Update: Kingdom’s name was changed to Regnum Angelica before it was released. Pick up your copy on Amazon.
He Geek and She Geek love nothing more than a cold gloomy day where we can huddle up indoors with a stack of board games. This weekend fit the bill, and we were invited to preview Kingdom, a game currently being Kickstarted and created by Nashville area game creators Black Locust Games. In a nutshell, Kingdom is a two-player card/board game where one player controls the heavenly host and the other leads the fallen angels in an attempt to invade the other’s realm.
We met up with Casey, one half of BLG, at the local bookstore/coffee shop. Pulling up a couple of tables, Casey unpacked the prototype version of the game. The game board is a 20″ x 30″ piece imprinted with move spaces, score boards, and power level trackers for both sides. Also included in the box are various score marker cubes, black and white power stones, and the main game components, a deck of arch angel cards and a deck of fallen angel cards.
Now, Imma let you finish, but the artwork on these cards is some of the best angel paintings of all times! They really are gorgeous cards. Each of the 50 unique angels was painted by UK artist William Xavier Lavender. Casey told us that the original idea was to have each card painted by a different artist, in the vein of Magic the Gathering, but when they saw the quality of the Lavender’s first submission, they commissioned him to paint the rest of the deck. Good choice in our opinion. Check out the collage and see for yourself:
Game play can best be described as Magic The Gathering meets Chess meets Roshambo. The goal is to score the most points by moving your angels from your side of the board and into your opponent’s realm. Each angel has a different point value which determines how much you score if you are successful. However, the most valuable angels are also the most powerful, so you have to decide whether you want the points now or if you want to keep the angel in play in order to defeat your opponent’s angels.
Combat is resolved by a simple rock-paper-scissors style of play. Each angel has an eight-way combat diagram printed on its card with each point represented by Earth, Water, or Fire. Depending on which direction two opposing cards meet in combat determines which is the victor. Say two cards meet head on. You look at which element each card has at its top center arrow. Water beats Fire, Fire scorches Earth, Earth absorbs Water.
However, there are also two other types of cards in your decks that can change that outcome: Pillars, which can be used as defense against the elements, and Angelic Scripts (which are actually written in the ancient celestial alphabet, Malachim) that give players or cards additional powers. You can “burn” these cards to build up your power reserves (up to a max of 5) or you can spend your power to use the cards. With this mechanic, the game forces you to be strategic in your power management decisions.
We played Kingdom for about an hour (before the barista made his store closing announcements) and didn’t finish a whole game, but that was because we were taking our time to learn the strategies (and to be honest, a lot of time was spent pouring over the angel artwork). Casey told us that a normal game would take about 45 minutes, which felt about right. I had caught on to the game after about my first 30 minutes and was able to take my turn without my handy turn progression “cheat sheet” from that point on.
BLG is still game testing and putting some finishing touches here and there on the game, but as it stands, Kingdom is a hell of a good time and definitely a game HGSG will have on our shelf if the Kickstarter is successful.
Check out the video of the game and get more info on how you can contribute to Kingdom here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1281146833/kingdom-0