Medieval England was full of self-appointed lords and commanders. Castles are growing like mushrooms after rain and anyone, who has a little fortification may make demands about surrounding land. He is sitting behind walls and sends his troops to win more and more territory using cold steel.
You will fight for area also and primarily in the board game Ortus Regni. It is a little-known board game, created by Jonathan Sudbury in cooperation with Todd Rautenberg and Andrew Sudburym. Unique illustrations were processed by Chelsea Darling and Benoit Billion. Game was released already in 2014 in production of company Jon Sudbury Games. He arrived to our office several months ago and we would like to thank our test group from Tišnov, that did not return the game. And while we are at it, we also thank author for his patience with us.
Game is hidden in a massive square box with a stylish contemporary illustrations, that will accompany you throughout the game. After opening, rules await player in luxury lodging and primarily binders with several decks of cards. These will be used by players at the beginning of the game to build their decks. When doing this, you will certainly like to apply use wooden stands with slots, where you can sort the cards easily and also store them like this inside the box. Of the more than ninety playing cards, each participant selects any combination of two dozen pieces, thus creating his deck.
Both adversaries also choose their own playing color – blue or red. And based on this, each gets set of wooden influence cubes and one of them is placed directly into the joint balloting leather bag. Draw will now determine the starting player, but cube is immediately returned back into the bag. Players must have enough space for playing cards in front of them, while only one will start there – your palace. Then, common military, combat and viking decks are placed in the middle. Over viking deck, there should also be eight black stones, that serve as a counter. Each player may also take top five cards from a shuffled deck into hand.
On the turn, player alternate in turns and always perform one action. But there is several to options choose from. Usually, however, they will be playing cards on the table, providing more space or new inhabitants for their kingdom, which is always a line starting with a castle or palace. Players attach additional cards to it, such as fields or marketplaces. Fortress can also hold a prince.
Some cards, however, prove to be useless during a match. But if a player gets such card into his hand, they do not only take up place, but instead he can play each card as a tower (back side up). It is played over all kingdoms and will protect them from raids of both rivals and Vikings.
After each turn, players move one of viking stones lying over package under it. Player draws a card and game continues with the next turn. Round is played up to the moment, when all eight stones of Vikings are moved beneath. At this point, gruff and bearded men from the north will attack. Whom will they visit? This again depends on drawing cubes from the bag. But players can interact with it during the game,.play an ambassador and add one cube into bag. This can increase player chances of being drawn and therefore chance to choose target of upcoming attack.
Vikings destroy anything in their path, but it usually does not mean end of their army or player fortress. Remaining raider cards, that were not destroyed, are still in the game and match continues with another round. Each move, new addition will reinforce the Nordic warriors and as soon as there is enough, they will again throw themselves into battle. But even players themselves can attack others, when they see advantage in it. Each clank of swords also sees one battle card revealed. It determines, how victory will be decided, such dominance of the church. But it’s not just about power. Opponents can use by political forces (betrayal and intrigue) and wounding opponent in more sophisticated manner, for example murder of their Lord, removal of soldiers (player gets one for each played field) or theft of any property.
Each battle may end in several ways. We know the first very well and it is based on exhausting drawing deck. So the game will never last more than 24 turns. However, player can also lose all of his kingdoms and thereby leave victory to his rival.
Ortus Regni is a stunning game in terms of processing and contents. Players are building decks before the game, affecting their tactics. But to a large extent, they must also support their choice with correct play. Playing is not always bloody, but often more about cartomancy and defending agains Viking raids. No, its certainly not easy to play through and learn it. But once you do, game can surely reward its players.
And yet we have to criticize one crucial feature. Regardless of the number of players, game is random. In two, it’s really about, who built his package better and you do not feel too much control over your actions. However, outcome of battles is decided by luck in the form of a battle deck and even your soldiers have varying power and their profit depends on luck. Great influence of chance, however, does not spoil the overall impression.
In the description of the rules, we have only touched the possibilities to compete and influence your chance of winning. Activities of players are wider, which has signed on amount of text you must wade through in the beginning. There are possibilities of crowning king, but also possibility of attack in different ways. And we have completely missed the joust deck. You may need to first find your way to like this game, but it provides a really balanced impression and games are often decided by trifles.
Although there are so many options, fights are thrilling, never last overly long. Usually they end up in around forty minutes, sometimes even in half an hour. While this might imply accessibility, appearances are deceptive. Due to the complexity of the rules and lack of text on cards, this game is suitable only for experienced players.
There is plenty of interaction between players. All have to be closely watching activities of others and trying to find a chink in their plan or played cards. Holes can be healed, losing game reversed, so any player might have fun until the end.
We have already metioned, how beautiful this game is. But even so, we still managed to conceal one important piece of information, that you may already be seen through the surrounding photographs. Game cards are wearing is not in one letter or digit, but are completely covered with illustrations. The rules for them must be remembered or use help as a reminder. Processing is one of the main features of the game.
Ortus Regni is a game, that deserves much greater popularity, than it gets. It is obvious, that its theme and graphics will not be for everyone, but who avoids it will lose chance to experience one of the best card games in deck-building world. Building a package before the game is foundation, but the whole game has a very strong theme and offers guaranteed entertainment. Ortus Regni is a game, that belongs to your collection. And not just because of its processing, but also because of interesting gameplay.
+ lots of options
+ despite overall complexity quick game
+ fantastic processing
- luck plays a crucial role