by Breaking Games
A review by Mawihtec
- 1-5 Players
- 90-180 Minutes
- 14+ Age
Ho there monk. King Sivolc has given you his charge. You are to set forth and construct an Abbey befitting of his Grace’s majesty. He expects Bell Tower, battlements, peasants and associated buildings. Of course His majesty in his infinite wisdom has not tasked just you with this honour. There are others who will try to outdo your achievements. So go hence forth from this place and Recruit, Train, defend, Build, Crusade and Harvest. The King’s time is limited and he will not reward failure.
So you pick up a copy of Kings Abbey and first thing is ooh nice weight to the box. Well actually first thing is ooh that’s a lot of brown, then nice weight. Once you open it your first thoughts are confirmed. There is a lot in the box.
- 1 Game Board,
- 5 Player Boards,
- 5 Player Aides,
- 50 Monks (Dice 10 per player),
- 5 Vikings (Dice),
- 75 Peasants (15 wooden cubes per player),
- 5 Clergy (purple wooden cubes),
- 67 Tokens (Tools, Wagons, trade, etc.),
- 70 Coin Tokens,
- 98 Buildings (mini cards),
- 61 Crusade, Event and Remodel cards (standard playing cards),
- 31 Walls, Darkness tracker and Player discs (wooden components),
- 105 Resource Tokens (Grain, Wood, Stone and Sand)
- 24 Sheep and Cows (wooden cubes),
- Start Player wooden Meeple,
- Solo Rules,
- Building Reference card
- 2 Expansion Modules.
I do not say this often (enough). The insert for Kings Abbey is blooming great. Everything fits really nicely. The player boards fit perfectly to keep everything in place. I even did the shake test (upside down over head shake then open to see if stuff moved) it passed with 99% of stuff staying put (I was very energetic with my shaking).
Sounds like a lot of bits. So how well does it come together? The answer is surprisingly well to be honest. Game Rounds initially appear daunting but are actually pretty straightforward. In this order you will,
- Roll your dice,
- Draw and resolve an Event Card,
- Abbey and Crusade Dice placement,
- Purchase Building Cards,
- Resource selection (Dice placement),
- Move peasants,
- Gardening/Farming/Feeding (mostly Feeding),
- Darkness Track resolution and advancement,
- Crusade rewards/buy new
I will give a little more insight below.
- Roll dice→ Each player will roll 9 of their 10 dice (they might unlock the 10th later in the game).
- Draw and resolve an Event Card,→ The events deck will reveal either a Disaster, Year of plenty or Viking attack, Disaster=Bad, Year of Plenty=Good Viking attack requires players to use some of their dice to combat the Vikings or lose peasants and/buildings..
- Abbey and Crusade Dice placement→ This is where you recruit peasants, advance on the religion track or allocate dice to crusades
- Purchase Building Cards→ Guess go on. Yep you buy Building cards.
- Resource selection (Dice placement)-> Remaining Dice are allocated to collect resources
- Move peasants→ Move baptised peasants to buildings to unlock bonus’
- Build→ Construct new buildings by paying resources. Note you cannot put a peasant in until the next round.
- Gardening/Farming/Feeding (mostly Feeding)→ Feed peasants or if you have built farms then tend Sheep and Cows.
- Darkness Track resolution and advancement→Think of this as the war and famine track. If you have enough defence you safe otherwise lose peasants and victory points. It increases every round.
- Income→ Gain 1 coin for each peasant except for those on crusade.
- Crusade rewards/buy new→Any completed Crusades will yield their rewards now.
- Clean-up→ Re-set ready for next round
While this might sound daunting at first. It genuinely is not. After the first few rounds you will pretty much forget about the rule book and just occasionally glance at the reference cards to remind yourself when the build or buy Building actions are. It just flows really naturally from one action to another. As most actions can be done simultaneously there is minimal downtime. There is some very minor player interaction as you might offer to help on a crusade for a share of the rewards. You will all work co-operatively when the Vikings come calling as well. There is a lot to think about each part of the round so making the right decision can be tricky. This has the potential to lead to some Analysis Paralysis. That being said we did not encounter to much in our play throughs.
While there is a lot to like about Kings Abbey, it is not without a few faults. Are they enough to stop you enjoying it? Only you can really decide. The first issue for me was the set up guide. When you are first setting up a new game you need it to be as painless as possible and that includes any graphical depictions of set up being on the same page as the instructions themselves. Flicking back and forth is frustrating. Part of the set up is putting piles of tokens onto the board itself. Nice idea, but in reality make the space big enough please. It is definitely on the crunchy side at the beginning and while this will quite quickly ease be prepared for undoing some moves as you realise you did things out of order. Taking first player involves using a die placement on an initiative space. When your rewarded for doing so and the rules openly state that you can use the space even if you are already first player thus getting the bonus. (House rules possibly required). I will be honest and say that it was not an issue when we played but I was made aware of this by an experienced gaming colleague who suggested the house rule of not being allowed to retain the First Player by taking the spot every turn. (Thanks Martin). Finally some of the components were definitely on the “small” side and at time things did feel fiddly.
- Think-y game.
- Flows Well.
- Nice art especially on the event cards.
- Lack of player interaction.
- Rule book is a bit bloaty.
- Can feel a bit “multiplayer solitaire”.
- Play time may put off some.
Overall a nice gaming experience with some luck elements. Not so much luck as to make the game swing-y. Nothing groundbreaking but some nice mechanics. Recommended to play before you buy if given a chance. Worth the investment of time but could be too long for some.
I was provided a copy of “Kings Abbey” solely for the purpose of review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member of BGE for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.