DISCLAIMER – This is a prototype and is predisposed to change.
Print and Play version HERE.
King Of Liriam is a boardgame I have created recently during a weekend but have thought of for months. I have played this game about 10 times with some of my friends and it just smashed through, making me VERY excited about the design. The idea came to me from an intriguing thought of combining checkers, chess and Heroes Of Might And Magic. Quite a combination, and only the last third sounds interesting, right?
In this post I will talk about the game and in another post I will cover the design and how I made the prototype. Let’s begin.
King Of Liriam
The game is for 2-4 players and is a tactical and strategic cutthroat area control game in which players take the role of medieval house lords that want to conquer the undiscovered realm called Liriam. The game excels at the following:
- Extremely short setup;
- 15 minutes per player;
- Strategic and tactical without tiring you with choices and bookkeeping;
- Keeps you very invested all the way through;
You are going to have fun making quick decisions in a low effort game. Let’s see how the game plays.
During their turn players take one of the following action:
- Gain 2 Gold and pass.
- Deploy an Elite unit they own.
- Buy an Order from the Deployment board and play it immediately.
Orders are bought with Gold from the Deployment board and are of the following types:
- Unit (Merchant, Knight, etc) – players deploy these on the map using the ability each unit features;
- Command (Charge, Travel, etc) – players target an existing friendly unit on the map and give it the chosen Command;
- Settlement (Fortress, Village, etc) – players must place them in the correct tile (Forest, Plains, etc) and get an Elite unit and the Settlement’s ability;
- Neutral Enemy (Barbarian, Outlaw, etc) – players decide where to place these units on the map with the strategy in mind to block another’s player expansion;
When buying an Order players are allowed to buy only one Unit, Settlement or Command and must pay their cost in Gold. The higher in the column the expensive it is. Neutral Enemies can be bought alongside a Settlement, Command or Unit and create the only situation when a player can place two things on the map from the Deployment board. When players take Orders from the Deployment board they collapse the remaining Orders and refill the emptied lanes from the two piles until they are filled.
Below are some examples of Orders and what they do. For a full list of all Orders and a complete description of what they do please check THIS page.
Cavalry – Reinforce. Charge 2.
Merchant – Patrol. Gain 1 Gold for each adjacent friendly territory.
Spy – Conquer. Claiming territories adjacent to the Spy costs 1 extra Gold.
Thief – Infiltrate. Take 1 Gold from the enemy.
Infiltrator – Swap this unit with any enemy unit on the map. Deploy that unit.
Castle – Requires Fields. Gain 1 Gold for each unit you have on the map. Gain the elite Knight.
Trophies are enemy Elite units that a player has managed to kill during the game. Elite units are marked with a star and can be of the following types:
- Neutral Enemies
- The King and Queen
- Units awarded by building a Settlement
When a player removes an enemy Elite he takes the game piece and adds it to his Trophy collection instead of discarding it. During the game some other units might interact with the amount of Trophies a player has and at the end of the game Trophies bring extra Victory Points.
When deploying units there are two big factors that make it unique and powerful:
- The way it is enters the map.
- The ability it does when played.
The way it a unit enters the map represents a very big part of what makes King of Liriam tactical. There are many different keywords that units have on them and each have their time and place when should be used and it is up to you to consider if it’s worth spending Gold.
Reinforce – Place your unit into an empty territory adjacent to one of your territories.Patrol – Place your unit into an unoccupied friendly territory.Explore – Place your unit into an empty territory that is not a mountain.Infiltrate – Place your unit into an unoccupied enemy territory.Conquer – Place your unit into an enemy territory. Remove any enemy unit inside.
* Occupied and unoccupied refers to a territory having or not an unit inside. Ownership is called claim and is marked with Banner tokens on the map.
* When an enemy Infiltrates or Conquers he also gets claim over that territory and places his own Banner tokens inside.
Strategy And Tactics
Players take turns and place units on the map, slowly claiming the whole realm of Liriam. The game is all about buying the right thing and deploying what you have in the right place. That’s it. From this simple two points lots of strategy and fun decisions emerge.
- Buying the right thing – this means spending the right amount of Gold so that you gain the most advantage. This can even mean spending more to steal an Order higher in the panels before your enemies get it because of its powerful ability.
- Deploying in the right place – this means using your Order to maximize the impact it has on the map. This can mean dealing the most damage, getting the most Gold or comboing with another unit on the map.
Once the map fills for the first time all unoccupied territories have their Banners removed. This is a pivotal moment in the game because a player with more units and less unoccupied territories will want to close the map and enjoy the reset as the other player loses territories he could not cover. Players with fewer troops but more coverage will want to gain patrol troops to fill those territories.
Winning The Game
After the reset players continue playing until the map fills again, this time marking the end of the game. Once the game has ended players gain Victory Points for the following:
- 1 point for each claimed territory
- 1 point for each Settlement
- 1 point for each Elite unit
- 1 point for each Trophy
The player with the most Victory Points wins. In case of a tie the player with the most units on the map wins. If it’s a tie again then the player with the most Trophies wins.
So, How Is It?
I am really excited that it had a very good impact with a test group right away and I had to make only very small adjustments to the design. I am really surprised how straightforward the process of creating this game was. I really hope some of you reading will pick up the PnP version and will give it a run. I really believe you will have a blast with some friends and it’s very cheap (only 2 pages of print). If you do please come back and tell me how it went. Have fun conquering Liriam!