your Kingdom from Grandpa Beck’s Games for this review.
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Cover Your Kingdom
Number of Players: 2-8
Age Range: 9+
Playtime: 20-30 minutes (longer with a low player count)