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A Royal Will

In this fast-playing micro game from Mega Mint, players are using the special abilities of their cards, and some bluffing, to compete for the biggest inheritance.

For no very obvious reason, A Royal Will has been given a science fiction setting, in that the wills being divvied up are those of the royal family ruling the Andromeda Galaxy. Perhaps it was impossible for designer and illustrator Marlon Fussell to encompass similar greed any closer to home. In any event, A Royal Will is a card game played with a deck of 25 tarot-sized cards. These each display one of seven different characters (there are four cards for each character except for The Sleight, which is a unique character card).

The 2-6 players are each dealt two cards. They choose one to play face down for its coin value and they then all simultaneously play their other card for its manipulative action. When the actions have all been resolved, the face-down cards are flipped and players take the number of coins shown on their card as their inheritance but only provided that the total does not exceed the assets of the will (initially set according to the number of players: it's as many as 15 with six players but only 5 if you're playing as a two-player game). If there's not enough in the will to pay everyone, then nobody gets anything. The exception to this is the Forger, who, when played as the face-down coin card, is guaranteed 1 coin regardless of whether or not the will is 'bust'.

If you play A Royal Will with table talk and banter then there's ample opportunity for deceit and bluster, and you have a game that delivers a fascinating variation on the Prisoners' Dilemma. Tho' on each turn you're only choosing between two cards (ie: which to play for its action and which for its coin count) that, and the different interactions of the character cards, is enough to keep the game interesting in the race to accumulate the greatest wealth.

The game ends when a player reaches 10 coins but the first to 10 isn't necessarily the winner, so you may find as we did that games can be determined by a lucky or unlucky card draw in what turns out to be the final round. No matter tho' because this is a light filler-length game that's never going to outstay its welcome. Even with the maximum complement of six players, our Board's Eye View plays never exceeded 20 minutes.

If you have any difficulty finding A Royal Will at your local game store, you can order a copy direct from the publisher at

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