Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Gamelyn Games, 2014. $25. Designed by Scott Almes. Worker placement, area control game of kingdom building set in fantasy world. 35 meeples, 30 tokens, 2 dice, 13 Faction cards, 8 double-sided territory cards, 1 Action card, 1 Tower card, 1 rule book. 2-5 players. Ages 13+. 30-45 minutes.
Building a tiny kingdom that’s truly epic is what this game sets out to do and delivers in a big way. Each player starts with one territory card, which is divided into resource generating regions, two meeples, and a Faction card (fantasy races such as Orcs or Elves). Taking turns to be the Active player, each player chooses one of the available actions from the Action card: Patrol (move a meeple to an adjacent region on its current territory), Quest (move a meeple to an “adjacent” (your opponents left or right) territory card), Build (spend ore resources to raise your Tower, good for Victory points), Research (spend mana resources to advance your Faction’s Magic level, giving it new powers), Expand (spend food resources to add a new meeple to one of your regions), or Trade (exchange as many of one resource type for that number of one other).
While the Active player chooses the current action, the other players may (in turn) either take that action OR gather resources based on the type of regions their meeples occupy. War occurs if either a Patrol or Quest action moves one player’s meeple into another player’s occupied region. Wars are fought by secretly noting (using the two dice provided) the amount of War points players are willing to spend (each mana counts as 2 war points, each ore as one) and then reveals (and pays) their totals. The player who spends the most war points wins and the loser’s meeple returns to his supply.
The game ends when any player has raised his Tower or advanced his Magic to the highest level or has placed all seven of his meeples. Points are scored for levels of Tower and Magic as well as number of meeples and occupying Capital cities.
Though the kingdoms are tiny with only seven meeples, the game is hugely entertaining. In a very small package you get more than a dozen fantasy races each with 5 levels of magical abilities and 16 different territories. And yet the game has all the elements of a much larger traditional fantasy board game. You guide your race (one of many), gaining territories and resources in order to advance your magic/technology level, growing your population, and going to war. There is also 2 player version that uses a neutral third kingdom that works very well.
The only downside to the game is that it seems too short! Just as I get my kingdom running and want to really invade others the game ends.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms, in its small package, has quickly become my favorite game to take along to the pub for a quick, fun game playable in the time it takes for the first pint. Highly recommended.
This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. No previous relationship with the game publisher nor compensation was involved.
c2015 by Richard A. Edwards