…All the King’s Men?
“Where are all of my men?” The King’s voice boomed like thunder, rolling across the great hall. The emptiness of the room became overwhelmingly apparent. Just then a small, anxious man approached the throne and knelt. He bowed his head, averting his gaze from the King’s disapproving eyes.
“We are all here your Majesty,” he squeaked.
“That’s impossible! There only be but four of you in this room, and one of them is the Queen!” The King’s displeasure hung thick in the air. “Where in God’s name is everyone?” He began to pace back and forth in front of his throne.
The man who still knelt, head bowed before the King, spoke once more. “Your Majesty, we are your court. Our knights are off training. You were only meant to meet with us today. Everyone is here as promised. I’m the Bishop, and with me I have your highest commanding knight, and the Rookie… *Hrumph*… I mean Rook.”
The King let out a long sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I suppose this will have to do… Now, should we have camel or pony rides for my birthday–I can’t decide.”
The King’s Court
- 2-4 Players
- 15 Minutes
- Age 6+
In 5ive: King’s Court by GameStax, players will try to assemble the members of the King’s court. The members of the court are: The King, the Queen, the Knight, the Bishop, and the Rook. Each member of the court, including the King, has a special ability that will either help the active player or hurt opposing players. However, players always have the opportunity to block cards, but that can get expensive.
Ready the Throne Room
5ive is a fairly easy game to set up. Like most card games, your first step is to shuffle the deck fully. Then once the deck is shuffled, deal all players 4 cards, face down. Place the deck in the center of the playing area and flip over the top card and place it on the table next to the deck. This will form the discard pile.
Choosing who goes first is up to you. Flip a coin, roll a die–or as the games rules suggest–you could even tip a cow (although, I wouldn’t suggest it). Once you have chosen who’s first, play will continue in clockwise order.
Assembling the Court
How to Play
Like setup, game play is fairly simple. There are three steps to a players turn:
- Draw a card
- Pass or play
The first thing you do on your turn is draw a card. Once you have done that, you have a choice of either playing a card or passing your turn. If you pass, your turn ends immediately, and play passes on to the next player.
If you choose to play a card, you must announce the cards action and who you are targeting, if it targets anyone/anything. The third step on a players turn will only occur if the active player has chosen to play a card. Resolving a card allows other players to block the card from being played. Once you have announced the card you wish to play, starting with the person to your left and going clockwise, players will have the opportunity to block your play. If the card is blocked, the active player’s card and all cards used to block it are discarded. If the card is not blocked, its action resolves and then it is placed on the table in front of you.
The goal of the game is to be the first player to get all five members of the court on the table in front of them, all while eliminating all other players. A court can contain multiples of a single type of court member, but to win there must be at least one of each type.
So what are the court abilities:
- The King: Draw
- Draw a card from the deck and place it into your hand.
- The Queen: Discard
- Announce “Discard”, and choose a player. That player will discard a card, of their choice, from their hand.
- The Knight: Destroy
- Announce “Destroy”, choose a player and a specific card. That player will then move that card from their play area (the board) to the discard pile. If the player has multiples of the same target card, they only destroy one of the cards.
- The Bishop: Recover
- Announce “Recover” and choose a card. Then take one of that card from the discard pile and place it into your hand.
- The Rook: Block
- There are two ways to play the Rook:
- (1) If played on your active turn, announce the card and place it in your play area on the table.
- (2) On another player’s turn, during the resolve step, you may use a block to stop their play. To do so, you must have a block card, as well as a copy of the card that you are trying to block. Once the block has successfully stopped the play, all cards involved are placed into the discard pile.
- There are two ways to play the Rook:
Successfully played cards will put into your play area to complete your turn.
*Note: Any cards can be played to the board (as long as they aren’t blocked), even if their ability is not currently applicable. Also, if the deck runs out at any point, just reshuffle the discard pile.
When a player attempts to play the final card to their court, the resolve phase will occur as usual, however, not being able to block in this situation could eliminate you from the game. In clockwise order, each other player will have a chance to block the final card of the active player. If you are unable to block, you are eliminated from the game. If all other players are eliminated, the active player can place the card successfully into their court and the game is over. If the card is blocked, the block will happen normally. If any players were eliminated, their cards are shuffled into the deck before the next player can take their turn.
And that is how the game is played. If you’d like to see a video on how the game is played, you can check that out here.
The Queen’s Final Say
5ive is a simple game, with easy to learn rules and a quick play time. This makes it a perfect fit as a filler game. You can never have too many games like this. I find that there is always a lot of down time at gaming events, and you spend a lot of time waiting for that perfect number, and all you are doing during that time is just that–waiting. So, games like 5ive, are perfect for those times.
Aside from its filler qualities, I think this game could serve as a great intro to set collection and take that. So, if you have younger kids at home, this would be a great starter game for them. There isn’t too much in the way of strategy, so a child who plays randomly won’t be punished too hard by doing so. GameStax even boasts that it is easy enough for a five year-old to play–and if you are unlucky, beat you. This also wouldn’t be a bad game for all of those family members who just aren’t gamers, or have trouble playing the heavy Euros.
As for me, it is a little too light for my personal tastes, but I wouldn’t be opposed to playing it as a filler. Even though you technically have five types of cards to choose from when playing, there is still a bit of randomness to deal with. You don’t always have the cards you really need, or in some cases, you have too much of one card. I do, however, appreciate that blocking is an expensive action. Having to pay the block cost with a block card, plus the card that is being played, is great. It makes the choice of blocking a lot more meaningful. You have to say to yourself, “Do I really want to waste two cards to block a King?” I also really love the art and design of the game. The colours are vibrant and appealing, and the text is just the perfect size to maintain readability without obscuring the super cute art.
Overall, this is a solid, light game with a lot of good intro qualities for kids. It will be a fun game for the family and a nice light game to add your collection. 5ive will hit Kickstarter on March 1, 2017, so keep an eye out for it. If you want to keep up with all that is going on with the game, you can check out their page on Thunderclap, or head over to the their website: www.5iveGames.com.
Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Would you like me to do a review/preview? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Thanks for reading!