Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tumult Royale (Thames and Kosmos)

Press your luck games tell you a lot about the type of person you are playing with. Some people are a bit more cautious and will only take minor, well-calculated risks. Other players are a bit more daring and will take wild chances that sometimes have only a 20% chance of working. When it works, they are brilliant. When it doesn't, they lose it all. Today, I would like to tell you about a press your luck game called Tumult RoyaleTumult Royale plays 2-4 people, ages 10+. It takes approximately 40 minutes to play and retails for $40. In Tumult Royale, you and your opponents are greedy nobles trying to erect statues of yourself throughout the kingdom. To do this, you must take bread, marble, and tools from the starving peasants. However, the peasants have had enough and will only let you take so much! Take what you can, but remember the greediest of you will be punished!

Setup (For a four player game)
1. Give each player their Castle Board and 25 Statues that match their color. Have each player place their Statues at the bottom of the Castle Board in their appropriate spot.
2. Give each player a Mercy Card and place it to the left of the Castle Board. Put the card face up, where it says, "The people show no mercy."
3. Give each player an assortment of Supporters. In a four-player game, each person gets fifteen Supporters.
4. Place all the Commodity Tiles in the center of the playing area.
5. Shuffle the Nobility Tiles (King/Queen, Duke/Duchess, Prince/Princess, and Earl/Countess). Have the oldest player take the top one on the stack. Then distribute the others in a clockwise manner.
6. Assemble the Frame. Shuffle the ten Region Tiles. Put four face up in the center of the Frame and two face down on either side of the four in the center.
7. Give the oldest player the 20 second hourglass and the Tumult Spinner.
8. The lowest-ranking player (Earl/Countess) places their first statue on an unoccupied pasture field. Then, every other player in rank order, places their first statue as well.
Game Play - The game is played over several rounds with each round having seven steps.
1. Gauge the people's sentiment by spinning the Tumult Spinner. The number it lands on tells you how many of each commodity (bread, marble, and tools) must remain after you collect taxes.
2. Collect taxes - First, have each player randomly remove three Commodity Tiles. Then, each player (with only one hand) picks up one tile at a time and decides whether to keep the tile or return it to the middle. Keep doing this until the 20 seconds are up.
3. Resolve potential tumults - Flip over the remaining Commodity Tiles not taken by the players and for each commodity, see if enough remain based on the people's sentiment. If three landed on the spinner, and there are three of a commodity left, no tumult occurs. If there are less than three, the person who took the most (tie going to the highest nobility) loses three Supporters and may only keep the lowest value Commodity Tile.
4. Place statues (one, two, or three depending on where you want to build) horizontally or vertically next to your other statues by paying the cost in Commodity Tiles. (Note: You can't split tiles, and if you pay more than necessary, you receive change in the form of Supporters.) Each player gets a turn to build and then another turn to build after everyone has had a chance to build.
5. After placing statues, redistribute the Nobility Tiles based on who has the most Supporters.
6. The new king must return five Supporters to the supply. They also get to take their next statue and place it in the Royal Chronicle.
7. The player(s) who have placed the least statues receive the People's Mercy.

When you reach a point in the Royal Chronicle where there are numbers underneath. Subtract the number of statues played by the person with the most from the person with the fewest. If it is greater than that number, the game ends and the person with the most statues placed wins. If a player ever places all 25 of their statues, the game ends immediately and they win.

Review
Tumult Royale is a fun game of controlled greed. You want to be able to take as many resources as you can so that you can build the most statues, but you also don't want to take so much that the peasants revolt and you end up losing nearly all of the resources you stole, I mean "worked so hard to get." I don't normally gravitate to games with a real time element, but the mechanic in this one was necessary and didn't feel like it dominated the game. I really liked the theme in this game too. It did not feel pasted on, and it was silly/nonsensical enough that it still makes me chuckle just thinking about it. Seriously, a race to build the most statues of yourself while stealing from your "loyal subjects?" Those peasants would burn you alive after the first handful of statues went up. You'd never be able to erect all 25! Lastly, I'd like to comment on the component quality. Of the several Thames and Kosmos games I own, the components have always been pleasantly illustrated, of good quality, and more than just generic wooden cubes. This game is no different. I really enjoyed this game and it scratches an itch I didn't know I had. I try to play this game with my regular group or family at least once a month, as it is fun and frustrating at the same time. It also teaches a good lesson to kids about risk-management and knowing when enough is enough.

This game was provided to me by Thames and Kosmos in exchange for an honest review.