Unpub 8 was a little over a week ago. If you are unfamiliar with this convention, game designers bring their “works in progress” to exhibit rather than finished products. Attendees are playtesters for these games, sitting with the designers and giving feedback so these products become the best they can be. I’ve been going for three years now with my design group. We love the sense of community built by this event. We’ve made some great friends! The event feels like a weekend retreat with those friends every year where we eat, drink, and play games. And what’s an annual friends’ retreat without an outdoor lawn game?
Enter Kingdoms Lawn Game, designed by Denny Weston of Arthurs Board. “Kingdoms Lawn Game is a competitive family-friendly game that combines elements of fantasy with a new variant of lawn bowling” describes Denny. During the game, each player represents a faction or kingdom with its own special rule condition. Once your faction is chosen, you will toss four tower-like wood blocks with your insignia into the sectioned off region of lawn one at a time. These towers will represent the corners of your kingdom. Then with four smaller balls, each player will attempt to knock down their opponents’ towers before theirs get knocked down. Be weary of making friends though! Knock down all of an opponent’s towers and they become mercenaries, aiming at whomever they please.
It was still chilly in Maryland during the convention this year so Kingdoms was set up inside. Given a wide enough room and furniture to establish the perimeter (and barring any concerns for breaking family heirlooms) this game is completely adaptable to almost any environment. The rules stipulate that throwing should be underhand. It is where, not how hard, the towers are hit that will cause them to fall over. Denny set up old tires and a cone as obstacles in our “arena” at Unpub. He also had to stipulate these were not included in the game, but the point is well taken that the game is limited only by your imagination.
An important aspects of casual party gaming, is giving players the opportunity to come and go as they please. There are few games that allow players to participate at their own level of enjoyment. Outdoor gaming is certainly the right genre for it and this game, from my own experience, succeeds in providing that. Players can team up within each kingdom, participate as much or as little as they want, and age is only limited by one’s dexterity ability.
I’ve played a lot of Bocce and Croquet at family gatherings. Kingdoms provides outdoor games with a key ingredient that is missing from most others; a story. The rules are easy. Players quickly fall into their role as kingdom ruler, negotiating with other players, or…not negotiating, which is sometimes the case. The product design is simple and durable, making it feel like the kind of game you’ll return to for seasons to come. And, once played, it will be hard to imagine a summer family gathering without it.
Kingdoms Lawn Game is currently up on Kickstarter, already a quarter of the way to its goal. You can back this project through April 24th.
All images provided by Arthurs Board, LLC
My game group just backed this on Kickstarter. I think combining lawn games with the fantasy genre is a great idea! I can’t wait to see how good it is.
Love this game !
So much fun for the whole family