Court of Kings
Designed by Nicholas Markgraf, Court of Kings is a redesign from PawnJoker Games of a title they first developed in 2016. This new version of Court of Kings is expected to be available from PawnJoker Games from 6 May. The premise is that the king is dead and his advisers are managing the kingdom in the interregnum. This is not exactly a cooperative game, however; the 2-4 players are jockeying for position in the hope that it is they who will end up as the next king...
Court of Kings is played using a microgame-sized deck of six character cards and six policy cards. Our copy made use of mostly tiny cardboard tokens that were rather fiddly to use. We'd have preferred it if the tokens had been larger and so more accommodating of clumsy hands and more forgiving of imperfect eyesight. There are player mats for players to track their scores but unfortunately the rules are printed in instalments on the reverse of these mats. This turned out to be a false economy as it made it exceptionally difficult to check the rules or deal with any queries without completely disrupting play. And perhaps because the rules have been broken down to fit across the reverse of the play mats, they aren't as crystal clear as they should be. Our team wasn't always entirely certain we understood what we were doing.
The idea of the game is that players are using their votes to manipulate prestige and/or popularity with the common folk (to lead a revolt). It looks like there's the meat here of an interesting game but we've struggled somewhat with the rules and the components. We can see from BoardGameGeek that the 2016 version of the game had the benefit of a couple of videos that helped explain the rules. Unfortunately, you can't rely on those for this iteration of the game because that appears to have been a quite different game with significantly different rules and components. We'd have liked to have seen a rules video from PawnJoker Games to accompany the launch of this edition to make it easier for players to get started.