"Your majesty, I feel the coming of winter signals most poorly for my territory. This year's crop was small, and we have been most devorted to maintaining your standing armies to prevent the redurgence of the goblin invaders."
"Yes, you have been most vigilant. I hereby grant you the resources you need to construct a new Guard Tower and a Barricade. In addition I will provide my most trusted Diplomat to help oversee these constructions and I will devote a portion of my personal army to your defense."
"You are most generous your majesty. Thank you for your kindness."
Build your territory and rise in status in this game of management and risk. Players each construct their provinces as they see fit. Will a new Guard Tower be built to protect the citizens and their homes? Will a Statue be erected in honor of the local ruler to improve the morale of the townsfolk? Every year that passes sees your city grow, but be wary. After winter's harsh weather, an army invades. From goblins burning down one of your settlements to dragons destroying one whole turn’s worth of victory points, you will need to find ways to protect your settlement. Will you build defenses against these invaders, or will you invest in a standing militia? Will you focus on the wealth of your territory, and risk leaving your own defense in your king’s hands? These decisions will determine if your province rises, or is lost to history.
Kingsburg is a game of city building and resource management for two to five aspiring medieval governors, and is playable in roughly 90 minutes. King Tritus, ruler of the realm, has assigned you and your opponents to oversee his most distant provinces. The work is thankless and dangerous; back-breaking summers are followed by long winters, which in turn seem always to be followed by an attack from one of the empire’s numerous enemies. But if you can impress the King with your political agility, he may just reward you with a place at his side... You have just five years to rise above your counterparts and prove your worth!
You aren’t entirely alone; 18 advisors, including old Tritus himself, are willing to aid you with resources, military intelligence, soldiers, or political clout... for a price! These advisors, you see, are a petty bunch- they’ll only offer their help to one provincial governor per season, and they don’t often work well together. In any given season (the phases of each round, or year) you must make sacrifices, accepting what resources you can acquire and shrewdly spending them to improve your province. To acquire these resources, Kingsburg features an innovative way of using dice: each player rolls his or her own colored dice, then places those dice (divided as he or she sees fit) on as many as three different advisors, numbered 1-18. Advisors offer increasingly appealing resources based on the likelihood of rolling their total... but since each advisor can only be used once, be careful not be cut off, or you’ll be left without your resources and holding useless dice!
Combining many of the best elements of European and American board game design styles, Kingsburg has been praised for its clever use of dice and its high level of player interaction. Though dice-rolling is a significant mechanic of the game, the presence of luck never feels arbitrary or excessive. Rather, the game encourages players to apply their dice rolls strategically, in ways that simultaneously benefit themselves and vex their opponents. And while a card-drawing mechanic determines the nature and difficulty of yearly NPC enemies (these enemies must be faced by each player individually, and failure against them can cause major setbacks), players can “scout the draw” in advance by influencing the right advisor. This means that players who have devoted resources to acquiring this valuable intelligence can adequately prepare for the coming onslaught while their opponents languish in ignorance... or they can bluff, exaggerating the threat and compelling their opponents to overspend!
When it comes to the architectural makeup of your province, strategy abounds. The player who has collected the most victory points by the end of the fifth year is the winner, but numerous risks, if not managed, threaten to reduce this total throughout the game. Some buildings pay out large amounts of victory points, but provide no defense against your enemies, while others provide the inverse: high defense but a low score. You can build cautiously, concentrating on sturdy and functional structures that serve a pragmatic purpose (thereby remaining relatively safe from yearly raids, but scoring rather few victory points), or you can build a city of ornate cathedrals and towering statues (which are difficult to defend but provide a high payout of victory points). The wise ruler will find some balance between these two, as he or she remains ever mindful of the looming threat of goblins, dragons, demons... and even zombies!... that waits just outside the nearby border.
If you are clever enough to contend with these horrors all while grappling politically with spiteful and self-serving nobles, and if you can achieve all of this while expanding with more efficiency than your opponents, you may just be worthy of the King’s favor... and a job far away from the god-forsaken wildernesses at the edges of the realm of Kingsburg.
*text from the publisher's web site