The 30 October Ghenos Games presented The King's DilemmaThe new game Lorenzo Silva e Hjalmar Hach. The premises were undoubtedly interesting: a narrative game with components Legacy where the story, conceived by Carlo Burelli, plays a fundamental and varied role based on the decisions made, from game to game, by the players.
What better opportunity than Lucca Comics and Games, then, to play this new board game for a test game? Let's see a little bit of what it is (of course, without spoilers!).
Welcome to Ankist
In The King's Dilemma, players take on the role of noble members of the Houses of Kingdom of Ankist, at the helm of the government and advisers to the King. The mechanics are extremely simple: each player has a screen showing the data relating to his own house, a certain number of coins and power tokens to use, from turn to turn, to make decisions. At the center is the very clear board, which illustrates the six parameters that indicate the welfare of the Kingdom (money, supplies, culture, etc.) which can vary from game to game (positive or negative) and which will be modified continuously based on the decisions made, moving the relative marker up or down as appropriate. Each player chooses a personal goal at the start of the game that will award points at the end based on the status of the indicators on the board; consequently, each will attempt to influence decisions affecting the latter for their own benefit.
The mechanics: between diplomacy and cunning
At each turn we read a card that shows us what situation the kingdom is in and asks us a question, to which we will have to collectively answer yes or no. The paper does not expressly say how much the parameters will be affected depending on the decision made, but it does provide an indication of which indicators are affected by the choice and whether they will vary positively or negatively. Based on this indication, the diplomatic phase and bargaining in which the players discuss what to do: everything is allowed, too bribe opponents with their own money (in this case the decision of the latter is bound). At the end of the discussion we proceed with the vote: everyone points power tokens on yes, no, or abstains. It is then decided on the option that received the most votes. Those who have lost can take back their power. Those who abstained share the power spent by the players whose decision turned out to be successful. We then proceed with the reading of the consequences of the choice, the modification of the parameters as indicated by the card, and we continue with a new turn until the end of the game, that is with the "natural" death of the king (after a certain number of story cards resolved) or with his murder (in case of extreme malaise of the kingdom).
Welfare of the Kingdom or of one's House?
The King's Dilemma is a game focused on storytelling and diplomacy, with very simple but effective mechanics. The game, which didn't give us any spoilers about the story as it was created specifically for the demo, was quite fast and a lot of fun. Surely you have to like the genre, knowing how to bluff and manipulate others can prove to be decisive and that's the beauty of the game. It is also essential to play it with the right group, in which everyone is involved in the story and able to identify with their role.
The King's Dilemma it's probably a must have for anyone who loves diplomatic games.