Preview Review of King Down

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Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game on Kickstarter. I received a copy of the rules and a print and play pdf of the game. In this review I will only be covering the 2 player version of the game. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!

King Down is a game designed by Saar Shai. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be playing the game of chess like it’s never been played before. They will be gaining victory points for taking a space in the capitol and for every piece they take. The first player to reach 8 Victory Points will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player will take the chess pieces of a similar color including 4 pawns, 2 knights, 1 bishop, 1 rook, 1 queen and a king. These pieces are kept off the board for now. Each player takes a deck of cards with the same back on them. These are shuffled and placed face down next to the player. The white army player draws 3 cards and the black army player draws 4. The board is placed in the middle of the play area. Play can now begin.

On a player’s turn, they have 4 action points that they can use on their turn. These can be used on basic actions or on playing cards. There are 4 basic actions. They are call, take, move, and draw. Call is an action that costs all 4 action points. To do this you will take one of your pieces that is in your “camp” and “summon” it onto one of the vacant tiles on your frontline. The player’s frontline is the 6 middle tiles nearest the player on their side of the board. The Take action costs 3 action points. To do this the player uses one of their chess pieces to take another player’s chess piece in the same way that you would in a regular game of chess. The Move action costs 2 action points. To do this you will move one of your pieces the same way you would in a normal game of chess. What this action and the previous one means is that if you’re using a rook, it moves the exact way a rook does in chess, for example. The Draw action costs only 1 action point. This allows the player to draw a card.

Playing cards is another way that actions can be spent. To play a card you must pay the cost to play the card as indicated on the card itself. If a card has a 1A then it costs 1 Action. The card is in play and remains on the table until the beginning of the next player’s turn. There are two types of cards to be played, calling cards and spell cards. Calling cards allow you to call the corresponding piece from your camp to the frontline. If the piece is already in play, it allows the player to use the cards benefit. Spell cards can be played onto a calling card that is already in play. The effect of the spell card is applied to the corresponding piece.

Once a player has used up all 4 of their actions, they can then discard any number of cards from their hand. They then draw cards from their deck so that they have 3 cards in hand and in play. For example, if they have 1 card in play and 1 in hand, they would then draw 1 extra card. A player can add to their hand limit for each piece they have in the capitol. The capitol is the 4 center tiles on the board. Cards in play are picked up and placed back in their hand at the beginning of their turn.

Scoring is done in several ways. A player receives 1 victory point for each piece they have in the capitol other than the king and for each piece that they take from another player. A player receives 2 victory points for having their king in the capitol or for taking another player’s king. The first player to reach 8 victory points is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
Looking at the pieces that will come with the game, I’m blown away. Everything from the cards to the miniatures is unbelievable. I’m really impressed with it. The miniatures are fully detailed and beautiful. The artwork on the cards is just as pretty. It looks as if everything about this game is fully realized and a work of art.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Having only seen the PnP version of the rules, I’m not exactly sure how good or bad this will look. As it is, everything was covered extremely well and was really easy to read. There were several examples of how to play the game and a few pictures as well. I’m sure with the production design of the components, the rules will be just as beautiful.
— out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game is really a unique way of playing chess and makes it playable by up to 4 people. The addition of the cards and actions is really intriguing. I really like how the cards add benefits to your pieces. There is really a lot of strategy involved in chess to begin with, but this really cranks it up a notch in my book. It makes a somewhat dull and boring game, a lot better. It definitely makes it look better. I like how the rules are basically the same as a regular game of chess but it adds actions and cards to boost your play. I really like the design of the game. I feel that the game play looks really smooth and tight with nothing broken as far as game play.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
King Down looks to be a really neat take on the classic game of chess. It appears to be a medium weight game. Fans of chess and any fantasy style games should really enjoy this one. The artwork and miniatures in this game are absolutely gorgeous. This is really a unique and fun way of playing chess for up to 4 people. I really like being able to add more players to a game that I grew up loving to play. There is no reason why this shouldn’t exceed it’s goals. This is definitely a game to pick up. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

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You can get more information and check out the game right now on Kickstarter, as well as back the campaign.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/673576049/king-down

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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