I recently acquired this gem of a game while traveling through Arvada Colorado. In Architects of the West Kingdom you assume the role of a royal architect during the Carolingian Empire, circa 850 AD. Each royal architect is competing for the king’s favour and aims to construct various landmarks as well as advancing work on the great Cathedral.
On your turn you have a plethora of actions available to you but are relegated to only taking one. You have 20 worker pawns at your disposal to hopefully acquire the resources and/or hire the apprentices that are needed to expand your building projects quickly and efficiently, earning points along the way. The game ends once a set number of constructions have been completed (this will vary by player count). At games end the architect with the most points will ultimately win the game.
There are some interesting paths to follow during the game. You can opt to take the high “virtuous” road thus ensuring your access to advancing work on the Cathedral which can earn you additional bonuses and a fair amount of victory points, although your ability to acquire much needed resources will move a lot slower. Or you can follow a more nefarious path which enables you to acquire resources much more quickly by stealing or dealing with black marketeers at the risk of either having workers sent to prison or having your architect banned from advancing work on the Cathedral, altogether.
The expansive amount of cards that are used in the game and well as variable player powers ensure that your game experience will be different each time. There is also an engaging solo mode of play that pits you against Byzantine architects, Constantine (easy mode) or Helena (difficult mode) where your aim is to score more points than them.The turn structures in the game are simple and the game moves at a decent pace. That said, the game offers a lot of depth and strategy. I find myself wanting to keep replaying it just so that I can employ different approaches and develop different resource/point engines. Architects of the West Kingdom has quickly become one of my new personal favorites and is one I would happily recommend to others.
Architects of the West Kingdom is designed by Shem Phillips & S J MacDonald and published by Garphill Games and Renegade Game Studios.