Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 21, 2021
How to get a Kingdom Death: Monster - like experience at 10% of the cost

My apologies to those of you not much interested in board game content, but with me having spent the weekend at a board game convention, this is obviously the subject on top of my mind. So I mentioned in a previous post the board game with the highest price for just the core box, Kingdom Death: Monster. And because I didn't know all that much about the game, I watched some reviews and playthroughs (well, not actually play *through*, because that would take bloody forever) to get an idea of what the game is about.

Kingdom Death: Monster is a game in which you play a group of survivors who live in a very low tech tribe. Really, really low tech, for example your starting weapon is a sharp stone you picked up, and you'd consider a bone blade, which is just a sharpened bone, a major upgrade. There are different phases of the game, and in one phase you turn over cards to encounter various events, while in another you fight monsters. What people like about the game is the emergent storytelling, where the survival of your tribe depends a lot on the random results of cards and dice.

Unfortunately Kingdom Death: Monster usually costs $400 for just the base game, although there currently is a special offer at $350. What if you can't afford that, and would like a similar experience for something closer to $40 rather than $400? It turns out that the game of the year Paleo isn't actually all that far off, and costs just $40 (at least in Europe, importing to the US might add cost).

Of course, for $40 for Paleo, you don't get exactly the same game as a $400 Kingdom Death: Monster. But you do get a game in which you play a tribe of survivors in a very low tech tribe; and you do get the experience of turning over cards to encounter various events, resulting in the emergent storytelling of a survival game. What Paleo doesn't have is the tactical "boss battler" combat, but there is a basic combat mechanic, and you do end up with equipment made from the hides, stones, and sticks you find. Paleo scratches the itch of the cooperative survival game, where random events might kill you, but if you succeed to slowly build up the gear and capabilities of your tribe, you could end up victorious. And that in a fraction of the time and the money that the same experience would take in Kingdom Death: Monster.

Personally I like Paleo very much. And I won't buy Kingdom Death: Monster, because I find it both expensive, and not easy enough to get to the table. Kingdom Death: Monster is more of a lifestyle than a board game. Paleo is a game you can explain in 10 minutes and get a game going spontaneously during an evening with friends. You can finish a game of Paleo in the time it takes to play one complete lantern year (turn) in Kingdom Death: Monster. Of course, different people have different needs for games, but I just wanted to throw it out there that there is a faster and cheaper alternative.


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