How awesome is Awesome Kingdom?

Awesome Kingdom card game

I’ll be the most Awesome Hero around!

“If I’m going to rule a kingdom, you bet it’s going to be Awesome!”

Of course that’s what we all thought when we dove into Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull.

After all, the game title is pretty compelling for a bunch of boys.

Just seeing the game title, the boys were intrigued. But they were also a bit skeptical. (Because they’re sure they know what it takes be to super awesome.) And they were ready to see if the game fit the bill.

So I dove into reading the rulebook and we all got a kick out of it.

I don’t usually read rulebooks out loud, but this was a special situation. As soon as I looked at the first few paragraphs of Awesome Kingdom, I could tell the creativity and personality in the writing was begging to be read out loud.

And the intended reaction was immediate – the boys were sold on it and ready to play!

 

How to Play Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull

Awesome Kingdom card game

The Awesome Kingdom cards and goodies.

The awesome goal of Awesome Kingdom is to become the Most Awesome Hero in the land. Players do this by racking up awesomeness of course.

Is that so awesome or what?

Ok, that doesn’t tell you much about the game. So we’ll translate:

The goal of the game is to score the most points. These points are called Awesome Points and they’re listed at the bottom of each Dungeon card collected during the game. As players collect Dungeon cards, they’ll also gain points towards their goal.

Get the most points and you’ll win.

Set Up

Awesome Kingdom card game

The circular Dungeon is set and we’re ready to go.

There are three decks of cards in the game (Hero, Action, and Dungeon), which are all shuffled to begin. Players each draw a Hero card (with their own unique abilities) and take the corresponding standup for their hero.

Dungeon tiles (triangular tiles) are then laid out in a circular pattern to designate the dungeon. The size of the dungeon is the number of players plus 7.

Players then take turns placing their hero standup in front of one of the dungeon tiles. The only stipulation is that Heroes can’t begin next to the same dungeon tile. Once the Heroes are in place dungeon cards are drawn and placed face up next to the remaining dungeon tiles.

Each Hero is dealt 3 Action cards and the game is ready to begin with Day 1.

Taking a Turn

Awesome Kingdom card game

Players move from Dungeon card to Dungeon card based on their Action card movement.

Player turns are very simple in Awesome Kingdom.

First, the active player plays one of their action cards from their hand and moves accordingly. The player then claims the dungeon card in the space of where they end their movement. The card could be treasure, a monster, a trap, or even a magic item.

The player finishes their turn by refilling the dungeon by drawing a dungeon card from the deck and placing it in the space they vacated.

Play then passes to the player to the left.

After all players have taken 3 turns (played all 3 action cards) the Day ends.

To start a new Day, each player is dealt 3 action cards and the First Player token is passed to the player on the left of the previous First Player who will then begin the next Day.

Game End

Play continues as listed above until the end of Day 3. At the end of Day 3, the game is over and players total up the Awesome Points on the cards they’ve collected.

That’s really all there is to game – playing and claiming cards.

Since it’s such a simple game mechanically, you’ve probably already guessed that the Action and Dungeon cards are what drive the game play. So let’s take a closer look at the cards.

Action Cards

Awesome Kingdom card game

Some of the Action cards.

Action cards have numbers and arrows that indicate how many space to move and in which direction. Some Action cards allow a player to move in either direction.

Regardless of the direction moved, the number on the Action card indicates the exact number of spaces to move.

When moving, only dungeon spaces with a card next to them are counted. Since heroes cannot land on spaces with other heroes, spaces with a hero do not count when moving.

Those movement rules always apply…unless impeded by other cards of course.

Dungeon Cards

Awesome Kingdom card game

Some of the Dungeon cards.

  • STOP: Some Dungeon cards have the STOP ability on them. As you’d expect, the moment a hero moves onto a card with the STOP ability (such as Traps), the hero must end their movement in that space and claim that card. Of course, cards that require a player to stop on them will have a negative effect – for example, losing Awesome Points.
  • PASS: Some abilities on dungeon cards may activate simply by passing over them. Cards or Heroes with a PASS ability will trigger the instant a hero moves off the card or skips over the hero with that ability.
  • LAND ON: As you can imagine, whenever a hero ends their movement on a card with the LAND ON ability, the ability listed on the card is triggered.
  • LAND ADJACENT TO: This icon is also self-explanatory. When a hero ends movement on a card, they must check cards in dungeon spaces directly next to them. If those cards have a LAND ADJACENT TO ability, then that ability is triggered and impacts the player.
Awesome Kingdom card game

More Dungeon cards.

As you can see, it’s the unique interplay of the Action and Dungeon cards that create the flavor of the game. Players determine which Action cards to play from their hand based on which cards they’ll move past, land on, and claim.

