Winter Queen from CrowD Games is a recent Kickstarter project that is starting to hit backers game tables. We featured this game previously in our weekly Kickstart Monday series and our copy just hit our gaming table.
The game itself is sold as an abstract, family friendly, strategy game. We’ll dive into the game, the components, and give our thoughts on Winter Queen.
- Players: 2-4
- Playtime: 30 minutes
- Publisher: CrowD Games
- Designers: Yuri Zhuravljov
What’s Winter Queen About?
Winter Queen takes place in a land that is in eternal winter. The Winter Queen turns the snow in the land into magical gem stones. Wizards use these magical gem stones to power spells that will protect the land and bring prosperity to the people for another year.
All of this leads to a game where on your turn you will do one of three things. First, you have the option to draft one crystal from the tile holders. This can then be placed on the main game board. After placing, the player can gain a spell book from that region. No player can have more than three spell books at one time. They do this when they place a crystal on the main game board.
The second thing that players can do is draft a crystal from a tile holder to one of the spell books under their control. These crystals can be expended to power the spell as a third action choice a player can do on their turn. Crystal spent in this way will allow a player to score points. Crystals and spell books that are used in this way are removed from the game.
Game continues in this way until the draw bag is empty. Once this happens, create a final central supply of crystals and finish the current round. Each player then gets one additional turn and the game is over. The player with the most points wins.
Winter Queen comes with a number of well crafted game components. The crystals, one of the main features of the game, are nicely colored plastic gem stone like tokens. The reference boards contain all of the details you need to know to play the game. The punch board tokens are all good quality card board and the draw bag is made out of solid material.
Honestly, the components of this game are really quite good for a game that sells at it’s price point. Indeed, this game was good enough to unbox and play on our outdoor patio table and not worry too much about pieces flying away or losing any of the components. All of the art is really good as well on the components which was also a draw for me to back this project originally.
I have all ready broken down the overview of game play, but what we found while we played this game was that while the rules are quite simple there was a lot of challenge in the decisions. There’s quite a bit to explore in the game itself. Getting to know the spell books and how you can maximize your crystal placements on the game board to score the most points is going to help see this game come back to the table over and over.
Theme and Immersion
The theme of the game, the Winter Queen and her once a year turning the snow into magical crystals so that wizards can use those to protect the wintery queendom, doesn’t really grab me as an amazing theme. While I can really see it grabbing the attention of younger audiences and being a game that you can play with your children makes it more than fitting. The game though doesn’t need the theme and it feels a bit added on.
While you are playing the game I never felt that immersion of being a wizard and casting spells. I never felt the need to over come some outer threat, or was pushed to do anything. The decisions were less about thematic reasons and more about what the best strategic action was to do at the time to score points.
Winter Queen is a fun, abstract game that I can see being popular at the family gaming table. It’s beautiful art and light theme that is very positive and upbeat makes it very approachable. Combine that with rules that are not overly complex and a well written rulebook and it’s easy to see where this game fits into alot of people’s collections.
I rated this game a 7 on BoardGameGeek and am really happy I bought it. This will definitely be a game that I fit into the gaming rotation for a lighter game night. For me, it’s a game that you can really put some thought into like Azul, but gives me a different game on the table than just grabbing Azul.
This game was originally featured on our weekly blog series, #KickstartMonday, which you can find here. #KickstartMonday features a high level overview of two crowdfunded gaming projects that you might be interested in checking out.
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