Every year my friends organize a gaming weekend we call Cabincon. We all chip in to rent a rural Wisconsin house and bring enough alcohol, food, and board games to last us usually about a month. The event is a blast! One of the best parts is all of the exposure to everyone else’s favorite games!
At our 2019 event I was introduced to Architects of the West Kingdom which is a brilliant worker placement game. I had to immediately pick it up at my local game store and get it to the table at home. Not much time after did I realize that Renegade Game Studios was producing a trilogy of these “West Kingdom” games and that it was all ready released. Recently I was able to head to the store and pick up my copy.
Just picking the game up from the shelf I knew that it was going to be packed with tokens, cards, and player boards. Seriously, this game is weighs quite a bit. The game box is a little smaller than what I would say is the more traditional game box size, but I think it works really well.
- Game: Paladins of the West Kingdom
- Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
- Designer: Shem Philips and S.J. Macdonald
- Players: 1-4
- MSRP: $55
Opening the Box
Opening the box you can immediately see how packed the box is with content. The rulebook is nicely nestled on top ready for you to dive in and learn what all of the goodies are inside. I found the rules very well written and easy to follow. There is a clear inventory of what comes in the box, how to set up, and how the various interactions all work in the game.
Frantically digging past the rule book, the first thing to come out was this massive bag of wooden tokens. There are various different colored meeples, buildings, and other tokens in this bag. Each of those different types of tokens are in their own individual baggies inside the bigger bag.
After a quick dumping out of the big bag to take in all of the cool meeples it was on to the cards. There are a number of card decks in this game. Cards come in the smaller card size and the more normal standard card sizes you see in board games. Overall the card stock is good material and the art is really cool on each card. Honestly, the quality here is much higher then you would expect for a game at this price point.
The cards are encased in vacuum sealed plastic that always seems to defeat me. Still, after some fiddling those were out of their plastic and we were checking out all of the cool art wondering what each card did in the game.
Now that we were through the first layer of components and cards, we were able to pull out the punch boards. There are only two punchboards that come with this game. Quite surprising really considering how heavy the box is. There are tokens for provisions (the little bag looking things), coins, and a first player marker. I handed the punchboards to my wife so she could punch them out and kept frantically diving into the box for yet more stuff!
Player boards in this game are big! Ok, not the biggest player board I have ever had sit in front of me, but still they are big. There’s lots of places to put meeples on them and all sorts of icons. The player boards are very well thought out and really help the player keep their player area organized.
There is just one spot that could use improvement. There are player card decks with the same cards for each player. If you look closely, the play area for those cards backgrounds are different. That matches up with the backgrounds printed on the player board where you would play those cards. It would have been nice if the top of those cards would have been more clearly marked to make identification of the unique player components a little less difficult.
To fit the player board in the box, they fold in half. As you can see from the in game picture, the board is really quite well organized. Again, the art really shines on the board as well. This really helps you feel the narrative of the game as you play.
The Game Board
After the remarkable player boards I was kind of surprised at how tiny the actual shared game board is. It’s in two pieces and both pieces fold in half. For such small boards, there really is a ton going on here. There are places for cards and components on the boards. On top of places off the board that these game boards set up for the placement of cards, card decks and other components.
The game boards, when they are laid out with all of the components on the table looks really impressive. There is a row for cards that both track the round as well as set up bonuses for end game scoring and provide additional action spaces. These are all random for each game giving you plenty of replay opportunity.
Overall, the way this board sits on the table with all of the components is quite brilliant. The game stays quite neat and clean. The game does occupy a ton of table space so make sure you give the game some room when you set it up.
At this point, I have gotten a couple of plays in. This game is really crunchy with so many decision points and strategies to explore. This is not an entry level game for most people though. There are tons of components, player pieces, strategies, and cards to keep up with.
This game is an A+ for value in the components. This game is great for anyone who wants a complex game with great strategy and a lot to keep track of. If that sounds like it’s for you, then you should check out Paladins of the West Kingdom.