Kick The Box Warlords & Sellswords Preview

Kick The Box

Warlords & Sellswords Preview

Note* All Cards depicted are prototypes without any finished artwork, and are just shown to represent the game setup and mechanics.

Premise And Theme: At the heart of Warlords & Sellswords  is a very balanced card drafting game , where  your goal is to impress the king by building your new army to be the biggest, strongest, most bad-ass army in the region. There, of course, are stipulations. The King doesn’t want a weakened army, so he has outlawed any type of direct conflict. BUT, what the king doesn’t know won’t hurt him. You can murder, steal, and sabotage the other armies, while trying to expand your own (and of course, the other warlords will be trying to do the same to you.)

Setup is quick and easy.  Shuffle all the cards (Wizards, Soldiers, and Supply Cards) together except for the Conscripts.  This creates the Main Deck. Deal five cards to each player from the main deck. Than from right to left, or left to right, lay five cards face down. (We house ruled to place them face up. I’ll go more into detail later.) This creates the Caravan. Each player receives five conscripts and lays them face up in their area in a line. These are your first recruits for your new army.

WS Setup

Gameplay: There are 10 rounds, and within each round is four phases: Draw, Play, Cleanup, and Evaluation.

WS Cards
Two Examples of Sellswords in Warlords & Sellswords

Draw Phase: This is to be completed by all players before moving onto the Play Phase. Starting with the first player, and moving clockwise, each player draws one of the cards from the Caravan, replaces the removed card with a card from the Main Deck and then draws two more cards from the Main Deck and places it into their hand.

Play Phase: After everyone has drawn their three cards, one from the Caravan, and two from the Main Deck, (Don’t forget to replace the Caravan Card before drawing the last two off the main deck.) The first player has choices of what he/she can do. They can choose to not play any cards and draw two cards from the main deck and end their turn. Or, they can start building their army, using the resources (i.e. Gold, Rations, or Arms) they have in their hand or they can discard two cards to gain one resource of their choice.

The Resources
The Resources

Clean Up Phase: This is only relevant if a card has a clean up phase. Resolve it during this phase.

WS Supply Card Examples
Two Examples of Supply Cards

Evaluate Phase: During this phase, The King sends out his adviser to each army and grants a Crown’s Favor to the strongest army. Each person counts the total power of their army, including all supplies, but not any of the previous recommendations. The player with the most power receives the Crown’s favor and a single recommendation. In the event of a tie, the player with the largest army prevails, and if that still is a tie, then the player in turn order closest to The First Player wins that round. The first player token moves clockwise, and you return to the draw phase, and play commences in this order until the end of the tenth phase.

Game’s End: After the tenth round has been completed, you skip the evaluation phase, and count up your power and your recommendations. The player with the the most power and recommendations has the highest influence and wins the game! If there happens to be a tie, all players in the tie win!

We were fortunate enough to play several two and four player versions of the game. Unfortunately, a fifth player eluded us during our play testing time. The wife and I played a couple of games with the Trade Caravan face down. We thought that wasn’t right, especially after drawing and placing the Sage card into our army, which has the ability to “Discard two cards, and Draw One Caravan card”. I referred back to the rules Patrick had sent me and read that face down was correct. We shrugged our shoulders and continued on. I emailed Patrick to reconfirm the ruling to make sure it wasn’t a  mistype. He emailed me back and reconfirmed that they were to be placed face down, and the different backs(in this case, the colors of the sleeved backings) would let you know if it was a Wizard, a Supply card, or a Soldier that was in the caravan, but not exactly which one you would be picking up. Fair enough.

While waiting for the email confirmation, Wife and I had played a game with the Caravan cards faced up, and were ecstatic with the difference in gameplay. By this time, some friends we were waiting on showed up and we played two more games. One with the Caravan cards face down, per rules, and one face up. Only a couple of rounds into the second game, we all had agreed that the game play is much more exciting face up. The player interaction is increased ten fold. Usually, with a “You suck. I needed that card!”. And no matter what, you can never replace that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you knowingly screw up someone’s game plan.

