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Just about a year ago I had posted a Kickstarter Preview for Kind Down, a chess-like game by designer Saar Shai. Well I finally got my production copy and had a chance to play the released version of the game. The game has changed a bit since I’ve played, but overall the feel is the same. I will say that the rulebook needs a bit of work, as it’s not the best way to learn the game, but Saar knows people’s concerns with this and is working to tighten things up. In the meantime he’s created the following video, which teaches you what you need to know to jump in and play.

I actually did my first real test of the final game with my 5-year-old son. He was able to fully enjoy the game and play mostly on his own with only a bit of help reading some of the spell cards. I hate to admit it, but he actually took the first victory, claiming my King in the Capitol for the final victory points needed to win the game. I guess I got a bit too greedy, trying to snag too many VP without thinking.

Anyway, the game has a great feel to it. The tension of getting the pieces you want activated and having enough cards to pay all the tolls you need to complete your plans all while your opponent is doing the same is a great thrill. My two main complaints with the game are the rulebook, which I previously mentioned, and the box. The box is basically a fancy shoe box. It’s very nice looking, and fairly sturdy, but is kind of awkward to store. Not a huge deal, but still.

There’s a lot under the hood with King Down, and once you get the swing of things it’s an very rewarding game. There’s plenty of choices and sacrifices to make, and the games I’ve played so far have been both quick, and close. We haven’t had any runaway leader situations yet.

Take the time to watch the video and learn how to play the game. I feel it’s a great add to my collection, and it deserves a look.

A copy of King Down was provided free for review by Saar Shai.

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