Players will become royal architects and masons tasked with constructing landmarks, buildings and the cathedral.
The slot machine competition will be tough, which could lead some architects to questionable deals. This will give you a quick advantage, but be careful as all your decisions are evaluated at the end of the game! Read our full review of the Architects of the West Kingdom board game below.
A Brief Overview of the Architects of the Western Kingdom
The architects of the western kingdom worker placement game can be played by up to 5 players, It has a solo mode, and the best experience can be had with 4 players.
The game time is between 60 and 80 minutes and the BGG difficulty is 2.76/5, which can be a bit higher than what you would expect from a game with this art style.
However, Paladins and Viscounts aren’t the only games Architects reminds you of. Shipbuilders, Raiders & Explorers of the North Sea is another trilogy by the same designer and artist.
There are plans to release another trilogy with Wayfarers, Scholars and Inventors of the South Tigris, so there are quite a few options when it comes to games designed by Shem Phillips and S. J. McDonald.
Architects of the West Kingdom is a great game, but when it comes to these games, you can safely choose the theme that seems most appealing to you. I’ll focus on Architects as a standalone game and mention North Sea Raiders if necessary, as it’s another game I’ve played, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed.
Unboxing Western Kingdom Architects
The first component waiting for you under the lid of the box is the set of rules. The illustrated and full-color book is 28 pages long, but don’t let that scare you. It contains many images, examples, and highlighted text, making it more readable and understandable.
The only cutting elements in this game are silver coins – they are double-sided and do not tear. I am not a fan of cardboard coins as they are usually awkward to stack and sort.
Luckily, Architects only have one type of coin, so this isn’t a big deal, though I’d still prefer plastic, wood, or even metal coins.
I wouldn’t call the box that Architects of the West Kingdom comes in “full size”, but that doesn’t affect the size of the playing field. The triple folded playing field takes up six times the surface of the box, creating a comfortable playing area.
The color palette on the board matches the theme, with a soft, almost worn look. From a gameplay point of view, the locations and requirements are easy to read from all positions at the table, and all points important to the gameplay are well grouped or spaced.
The illustrations for which these games are well known are most prominent on game boards and game cards. The resource cards and tokens are well made, but the game boards are made of flexible and smooth cardboard.
I would have preferred thick card stock instead, but I know it won’t accept fine art printing either, so I had to compromise. In general, the components have a good thematic synergy, and their quality is at a satisfactory level.
How to play Architects of the Western Kingdom
Architects is a simple game, and while I won’t be able to explain the rules in detail, I’ll help you get a good idea of what the game is about.
Architects is a game about placing workers, but unlike other games in the genre, you start with 20 workers. During each turn, you will only place 1 worker on the board, and the more you visit the same location, the benefits will increase to reflect this.
The main way to interact with other players is to capture their workers. In a location in the city center, you will take an action that will allow you to grab other players’ workers and place them on your board.
You can later send them to jail to earn silver, but then their original owner can get them back. This mechanic is the main way to get workers back on the playing field.
The last thing to look at is the virtue track, which is used to keep track of the actions of all players. It is influenced by the moral choices you make during the game. Following the rules will earn you virtue and bonus points at the end of the game, but if you make a few behind-the-scenes deals, you will win during the game but incur a penalty at the end.
The game “Architects of the Western Kingdom” is played over several turns, starting with the first player and proceeding clockwise. On his turn, the player must place 1 of his worker on the game board.
The game continues until the required number of buildings have been built, after which each player receives one extra turn until the end of the game.
Scoring is based on buildings built, cathedral progress, virtue track, and unspent gold marble and silver. Near the Virtue bar, your score can be negatively affected by an unpaid debt or having workers in jail at the end of the game.
Placement of workers and boards
Architects is an employment game, so if you’re familiar with the general mechanics of the genre, you’ll feel right at home. For those thinking about making Architects their first worker placement game, I’ll go into more detail on how it works.
There are many locations on the playing field that you can visit. They are circled in white and divided into four types:
On locations with a large circle, several workers are placed.
In locations with a small circle, only one worker is placed.
There are outlines of workers in the town hall, and the workers need to be placed in order.
A prison is a special place where workers are placed through a guardhouse.