Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Rate the Fun: Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Tiny. Epic. Kingdoms!

I love this game. It is tiny. It is epic. And there are kingdoms. What's not to love?

I picked this game up in Hamilton from Board Games Central. The title got my attention, the artwork and fantasy theme kept it, and for the price I broke my only game buying rule**. I had no idea what the game was about but I am so glad I got it. You play a race or "faction" looking to expand.

You are a tiny kingdom with big ambition. You want to expand your population throughout the realms, learn powerful magic, build grand towers, and have your neighbors quiver at the mention of your name. The conflict? All of the other kingdoms want the same thing and there's not enough room for everyone to succeed...

In Tiny Epic Kingdoms, a 4x fantasy game in a pocket-size package, each player starts with a unique faction (which has a unique technology tree) and a small territory. Throughout the game, players collect resources, explore other territories, battle each other, research magic, and work to build a great tower to protect their realm.
The Facts:
Designer: Scott Almes
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Type: 4x (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate)
Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-5. I've only played it with 2 or 3 and prefer 3. I'm hoping to have a 4 player game soon.
For more information visit the Board Game Geek Page: Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Good Stuff:
  • It is physically tiny; it fits in my purse.  
  • It is quick. Average game is about 30 minutes. Even my learning game was under an hour, There is a lot of game happening in that 30 minute period. It quick strategic game.
  • There are seven fractions which gives players with different playing styles unique options and avenues for victory and makes the game very replayable.
  • It is well produced. I love the wooden pieces and the artwork. My favourite thing might be the art work on the inside lid; it is a nice touch.
Less Than Good Stuff:
  • It says its a 4x game but you don't really "explore" in the sense of revealing new lands. I think of exploring as turning over new cards or drawing tiles. The "questing" to another players card is more expanding the exploring.  
  • The wooden bits are tiny. It's not a huge problem...hee...hee...hee -cause they are tiny. Seriously, in the game the size works. I am just worried that if any fell off the table I would never find them especially the wooden resource books and the tower markers.
  • I think the game could get mean. Alliances can be formed and broken. There is potential for Diplomacy-level-friend-ending game play. No one likes being picked on or betrayed. It is "just a game" and most people get that but there could be moments.
  • It annoys me that you have to "war" in a 2-player game. I like building alliances and dislike attacking other players. I get why the rule is there, but I don't normally go the "exterminate" route for a win. It is why I love cooperative games and want to find the sequel game "Tiny Epic Defenders."  
Final Thoughts:
Tiny. Epic. Kingdoms!***
The name alone is great. If you like strategy games, worker placement, resource gathering and/or the fantasy genre you will probably enjoy it. If you struggle in Settlers of Catan placing the robber on someone you probably won't find it as fun. After four games I love it and want to try the rest of the factions. I found it the right balance between intricate and quick. I completely recommend it.

Rate the Fun Score: 8.5
You can find the list of Rate the Fun reviews here.

The Scale*
10 = Outstandingly Awesome Game; Always want to play it and I expect this will never change.
9 = Excellent Game; Always want to play it.
8 = Very good game; I like to play. Probably I'll suggest it and I'll never turn down a game.
7 = Good game; Usually willing to play.
6 = Okay game; There is some element of fun or challenge; will play sporadically if in the right mood.
5 = Fair game; Slightly boring or not fun for me. I can take it or leave it.
4 = Not so good; It doesn't get me but I could be talked into it on occasion.
3 = Bad; Likely won't play this again but could be convinced.
2 = Extremely annoying game; Won't play this ever again.
1 = Clearly broken; You won't catch me dead playing this.

*Ratings are subject to change. If, for instance, I love a game but if everyone I know hates it and I never get play the rating could fall. Or if I'm "mleh" about a game but everyone loves it or it is a good social game the rating could grow.

**Game Buying Rule: only buy a game you have played or have watched a video review. Episode of Will Wheaton's Table Top counts as a review.

***Are you familiar with "Epic Rap Battles of History"? I hear the announcers voice in my head whenever I read "Tiny Epic Kingdoms."

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