By Order of the Queen
Junk Spirit Games
A Review by
- 2-4 Players
- 90-120 Minutes
- 10+ Age (younger with some assistance with reading)
By Order of the Queen, from Junk Spirit Games. Is a story about the land of Tessandor. The kingdom is under threat from rampaging monsters, you and up to three friends will take on the roles of Guilds. You will recruit heroes to fight Monsters, Complete Quests, Fight Nemesis’ (Nemesises? Nemesii?) and complete Queens Orders. Do you have what it takes to save the kingdom from falling?
By Order of the Queen is not short of components. In fact there is plenty in the box to keep you going for some time.
- 1 Game Board.
- 1 Rule Book.
- 1 Graveyard Sideboard.
- 8 Nemesis Cards.
- 8 Guild Cards.
- 12 Queens Order Cards.
- 21 Event Cards.
- 24 Quest Cards.
- 100 Location Cards (25 each of four locations).
- 64 Hero Cards.
- 44 Monster Cards
- 8 Nemesis Monster Prompt Cards.
- 8 Starting Guild Item Cards.
- 40 Item Cards.
- 1 Colouring Book.
- 4 Player Reference Aides.
Knight to see you, Knight!
The artwork throughout By Order of the Queen is exceptional. Just from looking at the cover of the box you know straight away the target audience for this game. It is squarely aimed as a gateway family game with younger players in mind. The monsters art is no scarier than you find within the pages of fairy tales. Heroes are over the top illustrated to make them appear slightly more comical than threatening. There is nothing to cause offence here and the colours are bright and cartoonish in appearance.
Jack of all trades.
The gameplay in By Order of the Queen is deceptively simple. The Rules make sense and by the time you have executed your first “Event Phase” you will probably not need the Rulebook. After setting up the board and Cards into their correct spaces (which trust me is easy due to the iconography used). Each player is dealt a random Guild Card along with the relevant permanent Item Card. The first Queens Order is revealed, The Kings Funeral (the first event card) is turned over which places the first monsters and threat tokens into play. Players are dealt a hand of seven heroes each from what starts as a hefty pile of heroes. And you are ready to begin.
Your options in By Order of the Queen, are chosen from an initial selection. Fight Monsters, go on a Quest or Try to fulfil the Queens Order (note. Only one player may attempt the Queens Order per play round). You will attempt each of these options by choosing four heroes from your hand, using the relevant icons to help you pick your “strongest” party. After each turn you will discard your active heroes and draw back up to seven. Lets look at these actions.
- Fight Monsters → Using combat Icons from your heroes you will roll the correct number of dice with the aim of rolling the same or higher number/s as indicated on the monster cards. Each success covers up a dice symbol on a monster. Cover all the icons on a monster and it is removed. Any monsters left means you lose heroes from the game one per monster.
- Go on a Quest → Chose a quest card from the deck and attempt to complete a quest in the correct location Using Questing Icons from your heroes. You will roll the correct number of dice indicated by the icon on the location roll a five or a six on any of the dice and you succeed. Fail and there will be a penalty (usually add a threat, remove a villager or location token or even a hero card. Based on success or failure you will then attempt one of the remaining challenges on the card and either get a benefit from success or a penalty from failure. Either way you keep the location card towards your quest.
- Queens Order → To attempt a Queens Order, the player will attempt a location card in the same way as a quest but instead of rewards you will gain success tokens towards the queens quest. You still suffer the penalties though for failure. Following this you make one final roll based on the Queens Quest symbol shown on the card.
- Essentially in each case number of symbols = number of dice to roll.
Once all players have taken a turn then there will be an “Event Phase” this is when villagers and regions are lost. Heroes are retired (removed from the game). Monsters are released and you check to see if you have completed the Queens Quest (8 success tokens). If you complete three Queens Quests you win the game. Lose all the villagers, regions or heroes however and it is game over, you lose, the monster horde has won.
By Order of the Queen is a tricky game to judge. On the one hand it is trying to be a little RPG-esque with flavour text, Icons and dice rolls. On the other it is trying to be a light family friendly gateway game. It nearly manages to pull it off as well.
Gameplay is simple to learn and for the younger player there is little to no need to read the text as you can play just by looking at the Icons. So while this will appeal. The game itself is long (and I do mean long despite the time on the box allow 2hrs to play at least). So maintaining continued interest of younger players may well be an issue. Unfortunately this accessibility to younger players comes at a price. There could well be not enough “meat on the bones” of this game to keep older players interested either. Roll dice = succeed or fail (there is a very little dice roll mitigation available with queens favours allowing re-rolls). This is the way every players turn is played out. This is touted as a Co-op game, but I struggled to find the co-op element. You cannot help another player out when they are taking their turn other than to discuss the heroes they are choosing. The simplicity of this game stands out more with each play. While one or two plays will be enjoyable I would struggle to get it to the table more than that. The random luck of the roll aspect is going to be another turn off for many players. Especially as the dice mitigation is just re-rolls. All of this is such a shame because the artwork in By Order of the Queen is really beautiful. For this reviewer however that beauty is only skin-deep.
- Great artwork.
- Simple play style.
- Attractive to younger players.
- Family friendly.
- Far too much luck.
- No gameplay variation.
- Not really co-op.
- Very little depth.
- Long play time.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of “By Order of the Queen” in order to review the game. This in no way affected the review above.