War of the Horticulturalists ...
There have now been eight different Kingmakers crowned in
as many Avaloncons. Maybe this year, we'll finally have our first
repeat winner in the inaugural World Boardgaming Championships!
Clearly, there have been a number of superior players who have
emerged from the pack, starting with Justin Thompson who has
advanced to the finals five times at Avaloncon (winning once)
and has two additional first-place trophies from Prezcon in Charlottesville,
Virginia. Other formidable players include #2 ranked George Sauer
who has published articles on his House Rule innovations, GM
Heikki Thoen with two firsts and two second place finishes at
various tournaments, and Bruce Maxwell who continually seems
to be in the hunt.
As always the psychological warfare is almost as important
as the subtleties of on-board positional play, the baronial mentality
of ruthlessly grabbing power and the always fickle element of
luck. For those people who enjoy dynamic player interaction
(including blackmail and skillful negotiation), this is definitely
one of the better multi-player games around. Originally introduced
more than a quarter century ago, Kingmaker has lost none of its
glamour and is actually better than ever with the cleverly designed
Variant cards which smash predictability. Houserules in KGM are
essential because the original four pages of Basic rules is woefully
inadequate. After playtesting the rules over the last seven Avaloncons,
the GM has compiled a very comprehensive set of Tournament rules
which work well.
The challenge is to make certain there is danger everywhere
and that no faction can hide out indefinitely with the king without
fear of being killed. Generally the lead changes hands four or
five times before it's finally over --- so the trick is to be
on top when the music stops in this deadly game of musical crowns.