Reigns is one of those games you have a hard time to put down, even if you planned on only playing for a couple of minutes, to test it out. I had the chance to preview it for the past couple of week and I must tell you, it is a strange animal.
I would describe it as choose-your-own-adventure deck of cards. It plays like Tinder: you simply swipe the card left or right to make your decisions. They are often a bit more complex than just YES or NO decisions, but they are always two-fold: left or right is your answer.
You make all those leadership decisions, because after all you are the ruler of the kingdom! But maybe the mob turns against you anyway. And then you die. Long live the king. Only to be replaced by the next in line.
It get frustrating when you feel you are being a just ruler but the merchants revolt and kill you anyway. Everyone wants to be please and every decision you make offend someone else. But sometimes, the story runs deeper then that. You get lost in the catacombs under the castle, trying to find your way and battling skeletons. Or you end up eating a weird mushroom and very strange things starts happening to you.
To keep things fresh, and also guide you somewhat along side the perils of state governance, you have a checklist of goals to accomplish in order to progress in the story and unlock new cards. Did you fail to fulfill all the goals before dying? Fret not! Those will carry on from one monarch to the next. Some decisions you make will have repercussion through lifetimes and you should keep an eye out for those.
More importantly however, Reigns is plain fun. The cards are nicely designed in a minimalistic, modern style. The dialogues are witty and clever. The gameplay sets the ambiance very nicely.
As you play, through various regal lifetimes, you should start to learn from your mistakes and identify patterns in the gameplay. If you feel all your incarnations end up essentially being the same game, you are playing wrong: make different choices! Don’t be such a strict, goodie-two-shoe ruler: go wild and have fun a little bit! After all, you aren’t making real important and heavy life decisions here.
For the pricepoint, the quality of the execution and the very entertaining gameplay, I tremendously recommend you set aside some time this week end to rule over your own kingdom with Reigns.