King Hùng Era

Summary

According to the Hùng kings narrative, the eighteen Hùng kings belonged to the Hong Bang dynasty (c. 2879-258 BCE) that ruled over the northern part of modern Vietnam in antiquity. Their progenitors were Dragon Lac and his consort Fairy Âu Cơ who produced a sac containing one hundred eggs from which one hundred sons emerged. Dragon Lac preferred to live in the sea, and Fairy Âu Cơ preferred the mountains. The two separated with half of the sons following each parent. The most illustrious of the sons became the first Hùng king who ruled Van Lang, the realm of all the descendants of Dragon and Fairy Âu Cơ who became the Vietnamese people, from his capital in modern Phu Tho province.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B9ng_king
Game: King Hung Era (Kickstarter)Age: 8+
Difficulty: easy with strategy archTime: 10 minutes
Players: 2- 4Replay Value: medium

Experience

Having played this multiple times with multiple people, It’s safe to conclude this game gets better with age. Like wine, as you notice the different notes each gulp offers, you realize the game is truly about skill. Anyone can play any number of units out and hope for the best, but a seasoned player will understand that sometimes sacrificing some higher unit values can save you against some pairs or sets of 3’s.

How To Play

I get it, why should I start a summary of this post with a Wikipedia article. It’s quite simple, to understand the concept of the abstract game play, you need to understand the concept that it revolves around. This is a rise and fall of a battle for the empire. In King Hùng Era, players will use their 8 tiles to battle against others fighting for the same land. Each unit makes up a piece of the ruling whether it be a king, queen, princess, chancellor, rook, bishop, knight or pawn. Each unit can be played solo or can be strengthened by playing in pairs or sets of 3 or 4. 5 pawns can be declared and instant victory and aside from that, players takes turns placing out their selected units face down.

Everyone will have to play the same number of units (whether you think you will win or lose the battle) and then starting with the first player, turning over their units to reveal their set. Players who know they wont win can discard their units without showing what they had–for strategy of course. At the end of the round, or when all the pieces have been used, players collect coins for their wins and can decide to continue or claim victorious with the most coins.

For example, if I play a pair of red rooks face down. Everyone else will play a pair down. When I reveal, everyone else will reveal. In this example, one player has 2 blue rooks, and the other played a pawn and a chancellor (I’m assuming they didn’t have a pair they wanted to play.) The pawn/chancellor discards their units since it’s a throwaway. The blue rooks lose to the red rooks because the red color ranks higher. They get discarded. The red rooks get put to the side to be valued later.

At the end of the round, each unit will score 1 coin with more coins being rewarded depending on the final outcome.

Evalution

User interface

Very simple game to understand, the pieces resemble chess and the player board showcases each pieces value as well as what combinations they allow. It is super accessible because as long as you can create a pair, you can play the game–while that might not win every round, it’s really just putting units together and hoping to score from that.

Mechanics and Gameplay

This game is an abstract game that uses sets to battle opponents. Similar to poker, players are creating higher ranking sets to outrank and beat other sets created by the opponents. If I were to play the two blue rooks as mentioned earlier. Players are forced to play a pair of anything–could be an actual pair or a throwaway of units. With this, the game play is heavily based off strategy. While you could dominate with a king, queen, chancellor trio– you may need to throw away some of those units because you have a pair of bishops that could be used later in the game, or a single chancellor could out-rank anything below it if called upon.

Card Break Down

Each unit will have the units silhouette, the color (or rank), and the letter that it is. Each board will offer a place to put and organize your pieces, and the table that shows each unit and their valid combinations. The coins are valued 1 or 3, and come in gold or silver.

What I Liked

This game is really fun when you throw down a couple games back to back. Each unit has a place in the game, whether you might use your single pawn for a throwaway or start off strong with the queen and princess pair. The poker like vibe of the combinations gives the King Hùng Era an edge against a few other strategy games because losing one round could cost a game. The simplicity of the game makes for quick pickup for a couple of rounds. Or something for those non-gamers that you still want to introduce to strategic abstract games. <—- this is a great gateway.

What I Don’t Like

Like I mentioned, this game takes a few rounds to grow on you. The games simplicity does feel like certain first turn combinations can really sway the game toward that player. Saving higher ranks does not necessarily mean a winning round, which is not bad, but sometimes it feels like we KNOW which turn we have without having options–which makes me wonder if having more combinations could be a solution to both of these issues.

Final Thoughts

Advice

A lot of the times, I find it smart to sacrifice units you know wont pair because a lot of the time, players will have more pairs than they would have 3 or 4 sets. So if you are not the starting player consider pairs to be mightier than the others–unless you are able to sway the win in your favor.

Outcome

Its a super great start-strategy game. The poker-lite combinations and the chess pieces gives players a familiarity while the game play itself elevates the blend of the respective games. Even though I was hesitant to like this game at first, I’d be a liar if I said I don’t play this at least once a week since I have received it. There is something fun about the strategy found in this quick game.

Kickstarter!

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