With the Caravan cards face up, I found not only myself, but everyone else, working out a strategy and back up plans and more engaged with the game when it wasn’t their turn. (Can’t really do this if you don’t know what exact cards are in the Caravan.) This did increase the ability of the Sage card, but not overpowering by any means, and actually made it one of the more sought after cards in the deck with it’s ability to discard two, for one you can see, as opposed to discarding two in hopes you’ll get what you want.

We all enjoyed the game and the ease of it’s setup and gameplay. I wouldn’t consider it a medium card game, but it isn’t a light card game by any means also. It falls nicely right in the middle of the two.

The style of  artwork gives the game a lighter tone, which can be less intimidating to non-gamer friends, especially since Sellswords & Warlords can easily be used as an introductory game to these friends. And with the depth of strategy, it will provide a great filler game for your gamer friends.

All the games we played were close to the end. It never felt like someone was running away with points. This is in part due to the Evaluation Phase, a great check and balance mechanic of the game. In order to gain the Crown’s Favor, everyone counts up their power to see who has the most. Now everyone knows where everyone else stands, and who ever gained this recommendation, is more than likely, going to be the target of the other players for at least the next round.

Even in it’s prototype form, I can see this game hitting the table often, with the only thing replacing it being the final production set.

Kick The Box Sept. 23rd 2013 Edition

Kick The Box

Sept. 23rd Edition

Another week, and another round of games that are currently available for funding on Kickstarter have been selected to be featured in this week’s edition of Kick The Box! We have quite a variety of games this week, ranging from a simple filler dice game, to a new miniatures game with a twist and a couple in between. Let’s kick things off with the updates.

Update: Planet Defiant: Onslaught of Vanas  has relaunched and already 98% funded! Warlords & Sellswords has been relaunched as well and is also over a third of it’s needed funding! Look for my upcoming preview of the latter later in the week.

404: Law Not Found

Project by: 3DTotalGames

You are a robot aboard the starship, Clarion, happily obeying the three rules that help you serve humankind. One day, a new batch of  the latest and greatest microchips arrive for you and your robot companions. Ecstatic about your upgraded chip and new abilities, you return back to work only to find out that the three laws have been replaced with new directives.

Your goal now is to keep these directives hidden from other players and be the first to complete them before the tenth turn expires. The randomness of he ‘End of Turn’ events occurring on the ship, the other players trying to complete their directives, the scientists trying to deal with each  random event, and the monkeys . . .  Yes this game even has monkeys!  Will not only create some  laughs, but will also keep the evolving puzzle mechanic of the game constantly changing your strategy.

This is a medium weight game for 2-6 players that is suppose to be playable in an hour.

Shipping is included for US and EU. Include  £15 for international shipping.

Golem Arcana

Project by: Harebrained Schemes LLC

PROOF-OF-CONCEPT Gameplay prototype is subject to change.

Miniature skirmishes could get a lot easier if Harebrained Schemes gets their way. Golem Arcana is a miniatures game with all the record keeping done on your tablet or phone. All the information is at your fingertips with instant feedback about moves and attacks. The gameplay combines the fun and strategy of miniature play with the convenience of a video game interface. They have a lot of interesting stretch goals that I would love to see met, including skirmishing across the internet with your figures set up at your house, and your friend’s figures at his house, augmented reality, and much, much more. The game comes with pre-painted miniatures, or if you prefer to paint your own, than you can order them not painted.

Shipping within the US is free and add $25 to ship internationally.

Ninja Dice

Project by: Jeff Garcia: Greenbrier Games

I love original concept filler games. Easy to pack around, easy to learn and play.  Ninja Dice has you rolling dice to try to break into a house and steal the treasure. After three rounds the player with the most treasure wins!

You do this by rolling the house dice to see what challenges you have to overcome. Than you roll your ninja dice and each of your opponents receives a threat dice that they get to roll at the same time as you. Not only does it matter what you roll, but it also matters where they land! (Check out their gameplay video for a more in depth look) The threat dice have three different abilities. The hourglass, which if four of those get rolled during your turn, than too much time had passed and you don’t collect any of the treasure. An arrow and a block is also on the threat dice. The arrow gives the ability for the player that rolled it, to attack you or each other and steal the treasure, while block cancels that ability.

