Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich1
House of the Thousand Roses
Vye For Control in a Thematic Wonderland
Vye is a kingdom building game at its most beautiful state. This game is the collaborative work of local video game designers looking to share their first game with the world as Sand Hat Games. Combining easy kingdom building with matching mechanics, it is a card game that is great for new players, kids and gamers looking to broaden their party game shelf.
The copy we played with and the images featured in this article are from GameCrafter and is a prototype version. Vye’s final production quality is subject to change. To find out more, follow their Kickstarter campaign (
which launches tomorrow September 16th) Is available on Kickstarter now.
The nearly 50 cards in Vye feature a gorgeous array of pictures depicting fantastical lands and creatures. Each of the nine land types is unique and is easily recognizable and when placed against each other on the table, create a large landscape. The art grabbed my attention right away as it reminded me of the concept art of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty which features a similar use of color, angular character designs and watercolor texture. Vye is unique as it relies solely on visual representation and limited iconography. There are no text on these cards. I feel that this is a strength of a well-designed game- it lets the art speak for itself.
I’ve seen many first time Kickstarter projects and Vye is one of those games that looks like it came from a big name publisher. The attention to flesh out the theme even with Vye being a casual game that only takes 20-30 minutes helps it make a lasting impression. The best example of this attention to theme detail is in the choice of player colors. Instead of leaving the players to pick blue or red, players instead choose their family house: House Midnight, House Immortal, House of Ladders and my favorite, House of the Thousand Roses. Each house is identical in how they interact with the game board and the only difference is their color and character design.
If you’re a fan of Carcassonne you will easily understand the basic strategy and gameplay in Vye. The game begins with five random starting land cards organized in front of the participating players in a cross pattern. Each player draws 4 land cards and places their house family in front of them. Players are competing to have the largest congruent kingdom before the Inevitable Empress is drawn which signifies the end of the game.
To grow your kingdom much like in Carcassone, you place a land card each turn on the edge of another card and gain control of that land. If the placed land matches one next to it (diagonals don’t count), that player takes control of that land as well, noted by placing a cube of the House color on the card. By matching land types, players can take control of lands from other players cutting them off from their kingdom. With four copies of each of the nine land types, the lands can change hands many times throughout the game. To further claim land tiles and segment off opponents kingdoms, players can use their family members each with a unique ability. They are loosely based off the royal family in poker cards. The Adviser controls all cards around it once placed which includes diagonals. The King gains control of lands on all its sides. The Queen controls all lands that share a diagonal corner with it and The Heir will let a player control one land that is adjacent to it.
Vye shines with its original artwork and design and is a terrific game to introduce to new gamers. It is colorful and visually interesting game which is especially important when playing games with kids and family members. I’ve played many tile building games like Suburbia and Carcassonne and Vye could definitely use more cards and possibly different ways to alter gameplay in order to have more replayability. In Vye’s Kickstarter there will be cards added (and shown in the picture above) that can change the game even more to create more strategy variety. These cards will be lands like Sinkholes which completely destroy a land, a Fortress which prevents surrounding cards from being taken by other players and many more.
Vye is coming to Kickstarter tomorrow, September 16th from Sand Hat Games and will be available for $20.