Have you ever thought about what you would do if you became King or Queen? What policies would you implement to keep your subjects happy? Or would you even want to keep them happy? Maybe you’re in it for the money?
Even before you talk about policies for when you’re the Ruler of the Realm (and yes, capital letters are very important there), you have to think about how you would do your takeover.
That’s not to say you don’t have competition for becoming ruler in the game, of course. But imagine if it were really as easy to do as having people in various professions that are important for realm-building just lining up and having you recruit them?
I’d take that in a flat minute.
But how does it play as a game?
Let’s take a look.
Majesty: For the Realm is a 2-4 player card-game designed by Marc André with artwork by Anne Heidsieck.
In it, you are trying to create the richest domain in order to seize the crown and become ruler of it (if only it were that easy). (Editor – That’s how you became head of Dude Central, isn’t it?)
Each player has a village with eight buildings in it: Mill, Brewery, Cottage, Guardhouse, Barracks, Inn, Castle, and Infirmary (placed in that order).
In a very cool effect, lining them up straightly (Editor – Rather than the haphazardly way Dave did) gives you a cool panorama of your village.
Villager cards are dealt out into a row of six.
On your turn, you choose a villager to place in your village. The card farthest from the deck costs nothing, but you must place one of your white meeples on each card you’re skipping in order to take a card closer to the deck.
If you take a card that have been previously skipped, you collect the meeples as well.
Of course, if you don’t have any meeples, you can’t skip a card!
You place the card you took under the appropriate building and execute the action of that building and score the appropriate points. For the picture above, placing the miller into the Mill will give you two points per miller you have.
That’s pretty much it. The game ends once everybody has twelve people in their village.
There is some end game scoring as well. Count up the number of buildings that have at least one worker. Then you multiply that number by itself and get that many points (if you have workers in all seven buildings, you get 49 points!).
Then, for each building, you see which player has the most of that type of worker. Whoever has the most (and ties are friendly, so each player gets the points) gets a certain number of points based on the score at the bottom of the card. The Mill will get you 10 points, the Brewery gets you 11 points, and so on up to the Castle which gets you 16 points if you have the most workers there.
You also lose one point for each worker you have in the Infirmary, that building at the right end of your line.
Whoever has the most points is the winner!
I love Majesty: For the Realm to bits. While I will certainly still play Century: Spice Road, if given the choice I’d rather play this.
It has the same “line up cards in a row, freely take the card on the end but you have to pay something to skip and take a card further in” mechanism as Century and I find it more fulfilling to be trying to build your own city.
This is almost a Stefan Feld-esque kind of card game, though, in one specific fashion: everything you do gets you points. It may not get you a lot of points, but it will get you points. (Editor – And if you’re Dave, it won’t get you enough points).
How are the components? The cards are pretty decent. The cards are good quality, but I especially like the Gold/VP (whatever the heck they are) chips.
Very much like poker chips, they are sturdy and I love stacking them and playing with them in my hand.
However, there is one terrible omission with these.
Where are the 5-point chips??????
You’re getting chips with every play of a card (and sometimes play of an opponent’s card). You’re cashing in your chips for a higher-denomination all of the time because there simply aren’t enough to go around.
And yet you have a stack of four 2-point chips and a 1-point chip because there are no 5’s.
What’s the deal?
The art on the cards is really nice. Kind of rustic like rural village life (but it’s making you rich!) and really charming.
The rule book is pretty decent. The rules are clearly laid out (when you actually read them rather than having the game taught to you, like I did) and it’s a fairly simple game anyway.
The game play is perfect for a filler. Sure, there aren’t any really meaty decisions (especially if you don’t have any meeples to actually pay to skip a card), but you do have to kind of decide what you’re going for and see what comes out.
It’s very tactical in nature, especially with four players, because you don’t know what cards are going to be coming out in the market. Also, if others are getting knights and attacking, causing multiple infirmary visits by your workers, you may end up having to get a witch (to heal them) or guard (to prevent attacks) rather than something else you were going for.
So there are some decisions to be made.
It’s not brain-burning, though. That’s what I want in a game that fits during a lunch break with co-workers, or perhaps a game to start or end the night with.
It’s very light, but that’s not a bad thing.
As long as you’re not opposed to light games in general, I think Majesty: For the Realm is well worth a try.
Obviously it’s not a “thinky filler” (to quote Heavy Cardboard), but I find it engages that part of my brain that wants to just chill.
In fact, I think that would make a very chill ruler.
Who wouldn’t want a king like that?
(This review was written after 3 plays)