“I’m the heir apparent to the heir presumptive”
– Princess Margaret
Treachery and sabotage are in the air. players compete to build noble families and fight each other for the throne of King Graham, the aged ruler of Wysteria. Each player is responsible for building their lineage and defending their family members from rival families.
Players begin the game with a Noble House Card that shows both a Lord and Lady. From there, players use Court Drama Cards to arrange marriages and have children and thereby grow their family tree. Each character can play two Court Drama Cards on their turn to maintain and develop their own family tree, or attack their rivals.
In addition to helping characters wed and have children some Court Drama Cards also let players make members of your opponents’ house illegitimate or infertile or even….Dead. This prevents them from having children, or at least having children with a rightful claim to the throne.
Especially killing them. Killing them definitely prevents them from having children or claiming the throne.
Likewise, other Court Drama Cards allow players to remove these negative effects and to restore themselves to their former glory.
In order to win the throne, a noble family must produce at least one great-grandson that is of age and neither illegitimate nor infertile.
The pieces were easy to punch out and the cards are thin but of good quality. The art is cartoonish, but it works for the game.
I have to be honest, when I first pulled this game out I was not sure if I would like it. This game 100% won me over. For me, where this game shines is in the storytelling. I mean sure, you could just play it straight forward and do your actions and move on, but you shouldn’t. You need to gather your friends that you play Gloom with and play this.
One turn I married Charity The Greedy with Tim the Pennywise (I thought this might be a nod to Tim Curry in IT, but I’m not sure) and I told the story of how she made him miserable but it was for the good of the realm…until on a later turn she was stolen from Tim by David The Highwayman. And we kept moving David from bride to bride because, a highwayman’s gotta ramble. I seriously have not laughed out loud this much in a long time during a game (The infertility token and subsequent removal alone can lead to many stories). There is a “take that” game in here for sure, but you need to play this with storytellers. I promise you that you will not regret it.
ALL HAIL KING ZOLTAR THE MAGNIFICENT!