Era Of Kingdoms is themed on kingdom building in the medieval world. Michael Erisman's design uses a lot of classic elements from Civilisation-building games: players can play cards out to their 8-card tableau from three draw decks, moving through basic, then intermediate to the more advanced cards. When placed out on the player boards, cards are either built fresh, or as overlays to existing cards. When in play these cards provide strength and resources, and the more resources in the tableau, the more cards that can be built. In addition there are ‘person’ cards the player can recruit who provide additional benefits.
The game takes up to four players, mostly each doing their own thing. Interaction is through some action cards that let you take cards from your neighbours, be that riches cards or, on rare occasions, tableau cards. There is enough interaction to keep it interesting, but it is hard for your opponents to truly mess you up, and potentially, if players want, the more aggressive cards could easily be removed from the deck to eliminate the 'take that' element completely.
The artwork by Jeff Porter evokes the theme well, although the images are sometimes a little muddy and some of the symbols can be hard to read. The rules are well written and easy to understand, and the game is commendably simple to learn and quick to teach. It plays quickly too: expect a game to take a little over 30 minutes.
Era of Kingdoms comes with three expansions, one of which is essential, being an open card selection board, otherwise you’ll find there’s a risk that there’ll be someone who gets stuck when they don’t get one of the land cards out early on due to simply never drawing it. Publishers KC Games have also included a good solo mode - increasingly important in this era of isolation and social distancing. I played it through and enjoyed the solo mode and would recommend giving it a go. Overall, Era of Kingdoms is an interesting and enjoyable game.
(Review by Steve Berger)