Architects of the West Kingdom Board Game Review

So far, I have shared a couple of tabletop games. Most of them are just small games or filler that can be played within an hour or less. Some people say that those games are to be played between the main games, or while waiting for the other players to come.

In general board games are designed as social activities where a group of people will play a single main game for their game night. For that purpose, the game will be bigger and will take longer time like an hour at minimum.

This next one, Architects of the West Kingdom is definitely one of them. The designers even have 2 sequels for this so players can continue from the first game to the next one if they want to.

So, what is this Architects of the West Kingdom game? How do we play it? Can we play the game solo?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Architects of the West Kingdom Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Architects of the West Kingdom going to be the best board game out there?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.

Overview

Game’s Title: Architects of the West Kingdom
Genre: Worker Placement, Competitive, Official Solo Variant, AI, Variable Player Power, Resource Management, Contract, Set Collection, Drafting, City Building, Medieval Setting.
Designer: Shem Phillips, S J Macdonald
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Publisher: Garphill Games
Number of Players: 1- 5
Playtime: 60 – 80 minutes
Official Website: Architects of the West Kingdom (garphill.com)

Released Year: 2018
Initial Price: $50

Content:
1 Illustrated Rulebook
1 Rulebook Appendix
6 Player Boards
1 Main Board
10 Player Markers (5 colors)
100 Workers (5 colors)
35 Clay Tokens
40 Wood Tokens
40 Stone Tokens
25 Gold Tokens
30 Marble Tokens
50 Silver Tokens

112 Large Cards (54 x 86 mm):
Apprentice Cards (40)
Building Cards (40)
Solo/Bot Scheme Cards (30)
Solo/Bot Reference Cards (2)
49 Small Cards (43 x 67 mm):
Black Market Cards (10)
Reward Cards (11)
Debt Cards (22)
Multiplier Cards (6)

Expansion & Accessories:
Metal Coins (2018)
3D Tax Stand Frame (2018)

5 Extra Player Boards (2018)
3 Extra Building Cards (2018)
3 Extra Apprentice Cards (2018)

2 Cards from West Kingdom Mini Card Set (2019)
8 Cards from Garphill Games 5 Year Anniversary Promo (2019)
2 Promo Cards from Paradise Kickstarter (2019)
3 Cards of Paladins Apprentice (2019)
King’s Table Top Building Card (2019)

The West Kingdom Tomesaga (2020)
Racketeer Promo Card (2020)
King Dan Promo Card (2020)
Jugador Promo Card (2020)
Dice Tower Promo Pack (2020)
Age of Artisans (2020)

1 Promo Card from BGG Geek Store (2021)

Works of Wonder (2022)
Neoprene Play Mat (2022)
Collector’s Box (2022)

About Architects of the West Kingdom Board Game

Architects of the West Kingdom is the first game in the West Kingdom board game trilogy. Alongside the two sequels, Paladins of the West Kingdom and Viscounts of the West Kingdom were designed by two New Zealand designers, Shem Phillips and S J Macdonald.

Each game has a different main gameplay mechanisms but share the same settings and art. They can be played separately but there is a connecting campaign if we use the Tomesaga expansion.

The kickstarter campaign for this game was a huge success with more than 5,000 backers made over 500,000 NZD in 2018. It came as  no surprise considering that this was not the designer’s first trilogy.

The designer actually shared their design process for this game as 3 part diary. We can find out more details about the game from these links: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The story of the game is set in Carolingian Empire, around the end of the year 850. Players are royal architects trying to impress the King and maintain their noble status.

We will be constructing Cathedral and other landmarks in the King’s newly appointed domain. In order to do that, the Architects will send out their workers to gather more resources, money or apprentices to help them achieve that goal.

It says that these are treacherous time. Sometimes players can choose to work with thieves, black marketers or other evil venture. These can help them gain resources faster but also lose their virtue in the eyes of the King.

The challenge is, advancing the construction of Cathedral which can give the highest prestige, requires some decent level of virtue. They won’t allow us to participate if our virtue is too low.

On the other hand, after reaching some level of virtue, we are not allowed to be associated with those bad endeavors. This will limit our access to some features to gain resources.

Over the course of the game, players will find many ways to balance their level of virtue. They can stay with rather low virtue most of the time and gain very high towards the end of the game.

However, players cannot take too much time just maintaining their virtue level. The game will end after reaching a certain collective number of constructions.

