Published on October 26th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich0
Royal Gifts for King and Queen
King’s Forge and Queen’s Jubilee Review
Hear ye, hear ye! The King and Queen have set a competition for all blacksmiths: the first person to craft 4 items for the King and Queen will have the honor of becoming the new King’s Forge. This new seat in the royal court comes with money, respect and a lot of gloating to your peers. Players will be gathering materials in the form of different colored dice and will race to craft items for the King with those materials. Fire up the forge and let’s get crafting!
Beautiful Fantasy Art:
Now the pictures we’ve included in this article feature all the expansion content. The base game of King’s Forge comes with cards, tokens, the anvil player token and of course lots of dice. The board is a separate item known as the Unnecessary But Totally Cool Game Board which is beautifully illustrated and unites the different dice materials, locations and crafting cards in a centralized thematic setting. There red roofed cottage is the place to visit for gems; the tall, blue mage tower holders the magic, and many other special dice like the Graveyard also have separate areas. The docks, forest and mines are also creatively represented on the board where the mounds of dice are set aside for later gathering.
Queen’s Jubilee Expansion:
Also pictured above is the Queen’s Jubilee expansion which includes 35 more cards including new locations and items the lovely Queen Gertrude wants the blacksmiths to make. The expansion also includes more dice, reference cards, condensed rules cards and a TON more beautiful art.
I am enamored with the art and production that went into King’s Forge and its expansions. For example, the decorated Smithy tiles hold an array of options for players. Each side of the 4 different Smithy tokens is unique and there are 8 different smith shops to choose from with a different animal crest and decor. The Smithy tile is a location reference in game but doesn’t give any in-game bonus or unique ability. I love it when games go the extra mile to put in flavor and story in their games. King’s Forge’s greatest strength is its beautifully detailed art and design to create this fantasy, crafting world.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling:
After players randomly select the locations and craft cards the game begins. Each player starts with 5 metal dice and chooses a Smithy tile. The gameplay is a more simplistic take on a Euro-style worker placement and resource management game.
The game takes place over a series of rounds where players will Gather resources at different locations and then Craft by rolling their leftover dice. In the Gather phase, players visit docks and other locations to upgrade, trade and earn more dice. Locations usually require a certain number or color of dice in order to visit the location. Sometimes visiting these locations require the player to sacrifice a die and return it to the pool. Any dice used and collected during this phase cannot be used in the Crafting phase. Those resources are not available to use until the following turn so players are planning ahead for future Crafting phases.
The Crafting phase is where players roll their dice that they did not use or acquire in the Gathering phase and the resulting roll will determine if the player has enough resources to craft one or more of the King’s requested item. Players can affect a few of their die results using location abilities (add +1 to a roll or make a die a 6) collected in the previous phase but there is little else that a player can do to guarantee they will craft an item. The items the King requests will range in an increasing difficulty and the easier items are snatched up first.
I didn’t enjoy this push-your-luck aspect of crafting in King’s Forge. Each item requires a specific set of dice, demanding anywhere from one to four different colors, and a minimum number rolled on that die in order to craft the item. There were too many times where I or an opponent reached the Crafting phase, and despite the our best preparation in the previous phase, we rolled our mountain of dice and came up short by one or two dice. Players can also steal items with higher dice rolls and deny their opponent from crafting the item. I wanted my decisions and resource allocation to have more of an impact and be more rewarding like rolling the dice first and then allocating them through the different phases.
King’s Forge is much more focused on the random crafting, press your luck and race to finish aspects and that isn’t the experience I was expecting. I want crafting games that let players gather, build and progress every step of the way and continue building on their previous success without having to rely on randomness. I also wanted to craft a lot more of the items and end the game with a large tableau, but the objective of the game doesn’t support that kind of play.