News for August 2009
To Forge a Realm 2
A designer diary from Luca Iennaco!
Kingsburg | Published 27 August 2009

Which part of the new expansion is your favorite addition?
How can someone choose between his children? :-)

Ok, I’ll try to give a less impartial answer. Having to choose only one module to add, I’d probably vote for the Governors (the “special characters”). They introduce a strong asymmetry between the players and offer a variety of effects (some whose use is more obvious and others less so). They are numerous (thus requiring several plays to explore all of them and their potentials) and also feature some nifty artwork.

Are there going to be scenarios in the expansion as well?
No. The scenarios are an idea that hit me several months later the end of our (Andrea’s and mine) work on the expansion (design, fine-tuning and playtest).

Since they have been well received, I may design more in the future (they will be freely downloadable from FFG website as the current ones). It may be possible that some of those will require the expansion to be played. In such case, I do not intend it as a subtle (or overt) way to publicize the expansion, but rather as a way to thank the players who supported the game buying “To Forge a Realm” (besides, all the elements added or modified by the modules can prove to offer just too much design opportunities to not incorporate them somehow in a scenario or three).

Where do the new development tracks go, above the top (meaning more victory points) or below the bottom (meaning more military focus)?
There are two new tracks: one goes above all the old ones and the other below them.

The upper one is composed by some expensive buildings that offer a decent amount of Victory Points, but whose real goal is to generate resources. A LOT of resources, especially if you manage to complete the whole row (there’s more synergy between its buildings than in many other rows, so you are more tempted to continue to invest in it; but of course you should try to balance the desire to complete such powerful but expensive buildings with the need to protect them against the wintry menaces).

The lower one instead features the cheapest buildings of their columns and effectively is a third military row with some little but nice effects (whose main advantage is to be so easily obtainable) However, the “replacement rows” (featured by another of the modules composing the expansion) for these two extra rows are totally different (being both focused on producing Victory Points, rather than resources and military aids, albeit in different ways).

What are the year events?
A deck of cards, each one representing an Event. One is drawn at random at the beginning of each year and its effect is applied for the upcoming year (three productive seasons and the wintry battle).

Some effects are positive (e.g. “A new quarry is discovered – at the beginning of Spring, Summer and Autumn, one die is rolled: if it scores 4 or more, each player gets a Stone from the supply”), while others are detrimental (e.g. “Bloodthirsty enemies – the invaders of this year get +1 to their Strength”). Since they are drawn at the start of the year, you should be able to react and adapt, rather than being just hit by them. They also tend to affect all players equally, thus introducing an additional random element in the game but without swaying too much the overall balance.

There are almost thirty Events in the deck (all different... with an exception that simply needed a second copy to work as intended) and since you draw only five of them per game, it should take some time to taste them all.

Which aspect of the governors do you enjoy most?
They add a lot of variety. They break the total symmetry existing between the players when the game starts. Each Governor may require a different style of play to better exploit his/her potential. But above all, I like them because they compose the module that takes more time to explore, since there are a bit more than twenty Governors and yet you use only one of them per game (looking at those of the other players is not the same as playing them, since unlike the Events they do not affect you in the same way, if at all. Being on the “other end” of a special power is a very different feeling from that you experience while holding such power yourself).

What is your ideal setup? As in, which elements do you personally play with?
Usually I always add the extra rows, the alternative rows and the Governors. However about half of the times I opt for the Reinforcements tokens instead of the wintry die and sometimes I also throw in the Events.

But when I play with less experienced players, I try to only add one module (or at most two) to introduce them gradually (the goal being to add some new twists to the known game and not to overwhelm people with novelties).  If the same group wants to play again, I may either add another module or swap the previously used one(s) with some other(s). I describe briefly the five modules and let the players pick those they’re most interested to try. After all, as I wrote in the first answer, I like them all. I hope all Kingsburg players will, too!

Kingsburg is a board game where players take on the roles of provincial governors tasked with protecting the furthest frontiers of the kingdom from marauding monsters. At the same time, players must use their influence to enlist the help of the king's courtiers in to civilize the wilderness, build prosperous towns, and earn the most favor from the king. The player who does the best at all of these things will achieve victory!

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Comments (2)

Published: 3/6/2010 11:36:45 AM

Love love love this game. If you don't have it, go get it!

Published: 9/16/2009 5:20:36 PM

oh yes, i agree. The Governors (plus the Event cards) are the best parts of this expansion and are most beloved by my gaming group. also, we've been using the new building sheets, but i didn't like the added first row, i find it too expensive. still, good work on the game and the expansion.  

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