Posted 20 hours ago

Renegade Game Studios Renegade Game Studio | Architects of the West Kingdom | Board Game | Ages 12+ | 1 to 5 Players | 60 to 80 Minutes Playing Time

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I have been playing a lot of worker placement games lately, and this one appealed to me for that reason. It’s not to your benefit to have fifty pieces stone on your player board if all you’ll ever need is ten. As someone that usually can't get into worker placement games, I enjoyed this one a lot, and that should say a lot by itself. The excellent solo game from the base game also makes the transition to Age of Artisans really easily too.

The solo version of the game is well worth playing if you have a hankering to play but you don’t have the players. A few underhanded deals here and there might not seem like much, but fall too far and you will be punished. If you’ve not played Architects of the West Kingdom yet, play it a few times before getting this expansion, just to make sure it’s a good fit with your group. The cat and mouse this single meeple adds to the game greatly increased my enjoyment of Architects of the West Kingdom.

Semiotics, as a subdiscipline of board game design, is very badly under-emphasised and I appreciate that Shem Phillips is violently bucking that trend. There are so few euro games at all, let alone worker-placement games, that play up to six, so it’s a fantastic option if you have a bigger group. That by itself is a fascinating mechanism that effectively decouples your instincts from your best interests. Three players works pretty well, but there’s a rule that in two and three-player games you capture two sets of workers instead of one when going to the Town Center.

Sure, you can fix a game with house rules, but it felt like Architects would take more work than that to be easily adapted to a more challenging solo mode. The “bot” (for want of a better term) doesn’t collect or use resources to construct buildings, but still has a lot of cards that send it to resource-gathering locations. As you assign your army of workers to these spaces, you collect up tokens that represent these resources, and these tokens can be cashed to create the buildings that award you victory points.It’s just sort of odd to see in a hobby where so much of its output is the result of juxtaposed sensibilities working together on an incidental basis. What this leads to is a constant ramping-up of power, and therefore creates a need to slow down your opponents.

Your owner is approaching and they haven’t yet noticed what you’re doing so you’d best speed up before they reach you. Something which I’ve discovered to have an excellent solo variant happens to be my favourite game at the moment. Your actions include collecting resources and enlisting apprentices to help you build buildings, working on the cathedral and making sure your virtue is on the right track – or not, if the starting powers of your characters are a little shady (more on that later). I do think the game is best at a higher player count, 3 or 4, really, but the solo mode is fantastic and if you want, you can use it to simulate a really mean 3rd player in a two-player game. Town Centre – This is a weird location where you may spend 1 coin per worker you have in the Town Centre to then collect all the workers of one color from a single board location mentioned thus far.The traditional worker placement mechanics have been spiced up with constant acceleration and an aggressive aspect not usually seen in these games. With quick turns, strong mechanics, a wide variety of apprentices to hire and buildings to construct, and an overall playtime ranging from around 1-2 hours (depending on how many players you have and how experienced they are), Architects is something that you can come back to again and again. In this game, which is set in the 9th century, players are working to be the best at constructing buildings and the cathedral.

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