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Early thoughts after first two plays of Viscounts of the West Kingdom

Review

I recently got my hard copy of #Viscounts of the West Kingdom that I had pre-ordered. I played a learning game with my 10 year olds daughter that we didn't finish, played through a solo game and then roped my daughter into playing another game that we finished. So, early opinion: it's great, and what's more my daughter was raving about it after the second game! I own #Architects of the West Kingdom, and I've played #Paladins of the West Kingdom once. Currently Viscounts is my favorite of the 3. The deck management aspect of the game is probably my favorite part of the game and the game ended condition provides interesting tension. The player interaction is very well done in this game with no real take-that feel and but enough passive interaction that you do play attention to what the other players are doing.  

My one concern, minor though it is, is with replayability. The different strategies don't feel that different at this point. If you like the core mind-feel of the game this won't be an issue. What you won't get is a new experience every time you play.  I think the push-pull between the debts and the deeds for end game scoring will continue to keep it interesting among players of similar familiarity with the game.   Overall, very enjoyable, plus one of my kids really likes it so it will likely see a lot of table time. That's a win!

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59 days ago

Had to come back here after a third play to say I am even more impressedd.

Owner2 months ago

I like #Architects of the West Kingdom solo but found 2p gameplay somewhat awkward, mostly because I don't like running bots to tighten things up and because it didn't encourage player interaction that much. Seems like #Viscounts of the West Kingdom will be more to my liking at least on the 2p side of things.

2 months ago

I haven't tried Architects solo, but was pleasantly surprised by the Viscounts solo mode. Your actual play doesn't change at all and the solo opponent is easy to run once you learn the symbols.

 

I understand your issues with Architects at 2p.  It really does shine at 3-4. 2 players Viscounts worked well. And I think the game will scale well with 3-4, but with an uptick in player interaction as more people get on the board and multiple people try to add workers to the castle. I can't say for sure, but I suspect the time increase for additional players would not be inconsequential.

2 months ago

To me this looks like most unique mechanically of the series but a bummer about the replayability question!

2 months ago

It is the most unique IMO.  The replayability issue isn't more serious than the other games in the series. Basically I'm just trying to say that the game won't present radically different gameplay experiences upon subsequent plays, a la something like Root or Dominion.  Other games that I would say have a similar "replayability issue" would be #Terraforming Mars #Viticulture: Essential Edition #Wingspan .  So, when I say it is minor issue, I mean a MINOR issue. Don't let it put you off the game if everything else ticks your boxes.

2 months ago

Ahhhh I see the clarification. Thanks for that. As long as the core game is good and the decision space is interesting that is ok!

2 months ago

Yup, no worries, the game IS good and the overall decision making is very engaging.

2 months ago

That is good to hear! I might need to look into it. I really enjoyed #Raiders of the North Sea but have not been drawn to anything from them since.

2 months ago

I'm not planning on buying the whole series (got #Paladins of the West Kingdom) but I am curious to play it though.
I was wondering about the deck management myself. I suppose it has more interaction than Paladins?

2 months ago

Definitely more interaction than Paladins, though it is more indirect interaction based on the virtue and corruption tracks. 

2 months ago

Cool! I have a friend who owns #Paladins of the West Kingdom, so I've gotten to play that and really like it! He was eyeing this one as well so it's cool to see such a positive review.

2 months ago

They are both great, and there will be a bunch of people split between which they prefer.  But if you prefer deck building and deck management I think Viscounts will be your preferred game.

Premium User2 months ago

I am impressed you took a shot at playing this with a 10 year old!  I considered including my 12 y/o daughter in a playthrough but haven't had a chance just yet.  She saw the board and pieces and thought it looked cool.

I only have about 4 playthroughs myself and haven't really honed on a great strategy but I would argue on the strategies not being different. Here are the strategies that really seem diverse:

1. Go all out on buildings - there are sevearl benefits from this from additional symbols to end game points but there are also townsfolk and bonus from other sources that make this a viable option to pursue.

2. Go all out on filling the castle - again there are losts of bonuses to be gained from doing this.  One could try and do both but I have found that going with more focus toward one or the other can net more points.

3. Go all out on obtaining a certain type of townsperson in your deck.  This is centered more on the deck building as requires at least a decent manuscript to make it worthwhile but can can teh difference between going after more buildings or getting more of your nobles into the castle.

4.  Some strategy around the debts and deeds - I think this is an option though I haven't played enough to try it out.  

I could well be wrong and all these things just sourt of bleed together but I think there is as much potential diversity as there is in Paladins.  I also have to try out the Tomesaga option to see how that goes as well as the co-op option for Viscounts.  Paladins still remains my favorit thus far but after several more playthroughs I think Viscounts will be close to my top 10 if not in my top ten. 

2 months ago

My 10 yo might be the real gamer of my brood. Her favorite game is #Clank! In! Space! She seems to like the deck building and card acquisition stuff. It surprised me how much she liked Viscounts. All I had to do was give her a tip to focus on one thing and she took over from there and played a respectable game. She scored 78, if I  remember correctly, working mainly on manuscripts. I beat her putting people in the castle but that was only because I got 1 more flipped sent than she did. If we would have tied on flipped debts she would have won.

 

To clarify, I'm not saying the strategies aren't different, only that they feel the same regardless of which one you choose to pursue.  Except for maybe trying to rush The debt and deed pile to end the game quickly, which I have not tried yet. The fun in this game will be more on the tactical level of how can maximize individual turns and manage the debt and deed decks, and make your own deck.

Supporter2 months ago

Sounds interesting. I have looked at it a number of times. That is a little bit dissapointing that the different strategies don't feel that different. I can see how that would be  a concern.

2 months ago

I will say that it seems there is more player interaction in this game than any of the others in the trilogy, albeit indirect interaction. In #Architects of the West Kingdom there is always this low grade tension about whether to keep your people out because it is super powerful, or to claim them back before someone else puts them in jail. It's a constant, but not game changing interaction.  In Viscounts the interactions can be crucial to success or failure, especially with the debt and deed decks. But also with the tableau rearrangement. My daughter placed her Viscount on the same space mine was,  right before my primary engine card dropped off. Getting to keep it for two more rounds likely is what gave me the victory. 

 

I guess what I'm saying is that there will always be interesting choice to make in this game, but it will always retain it's smaller basic feel.

Supporter2 months ago

That makes sense. 

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