Mayfair's edition of Viva Il Re!
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With the announcement of the King's retirement, the pirouette for succession begins! All of his subjects from cobbler to cook, painter to paladin, debutante to duchess bustle about the castle in preparation for the succession. One of your favorites can attain the throne. But, beware: it will require clever maneuvering and selective positioning to be in the right place at the right time to achieve the crown!
What could be more simple? Who do you want to be the next king? Should you elect one of your preferred characters, or elect someone you don't like in hopes that he gets rejected.
This game was very intriguing when we played it. The strategy is simple and yet it takes a lot of tactical thought prior to making a move. You can play safe and vote no on the first few people that aren't on your list of characters, or you can be a risk taker and hope that others will veto the choice so that you can conserve your no votes.
The final round really throws a monkey wrench in the works. Basically you can attempt to "Shoot the moon" (as in Hearts) and try to get zero points. By doing so on the final round you get a large point bonus. But get even 1 point and you are in trouble.
King Me is fun for everyone, especially those that love strategy. Definitely give this one a try.
If you haven't played this game you probably aren't expecting too much. I wasn't. King Me! turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
Simply, get a secret list of your preferred characters, then place all the characters on the board. Move them up the board one at a time. When a character reaches the throne room every player votes to make that character king. Any 'no' vote and the character is removed from the game, and the game continues. However, each player has a limited number of 'no' votes. When all players vote 'yes' scores are tallied. Players receive points for the position of each of their preferred characters. A game is played over three rounds, and lasts 30 minutes at the most, more likely 10-15 minutes.
It didn't sound too thrilling to me either. There is lots of bluffing, some luck and quite a bit of strategy. King Me! is proof that a game doesn't need to last 8 hours to be a strategy game.
Give King Me! a try if you get the chance. You will likely end up playing several times in a row. This is a fun game.
In a conversation, I was reading some comments, and one gamer stated that Italy was simply not known for its vast quantity of hard-core board gamers. I seriously think that this will soon change, due to the immense amount of excellent games coming out of that country. Viva il Re! (Da Vinci Games, 2003 Stefano Luperto) is yet another example of such a game. (Mayfair also produces a version called King Me!)
And while I have yet to see anyone claim that this is their favorite game, many folk (myself included) have lauded this game as an excellent filler, a short fun game, one that can easily be added to any gaming session! Its from the same company that gave us the fascinating game Bang!, another fun multiplayer game (although King Me! doesnt polarize the gaming community like Bang! did). The game is setup and played in ease, one of the things that ensures its likeability.
A small board is set up in the middle of the table, showing the kings castle, with its seven floors. Shockingly, there is a scoring track around the outside of the board, where each player places a scoring cube of their color. Each player also receives some voting cards, one yes card of their color, and then a certain amount of no cards (from two to four, depends on amount of players.) Each player then draws a secret goal card from a stack of twenty-six cards, keeping it hidden from the other players. The goal card shows which six of the thirteen characters in the game that player favors. One player is chosen to go first, and the first round begins.
The first part of a round consists of putting the characters in the castle. Starting with the first player and continuing around the table, each player places any of the thirteen characters onto any of the first four floors of the castle. Each player puts out an equal amount of characters, (only four are allowed per floor), with the leftover characters going into the servants floor, below the first floor. After this, the ascension to the throne occurs. Since the king so kindly is giving up the throne, players are trying to maneuver one of their six favorites to become the next king. On their turn, a player can move any one character up one floor, as long as there is room on the floor above him. If any character is moved into the top floor the throne an election immediately takes place.
In an election, each player chooses one of their vote cards and places it face down on the table, after which all votes are revealed simultaneously. If all votes are yes, that character becomes king, and the round ends. If ANY vote is no, then that character is killed and all no votes are discarded for the remainder of that round. The game then continues, until eventually a character becomes king.
Once a character becomes king, the round ends, and scoring takes place. Each player reveals their card, and gets points for the characters they favor who are still on the board. Each character earns the players who favored it points equal to the floor the character is on, except for servants who score no points, and the king who scores 10 points. All players then get their no cards back, and the next round begins. In the third round, if a player scores no points, they get 33 points (kind of like shooting the moon). After the third round, the player with the most points is the winner!
