Realm Master Kickstarter Review

Realm master board game kickstarter review

The more board games you play, the more you notice mechanics and concepts shared between various games. It’s actually one of those great things about learning to play a game, when you realise that there is a common DNA with another game, or a new game takes something familiar to you and mixes it up, using it in a way that you weren't expecting. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to games feeling very similar, or sharing so many mechanics that it’s hard to differentiate them.

Realm Master is a game that’s going to feel familiar to many gamers; because there's a lot here you've probably seen before.  In Realm Master you'll roll dice Yahtzee style to collect gold, heal wounds, collect banners and attack the other players.  The aim of the game is to either be the last man/woman standing, or to collect 10 banners. Banners can be collected by rolling the dice but the most efficient way is to become the Realm Master; by rolling at least one sword you can pay the entry fee and enter one of the four realms.  Once in the realm you can collect resources and generally swank about like you own the place. However, you'll raise the ire of every other player, and from this point all attacks from all other players are targeted at you.  Of course you can bail out whenever you want but you won't be able to collect those juicy coins, hearts and banners.

Realm master dice game review power up cards

If all this sounds a little bit familiar to you, then it means that you have played King of Tokyo, and although Realm Master is not a carbon copy of Richard Garfield's kaiju dice game there are a lot of mechanics that the two games share.  Unfortunately it’s a comparison that has to be made and whereas the original King of Tokyo is a tight and quick game, like my first attempt at a long distance run Realm Master plays a little longer and a little flabbier.

Thankfully it’s not a straight copy and there are a few things that Realm Master does that mixes up the concept.  For starters, characters have different abilities and different starting resources so right from the get go Realm Master has created some subtly variance in strategies.  Every turn a card draw creates a new rule for the round or adds, or redistributes the game's resources across the realms.  This means that it’s no longer just a simple case of being the Realm Master and planting your backside down in the middle of the table, there is some strategy concerning when to enter and which realm to be in. Lastly with multiple realms being in play it means that you have to move around which means balancing the resources required to enter each realm as well as the push your luck aspect of staying the target of everyone’s attacks.

Realm Master king of tokyo dice game

The question becomes, are these changes to King of Tokyo's basic formula enough to sway over fans of the original or tempt across those who disliked Iello's hit? If you are a huge fan of King of Tokyo then there are probably a few things here to add a breath of fresh air to the game, but fundamentally it’s the same game, roll dice to gain resources, and push your luck in the centre.

It's certainly not a bad game, with my only real criticism being that the game plays a lot longer than King of Tokyo and so player elimination has a greater sting as the eliminated player is forced to sit around twiddling their thumbs. But it’s a game I have already played and this leaves me very frustrated as I write because it’s a game I want to like; it’s got wonderful artwork, it plays rather well and has a certain charm but it’s so close to one of the biggest casual games of the last few years.

Realm master dice game kickstarter review

It is however an incredibly slick production from a newcomer into the world of hobby board game publishing. The art throughout is lovely, the iconography clear and the graphic design ties everything together. It certainly hasn't been thrown together overnight and it's evident that a lot of care and attention has gone into bringing this game together.

I want to tell you the push your luck aspect is tense but in a light way, I want to tell you that the purchasing of power ups allows you to tailor your character to the current conditions and I really want tell you that Realm Master is a game that is simple to play and quite a lot of fun. But you already know this because you've already played King of Tokyo.

Realm Master is on Kickstarter now

This Kickstarter preview is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.
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