Architects of the West Kingdom board game review: Build Your Legacy and Rise to Glory

Once upon a time, in the kingdom in the West, the king called upon the greatest architects of the land to create a magnificent empire worthy of serving as his symbol of power, culture, and wealth. These architects were determined to impress the king and prove themselves as skilled servants.

They worked tirelessly, collecting resources from mines and forests, hiring apprentices of different professions, and sometimes even taking a trip to the black market for goods. But as they worked, they noticed that one of the architects was engaging in devious tactics to gain an advantage. Continue to follow this article from islimagames website.

Architects of the west kingdom

One of the architects had been capturing and imprisoning workers from others, limiting their ability to build the empire. Some were determined to keep their honor and their loyalty to their king, visiting and working on the cathedral, keeping their virtue, and gaining the king’s favor.

But others decided to fight fire with fire. They struck back by capturing other workers and handing them over to the royal guard to get a sweet reward. On top of that, they freed their own workers by taking a risk and becoming indebted to the kingdom.

They stole from taxes to fund their own landmarks. They built gambling houses and thieves’ dens to gain profits. They became so corrupt they were forbidden from entering the cathedral. But that’s the price of magnificence. Or is it?


Architects of the West Kingdom is a worker-placement board game for one to five players. It was designed by Shem Phillips and published by Garphill Games in 2015? as the first of the West Kingdom trilogy, followed by Paladins, and Viscounts of the West Kingdom.

Architects board game

In this game, players are royal architects ordered by the king of the West Kingdom to construct different buildings and landmarks to build a greater empire. They will compete to impress the king and maintain their noble status as they collect resources, hire apprentices, and work on their landmarks.

Players each get a set of workers and by turn, place them in various locations around the board to perform different actions. These workers aren’t removed and stay in their place until they are captured by the royal guard, a rival architect, or the owner. In some locations, more workers mean more resources or actions. Players must build a strategy by focusing on these locations and gaining more benefits. But if you get too greedy, the other architects might capture your workers and imprison them, or throw them in jail to get a reward.

Some resources like clay and wood are abundant and don’t require too much planning, but more valuable resources like gold and diamond aren’t that easy to get a hold of. If you want to use these resources, you’ll need to plan a few steps ahead. Or you could take the shortcut and visit the black market, risking sending a few workers to jail and losing some virtue.

Players mainly get victory points from constructing their own individual buildings, or contributing to the cathedral and spending some resources to get the king’s favor. Other than that, player gain points from their resources, their wealth, and their high virtue. And they lose points if they have unpaid debts to the kingdom, have too many workers in prison, or have become too corrupted and lost their virtue.

Now that you have a gist of the game, let’s learn how to play it.

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How to Play

Each player chooses a color and gets 20 workers in that color as well as three markers to place on the scoring track, the virtue track, and the cathedral. Choose a starting player and give them two silver coins, the next player three, and so on. Place four coins in the tax stand, where players can steal from to increase their wealth.

Shuffle the black market cards and place them on the left space in the black market, with the small market side faceup. Shuffle the apprentice cards and place eight cards in the workshop. Shuffle the reward cards and place a number of cards equal to 2 per player plus 1 next to the cathedral (for a three-player game use seven reward cards).

Each player gets a set of building cards at the beginning of the game by drafting. Give each player four building cards. From these cards, each player chooses one to keep and passes the rest to the player on their left. Repeat this two more times, and discard the last card remaining in each hand so that players have three cards each.

Place the resources tokens and the debt cards next to the board and you’re ready to prove yourself as the best Architect of the West Kingdom.
On each turn, players place a single worker on a location on the board. There are three different spaces to place workers;

  • Most spaces are large circles, that players can place any number of workers in from any color without any limits.
  • The black market has three locations with small circles, and only one worker can be placed in them. Workers that visit the black market stay in their place until the black market reset which is triggered several times throughout the game.
  • The guildhall has several spaces with the outline of a worker. Players place workers in the guild hall horizontally to either build a building or contribute to the cathedral. These workers cannot be removed until the end of the game.
    Players can place workers in resource gathering locations to get resources based on the number of their workers. Players get stone from the quarry, wood from the forest, clay and gold from the mines, and silver coins from the silversmith.

Players can also place workers in the king’s storehouse to perform a variety of actions. The number of workers determines the number of actions you may perform. You could spend resources to gain virtue, or trade wood and stone for diamonds. You can perform other actions by hiring apprentices.

You can hire apprentices from the workshop. Each apprentice has a different specialty that you require to build some buildings, as well as different actions and benefits. Some increase the resources you gain. Some give you access to other actions in the king’s storehouse. Others save you money and virtue when you visit the black market.

The cards that are to the right in the workshop are more expensive and require more workers to hire, but you can compensate for this by spending money. You cannot hire more than five apprentices at a time.

You can also get more designs, or building cards from the workshop. Each visit to the workshop gives you one building card and an extra card per pair of workers (four workers give you three cards).

The building cards each require a certain set of resources to build. Those that need more valuable resources, give more points or better benefits. They may also require some symbols that are found on the apprentice cards. These symbols are masonry, tiling, and carpentry. You cannot construct these buildings without hiring the needed apprentices.

These buildings all grant victory points. They also grant benefits of two kinds; endgame benefits are shown with a flag and immediate effects are shown with a thunderbolt. These could be virtue, resources, cards, etc.

To build a building from their hands, players must place workers in the guildhall. They could also contribute to the cathedral by placing a worker in the guildhall, paying some resources, and discarding a card to move up on the cathedral track and gain more points. They also get a reward from the king if there are any cards available. If the reward cards are depleted, players get one virtue by visiting the cathedral.

As the game progresses, your workers will get less and less until you are left with none. If you don’t have any workers at the start of your turn, you must skip your turn and only pick up one worker. To prevent this, you could place a worker in the town centre and pay a coin to gather your workers from one location and the board and use them on later turns.

Each worker you have in the town centre allows you to pay a coin and gather a group of workers. But these workers could be from a different color. Meaning you could capture and imprison workers from other players to limit their advancement in the game.

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