You can reroll any of your ninja dice, but remember, this gives your opponents the ability to reroll their threat dice!

Push your luck and become the wealthiest ninja alive!

There are international shipping pledge levels and US shipping is included.

The Offensive Band Name Generator

Project by: Robert Burke

Grab a nice cold beverage (or a room temperature one, if preferred) and prepare to laugh your arse off as you and your friends come up with silly and/or offensive band names. If you and your friends are music fans and aren’t easily offended, than this is the party game for you!

You choose a category and than each person, using their randomly drawn cards, create the best fake band name that fits the category.

Everyone raises their horns into the air and on the count of three, everyone points at the person they thought had the best band name. The winner or winners of that round get to keep one card as a point. There are two bonus rounds that use the album covers and you have to come up with the best band name and album name that fits the randomly drawn album cover. The player with the most points after twenty rounds wins!

This concludes this week’s edition of Kick The Box. Come back next week as we we kick around the next round of games. And be sure to tune in later this week as I have a special preview of Sellswords & Warlords in the works.

Thanks again for joining me this week and ‘Keep on Kickin’ It’

Kick The Box September 9th 2013 Edition

Kick The Box

September 9th Edition

I dug up some gems this week for you guys to check out! Some Sci-Fi action, a little tile moving game, and a little card game that has you evading obstacles as you create the perfect heist and some updates on games featured before. Let’s throw some dice and jump into it.

Updates:  With a little over two weeks left, Raiders of R’lyeh has reached a little over half of what they need to fund their RPG.  If an open world Lovecraftian Indiana Jones pulp adventure RPG is what your looking for than be sure to check out their Kickstarter. I’m ecstatic for I have the privilege of receiving a copy of Warlords & Sellswords prototype in the next day or two to test play and preview for you guys. Patrick is getting ready to reboot that campaign in the next week or two.

Deep Space 

Project by: Zak Labs

Zak Labs first Kickstarter attempt is a Sci-Fi themed star ship game for two to four players. Each player takes turns trying to control the most planets on the board.  Choose to attack other players’ battleships or try to capture as many planets as quickly as possible. The choice is yours. You can even self-destruct yourself if it proves useful in foiling an enemies plans! If the artwork that is on the website is any indication of the quality and beauty that that is to be found in the game, than it will be one gorgeous, ruthless space battle in your living room.

Burning Suns

Project by: Sun TzuGames

In the galaxy of The Burning Suns, during thousands of years of peace, over three hundred empires have had room to flourish and grow. Then these empires started to grow hungry for new territories and deceit and war was inevitable.

In Burning Suns, players become the leaders of their empire, volleying for complete domination through any means necessary. Use technology, volatile diplomacy, exploitation and destruction, if necessary, to put the other emperors in their place and stake your dominance over the entire galaxy.

There is a combination of a possible 343 playable empires in the base set and up to 512 playable empires with the included promos! You could possibly play hundreds of games without you or your friends using the same empire twice! The average game time is 40 minutes per player.


Project by: Waning Gibbous Games

This looks to be an interesting filler game with tons of options for game play. The object of the game is to pick your bounty with the “Score cards”, determine what obstacles, anything from drone surveillance, laser grids, alligators to armed guards, that are in your way with ‘The Catch” deck, and then draw from “The Fix” deck to see what tools you have at your disposal to overcome the obstacles that you encountered from “The Catch” deck.

With different game modes, this could be a complete cooperative heist, a one vs. many heist, or a completely competitive heist. There are several game modes already listed on Kickstarter, and the basic game allows for you to be creative and create your own ways to play. Small enough to pack into your pocket, but big enough for some great story telling and laughs.


