Kingdoms is a casual EDH/Commander variant where 5 players take on roles with different objectives. The first one to complete their objective wins the game. This is a great game to play when you want to keep things casual and when you have a 5th player who wants to get in on the EDH action! If you are a fan of social games like “Mafia” then this should be very familiar.
How to Play
Go to your LGS’ land station and grab 1 plains, 1 forest, 2 mountains, and 1 swamp. Put them all face down, and shuffle them into a pile. Deal them out face down, 1 to each player. Players look at their card in secret and store it somewhere safe (I recommend under your playmat). Players can’t reveal their role cards until the end of the game. Players start the game with 40 life, with the exception being the king, who reveals their role card at the start of the game and starts with 50 life.
Plains: You are the king! Mighty ruler of the land! Your objective is to reclaim control over your empire at any cost and eliminate any pesky barbarians (Mountains) or spies (Swamp). Many will claim to be your knight in shining armor (forest), but alas, the knight cannot reveal their role card to you. The king wins when either the king or the king and the knight are the only players left standing.
Forest: Your role is knight, and your mission in life is to protect your Majesty! Unfortunately, it appears that they are filled with imperialist rage and can’t recognize who you are – no revealing your role card! The knight wins when the king and the knight are the last players that remain.
Mountain: You are 1 of 2 barbarian who lives on the outermost fringes of the kingdom. Mustering up a crew of irritated guardsmen in the countryside you set out to challenge the king and his throne. The barbarians wins when the king dies.
Swamp: Your goal is to kill the king, but you know that if you kill the king the gruesome barbarians will push you aside and take the throne for themselves. The spy wins when the everyone but the king dies, and then the king dies. The king has to die last in order for the spy to win.
When players die, they reveal their role cards.
Notes/Tips on Gameplay
I recommend not allowing any player to play with a dedicated combo deck. I have nothing against combo specifically, its just that when most combo decks achieve their combo, the entire table loses. This leads to their role often not mattering – which kind of defeats the point of kingdoms. I think if anyone should play a combo deck, it should only be the king.
The barbarians shouldn’t spend too much time trying to hide that they are barbarians. From my experience, waiting a long time to reveal their intentions often yields negative results. Being aggressive or assertive early can help one barbarian signal to the other, which can be beneficial for the barbarians.
Modifications you can add:
6th player: If you want you can play with a 6th player – you add an Island to your pile of cards. This island signals the Usurper role. When the Usurper kills the king (their first goal) they become king and their life total reverts to 50. The Usurper wins the game when they win the game as the king (so you have to kill everyone but the knight once you become king).
Role reveal upon death: You can also choose to make players not reveal their role upon death.