Viscounts of the Western Kingdom is the third and last board game belonging to the trilogy dedicated to Western Kingdom.
This series of games was created by New Zealanders Shem Phillips and SJ Macdonald whose Italian edition is edited by Fever Games. With Architects e Paladins, the two previous titles, Viscounts of the Western Kingdom essentially shares only the setting and the iconography. The authors, in fact, have decided to keep the same style for all three games. Precisely for this reason they have entrusted all the illustrations to the same author Mihajlo Dimitrievski (The Mico).
Setting by Visconti of the Western Kingdom
The game is set in the early Middle Ages. The kingdom we had helped build in Architects, and that from Paladins we had heroically defended, now it is in decline. We, Visconti always loyal to the King, on the one hand we must support him, on the other hand we must look after our interests and win the favor of the population.
Now that you have read the setting, forget about it, because in the game you will not hear it at all!
The game in a nutshell
Viscounts of the Western Kingdom is a boardgame (from 1 to 4 players) whose main mechanics are those of deck building and resource management.
Il Viscount we're going to play is flanked by a small bevy of citizens (a stack of 8 starting cards the same for all players), a hero (drafted at the beginning) and others citizens which can be hired during the game.
In each turn it is possible to perform one of the main actions:
- To trade
- Building buildings
- Transcribe manuscripts
- Work at the castle
In order to perform these actions, the symbols owned by the 3 citizens present on our board at that moment must be added together, and eventually the resources in our possession must be added.
Here, the Castle in the center of the board is a captivating mechanic as well as aesthetically very in theme.
The presence of 3 or more of our workers will allow the climb and advancement in other sections, thus triggering further promotions of this type. If, on the other hand, there are more than 3 workers from different players, whoever is on duty decides who to kick out of the Castle to avoid crowds. A real battle!
Reputation & Corruption / Debts & Contracts
There are also tokens on the player board Reputation e Corruption which, when they collide, are able to make us money Debts, Contracts e coins depending on their position, and then reset. Just i Debts e Contracts they have a fundamental function for the development of the game. During the preparation phase of the game, in fact, a certain number are set aside according to the players. The exhaustion of one of these two piles, at any time, thus triggers the final game. Do you think, if during the game many were caught Contracts, the Debts suddenly they might have a higher value and vice versa. This makes the game more tense and interesting.
In the end, the points awarded by buildings, manuscripts, workers in the castle and all the rest of the factors add up and, twist, whoever has the most wins!
Tactics & Strategy
In Viscounts of the Western Kingdom you can try to do a little bit of everything. Concentrating mainly on one or two actions, choosing the right path or hiring lots of criminals and filling up with debts to repay.
One of the things I appreciated most is the balance between tactics and strategy, and the consequent choices suffered, especially at the beginning of the game. In fact, it will never be easy to give up a certain action, very strong in that turn, to make another more useful in the long term.
The interaction is not very high but it is still present, especially in more players when there is a lot of competition in the Castle.
Re-playability & Variants
The title can be defined as a medium weight that can satisfy both "novices" and more experienced players. Obviously the more experienced player or player with the most games behind him will have a great advantage, but even the neophyte, if he pays attention, will not take long to bridge the gap.
There is also a solitaire mode, very well designed. With this variant the player will face one of the four available AI (each with its own "personality"), whose actions will be dictated by a special deck of cards.
Impressions on Viscounts of the Western Kingdom
The difficulty level of Viscounts of the Western Kingdom it is more or less halfway between its two predecessors. Initially, it may even surprise a player accustomed to this type of game. In fact, the actions to be done and the parameters to be controlled are not few. However, once you understand the iconography, and especially if you have played the previous titles, it will take very little for the turns to flow away quickly enough.
The mechanics, in truth, are not very original. There are the deck building, the set collection (manuscripts), the buildings to be built, the majorities in the castle. However, the way in which the authors have wisely mixed these components definitively removes the sense of "already seen" from this game. The approaches can be the most varied.
The materials are good overall, except for the player boards, which are too thin and not up to par. The illustrations are in line with what has been seen in previous releases. Those who have played the previous games of the trilogy will feel "at home" recognizing the same style in the characters. Also available, sold separately, are the metal coins, usable in all titles of the trilogy.
The many paths that can be followed give the title a fair longevity, which will be prolonged by a probable future expansion (to the delight of my portfolio).
For fans of the series, we also report the release of "The West Kingdom Tomesaga". This box allows, with the addition of some components, to play the three chapters of the trilogy in Campaign Mode. A cooperative mode is also proposed for each of the three titles.
Finally, Viscounts of the Western Kingdom it will certainly not rank among the masterpieces of the genre, but it certainly deserves a place in our libraries, especially those of those who loved the style of Shem Phillips in previous titles.
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