Kingswood – Manage a Glorious Victory

Kingswood game

Win glory for your guild in Kingswood!

The king has challenged all the local guilds to clear the monsters out of the forest. Can you manage your resources, coins, and turns to win glory for your guild in the Kingswood?

Henry Audubon designed this fantasy-themed rondel action game for 1-5 players, published by 25th Century Games. A game takes 20-45 minutes (but only 15 for solo play). We think it’s best for kids ages 8+.

How to Play

Set up the five common locations and one special location in a circle around the “King’s Tally” scoreboard. Put the Chapter One cards (card count dependent on player count) on top of the Chapter two cards to form the deck. Flip out three monster cards from the deck, next to the Forest location. Place Adventurer meeples on the Tavern, Blacksmith, and Academy, and keep the King’s Guard meeple close by.

Kingswood setup. Locations listed clockwise, starting from the top: Market, Academy, Tavern, Forest, Blacksmith, Potion Shop.

Each player chooses a guild and takes the starting tokens pictured on their card.

Kingswood guilds: House of Music (whenever you use the tavern, you may also capture a monster from the Forest or fight a captured monster); Silver Shield (the first time you defeat a monster each turn, you may refresh a sword); Murder of Crows (whenever you use the Market, you may gain an extra coin).
A three player game might have these three guilds.

On Your Turn

Choose one of the three Adventurers on the board. You may use the power at that Adventurer’s location. Then move that Adventurer to an empty location; you may also use the power at that location. When moving you may:

  • move your chosen Adventurer in either direction.
  • move the Adventurer more than one space to get to a location further away, but you must pay one coin for each location you skip over.
  • NOT move your chosen Adventurer to a location with the King’s Guard meeple.

Each location offers a different way to help your guild: buying tokens, refreshing “exhausted” tokens, and special abilities. The Forest location offers a chance to fight monsters!

You may remove the King’s Guard from the board and collect 2 coins instead of moving an Adventurer.

If you moved an Adventurer, put the Kings Guard meeple on the location you left.

Fighting Monsters

Fighting monsters is the only way to gain fame (points).

Using an Adventurer in the Forest (before or after movement), you may fight any face-up monsters. Do so by “exhausting” some number of swords, books, or hearts, as shown on the monster card, by flipping these resources to their grayed-out side. Some monsters also require fighters to pay coins to defeat them.

After defeating a monster, take the card and score the Fame points marked on the card by moving your token on the King’s Tally board. You may fight more than one monster in the same turn, as long as you have the resources to do so. Monster cards may also have special perks on them.

At the end of your turn, refill the Forest to three face-up monster cards.

Meeple standing on Forest location. Beneath are three face-up cards: Ghost, Small Dragon, Ghost.
Fight monsters at the Forest

Game End

The game ends when one player reaches at least 20 points on the scoreboard. After that, finish the current round so every player gets the same number of turns.

Then add up any bonus points (from monster abilities) and find out whose guild has achieved the most Fame.

Kingswood - the King's Tally
Looks like the Murder of Crows will win unless another guild can surge ahead on their last turn.

Solo Play

If only one guild “answers the King’s call”, you’ll be defending the village instead of competing for Fame.

The Forest starts with zero monsters. Take turns as usual, but just before each turn, flip another monster card face-up.

Win by defeating two out of the three boss monsters. But if four (or more) monsters are face-up at the end of your turn, the village has been overrun!

Impressions

Kingswood takes the popular theme of adventurers versus fantasy monsters and reworks it in a way that’s pretty approachable for kids, taking the emphasis off of detailed fighting. Instead, you’ll spend most of your time collecting and managing resources: swords, books, hearts, and coins.

The rondel action is hard to explain, but easy to grasp – even our 6 year old understood that he could choose any guys and move to any empty space (but preferably one next to the guy he chose).

We were able to further simplify this by giving him one of the guilds that took some complexity out of the game. One guild allows moving Adventurers more than one space without paying coins. Another allows the player to ignore the Kings Guard.

House of Music: Whenever you use the Tavern, you may also capture a monster from the Forest or fight a captured monster.
Silver Shield: The first time you defeat a monster each turn, you may refresh a sword.
Murder of Crows: Whenever you use the Market, you may gain an extra coin.
Temple of Ancient Oaths: You may ignore the King's Guard when visiting a location.
Treetop Order: Whenever you use the Forest, you may reveal and add an extra monster.
Krom!: Whenever you exhaust a heart, you may refresh a spellbook.
The Arcanum: You may skip over any number of locations without paying any coins.
Guilds provide each player with a unique power.

You’ll never be able to accomplish quite as much as you want to on a turn – that keeps tension in the game, and drives us to keep playing.

Frustration

Unfortunately, it’s too easy for at least one player to get stuck and get blocked from their desired action(s) several turns in a row while other players sail ahead (due to special abilities or clever use of locations). Usually this doesn’t result in a huge score difference, but it does lead to a lot of frustration.

Kingswood guard in the forest location.
The King’s Guard is blocking the forest. If you wanted to fight monsters on this turn, you are out of luck.

Even in solo mode, it’s easy to make a single misstep and suddenly be swarmed with monsters you can’t fight.

Since four meeples are spread across only six locations, there can sometimes be very little choice, especially for a cash-strapped guild. We wonder if using an extra location in the set up would help provide a little more choice. Fortunately, this is a simple adjustment that you can do at home without any extra components.

Final Thoughts

Kingswood has a great theme that is very approachable for fantasy-loving gamers of all ages. All of the Adventurers look the same, but since they don’t represent a particular player, we didn’t find the sameness to be problematic (and it likely makes the game cheaper).

In the seven guilds, there is a little bit of diversity, with five male and two female characters, and characters of many (albeit nonspecific) ethnicities. We were much more focused on the powers, to be honest.

The biggest struggle we had related to the tension between not being able to get enough done, which is good, with being shut out of locations for too long (even inadvertently), which is bad. Ultimately, being occasionally forced into your second-choice locations can be helpful for growth, but doing that for too long is unfulfilling and brings down the fun factor of the game.

Kingswood special locations: Graveyard, Witch's Hut, Wizard's Tower, King's Castle, Bakery, Manor House, Game Parlor
The special locations offer a lot of flexibility. Maybe using two instead of one would reduce our struggles.

Kingswood is resource management of swords, hearts, and books, with coins doing double duty as both resource and currency. In a normal game there is only one location for each resource type. Since monsters usually require multiple types, players need to gathering resources for multiple turns before fighting in the forest.

When it works well, it’s great. When it doesn’t, it can be frustrating. Some of the special locations allow players to gain or refresh multiple kinds of resources. Having these opportunities all of the time would dramatically help with the availability problems we ran into.

Kingswood is a fun, simple rondel action game with resource management. It’s easy enough for our six-year-old to play and has enough depth that parents can play it on their own. It’s not so deep that you will suffer from analysis paralysis, but it won’t bore a more seasoned gamer. The full package of the theme and mechanics makes this a game we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Just add an extra special location when you play.

You can find Kingswood directly from 25th Century Games, at Amazon, or from your friendly local game store.


25th Century Games provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Kingswood for this review.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

Kingswood
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Mechanics - 7.5/10
  • 7/10
    Family Fun - 7/10
7.5/10

Summary

Number of Players: 1-5

Age Range: 10+ (we say 8+)

Playtime: 15-45 minutes

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