Before Christmas, I tracked down a mint-condition copy of Kingmaker on EBay. This was my favourite boardgame at boarding school in the 1970s.
The price was kind of expensive, but at about double what a similar game would cost in the shops today, I thought it was worth it.
Kingmaker is about the Wars of the Roses in England in the mid-1400s. The counter for King Henry VI starts in London, and his rival Richard of York starts in York. There are five other royal counters, of both the red and white rose factions, scattered over England.
The players typically start with two or three noble characters, possibly with special titles like the Marshal of England. Each noble has a counter showing their unique heraldry, and (adding all their cards together) they command a certain number of troops.
The game is about controlling the royal pieces and eliminating rivals. Combat is simple but effective. There are many more wrinkles, as the game is actually quite complicated, but essentially that’s it.
This was the second edition of the game, produced from 1975, and the box had never been opened. I was charmed to see an included note on software for the TRS-80, the first microcomputer readily available in Australia — with all of 4 Kb of RAM! I remember them well. So this box must have been produced in about 1979.
We’ve had two games so far, once with wwoofers and once with other friends too. We didn’t get to finish either game (limited time, too many distractions) and we agreed that it shows promise. It’s 30 years since I played this game, so some of the finer points of the rules are still coming back to me.