It would be totally awesome to always land on, and claim, the good cards, but that won’t always be possible. After all, you can’t be awesome all the time.

 

Can the whole family enjoy Awesome Kingdom?

Although we’re sure everyone wants to be totally awesome, not everyone will enjoy playing Awesome Kingdom.

The game itself is very simple to play – choose the most advantageous card in your hand to play, move those spaces, and claim the card you land on. Play for 3 rounds then total up your points.

In addition, the cartoon style artwork is very compelling for kids to want to play. It looks fantastic.

Awesome Kingdom card game

The Dungeon cards may are may not be worth landing on.

However, as simple as the mechanics are and as intriguing as the card art is, the game isn’t well suited for young kids. This is mainly because players need to be able to read the cards. If kids can’t read, they’re out of luck.

Which then leads us to older kids and adults.

Between those remaining groups, we found that adults haven’t been very engaged in the game. The game play is too simple and lacks compelling choices for them.

Which leaves the sweet spot as being for kids ranging from 10 to 15. Boys this age especially want to be the Most Awesome hero in the group so of course they’ll take on such a challenge.

Awesome Kingdom card game

Check out his ability: Heal other players for money!

They’ll love grabbing cards with treasure and seeing their buddies get caught in traps. They’ll also enjoy inflicting wounds on the other heroes to thwart their journey to awesomeness. (Yes, heroes can be hit with wounds.)

Since all Dungeon cards gained through the game remain face up in front of the players, everyone can see how well (or poorly) everyone else is doing. This makes it pretty easy for these aspiring awesome heroes to gauge how they’re doing against their buddies and play accordingly.

Yep, the competitive nature of boys wanting to be the most awesome makes that the sweet spot for Awesome Kingdom.

 

Is Awesome Kingdom really Awesome?

Awesome Kingdom card game

Which Hero will be the Most Awesome in the end?

Like I mentioned in the beginning, after reading the flavor text in the Awesome Kingdom rulebook, our boys were excited to get playing the game.

And there are a number of things about the game that they really enjoyed.

The first thing they noticed and liked is the creative artwork. The style of art really helps set the stage for the type of game that it is.

The next thing they enjoyed was the circular dungeon. While going in circles may not sound very fun, it creates a nice element in the game that forces players to interact with the other heroes. And passing over the other heroes may not be so helpful.

Awesome Kingdom card game

The Reference card can be helpful as well.

The different abilities the various heroes have are another great element. Of course, the cool abilities also led them to want to choose their heroes through a draft rather than just getting a random hero.

While playing, they got a kick out of the variety of Dungeon cards and enjoyed seeing other players fall into traps and taking on wounds. They also enjoyed landing on dungeon cards that granted them Awesome Points.

However, in the end they didn’t talk about how awesome the game was. It’s a creative game with great artwork and a lot of chuckles throughout. But it fell short of their clamoring for more awesomeness.

The biggest issue they felt throughout the game was being limited in their options. With only 3 Action cards in hand at the beginning of a round, the game is much more tactical than strategic.

Awesome Kingdom card game

You’ll only get 3 Action cards each Day.

Movement options are limited to which cards a player has drawn as well as which cards are in the dungeon. They’d love to land on certain cards on their turn, but they didn’t have a card that would let them move in that direction or move that many spaces. And there would often be a card in their path that would cause them to STOP prematurely anyway. So they often felt like they were just choosing the card that would hurt them the least.

On top of that, the cards drawn to refill the space a hero just vacated are complete luck. They could often set up the next player with a good card to land on or do something to mess up their plan of what to do next. Either way, it wasn’t due to their choices, but instead left to luck.

So while they enjoy the silliness of the game, they quickly realized that it’s very luck driven.

It reminds me of another silly card game our boys often enjoyed playing – Killer Bunnies. In Killer Bunnies, no matter what you do throughout the game, the win condition comes down to a single flip of the card. Yet, they and their friends still loved playing it.

Sometimes it’s fun to just play a silly game with a lot of luck – seeing what happens along the way and laughing at your fortunes (or misfortune).

And if that’s the case, then Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull may be the awesome thing you’re looking for.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a game with some strategy and compelling choices, then Awesome Kingdom won’t be so awesome.

 

How does Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

Awesome Kingdom card gameUnfortunately, Awesome Kingdom: Tower of Hateskull hasn’t scored very high on our “let’s play again” game meter. But that’s mostly a factor of the age of our kids and the types of games they currently enjoy.

If they had been introduced to the game when they were younger, I’m sure they would have gotten more of a kick out of the game – like they did with Killer Bunnies.

If your family enjoys games that tilt more to the side of luck of the equation Awesome Kingdom may be a good fit.

Thanks IDW Games for letting us take a run at Awesome Kingdom: Tower of Hateskull.




 

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