Developer/Publisher: Nerial/Devolver Digital
Platform(s): Google Play, Apple App Store, Steam
Discovery: Google Play Store/Steam
Playtime: Approx. 2 hours
Reigns is a decision-based fantasy card game. You play through a long lineage of rulers, and must make choices that will determine the outcome of your kingdom and its resources. Be wary of the choices you make, for it may have long term consequences down the road.
I saw this game reach the top of both the Google Play Store and Steam at one point, so it seemed definitely worth checking out. The gameplay itself is quite simple: you are presented with a card and details. Swipe left or right to make a choice, which will affect your resources. There are four resources in total: the church, the people, the army, and your treasury. Your job is to make sure that they are all balanced, not too low but not too high either.
What happens when a resource becomes too high or low – or perhaps you made a poor decision? You die, of course. And the next king is ready to take your place along the timeline.
To be honest, I’m pretty terrible with these decisions. They’re not as intuitive as I thought and so it really gets to a point where it’s just a matter of trial and error. I find myself living for only a couple decades at a time, hah. What I do enjoy about Reigns, though, is that the cards and scenarios are pretty interesting to read…when it’s not the 100th time you’ve seen them, of course.
In addition to the cards, the game keeps it fresh with the occasional “battle” system that I have yet to fully grasp.. :T Something about trading witty lines and banter to the opponent, which all have a corresponding move. Your goal is to attack the opponent at the right time to damage them, while avoiding damage yourself, of course.
Furthermore, every now and then a decision you make will also grant…power-ups that have an ongoing effect or come into play at crucial times. For example, building a barn will prevent famine, which is basically the ending for when your people stat gets too low. Establishing the Silk Road will also steadily increase your treasury and so forth.
As you progress in the game, your decisions can unlock new sets of cards that contain new scenarios. Some even contain characters that can permanently join your side as an adviser. Be warned, as they all have their own agenda. For example, the jester “Borhat Loosetongue” in the screenshot above always has ridiculous ideas that probably end in losing multiple resources, but sometimes I go along just because. 😛
While it’s not as apparent, I do believe that there is some sort of story involved with this game. I actually got visited by the Devil twice so far in my plays, though I have no real idea of what to do. Every time he’s visited, the next person I say “yes” to will day and well..I don’t remember who but they both did die. Haha. I hope that as I clear more conditions more of the story, whatever it may be, will become more clear.
Another thing I can never get the hang of are the times I venture into the dungeon. Mainly because I suck at battling and end up dying to skeletons, hah. I bet there’s some sort of riddle or something for me to figure out with the room names and whatnot, but that requires way more thinking than I sign up for when I’m in the mood to play this game, lol. Perhaps one day I’ll take it more seriously to try and clear the dungeon. Or cheat and look it up online. *shrugs* I usually don’t and try to figure things out on my own, though!
Ultimately, I treat Reigns more as a time-passer kind of game, and can’t really see myself playing it for long sessions at a time. Kind of like Card Crawl.
Will I keep playing this game? I see myself picking it up every now and then. It’s also a fun and easy to pick up game to show friends, so there’s that.