Royals Board Game Review

Have you ever wanted the chance to influence the fate of Europe by being a force of change in the shadows? Now’s your chance! In Royals, you will be able to use all your cunning to create strategies that can influence even the most powerful ruling royal families.

Royals
  • The latest in The Dice Tower Essentials line of games personally...
  • Designed by world famous board game designer Peter Hawes
  • Highly accessible game that uses territory control, set...

Brief Overview of Royals

Royals is a strategy and area control board game for 2-5 players in which players take on the role of the head of a noble family, vying for control of 17th century Europe by asserting the most influence. Players need to try and earn as many victory points as possible during 3 time periods.

Players will use cards to influence the other nobles. Nobles are scattered across 4 countries, each with their own ambitions to grab the victory points. In each phase, the more territory a player controls, the more victory points you’ll gain. 

At the end of the 3 phases, tally all of the victory points. The player with the most royal influence is the victor!

Unboxing Royals

Royals Board Game Box and Components

This is always one of the most exciting parts of getting a new board game – whether you’re a novice gamer or a board game veteran. The Royals box art on the outside sums up the theme pretty well, a bunch of folks that look rich and powerful.

Once you’ve opened the box, you’ll see the board and the rule book on top. The feel and quality of both rulebook and gameboard are quite up to standard – not at all thin and flimsy. The square cubes which are used to tally up the victory points are all made of wood and are painted in the most royal-like colors – think purple and black. The tokens of various sizes just need to be pressed out of their molds and in doing so, one can appreciate the effort put into the artwork. 

The following components are included:

  • Rulebook
  • Square playing board
  • Token pop-outs
  • Wooden cubes
  • Playing cards

How to Play Royals

Setup

Setup is quite easy. All that a player needs to do is choose a color. There may be a scuffle for each player’s favorite color, but once colors are chosen, players will then collect all the cubes of the same color.

The tokens provided are easily identifiable and should be placed on the board where marked. There are two types of cards: Country and Intrigue. The Country cards are color-coded to match one of the four countries and are used to obtain nobles in the cities.

The Intrigue cards can also be used to influence nobles, but are not limited to that role only. The intrigue cards are quite self-explanatory in how they are played.

Gameplay

The gameplay is also pretty straightforward. A player’s turn consists of 3 steps: (1) pick up a card, (2) use a card, and (3) end the turn. When drawing a card, a player has 2 options: 3 Country cards or a combination of 1 Country card and 1 Intrigue card. A player is allowed to pick up cards from the facedown pile or the discard pile.

When using a card, a player can play as many cards as they would like. In playing their cards, you can claim a noble based on the Country card requirements. The Intrigue cards are then used to wrest control from the other players’ noble(s).

To end a turn, you must just ensure that you don’t exceed the card limit for each type. Players can only have a maximum of 12 Country cards and 4 Intrigue cards at the end of their turn. If you exceed the limit, you can then choose which cards to discard.

The goal is to have the most victory points after each of the 3 phases. The 3-step turn system that is used is very similar to most other card-based board games, allowing most players to get the hang of the game quickly. 

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Easy to learn, good gateway game
  • A solid addition to any game collection

There are quite a few good things to say about Royals. If you have newer players in your group, they won’t have any trouble getting into the fun of the game.

And because it is such an enjoyable game, it is definitely worth adding to your collection – it fits really well next to the Ticket to Ride series especially. So grab your crown and scepter and get influencing!

Cons:

  • The strategic elements might be a bit complicated for younger kids
  • The them of the game is slightly overused in board game circles

Royals is definitely not the most difficult game to start playing, far from it. However, it does require a certain level of understanding to make decisions in the game in order to enjoy it. 

With regards to the game theme, what more can I say about it? It is not super unique and has been used by quite a few other games out there.

Conclusion: Verdict?

My general opinion overall on a board game that has a royal/noble theme is not the most original. It has been used so much, veteran gamers might think it stale, but luckily, the theme doesn’t get in the way of great mechanics and gameplay.

It is easy to play, but great fun. The decisions you make in any of the 3 phases affect the outcome of the game drastically, meaning you really do have to have a cunning strategy to win.

This game is definitely going to fit in well with players that are looking for heavy board games. It’s not super technical, so it may not appeal to the hardcore board gamers. But it is perfect for casual gaming and is able to include all types of players. It is a game that would definitely be worth having on your board game shelf for just such an occasion. 

Royals
  • The latest in The Dice Tower Essentials line of games personally...
  • Designed by world famous board game designer Peter Hawes
  • Highly accessible game that uses territory control, set...

Have you tried Royals? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this award-winning game from Arcane Wonders. Drop a comment below!

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Stats at a glance

Players: 2-5

Ages: 10 +

Medium

60 Mins

Publisher: Archane Wonders

Published: 2014