The King of the jungle is dead, and every able-bodied animal from around the world is coming together to do battle for the crown. It’s going to take smarts, cunning, and guts if you want to rule over the animal kingdom. In Kingz from CMON and Ankama, two to five warriors will enter the arena with dreams of becoming royalty, but only one will walk away as the King.
Games of Kingz are played out over several rounds consisting of seven turns each. Players will choose their actions from a hand of cards and then reveal them simultaneously. The goal is to be the first animal to earn five Reputation points, or be the last animal left standing.
Everyone gets a hand of Action cards, three Armor tokens, a Bravery token, their specific animal screen, and a Rage! card. You’ll then get to choose a name for your animal warrior and write it in with a dry erase marker on the screen. Now, let’s get ready to rumble!
Each turn is broken up into three steps. During the Approach, you will select a card from your hand and place it, face down, in front of your screen. Once everyone has selected a card, it’s on to step two, Sparring. The Sparring phase is when everyone reveals and executes their actions. Action cards have a speed value on them, and they’re resolved in order from the fastest to the slowest. The final step of a turn is the Pinning. If a player has spent their last Armor token, they are pinned and at the mercy of the player who has bested them in combat. The pinned player can try to strike a deal, offering Reputation points, Bravery tokens, or even a future alliance, but it’s up to the attacking player to accept the deal or not (this is where being a good salesperson comes in handy). If a player successfully negotiates their way back into the game, they get three Armor tokens and must pay any agreed upon price, but they aren’t bound to any future promises. If the deal is rejected, they have been defeated and must leave the arena in shame.
You’re going to have to tap into your animal instincts if you want to become the next King. Choosing the right card from your hand of nine is the key to success. Will you try to play it safe or be aggressive?
The Action cards all relate to one another, so reading the situation and anticipating what your opponents will do is the real trick. The Shield card isn’t too flashy, but can be a good defense if you think an attack is coming your way that turn. The Gladius card costs a Bravery token to use. You call out the name of an opponent as you flip the card, and unless that person used a Shield card, they lose an Armor token, and you gain a Reputation. If you play the Bravery card, you take a Bravery token and put it behind your screen. It could be used for a later attack, but every two is also worth a Reputation point. Throwing out a Net card is a gamble. If none of your opponents played a Shield, they all lose an Armor token, earning you a Reputation. But if even one person played defense, you will lose an Armor. The Disarm card allows you to steal the card another playerhas in front of them and leave them to use the top card of your discard pile. Finally, what would a Royal Rumble be if you couldn’t play to the crowd a little bit? The Hail the Crowd card allows you to show a bit of swagger, which an audience full of animals loves! If you don’t get hit the round you Hail the Crowd, you earn a Reputation point.
After seven turns, if there isn’t a winner, you can gather your discard pile and prepare for another round of battle. However, the audience gets impatient quickly. If there’s still no winner after two rounds, the animal with the most Reputation points will ascend to the crown.
Kingz is a cat and mouse game where you’re trying to stay one move ahead of your opponents. A well-timed attack or a prescient defensive move can make you the king of the hill, and the jungle. Just be careful, everyone’s after the crown, and a smart animal will try creative and sneaky ways to get there.
This article originally appeared in Game Trade Magazine #202. Learn more here.