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"New version of Kingmaker in the pipeline" Topic

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Warspite118 Oct 2020 3:08 a.m. PST

This is a new information post building on a reply which I just left on another thread.

It appears that there is a new and up-dated version of the classic Wars of the Roses board game Kingmaker in the pipeline.


For those not in the know, Kingmaker has a long history as first a British game and then re-released by Avalon Hill with some considerable improvements and optional extra cards.

The original Brit version was very 'Mark 1' with things written on the cards that did not always appear on the map. For example "Marshall to the Cheviots" always led to an interesting side-bar discussion as to where the Cheviots are! (It's the English/Scots border BTW).

From the above link it appears that the new version should retain the strengths of the old game while streamlining it. It will also create a two-player Henry Tudor v Richard III version. The link says that the game is being play tested at UK game shows in 2020. Given that nearly every show has subsequently cancelled by Covid-19 social distancing may dent the progress of the reformatted game somewhat.

A full history and description of the game is here:


but I noted in the footnotes to the Avalon Hill version that veteran British TV broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and wargamer Dave Rotor were credited as part of the original 1975 development team.


Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 3:13 a.m. PST

I've been doing some playtesting online (Not as much as I'd hoped though) which seems to be going very well, it plays very well and retains the character of the original

Warspite118 Oct 2020 3:17 a.m. PST

@David Manley:
As a long time Wars of the Roses historian, a member of the Lance and Longbow Society AND a keen player of Kingmaker in at least two versions I would be happy to assist if further bodies are required.

I am also developing a table-top set of rules for the period as well.

I am contactable at barry (dot) slembo (at) gmail (dot) com


Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 3:20 a.m. PST

I'm not managing the playtesting, Alan Paulo is the brains behind the operation. I'll let him know

Warspite118 Oct 2020 3:28 a.m. PST

@David Manley:
Thank you. I could possibly hook him up with other interested players via my contacts if required. Please pass him this link and my email address, which I hope you managed to decode!


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 5:45 a.m. PST

I don't want to be a downer, but every classic game that I liked that has be redone has been bad.

Warspite118 Oct 2020 5:58 a.m. PST


To be fair to all parties, the original Mark 1 Kingmaker was very sub-par.
The board was badly marked, with important geographical references from the cards not appearing anywhere on the map.

Worse still was the very clunky rules in Kingmaker Mark 1. Some friends of mine started a game in the late 1970s. On turn four they held a parliament in London and then the 'plague London' event card was turned and everyone died. It was like an episode from Blackadder. Shortest game of Kingmaker on record. But, then again, that was part of the charm of the Mark I version.

The Avalon Hill refined version fixed this with a 50/50 survival throw in plague towns and thus things were much improved. AH also fixed the board glitches and produced a better looking and more understandable rule book.

Mark II of anything is not necessarily worse. Most times it is better. Likewise as part of a refining process the Mark III (2020) version of KM could make further improvements. All I hope is that the redesign does not 'throw out the baby with the bathwater' and kill the core element which makes Kingmaker so attractive.

And, hence, my offer to be part of the process if Covid-19 has affected the play testing programme.

I have always called it 'Medieval Monopoly' and it should be viewed in that light.

I also have a cherished copy of 'Organised Crime' which I call 'Mafia Monopoly'.


Organised Crime is evil! (smiles)


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 6:39 a.m. PST


My main problem is many times they have a game but want a legacy title to slap on it. This has happen to game by their original designers. Just update the components and clean up the rules, don't rewrite them. Its a classic for a reason, It a fun game.

olicana18 Oct 2020 6:43 a.m. PST

MHO, for what it's worth.

Games in general: Mk2 is often just a tidied up edition following mass playtesting and consequently much better. Improved Mk3 versions are often done by people with good motives but they often try to be too clever by half and the original game is lost in the translation.

Personally, I'd like to see a tidied Mk2 version with better map, cards and counters especially if the counters are bigger wooden discs with sticky labels showing nobles heraldry. So I like the ideas in the linked post.

As for the 'shorter game' formats, that's OK but I'm not that bothered about them to be honest.

In short. Keep the game pretty much as it is (because it's a good game that only needs reediting), bring the look of the map up to date (game maps are so much better these days), and make it easier to physically play with better cards and counters.

BTW. I have the old Gibsons edition.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 7:53 a.m. PST

The game is also enhanced by a good bottle of single malt circulating during play.

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 8:27 a.m. PST

Any idea when this might be released?

Warspite118 Oct 2020 10:44 a.m. PST

If you follow the primary link (above) you will see that player testing was due to take place this year at games shows – however most/all of these shows have cancelled due to Covid-19.

Given that a year has been effectively lost in most people's lives, I would guess that there is little chance of seeing this in 2021. 2022 might be more achievable.


nnascati Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 10:48 a.m. PST

Interested to see how it develops, I played it quite a bit in the early 70s.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 1:48 p.m. PST

Perhaps that would be better, but I suspect some people have a lot more time for at least solo gaming, and rules testing/writing right now.

I shall follow this with interest.

mghFond18 Oct 2020 8:28 p.m. PST

Long time fan of the game since we used to play it in college. For the past three years our local group played it with 12-14 players with the sessions lasting all day. Sadly we did not game it this summer due to…. well, you guys know.

I hope they don't make a lot of changes either as some of the other guys said.

FatherOfAllLogic19 Oct 2020 6:46 a.m. PST

Back in the day our group played it just about every saturday night for ten years. I still got it.

Dexter Ward20 Oct 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

The problem with Mk1 Kingmaker was that players could just hole up in their area of power and the game dragged on forever. I loved that when I was 15, but not so much these days. The Mk2 version fixed that, and also made Parliament much better and more interesting.

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