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Review: Tiny Epic Kingdoms

2015 May 13
by Michael Schroeder

When I heard about Tiny Epic Kingdoms, I was very intrigued. A fantasy 4x game in a small box. Let’s open it up to see what it’s about.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

 

Designer: Scott Almes

Playing time: 30 minutes

Ages: 13+

Number of players: 2-5

Publisher: Gamelyn Games

In Tiny Epic Kingdoms (Tek), you are a “tiny kingdom with big ambitions.” Throughout the game you are gathering resources, increasing your magic, increasing your population to expand your kingdom, while trying to build grand towers. There’s a problem however, other kingdoms are vying for the same goal.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms in play

Tiny Epic Kingdoms in play

To setup the game each player chooses a faction and a territory card. Each faction has it’s own special abilities based on how much magic ability you have and the terrain card you pick is considered your home base. However, you can almost freely move to other territory cards in the hopes of warring and collecting resources. Each player selects meeples of one color and places two of them on a different terrain type on their terrain card. Each player also gets starting resources, represented as ore, food and mana. In addition each player has a tower token and places it below the 1 space on the tower card, which is centrally located on the playing area. Place the action card not to the tower card. The tower card is where all the player actions are. Place the 5 shields next to the player action card – these shields get placed on the current action that the active player has chose. Place the large tower token next to the randomly determined start player. This marker is the active player marker and it will be constantly passed around.

People in Tek

People in Tek

How to play:

On your turn, if you are the active player, you get to decide which action you get to take first, all the other players, in clockwise order, get a chance to take the same action. You place a free shield on an action row, on the card, that has not been taken already. If there are no shields left, before your action selection, you get to wipe out all the shields and start fresh. At the end of your turn, pass the active player marker to the left. There is another option for the players instead of taking an action, that is, take resources. As long as you are not the active player, you get to take resources. The actions are below…

  • Patrol – Move 1 of your meeples into an adjacent region on the same territory card
  • Quest – Move 2 of your meeples to any other territory card. You must be on an edge territory on the card you are leaving as well as you must move to a territory space on another card thats on an edge. Basically this means you can’t just jump between Capital Cities
  • Build – Pay the number of ore to reach the next step of the tower. The first step costs 1, second step 2, etc.
  • Research – Advance your magic level 1 space on your character card. When you hit that next step, you can use it’s ability.
  • Expand – Add a new meeple to the board; pay food equal to the number of meeples you will now have in play
  • Trade – you can discard any number of one resource type and gain the equal number of another resource
Character Card

Character Card

War and Alliances:

If your meeple enters a region where another players meeple is present, a war begins. You and your warring opponent each take a die and secretly set it face up, up to your war total (max 11). Any character bonuses also take effect here. The white flag side is a peace offering. When you war, you select resources you are willing to dedicate to war. Mana is worth 2, Ore 1 and food 0. Whomever has the total number when revealed wins. The losing player removes their meeple and places it in their supply. The winner remains. Defender wins ties. Both players must now pay resources they dedicated to war.

If both players offers peace, the meeples remain in that region. An alliance is in effect until a players starts a war with a player they have an alliance with and either player doesn’t offer peace.

Tek Dice

Tek Dice

Game end:

The game ends when a player has built up to the top level of the tower or the top level of their magic on their character card or a player has all 7 of their meeples in play. Players get a point for each meeple in play; points for capital cities you are occupying; 1 point for each level of magic reached; points for the tower, indicated on the tower card. The player with the most points, wins.


Summary:

I enjoyed Tiny Epic Kingdoms. It has a civilization feel in a very small box. I like the option of terrain and characters to play; it will keep the game fresh. The quality of the box is great, however it would have been nice if the cards were chipboard. The meeples and wooden pieces also weren’t as refined as something that comes out of Europe either, which is surprising as I think Panda GM manufactures this game. Now the box says the game lasts around 30 minutes, well, after rules explanation and playing it for the first time, our game with 3 players lasted about 2 hours! I couldn’t believe the game lasted so long. Overall, I enjoy Tiny Epic Kingdoms and I’m hoping to get more plays, but it may be tough as one of my playing partners feels the game is “OK” but thinks it’s not worth playing again unless there’s an expansion – which I know there is one coming. I enjoyed the game more than he did, but I wasn’t awestruck with the game, but I did enjoy it.

Tek

Tek

Thank you Gamelyn Games for providing this review copy.

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