1 - 5 (4 and 5 player modes must be unlocked)
Multiplayer:Pass n Play
AI:Yes, but no difficultly settings
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:
Kingsburg Serving the Crown
Price: $4.99
Purchase for iPad:None available, but you can still play iPhone version in 2x mode
User rating:
GD Star Rating
Kingsburg, 7.0 out of 10 based on 31 ratings

Having never played the RL version of this game, I opted for tutorial mode. What I got was a couple of screens explaining the plot – King wants to find the best Chancellor to manage his kingdoms, so 3 of you have a go and see who does best – okay, plot isn’t essential if the game mechanics are good enough, I guess. And next was a screen telling me to roll some dice and assign them to chairs of the council to influence their decision making… What? Really? This is how you explain the game? How about what do all these icons mean (sure, I understand what gold and wood are, but why do we have them?) and what does choosing a council member do in game terms? And why do I want to build those buildings you’re giving me the choice of now? And why, 3 turns later, does a horde of Orcs attack, and what did I roll a dice for there? Remember – this is in TUTORIAL MODE for god sake!

I gave up at that point. I’m sorry, but I have my limits of tolerance. I went off to the the trusted internets to find a copy of the actual rules from BoardGameGeek, because a game ranked at 129 must have something to it and I’d really like to know how this game plays out…

I think part of the problem with this game, for me at least, it that I’d like to be able to see all the King’s advisors cards – all of them – on the screen at the same time. Obviously, in the real life game these cards are all laid out in front of everyone, so it’s easy to aim for a particular card. With the iPad, all you can do is add and subtract dice checking which adviser you get for that sum each time. In the world of scrolling and flicking the screen though, this really shouldn’t be an issue. I guess if you know already this isn’t a problem, but it really put me off as a first time player. More simple rules, like having to buy the simplest buildings first then upgrade them, are just absent from the game entirely – you’re only going to find out once you mess up once and curse the game for having not told you that particular rule (or any, in fact).

The tutorial is such that it walks you through the game, but doesn’t tell you a damn thing about WHY you’re doing what you are – “Roll the dice”, “Build something”. Ummmmm, okay…

My first game (or second, I guess, if you count the first time I gave up half way through) took me an hour from start to finish. Having said that, I won the game, but I have no idea why, which can’t be a good thing. Having said that though, it unlocked 4 player mode for me, which I’d like to try now that I have the basic rules down a little.


I think if you willing to invest the time and patience to learn the game, or if you’re already a fan of the real board game, there is certainly a pay off hidden in there amongst the rough graphics and bad interface design.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little quicker playing, and you tend to get frustrated with iPhone games at the best of times, perhaps this one is best left for real life?

The actual rules, in short, for those of you who are struggling:

  • The game plays out over 5 years each with 4 seasons. At the end of Winter, something attacks.
  • Each season, you roll 3 dice.
  • You use these 3 dice to “influence” someone important, who will give you stuff, like gold, stone, or military strength for the upcoming fight.
  • If you don’t use all your dice, you can influence someone else too, and hence get more stuff – but it might be worth using it all at once, because the higher the total of the dice you put forward, the better the stuff you can get. The best is the king, who gives you a ton of stuff.
  • Once you’ve collected some stuff, you can buy some buildings. You can build as much as you like, as long as you can afford it, but you must build from the simplest building (on the left) and gradually upgrade to something better (going along the right). Each building gives you a different bonus, and some victory points.
  • Each point the king interrupts and either rewards the best player, or helps the weakest player. This really only serves to even the game out at some points.
  • At the end of winter, a battle is fought. You have your own personal military strength, plus 1 dice roll of strength that is given to everyone (the kings help), and the enemy has a set strength from 4-8 (I think, I haven’t seen any higher yet but don’t quote me on that). If you beat the strength of the enemy, you get a certain number of victory points. If you lose, you lose a victory point too.
  • Before battle you can spend some resources on additional military strength, at first 2 goods for 1 strength.
  • You are also given various options and bonuses throughout the game, like an extra dice sometimes, or the opportunity to add +2 to your roll. Just go with it, try to not to ask why and you’ll be fine.

Oh, and most victory points wins. Duh…

There are 6 comments

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  1. aj

    aside from the graphics problems in seeing the other players dice (which is a bit of a big deal sometimes) and 1 rule mistake (the 3rd building in the market line has a 2 army penalty instead of one it says it should have) its a good port and as i big fan of the real game i play this app an irrationally amount of times each week.

  2. Angelus Morningstar

    I agree, my exposure to the port lead me to buy the original board game and I love it. Importantly, I was able to also get the (main) expansion, which is itself a fantastic addition.

  3. Tim

    I am impressed that you went to such lengths to actually play this on iPhone without having played the board version first. As you said the tutorial is no tutorial at all. And this game has to be played with ‘hints off’ honestly because the ‘hints’ are just unnecessary storyline for a game you really don’t need storyline and the bells and whistles that come with it.

    The review is spot on, people like myself who played the board game and love it will enjoy it (after putting the kaibash on the ‘hints’ of course) but if you have never tried it, then you really need to either wait till they update this with a real tutorial, or play the actual board game at a table with friends

  4. James Bruce

    Thanks for the input Tim. I was going to say this review probably needs an update, but it looks like there is still no iPad version and still no rules/tutorial update – a year later. I wonder if the publishers have abandoned this because of some pretty harsh reviews on iTunes. Shame, I could have really got back into this with an HD update.

  5. Marc

    I found this version on IPad 2 very poor, although in the iPad section of the store it does work on iPad due too the graphics glitches. To make it worse I contact the developer to try and get a refund and they just don’t return the emails… I have found the whole experience very frustrating, and actually feel like I have been ripped off… The least they could is return emails and let us know that they will upgrade us when the new HD version comes out… Does anyone know how to contact apple to raise an issut please don’t buy this product until you see responses its been fixed, else you will be very unhappy with your purchase.

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