Some comments on the game:
1.) Components: The artwork is very cartoonish, but fits the theme of the game well, and certainly fits the lightheartedness of the game mechanics. Each character is a fairly large sized cardboard rounded tile stuck in a plastic stand. The characters all have a different name, each starting with a different letter. On one side of the character, this letter is huge, allowing easy visibility to see which character is which, while on the other side, a picture of the character graces the token each one a different color. All this makes the characters very easy to distinguish. The board is bright and colorful, again matching the theme. A large crown token is provided to show when an election is taking place but I really dont see the point of using it. All these cards and other components fit well in a nice, sturdy box.
2.) Rules: Unlike many Italian games, I really havent found any problems with the translation of this game its very well written. The rules come in a medium-sized booklet, with five languages, each with three pages. Color illustrations and examples round out the extremely simple rules, which certainly dont need to be consulted after the game is played once. I found that people pick up on the subtleties of the game (such that are) almost right away, and folk of all ages understand it quickly.
3.) Voting: The voting process is as fun as its fast, and the results are often unexpected. Sometimes youll move a candidate up to the throne for the sole purpose of kicking him out of the game, but you dont want to waste one of your own no votes (or dont have any more). Then you hope that someone else uses their no vote. Of course, if everybody thinks this, the candidate can win, disappointing all those who should have voted no. So there is an aspect of bluffing in the game, as the players must determine exactly when to vote no, and when to save these few votes they have. Its annoying when you vote no, and so does two or more other players as you feel you wasted a card.
4.) Shooting the Moon: Although its not called this, it has the same feeling. Sure, you can try to get all of your favorite characters knocked off in the last round, but if one survives, you are going to be in a world of hurt. However, if you manage to do it oh the glory and the satisfaction! This rule makes the last round a lot of fun.
5.) Time and players: The game plays fairly well with three players, but I prefer more, since any voting game seems to work better with more players. The time goes quickly, as long as nobody takes a long time to vote. Most games last twenty to thirty minutes (as stated on the box), and youre involved the whole time. This game is one of my favorite fillers, as its easy to teach and pick up right away, and everybody has a good chance of winning. (Unless youre a moron when you vote).
6.) Theme and Fun Factor: The theme fits the game rather well, in my opinion, and really helps the game a little. All the artwork contributes to it, and even that stupid crown piece. There is strategy in the initial layout, and when to move what character. But the real meat of the game, the funnest thing of all is the voting, and its what makes King Me! stand out from the crowd.
So I highly recommend King Me! I dont think that there are many people who will dislike the game, as its quick, fun, and players have some control over what happens. Even though there is nothing in the game to distinguish it as the Ultimate Game Ever Made, its a fantastic filler and well worth the price. Whether playing with young or old, or mixed groups Viva il Re! is a worthy game to add to your collection!
King Me! is a light filler game. The object of the game is to get your characters to the highest levels of the king's castle. There are seven floors of the castle (0,1,2,3,4,5,10). Each player receives one of 26 secret goals that lists 6 of the 13 characters. On your turn, you move any character up a level, but characters cannot be moved down. Note that the maximum number of characters that can occupy any level is four. Once a character is moved up to the top level, a simultaneous vote takes place. Each player votes either Yes or No. If everyone votes Yes, the round ends. But if there are any No votes, the character is removed. Everyone gets their Yes votes back, but No votes are not returned. You start with one Yes vote and 2-4 No votes, depending on the number of players. You get points after each round, based on the levels that your characters occupy. In the third and final round, you can also try to get 33 points if all 6 of your characters are voted out.
You can learn to play King Me! in just two minutes and the game is short. I find that it's good for a group of new gamers. There's not much strategy or control, but if you're not expecting much, it's a good way to start off a game night when you have several new attendees.
King Me! is the second game to come from the partnership of daVinci Games and Mayfair Games (their first was the second edition of daVincis card game Bang!). It is a charming and clever bluffing game in which players try to manipulate a common set of pawns so that they (hopefully) score more points at the end of the round than their opponents. While that goal is similar to games like Heimlich & Co., King Me! incorporates a few elements that make it different and, to me, more enjoyable. Its short playing time (20 minutes) and low-complexity rules make it a good warm up or filler game as well as a good family game. I recommend it.