News for September 2009
Damsel in Distress 1
A session report from summer's hottest release: the Kingsburg Expansion!
Kingsburg | Published 28 September 2009

To Forge a Realm, the exciting expansion to the fan-favorite Kingsburg, has been available at retailers and at our webstore since July. Offering a host of new features that can be added or ignored as you see fit, To Forge a Realm can be used to customize and enhance your current Kingsburg experience to fit your tastes perfectly.

New province sheets with additional buildings offer more choices, but you can also opt to randomly pass out two building row overlays to each player, ensuring that every player’s building choices are slightly different. And “Governor” cards offer exciting and variable player powers; each player receives a role at the beginning of the game, and should adapt his or her strategy accordingly. Additionally, the Destiny Deck is comprised of effects, both positive and negative, that are drawn at the beginning of each year and left in play for that year. And finally, players can have more control over the amount of extra defense they receive each year with the addition of Soldier Tokens, which are carefully rationed out over the course of the game to meet the various threats of the realm.

As an avid fan of Kingsburg, I was anxious to experience my first game using the expansion. After reviewing the different options outlined above, my three opponents and I decided to add them all. Why not go whole-hog?

We began by drawing one Governor Card each. This would determine what game-spanning advantages each of us would have, and would give each of our games a bit of individual flavor. The cards were passed out, and I flipped mine to discover my new role: The Damsel. I was initially put off by the prospect of playing the role of this particular fairy tale staple: a helpless girl needing to be rescued. But a few seconds later I thought better of it; I’m secure in my masculinity, after all... and maybe I can prove the exception to the rule! Besides, the Damsel’s ability allows her to gain an extra “+2” Token at the start of each year, and she can use as many of these as she wants in a single season (but never on the same advisor)!

Click any of the images above to enlarge

My opponents drew the Schemer, an unsavory type of man who can quickly gain victory points, the Duke, who can call in favors from his wife the Duchess, and the Politician, who has two more dice placement options than everyone else. These three would prove formidable adversaries, so given the inherent powers of the Damsel, I decided on my strategy early. I wanted to quickly establish buildings that would allow me to have the most dynamic dice pool possible. In other words, I wanted to roll as many dice as possible, and have extra options in placing them. I immediately decided that I would concentrate on structures like the Market and Farms, and then adapt my plans accordingly.

Next, we randomly drew Alternative Buildings. These row overlays are optional, and are designed to fit over the existing province sheet, so each player can have different building options. I drew replacements for rows E and F, and chose to put them both in play.

We drew the first year’s event card: a game-changing effect that would stick with us all throughout the first year (for good or ill), and off we went!

My strategy was admittedly a risky one; it relied on very little in the way of established defenses. Instead, I would build up the religious zones for a high Victory Point payout, and buy my soldiers on a year-to-year basis.

I started with the statue. This would give me some small degree of control over what I roll (if I ever rolled three of the same number). Besides, it was cheap, and it was necessary to my overall plan.

Next, I built the Inn, which gives a bonus +2 token at the end of every summer. As you’ll recall, as the Damsel I received another of these tokens at the start of each year, and I could use more than one of them in a single season. Bring those +2 tokens on!

By the end of the third year, I had established a fairly strong control over my rolls. After the Inn, I built the Chapel (in order to reroll any sum under a seven), the Market (to influence any advisor just above or below my roll), and the Farms (to add a white die every roll). All this, along with the Damsel’s special ability and the high number of +2 tokens I was acquiring every year, gave me amazing control over each and every production season.

Unfortunately, my defenses suffered and my opponents were thriving. The Schemer was making strong use of his highly profitable special ability, and the Duke and Politician were fighting hard to maintain second place. In anticipation of an impending enemy invasion, I would later go on to scramble to put up the Small Palisade and the Hidden Refuge (both of which options on my alternative building overlays)... but I consistently failed to acquire any additional soldiers via advisors.

By the fourth year, I was struggling to both defend my borders and acquire resources. I built the Woodshop in order to alleviate some of that stress, and it would later help me to put up the Church and the Cathedral... but it would prove too little and too late. My Cathedral saw less than a year of life before being destroyed by barbarians, and meanwhile, the Schemer had built the powerful Basilica, a structure on his alternative building overlay that cannot be destroyed! This, along with the Victory Points he gained every time an opponent influenced a high-level advisor, won him the game.

Ultimately, I concluded that a more balanced strategy would have served me better. In the end, having all that adaptability in my rolls was helpful, but it had taken too long to establish, and took resources that would have been better spent on defense. Still, To Forge a Realm certainly delivered on its promise, bringing a new level of strategy to an already deep and compelling game. Pick it up at your local game store, or head over to our webstore today!

Kingsburg is a board game where players take on the roles of provincial governors tasked with protecting the furthest frontiers of the kingdom from marauding monsters. At the same time, players must use their influence to enlist the help of the king's courtiers in to civilize the wilderness, build prosperous towns, and earn the most favor from the king. The player who does the best at all of these things will achieve victory!

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Comments (1)

Soldier X
Published: 10/7/2009 3:37:18 PM

Sounds very fun cant wait to get it.

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