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Valeria: Card Kingdoms-Darksworn is live (Six books of Card Kingdoms)

Update: Valeria Card Kingdoms: Darksworn has launched on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 22 days. You may pledge for the Darksworn expansion, or the Card Kingdoms base game, or both. You also have the option of backing the French or the German edition, or the PnP.


Our preview post below was published on March 8.

 

Darksworn is an expansion for Valeria: Card Kingdoms, launching on Kickstarter on March 9. It adds a soloable co-op mode to the core game, which already included a solo variant.

Image source: BGG

In the core game, cards are displayed on a central 4x5 grid, with Monsters in the upper row, Domains in the lower row, and two rows of Citizens in between. There are three resources in the game: Strength (to defeat Monsters), Gold (to recruit Citizens or claim Domains), and Magic, which acts as a wild. You start with 2 Gold and 1 Magic, and two starting Citizens in your kingdom, a Peasant and a Knight.


On each player turn, two six-sided dice are rolled. All Citizen cards have an activation number: if one of the dice, or their sum, matches this activation number, the Citizen card takes effect. All the other players also activate their matching Citizen cards, but these only trigger an alternative, “passive” effect. These effects usually allow you to gain resources or to trade one resource for another.


Then, the active player takes two actions from the following list: they can slay a monster by paying the corresponding resource cost, recruit a Citizen or claim a Domain from the central board by paying its Gold value or taking one resource for free in the supply. Domains provide victory points at the end of the game and have specific abilities, either instant or passive. Monsters also provide victory points. Cards taken from the central board are refilled until the exhaustion of the corresponding decks.


In the solo mode, at the end of your turn, monsters attack a column of the central display and kill a Citizen or, if none left, lay waste to a Domain. If you manage to kill all Monsters before all Domains are destroyed, you win the game.

Image source: BGG

The Darksworn expansion works differently. It comes with six book-decks, each one with several chapters. A chapter introduces a special effect that might be triggered in the course of the game, a tidbit of story and a Task that must be completed in the same way monsters are slain, that is, by paying the corresponding cost in Strength and Magic. Domains are no longer used. You can engage in additional actions, such as fulfilling a Task, praying to Aquila to exchange victory points for effects or share resources with other players. Then, similarly to the core game solo mode, a Monsters Phase occurs. Monsters will attack a specific column depending on the value of a die rolled for this purpose. You are initially protected by a wall, but once the wall is destroyed, they will start killing the available Citizen cards.


To win in the Darksworn expansion, you must fulfill all the tasks of the book you are playing before the Monsters attack a column that can no longer be refilled with fresh Citizen cards.


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6 Comments


Zerbique
Zerbique
Mar 09, 2021

I wanted to add that, in the original solo mode, the victory condition is a bit weird, but interesting nonetheless. You have a clear-cut Win/Loss conditions: if you defeat all monsters, you win, if all Domains are destroyed, you lose. But games will also end when too many piles on the central board are exhausted. In that case, you count up the victory points that the AI snatched during the game and must beat this total with yours. In that way, it is still worthwhile to gather VP during the game.


In Darksworn, there is only a clear-cut Win/Loss condition: you lose if too many Citizen decks (to refresh the central board) are exhausted, you win if you fulfill all…


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The Master Of Sinanju
The Master Of Sinanju
Mar 08, 2021

I also own Villages Of Valeria but I've found it to be a very limited solo experience. It's virtually the same every time and so I will probably get rid of it! However, I have always thought that Card Kingdoms was a better looking solo game and wanted to give it a go. It's been nigh on impossible to get up till now so I may well be persuaded to back this one....

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Zerbique
Zerbique
Mar 09, 2021
Replying to

The only one I tried was Quests of Valeria. I found it to be a very smart and streamlined game, but the solo mode was a bit dull.


For some reason, Quests of Valeria reminded me of Dominion. It's not a deck-building game at all, but there is the idea to make the most out of very limited actions by setting up far-fetching combos that will blow everything.


Somehow for me that's a negative as I don't like this kind of games at all, but it still struck me as cleverly designed and I can easily recommend it.


Valeria: Card Kingdoms sure looks interesting, and if the solo mode can be made better with this expansion, then I think it's…

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Cadet Stimpy
Cadet Stimpy
Mar 08, 2021

I didn't realize it until now, but Valeria: Card Kingdoms has a lot of Expansions, doesn't it? Some are just Expansion Packs. Are those typically just a few cards, whereas an Expansion would have its own box and a lot more content?


I own Villages of Valeria, which I like. I like the art in these games, by Mihajlo Dimitrievski, too. I also didn't realize how busy The Mico is as a Board Game Artist.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
Mar 08, 2021
Replying to

I think the main expansions are Crimson Seas, Flames and Frost and Shadowvale. Flames and Frost and Shadowvale add in "more of the same" (new Citizen, Monsters and Domains). Only Crimson Seas really provide entirely new mechanics (and an additional board).


Darksworn will be closer to the latter in this regard, with completely new mechanics (prayers, victory points used as resources, walls, tasks, etc.).

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