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RoyalWillHeaderA Review of A Royal Will

Designer: Marlon Fussell
Artist: Marlon Fussell
Publisher: Mega Mint Games
Year Published / Kickstarted: 2021
No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 10-25 Minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Bidding, bluffing

A Royal Will is a fast and furious game of greedy coin collection where players are challenged to use their action cards to collect ten coins before the other players alter the Royal Will in their favor.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Disclaimer: Publisher provided a copy of the game for this review.

Overview:

A Royal Will is a quick game with players playing one of two cards each round, which are called “wills.” Games end once a player has outwitted the other players by collecting ten or more coins

Set in the future and in the Andromeda Galaxy, A Royal Will asks players to take on various roles in this galaxy to vie for the leftovers after the unexpected and unexplained deaths of the royal family. With huge fortunes up for grabs, the player who can take the biggest chances with their actions without being too greedy will grab the inheritance and be crowned the winner.


Gameplay and mechanics:

Games of A Royall Will take place over several rounds called “wills” which keeps to the narrative of the theme. Each Will asks players to use both of their cards to claim a specific amount of coins from the inheritance and the other to alter the will with special effects. In addition to their two cards, players also begin with two coins. 

The game includes 25 character cards of which there are seven characters with various actions. This gives a lot of replayability- As the game plays up to six players, you’ll have a chance to try several characters- before a game is won or lost.

A number of coins based on player count is added to the middle of the table, which are part of the Will assets and the rest of the coins are banked. 

To start the game, the player with the most coins goes first, or, the person who dealt the cards gets to go first. Starting with the first player, players will choose one of their two cards to play face down. This card is your coin card. The other card is placed face up and is called the action card. The starting player then performs as much as possible, the action on the action card. The next player will perform the action on the action card, and so forth, until all players have performed their actions. 

At the same time all players will flip their coin card face up. Each coin card has a number that represents the amount of assets a player will take from the center of the table. This number is the amount you are attempting to take from the assets in the center of the table. 

Next, total up the entire coin count from all coin cards. If that total is equal to or less than the number of assets in the center, all players take the the assets listed on their coin card and placed as an “inheritance” in front of them.  However, greedy players can cause the total number to be above the number of coins in the assets. This causes the Will to bust and no player takes any assets. A drawback to being the greediest player in this case requires that player to take two coins from their own personal inheritance and place into the center of the table. This of course increases the number of Will assets in the center of the table for the next round to be played. 

The goal is to be the first player to reach 10 coins in assets. 

Although it’s a simple game, fun is had by changing character cards and being given a new pair of cards for each Will. Players should play several rounds as four is the highest amount of coins to win on a card. 

The character cards include actions that include things like predicting if the Will busts or not, swapping face down cards, increasing or decreasing a player’s total coin count by 1, moving coins, and other chaotic, nefarious or ornery deeds. 

Production Quality, Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout

Quality of the game components is above average. The rules come in a fun little envelope, the tokens are thick, and the player cards are wrapped in a sealed plastic wrap than can be reused. The tile, A Royal Will, is embossed in gold on the box and brings the eye to it. I can see this game being an eye catcher on a game shelf. I’m quite happy with the quality of production in the game I was given for the review. 

The game world is set in the far future and the artwork definitely shows a unique and interesting world. There isn’t much information about this world except that a sum of money large enough to buy nebulas was left by the royal family and the players, as receivers of that will, are fighting over the assets. 

The theme could have been anything, really, and from my point of view doesn’t add or detract from game play. The artwork is done well and is interesting and quite unique. The cards are colorful and work well to set the player into the theme of the world. Although shallow, the theme is there and in my opinion the art work helps players enter the game world that much more. 

Layout of the coins and character abilities is easy to read, easy find, and easy to see on the cards, even when they are on the table in front of you. I can’t complain about the font size or readability. 

One criticism I do have, and it’s a minor one,  is that some of the character designs are a bit odd. The alien images don’t really have any connection to their character name, like solicitor, heir, sleight, etc, and you’ll only learn which each image connects to which character card by playing the game a few times. You’ll quickly recognize that alien as an advisor and another alien as the solicitor. 

cards

Inclusivity and Accessibility:

Tabletop United believes that diversity is a source of fun and happiness. Nurturing and celebrating our personal differences can lead to amazing gaming (and life) experiences.Therefore, TTU is putting renewed emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility to each of our reviews. This inclusivity and accessibility section will critique those issues and strengths of the subject in the review based upon the unique background of the reviewer. Each reviewer views the world through their own particular lens and has a wide and varied experience from which they will write and review from. 

From my view point, I found, in A Royal Will, that there is little worry about inclusivity or accessibility as the game is small with a limited number of art pieces which include aliens. With only seven different pieces of art, I believe the publisher was able to avoid many issues in this area. Other players with a wider experience may find something within the game that I didn’t, but, I think that's true in anything. My experience is different from experiences others may have.

As a color-blind player, I found all of the cards to be easy to see, read, and recognize what was what. No issues on my end. 

What worked:

I really liked how the game played in quick succession. As you chose a face down coin card and played through the face-up action cards, players were collecting coins quickly and moving on to the next round. The game is engaging and since you are playing rapidly and waiting to see what the next player does, down time is at a minimal. This is a game you can pick up, put on the table, and play a few rounds quickly before game night starts or when you have just a bit of time before everyone goes home. 

Final thoughts:

For a small box game that plays quick, you can’t go wrong with A Royal Will. Some people won’t like the sci-fi theme, which is fine. A Royal Will is not meant to be a brain-burner. I like that this game makes no mistakes in letting you know what it is. A quick game of money grabbing hoping not to bust the assets in the center of the table. If your game group enjoys games like Love Letter, you should try this one.  With some bluffing and a bit of chaos, A Royal Will will be sure to entertain your friends at the game table.