Board Game Review: King & Assassins

 I’ve redoubled my efforts to learn new games recently. I’ve learned about 10 games in the past four weeks. Now we just have to get these games to the table so I can find out if they are any good. One of the recent games I learned was Galakta’s King and Assassins. I’ve played six times now. And this game is going to be a keeper.

Board Game Review King & Assassins

 

Background and objective

King & Assassins from Galakta
King & Assassins from Galakta

King & Assassins is an asymmetrical game for two players. The game plays in about 30 minutes and takes about 5 minutes to learn.

One player takes on the role of the vile king and his knights.  The king and his entourage try to force their way through throngs of people and arrive at the palace.

The other player takes on the role of the assassins who are hidden in the throngs of townsfolk. The assassin will move the townsfolk to obstruct the king and to move his hidden assassins closer.

If the assassin kills the king, he wins. If the action card deck runs out, the assassin wins. If the king kills all three assassins, he wins. If the king arrives at the palace he wins.

 

Components

Board game review King & Assassins
Townsfolk from King & Assassins

The game comes with a double sided game board. Players decide which side to use at game set up (the rules are a bit different for each side).

There are two decks of cards: one which is used to determine which townsfolk are the assassins and one that is the action card deck.

The rest of the components are cardboard standees of the king, knights and the townsfolk.

King & Assassins does not have nor does it require overproduced game pieces. Which is a nice change of pace. The game pieces are good enough as cardboard standees.

 

Game play

Game board King & Assassins
Game board King & Assassins

The game board has depicts the promenade where the king and his subjects begin the game. The areas marked by an X are where a townsperson starts. The areas with a • are where the knights begin. The square with the + is where the king begins.

The fruitmonger's wife in King & Assassins
The fruitmonger’s wife in King & Assassins

After setting up the board, the assassin takes the townsfolk deck. There is a card for every villager in this deck. He secretly takes three of the cards. These cards depict which townsfolk are actually assassins.

The rest of the cards are removed from the game.

 

Now the players are ready to begin.

 

Action cards from King & Assassins
Action cards from King & Assassins

During each round of play, the top action card is flipped over. The king and his knights get action points equal to the number next to their icon. Once the king has completed all of his actions, the assassin player takes his turn.

Each action card has a different combination of action points for the king (usually 1 but occasionally 2), the knights (5 or 6, sometimes with the shackles icon) and the assassins (4 or 5 action points).

The king may only move on the streets with his action points. The knights may move on the streets or on the roofs. The knights may also push the townsfolk so as to make room for the king. The knight may also spend 1 action point to arrest a townsperson if the action card has the shackles icon. And lastly, the knight player may kill a revealed assassin for 1 action point.

The assassin may reveal one or more of the townsfolk to be assassins for no action point cost. The townsfolk move like the knights: on the roofs and the street. They cannot, however, push anyone. When a townsperson is replaced by an assassin, he gains the ability to kill the knights and wound the king. The assassin wins if he wounds the king twice.

 

Verdict

The king and his entourage
The king and his entourage

King & Assassins is a keeper.

King & Assassins is a nifty asymmetrical game. The two sides have very different goals and different actions afforded to them.

King & Assassins is fast. It’s almost a filler since I plays in 30 minutes.

King & Assassins has value. Because the game isn’t overproduced, you don’t have to pay for unneeded miniatures. The game board is double sided. The rules for Side B are a little different in that the king has two starting locations. This gives additional replayability.

King & Assassins is a game that fills so many niches, I’m surprised it’s not better known. If you are looking for a 2 player game that you can learn in 5 minutes, that plays in 30 minutes and has about 50 games of replayability for around $30, I recommend King & Assassins.

 

Where this and many other games get played…