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The Meeple Guild: Gambit of Kings: Brings chess strategy to fantasy setting

Definitely a game with chess roots, but the promise of some interesting aspects.
The roots of Gambit of King li in chess.

YORKTON - Over the years it has been perhaps all too common a situation to suggest a new board game is chess-like.

Of course they also say the greatest form of flattery is imitation, and given chess’ long history and lasting popularity it is not surprising numerous games at least borrow some elements.

That’s certainly the case with Gambit of Kings, a two-player offering which has each player with an array of pieces that move in their own way (think rook/bishop/knight).

With Gambit of Kings the pieces are more diverse in movement, and typically less powerful in respect to not being accorded to free rein to go as far as possible along lines – like the chess queen.

The result is a game with Gambit of Kings that leans toward more tactics in moving forward into battle, but it will also slow play and engagement in the early stages of the game. That will entice some, but many will miss the far ranging pieces too.

The board is typical pressed cardboard, highly functional, if not outstanding.

The pieces are very ‘Stratego’ looking, and you have to place stickers on each side yourself. That is a bit annoying in today’s world where 3D printing minis is so accessible, but the finished look is different enough to the market to stand out too.

In the base game the two sides have different creatures, but the movements are mirrored on the other side, so looks nice, but impacts play not at all.

There are hints at alternate army releases in the future, and if they offer alternate moves and are still play balanced – not an easy achievement – it would be a massive boost to the appeal of Gambit of Kings.

To learn more about the 2022 release, we reached out to Ryan Stutz, with The First Edition Gaming Company, publisher of Gambit of Kings.

Stutz noted he is an avid gamer.

“I enjoy games of all varieties, but my favorite games are strategy games. I may be biased, but Gambit of Kings is my favourite,” he stated via email.

Not surprisingly, Stutz confirmed the inspiration of chess.

“I love and excel at strategy games,” he offered. “Even as a child I had a hard time getting anyone in my family to play Connect Four with me because I always won.

“As much as the strategy of chess intrigued me, I quite frankly never found it fun enough to keep playing. Gambit of Kings combines the abstract strategy of chess with a fantasy theme and customization.”

Stutz noted through a Kickstarter campaign they hope to bring in elements of chance to the game too.

“This provides a completely different feel to the game and I believe makes it more approachable to gamers who don't enjoy the rigidness of a pure strategy game.”

As noted expansions are planned too, which again may be the game’s greatest strength.

“We plan to release many other expansion packs in the future,” said Stutz. “Some will contain new playing pieces and others, like the Adventure Pack, providing completely new aspects to the game.

“I think the customization and alternate ways to play is one of the most exciting things that Gambit of Kings has to offer as it keeps the playing experience fresh and enjoyable game after game.”

Definitely a game with chess roots, but the promise of some interesting aspects yet to come makes it one to watch for on Kickstarter.

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