Project by: Game Salute

Finish this weeks selections with something a little different: Codinca

Codinca is a two to four player tile moving game, wherein each player controls  four wooden tiles bearing their perspective element (Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water).  Everyone secretly draws a card with a pattern on it.Then, during each turn, each person moves and/or flips their double sided wooden tiles trying to navigate their elements tiles to match the secret pattern.  Everyone’s patterns is hidden from each other, so no one knows what the other’s ultimate winning pattern is. A simple game to learn, but one that can never be truly mastered. I can only imagine the chaos that ensues with four players trying to move their tiles into beneficial spots and than having someone the next turn to move it again!

Another week down, and another edition of  ‘Kick The Box’ in the books, (or the netz pages.) This is an exciting time to be in the tabletop hobby. Game designers, first timers and veterans, have found a new way to not only get their ideas off the ground, but to also show other companies that their is an audience consuming every morsel of tabletop delicacy. It excites me to see an increasing amount of fresh new games and ideas take flight and the games I choose every week are games I find to be either different, exciting, gorgeous, or all of above. So, come back next week as I choose another group of games that I can’t wait to get my hands on. And as always . . .

Spread The Addiction!

Kick The Box August 26th 2013 Edition

Kick The Box

August 26th Edition

As the the days get shorter and the cheerful, summer weather starts to wane, we forge on, looking for that perfect, new tabletop game or accessory to keep us entertained through the upcoming fall and winter months. Here is just a taste of some new games that you can help support on Kickstarter.

Update: After last week’s edition went live, I was notified that Give It To The King! Redux was being relaunched this last week and it’s true! The campaign has been reborn with a great turn out from backers in the first couple of days. It’s already reached 61% of it’s $9,500 pledge goal in the first couple of days. The Agents just closed it’s campaign with an amazing ending total of $257,368 funded towards it’s Kickstarter campaign. Gratz Saar!


Agents of SMERSH: Swagman’s Hope

Project by: Jason Maxwell

Entering back into the fray of Kickstarter madness is an expansion for Agents of SMERSH. The core game was a runaway success on Kickstarter last year. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s a wonderful storytelling board game that is a heck of a lot of fun. The expansion takes your characters to Australia, and adds some new agents, a new henchman, villains, and tons more. Grab your spy and begin your adventure through this espionage-filled  game expansion and stop the evil mad men from taking over the world!

They’re Coming

Project by: Rob Clark

Kotzas Marina by Tommy Arnold

The zombies are coming! The zombies are coming!

They’re coming is a two player game that has one player playing the zombies and their opponent playing the survivors in a single deck game, and both players taking turns playing both the survivors and the zombies in a dual deck game(This could be interesting). The survivors have to balance speed and acquiring items to fight the zombies, while they make their way to the Rescue Station uninfected. The zombies do, well, what the zombies always do, try to infect and eat the brains of the survivors. The gameplay looks intriguing as well as the dual deck feature.

Warlords & Sellswords

Project by: Patrick H. Crowe

Weak Soldier.Casein, gouache, ink, on Fabriano Rosaspina.8 1/2” x 10”.More work for Warlords and Sellswords. Please consider supporting it on Kickstarter.

Gather your army!

It is time to play Warlords & Sellswords!

Warlords & Sellswords is a card building game that has you managing your army in order to win the King’s favor. Hire, promote, and manage your army of  mercenaries as you try to sidestep and outwit your opponents.

Their Kickstarter video shows an overview of a game that sounds like it has some interesting mechanics, but a true gameplay video, third party previews of the game, and .pdf rulebook would be much more beneficial and take their campaign farther. Either way, I have my eye on this game cause it does sound interesting and hope to see the above mentioned issues fixed.

King’s Forge

A dice building and manipulation game where you are trying to gather resources in order to forge weapons and armor  for the king. Do so, and be the first to beat out your competition  for the title of King’s Forge! I love the artwork and a lot of great videos on their Kickstarter page that display the dynamics and mechanics of the game. Should be a light-medium family fun-filled game. Can’t wait to play it!

Phew! Some great games to look forward to as we hunker down for the winter months. Crappier weather =  more gaming time!  ‘Til next time, keep on spreading the addiction!

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