14 May 2021
“The Twelve Kingdoms need you!”
“The Twelve Kingdoms need you!” the back of the box for King of 12 tells us – and having played the game, and, apparently united these kingdoms, we’re still not quite able to tell you what the theme is meant to convey. It’s very pretty, however, with weird characters representing each of the cards and their powers. King of 12 has the pure heart of a proper pub game – it’s got a bit of bluffing, room for some trash talk, and can still be explained after a few libations.
Players roll their D12 (we assume the game’s name is a pun on the whole ‘D12, the Queen of Dice’ thing) to give them a starting number, then everyone plays a (lovely, not-quite-tarot-sized) card face down in an attempt to modify their dice value into a winning one. A winning value, by default, is the highest – but the cards around the table can change this. The chief question at the start of the game is whether to play a card that doubles the score on your dice, or just adds seven to it? Or hope someone plays the Knight card to make the lowest score win and bring your dice value down with another card?
To top this off, matching cards are discarded and not applied when revealed, so doing the ‘obvious’ thing usually ends in disaster, equally, having the same score as someone else after the effects are applied leads to your dice being discounted from the running. Winning the game really comes down to a bit of good bluffing, reading the room and… counting cards. Everyone has the same hand (with variable set up for which cards everyone is using) so it becomes simple to calculate the possibilities of what’s up next.
This doesn’t make the game bad by any means, but does highlight how much this kind of game relies on what you bring to it. If you’ve got a group of highly competitive people around, it might sing, but for everyone else, it might be better to stick to your current pub favourites.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? MAYBE
Designer: Rita Modl
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
Time: 15 minutes
What’s in the box?
- 52 Extra large cards
- 4 Dice
- 15 Tokens
This article originally appeared in issue 55 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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