Games Gazette Logo

FOR the KING (and Me)

Published by iello Designed by Steve Finn  Illustrated by Anthony Weinstock  Translated by Danni Loe

The storyline behind this game has been told about a quadra-zillion times, but it's still as good as any for introducing players to the genre of pleasing the King/Ruler/ArchMage etc. In this game the players are Court Advisors vying for the best positions within the Royal Council. Diplomacy, Military, Building & Planning plus ensuring that the Royal Banquets go well without bouts of tummy-aches. 

For 2-5 players and played over 2 phases:
1. Draw cards and place them to your advantage.
2. Acquire new cards and gain Gold and most of all Influence.

The game board shows five or six members of the Nobility (depending on number of players) under which are placed Duty Tiles (scrolls) of the same colour as the Nobles with values of #3 and #1 (exception being that only the #3 is used for 2-player games).

Duty Tiles are in six coloured sets numbered 1 - 6 and each has a Duty Title: 
Green: 1. Moat Inspector  2. Floor Polisher  3. Royal Plumber  4. Palace Decorator  5. Estate Gardener  6. King's Architect
Purple:1. Sword Sharpener  2. Catapult Inspector  3. Head of the Night Guard  4. Master of the Army  5. General of the Garrison  6. Grand Marshall
Red:    1. Window Opener  2. Royal Page Turner  3. Court Jester  4. First Chair Clarinet  5. Royal Playwright  6. King's Composer
Orange: 1. Royal Taste Tester  2. Hearth Stoker  3. Master Peeler  4. Head Butcher  5. Sauce-Cook for the King  6. King's Master of Banquets
Blue:  1. Chamber Pot Cleaner  2. Letter Opener  3. Door Opener  4. Royal Spokesperson  5. King's Advisor  6. Grand Chamberlain
Pink: 1. Manure Shoveler  2. Poultry Plucker  3. Court Dog Walker  4. Director of the King's Zoo  5. King's Gamekeeper  6. Royal Stallion Master

Cards:
Government. King and Gold. All backed with an illustration of the Queen and with associated borders; Gold border (Gold), Silver border (King) and the majority are Bronze bordered (Government).
Gold cards are valued 1 to 3 and are used to purchase new cards in Phase 2.
King cards have a value of Plus 1 and Minus 1 and can be used for modifying  Primary Duty tiles - Primary Duty Tiles being the top Duty tile under a Noble, the tile beneath them is always worth 50% less but rounded down
Government cards are valued 1-4 and represent the different offices available to you.

Play is in Turns. The first player (called the Advisor) takes the top card from the deck and after looking at it decides where, of three places, it should go. The three places are Face down in front of themselves. They have to turn over a pre-determined (according to the number of players) number of cards but must make their decision after seeing each one - one at a time. Thus if you turn over the top card and want to keep it, you can. But that is the only card you can keep this turn. Then turning over the next card, and so on until all three areas are fulfilled, you cannot give yourself another card. 

The spaces are known as: In front of yourself (one card limit per turn) Next to the Government (Game) Board (one card limit per turn - this is called the Favour Deck) and In the Middle of the Table (one card limit per player per turn). Including dealing one card to themself, the Advisor will share out one card plus one per number of players.

Once the cards are dealt out each player except the Advisor takes one of the cards from the centre of the table. Then the next player becomes the Advisor and thus the first Phase continues until the deck is exhausted when you proceed to Phase 2; Gaining Esteem.

Shuffle the Favour Deck, turn over the top card and auction it off - regular, no-change given, game-auction rules. Cards are auctioned with each player having the chance to make the first bid. Government and King cards are bid for with Gold, Gold is bid for by cards.

'For the King and Me' is a game with deck-building, card collecting, points manipulation, influence gaining, bidding, thoughtful distibution etc. How does one place such a confused but functional set of mechanics under a single genre? I guess that multi-genre fits the bill. Whether you want to label it, or have it labelled, it really doesn't matter unless you label it as one of the best ways to have 30 minutes of fun playing an imaginative game with players 10 years and over.

Despite all of the suggested possible genres, 'For the King and Me' is a light game that actually successfully punches above its own weight. 

Can be found at ZATU for an amazing £16.48. I have played games half as good as this for over twice the price.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021