iOS, Android, PC •
A week ago Asmodee Digital surprised us all with the announcement of Gloomhaven and other games coming out later this year and in 2019. I was at the press conference and took pictures of all the games they listed for the next 2 years and nowhere did they list Kings and Assassins. So, it makes perfect sense that, this week, they released Kings and Assassins. [insert head banging into wall gif here]
Kings and Assassins is a 2-player board game in which one player plays the titular king and his guards and the other plays the titular assassins in the guise of angry peasants. It’s not a happy kingdom and the commoners want the vile king to shuffle off his mortal coil. The king, as kings are wont to do, wants to keep being king.
The king player controls both the king and his loyal guards as they try to make their way from one end of the board to the castle gates on the other. The assassin player controls an angry mob of peasants, three of which are secretly assassins looking for an opening to kill the king. Each turn a card is drawn that gives a certain number of actions to the king player and a certain number to the assassin. Moving, climbing up to rooftops or jumping down, shoving peasants, or stabbing the king all cost action points and the game revolves around spending your points wisely while trying to set up your side to accomplish your goal.
The digital version is done in 3D but also offers a top-down perspective if you want it to feel a bit more board-gamey. Actions are accomplished by tapping on characters and selecting which action you’d like to perform, followed by a confirmation dialog. It seems a bit clunky to tap so damn much for each move you make, but you quickly get over it and learn to focus on cornering the evil monarch or stabbing a few serfs in the face when they look threatening.
I had never played the cardboard version of Kings and Assassins, but I’ve been playing the digital version a bit today and it feels a bit like the original Mr. Jack (which, by the way, needs a digital version I can play on my phone…and not Mr. Jack Pocket, thank you very much). It’s a fun, sneaky two-player showdown and the app itself is fairly shiny. The app has a practice mode vs AI and pass-and-play multiplayer. It also has online multiplayer, but the options seem a bit limited. For example, it only appears to be real-time play, and once you enter a room I couldn’t figure out how to leave. There was a timer for the other player that started at 25 mins, but I’m not sure what happens if/when that runs to zero. Take my online tests with a grain of salt, however. I have limited access to the internet where I am today, so my trials have been short and hampered by dropping my connection. That’s crack reporting for you!
Kings and Assassins is available for iOS Universal, Android, and PC.