The fifth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2016.
Reigns from developer Nerial is an incredibly simple game. You’re the king and each year you get to make a binary choice. There are explicit numeric impacts to many of these choices which are shown at the top of display – religion, population, military and treasury. If any of these drop to zero, well it’s bye bye to the king (again, that’s you). Now this might sound like a numbers game so dry you could put cheese on it and call it a healthy after meal snack, but Nerial has dreamt a little bigger, darling.
The numerical impact is sometimes unknown with an insipid grey question mark standing in for a number. And not all of the consequences are numerical in nature. After defeating the Vikings I had the choice of executing the whole jolly lot of them or showing some compassion and letting them run free. Well, guess what. After I let them go, they turned up again a couple of years later, back for more blood. So much for compassion.
My early impression is that it’s better to treat it as a random story generator where you’re trying hard to spin the story out as long as possible. From what I understand, there are a vast number of cards in the Reigns deck, which means it’ll be a long time before you’ve exhausted its magic. But most importantly, Reigns is a funny game. By restricting the descriptions of each decision card to just a few lines, there’s an inherent comic value in reducing serious decisions to a tweet-like question. From what I could tell, everyone found Reigns charming and loveable. Whether that stretches into something more strategic, I don’t know. But perhaps that doesn’t really matter.
Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!