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.

Reigns is still in development. Release for Steam, iOS and Android is scheduled for the summer.

Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!


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5 thoughts on “Dabbling with… Reigns

  1. I got confused at Rezzed and claimed Francois Alliot was one half of the team who made Out There. I’m an idiot: Alliot is nothing to do with Mi-Clos, but is rather a friendly chap who I exchanged a number of emails with concerning an earlier game, Devouring Stars – a somewhat obtuse but interesting and fun game. I think I wrote about it on AR early last year.

    I also liked Reigns and found it charming. I look forward to seeing how far the concept can be taken.

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