Review: Architects of the West Kingdom

Architects of the West Kingdom is a worker placement game by Shem Philips, who also designed Raiders of the North Sea.

Architects is set in the time of Charlemagne. You are an architect and are trying to impress the king, by directing guilds and building imposing buildings and a cathedral. You do this by placing your workers on the game board, but beware: shady actions (such as trading on the black market) lower your loyalty and your workers may end up in prison (by yourself or other players). Do your constructions, actions and loyalty give you the most victory points? Then you’ve impressed the king and won!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of worker placement board games like Everdell, Viticulture and Lords of Waterdeep. A worker placement game is a board game in which each player has a limited number of puppets (workers) at his disposal in which the player performs actions during the game such as collecting resources. By choosing an action, you block this action and other players (in that round) can no longer perform that particular action. With Architects, blocking is often not the case. This gives the game a unique element. Players can place multiple workers for different actions. This also allows you to ‘stack’ actions by placing multiple workers. For example, if you have more workers at the silversmith, you get more silver. 
Make no mistake: there is a lot of interaction with other players. You can take workers from another player hostage and even send them to jail. You can also save these workers for points. This way you can make sure that your opponent can’t carry out his or her tactics. There are plenty of tactics! You can score points in many different ways to win. A tight strategy is therefore very important.

Thanks to the fun gameplay, the colorful artwork and the quality of the parts, I fully recommend this game to anyone looking for a challenging game that is easy to learn but challenging to master.