BG5 4

Kingmaker (1974)

Kingmaker (1974) is the rare bit of gaming history that was in my house growing up and had absolutely nothing to do with my interests. I believe my mom bought it as a gift for my granddad, or vice versa. It floated around, never played to my knowledge, until I got my hands on it, circa the late 80s, when I started a brief dalliance with World War II history and wargames. I attempted to play it solo a couple times, but was defeated by the complexity (it plays two to seven, so in true only child fashion, I was trying to play against myself).

I still think this game is utterly fascinating, though. There are tons of factions, each of them starting the game in a unique standing. The game goes to lengths to make sure that weak and strong starting positions don’t determine the end game. It does this through a strong reliance on diplomacy and politics, through which several weaker players can ally to topple a strong one. The thing I find most appealing is that the the action of the game is indirect. You are competing for influence and control over a small pool of royals, who will do your bidding, rather than enacting your will directly on the game world. That’s kind of a neat feature, I love the idea of one player getting the hooks into a prince and another player hauling that same prince off to be executed to foil their plans.

The game has a really distinct look that I enjoy as well. Bold graphic design that feels very 70s UK to me for reasons I can’t quite place.

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