Viscounts of the west kingdom from Garphill Games
‘Viscounts of the West Kingdom is set at a time when the King’s reign began to decline, circa 980AD. Choosing peace over prosperity, our once strong King began offering our enemies gold and land to lay down their axes. But peace is tenuous affair. As poverty spread, many people lost faith in his ability to lead and sought independence from the crown. Since finding favour in his courts, our future has also become uncertain. As viscounts, we must be wise and decisive. Loyalty is to be upheld, but gaining favour among the people must be our priority, should there be a sudden shift in power.’
‘The aim of Viscounts of the West Kingdom is to be the player with the most victory points at game’s end. Points are gained by constructing buildings, writing manuscripts, working in the castle and acquiring deeds for new land. Players begin with a handful of townsfolk, but should quickly seek out more suitable talents to advance their endeavours. Each turn they will be travelling around the kingdom, looking to increase their influence among the various areas of society. The game ends once the Kingdom reaches poverty or prosperity - or potentially both!’
3 words to describe this game: townsfolk, prosperity, poverty
5 main board segments and 1 castle - the board is essentially 5 pieces with a castle which is situated prominently in the middle. The pieces can be placed our randomly thus providing a slightly different set up each game. The segments are two sided and which one you will use depends on the number of players.
4 player boards - this is the board to which you play your cards and manage your buildings and virtue/corruption track. Cards are played onto your board and are then moved up on subsequent turns providing a number of symbols to be used on your turn. When the card track is full, the card on the far right is removed and all the cards are moved up providing a sort of carousel of cards to use. You will place out the following on your player board in your player colour: guildhalls, trading posts, workshops and your virtue and corruption markers. You will also have one viscount which is moved around the board taking actions and 20 workers in your colour that can be set slightly off the board. These will be added to the castle enabling bonuses and scoring vital points in the end game scoring
Resources: silver for trading, inkwells for writing manuscripts, gold for placing workers, stone for constructing buildings. All the resources are well made and the inkwells, gold and stone are wooden.
1 start player marker - cardboard token in keeping with the artwork of the cards
68 neutral townsfolk cards , 10 hero townsfolk cards and 32 starting townsfolk cards in player colours - Every player starts with the same set of townsfolk cards and one hero townsfolk card which is selected at the start of the game. The other neutral townsfolk cards are distributed on the play board to be accumulated throughout the game. Each townsfolk has different symbols which allow you to take certain actions and different bonuses. These bonuses can come in the guise of immediate bonus, ongoing bonus or bonus when the card is discarded.
4 cleric bonus cards and 1 castle leader card - these are cards which are awarded to people with the most manuscripts of a certain colour or for having the most workers in the centre of the castle
1 poverty card, 1 prosperity card, 30 debt cards and 30 deed cards - during the game you will be required to pick up deeds and debts. Debts start of unpaid and during the game you can pay them and acquire a resource of choice. Debts that remain unpaid will lose a player 2 VP during end game scoring. Deed cards are acquired and then approved during game play. When approved they reward the player with more victory points.
10 player cards - these are cards that are allocated to players at the start of game and give you your starting resources and any debts, deeds and townsfolk you are allocated
4 multiplier cards - the resources in the game are considered unlimited and so if you ever ran out you could use these multiplier cards to establish how many of any items you have.
For solo play:
8 starting scheme cards
8 future scheme cards
1 AI reference card
Overall thoughts: At first, this game can seem overwhelming. There is a lot in the box for a small game which i have found to be the case with the Garphill games I have come across at least. It looks very involved and like a lot going on when you initially set it up but once into the gameplay, it actually makes perfect sense and isn’t as complicated as I first thought. It’s great fun building your deck up and using it to try to complete actions on the board which will ultimately score you more points. There is a lot you can do - trade, build, place workers. It makes for an interesting game and was enjoyable to play. I particularly liked the castle mechanic whereby you place workers but sets of three workers cause a chain reaction which moves workers up inside the castle and out wards to the other sections. Bonuses can be acquired and I’ve not seen another game with this kind of mechanic. The game looks fantastic set up and the artwork is superb. I now really want to get the other games in the series and play the Tome saga. This game hits all the right spots and I can’t wait to bring it to the table time and time again.