Its a smithy. A joy to behold, when man inside creates a rose flower, which blooms. It sheds tears in the grass and anvil ringing sings. Fire is greedy, it swallows heart as a whole. Iron smiths are not easy to find and even more difficult to make work for you. And it does not matter, if you are king, pope or just a simple passerby. So start knocking at their door, some of them might be willing to do some work.
Fairy tale about brave blacksmiths comes to new board game King’s Forge, which comes to us in the production of Game Salute. Its author is Nick Sibicky and illustrations are work of Jonathan Kirtz. This is a novelty for year 2015 and was introduced to the audience at the fair Spiel 2015 in Essen.
Box has a classic square shape and on its cover, we see a resolute blacksmith in the firelight, pounding into a huge anvil. Before we will be able to join his masterful work, we must first take a good look at the contents of the package itself.
Inside of the box is filled with dice. They are all forged into a beautiful six-sided shaped and decorated in a variety of colors. There is an impressive total of 91 of them and they represent a variety of materials – black metal, green wood, blue magic or red gems. Then there are fifty cards, of which more than half is items, which kings want made. Each has dice values printed on its right side, showing materials and value necessary for its manufacturing. All supplies will players gain thanks to the remaining building cards, which also demand placement of dice to start production.
Surprisingly, there are four cardboard pieces inside, representing each family of blacksmiths, who will players become. Then, some wooden tokens will make you company and only at the very bottom is folded game board representing royal town and castle with some spaces to lay card decks.
At the beginning of the game, each player chooses his family and takes the corresponding board. That will determine his coat of arms. Yet, all opponents shall be indiscriminately given equal five iron dice (black), with which they will have to make do at the beginning. Then, kingdom is prepared jointly. In the lower part, random four of the eleven buildings used for each game are revealed (eighteen total) and rest creates a stock at a specified location. Other deck with offer cards is not shuffled, but sorted according to price. Three least rare items are revealed, while rest must be fanned, that each card shows only its right lane with price. Tokens will lie next to the board.
And then its time for the players to start pounding the anvil. At the beginning of each round, new set of random four buildings is revealed. They can be immediately used gradually from a starting player. Everyone puts selected board in front of him and puts as many cubes as required on it. These dice are blocked for rest of the round, but for their efforts, players get some new production dice.
Location on selected cards are not mandatory. Instead of them, players may use dock actions printed on the board. But such dice do not return to player property at the end of the turn, but instead they wander into common stock. Or player may not even choose to give up turn completely, and if he is the first one to do so, he also receives new lump of iron from the pot.
Then comes the production. To this action, players may apply all the dice, that remained available after the initial phase. First of all, these dice have to be rolled. Based on the resulting values, player can then claim individual items, that are awaiting production and this is done again from starting player onwards. But dice must correspond in color and even with value to those needed on card. Whenever players has successfully forged something, a new item immediately moves to the menu.
But although such item is forged and lying somewhere in the smithy, a handy visitor can steal it before it gets to its rightful owner. Opponents therefore may steal completed cards from each other. To do this, they need to follow card requirements and use dice of proper colors and sufficient values. But this time, at least one has to be higher, that number in the strip.
At the end of each round, dice go back into their seats, starting player role is shifted (marked with a large wooden anvil) and production tiles are shuffled and four of them again creates new offer. Match ends, when one player is able to produce fourth itme for the king. Such blacksmith is winner of the game.
King’s Forge is a simple dice game. And it is this simplicity, that brings is forward in the category of family games. It does not have any complicated rules and players have a clear task from beginning to end. But it remains fun, which is the main goal of these player-friendly games.
Individual dice have two uses throughout the round. Gamers can provide them to their suppliers as a source for production of raw materials. They can then receive new dice and thus to expand their reserve. At this time, color clearly matters. This entire mechanism quietly ranks this game in genre of dicebuilding.
Unlike the recently reviewed cubebuilding racing Automobiles game, there are not really any significant innovations. Everything is going exactly as you would explect from a similar styled game. A distinctive element of the gameplay is then possibility to steal each other unsecured items (only in round, when they were made). Besides their own dice, players must watch others and control their chances of theft. But they can also be thankful for having more options to use dice and therefore also bigger chance to craft some item in a turn.
Despite the significant role of chance, number of things in the game can be influenced by tactics. Overall, the game experience can be described as need to balance your luck / bad luck with just the right way of playing. Like that, it is possible to find the way to victory.
Due to its simplicity, game is playable even with smaller children around eight years. They will be very well entertained with dice, but they are also able to cope with concept of their use to activate the cards without issues. Additionally, there are no in-game texts, so everything can be handled visually by the color and number of dots on dice.
And because it is so simple game, it is good, that the gameplay itself comes to closure in one hour even with larger number of players. Overall impression is slightly different in the level of interaction, but otherwise you can still play it well in two player mode.
As you can see from the surrounding images, the game looks really nice. Dice are colorful and they create a very good impression themselves. All this is accompanied by nice illustrated cards and detailed game board, that is a litle obsolete here (serves only as a placeholder for cards), but again adds some charm to the game.
King’s Forge will be nice experience especially to newcomers. This is a nice gateway into the world of board games and as such, we should also evaluate it, so please take this into consideration, when seeing the stars ratin. Advanced players may find affection for it, because it provides nice relaxing fun, without any hard thinking. King’s Forge is not particularly original, but it certainly is functional fun for everyone.
King's Forge is a dice game, in which players build their base of colorful dice. With them, there will be some rolling and trying to combine the results to forge valuable items for a king. To do this, they need luck, but also tactics in choosing the correct tiles. End of each round comes with the sign of theft, but also during stealing, players need to have right combination of free dice. Game opens its arms to less experienced players and thanks to simple rules works great as a game for beginners or even children. And although it does not offer anything radically new, it has repeated proven concept, we like. King's Forge can be happily recommended to anyone interested.