King’s Gate

King’s Gate

From: Fantasy Flight Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

King’s Gate is a Reiner Knizia designed tile-based board game from Fantasy Flight Games.

In King’s Gate,the players play feuding nobles trying to gain influence (victory points) by surrounding key locations, like the Palace or the Library, with buildings you control, called district tiles. There are varying factors that affect strategy, including special locations, characters, the dragon, and special district tiles.

From the Box cover : “A Game of Medieval Intrigue”

There are 10 medieval-style key locations that are stacked in order from 1 to 10. These include the the Palace, the Graveyard, the Barracks, the Tourney Grounds and the Library. This is the predictable part of the game, because you know what’s coming next. Each player has a stack of tiles representing their own district tiles. They are numbered 1 to 5 and each player has 22 of them. These make up the players draw pile, the source of the play hand. This is the random part of the game.

Players start with 6 randomly chosen district tiles and the first location – the Palace – on the table. Each player places a location around the ten possible locations around the location tile. The key aspect to this is that there are very specific rules as to what can be laid when. There are situations in which you can build on opponents tiles when key locations called dangerous locations are played. As mentioned above there are characters that can be acquired through play that can complicate issues also by protecting your locations from being built upon, as well as perform other special effects. There are key locations that have special effects as well as a few district tiles.

Each location has three sets of numbers representing victory points for first, second and third place. Once the last district tile has been placed, scoring occurs to determine the first, second and third place player. The values of the district cards for each player are added up to obtain the scores for that round. The victory points are tallied and the next location is placed by the last person to lay a tile and he must place it adjacent to one of the currently laid tiles. Logic would dictate that he would place it somewhere close to his own, giving the last person to lay a tile an advantage. But because there are situations you where you can place more than one tile, the last person could be anyone.

The challenge to this game comes in several aspects: remembering some of the special abilities of the locations and district cards and when to place characters. Because you are randomly pulling your district tiles, your strategy revolves around what you have now and what you think you can get later.

In conclusion,what can one say about a Reiner Knizia tile game. The man is a brilliant designer and although this may not be one of his more well-known games, this is a very good one. It is a challenge in resource allocation with a little luck and bluffing throughout it. It is a deceptively simple looking game with subtle complexities. The devil is in the details… or dragon, in this case.

For more details on Fantasy Flight Games and their new Tile-based board game “King’s Gate” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

King’s Gate

From: Fantasy Flight Games

Type of Game: Tile-based board game

Game Design by: Reiner Knizia

Editting by: Darrell Hardy, Greg Benage, Christian T. Petersen

Cover Art by: Narko Djurdjevic, Tobias Mannewitz

Number of Pages: 2 page rule sheet (multiple languages)

Game Components Included: 10 key location tiles, 88 district tiles, 30 victory point tokens, 6 character counters

Retail Price: $ 19.95 (US)

Number of Players: 2-4

Player Ages: 9+

Play Time: 20 min+


Reviewed by: Ron McClung