Any player can trigger the end of the game but with very low number of constructed buildings. The player who will win the game is the one with the most victory points, mostly from constructing buildings. Which explains the title of the game.

Twists on Worker Placement Mechanism

In the tabletop game industry, Architects of the West Kingdom is considered as one of the game with worker placement mechanism. In this genre of game, each player will have a number of workers that they can deploy to several worker spots in order to gain benefit.

The benefit can be about generating resources or activating another action. Architects of the West Kingdom has some twists that make the game very popular.

One of them is the unlimited use of spots. In other games, each spot can be occupied by workers in a limited number of times. Once the spot is filled, no other players can claim that spot.

So, that will give some tension between players. Players will try to be the first so only that player will get the benefit while denying their opponents.

In Architects, they have that kind of spot but they also have another one where these spots can be occupied without any limit. Players don’t have to worry about not being the first.

In fact, the designers go even further. The more workers we place on that same spot will generate more resources or activate actions with bigger impact.

While this idea is good for flexibility, it actually removes the tension. The designers, then, add another feature so other players can mitigate that.

It is the idea of capturing all of one opponent’s workers from a single spot. Thematically, we can accuse other players that they are trying to monopolize the resources and being unfair.

We can capture them and later throw them into prison. This way, players will be hesitant to focus on just one worker spot. They need to diversify by spreading their workers into multiple different spots.

On the other hand, any player can also capture their own workers without sending them to jail. It is like sending messengers and give warning to our group so they can retreat.

Any players can also bail out their workers later for free. There is also a way to pay the capturer but with expensive price because the capturer will not just send them to prison.

This idea actually solves two things in this game. One is to give more interactions and tensions between players.

Two, it replace the taking back workers from those spots so we can deploy them again. Usually in other worker placement games, the game is played in rounds and only at the end of the rounds, we will get our workers back.

By using these mechanisms, Architects has no rounds. Players just keep taking turns and the game has better flow.

The game also comes with an AI/bot or virtual player that simulate another players to do these actions. That way, we can play the game with just a single player or the AI can be a third player for 2 player mode.

With those idea, Architects of the West Kingdom has been nominated and won a lot of rewards. It even become a recommended game of Kennerspiel des Jahres award in 2019. At this point of time, it is one of the top 100 games on BGG.

Components

Architects of the West Kingdom came in a square box but smaller than the standard dimension of other board games. The dimension of the box is  22.5 x 22.5 cm with 6.5 cm thickness. All of the games from this publisher, Garphill Games use this size.

All games in this West Kingdom trilogy use red color background and art by the Mico. Some may prefer a smaller size box than the standard size one for a board game because they usually have too much empty space.

However, for this game, with a lot of expansions and upgrades, some might wish for a bigger box. With just the content from the base game, the box is the right size.

Their Kickstarter campaign even offered metal coins. I’m not sure it can fit in the box without removing the insert at the bottom. If we do remove it, I guess we need to place the main board at the bottom.

I actually used the copy from my friend so I’m not so sure how each component came from the factory. Here, I can only describe what I saw.

I assumed that this copy is the STANDARD RETAIL version, without the additional Kickstarter exclusive contents.

The red carton insert doesn’t specifically have slots for each components. It has just two compartments, one, possibly for the cards and the other is for all of the tokens.

I guess they also includes some zip lock plastic baggies with holes. They are mostly for cards and the cardboard tokens.

For the wooden tokens, there is a big zip lock bag. Inside it, we can store multiple smaller bags for different tokens. There will be five bags for each player’s workers and markers and bags for 5 different resources.

The depth of the insert is about 3.5 cm. For the smaller slot, the size is about 6 x 16 cm while the bigger one is about less than 13.5 x 16 cm.

From my understanding, the giant main board should be at the top of the insert, standing on the two edges. However, if we cannot place all of the other components below the insert in those two slots, the components can actually push the board at the top.

I think the depth of the insert is good for the amount of cards. However, if we use card sleeve, even the thin one will take more space.

What is weird is the smaller slot. I think it should be a bit bigger so the length of the smaller card can fit the width. That is without any sleeve.

Some people choose to just throw away the insert and if they love the game, they use other great inserts from 3rd party companies.

The game comes with two sizes of cards, 54 x 86 mm and 43 x 67 mm. If we use card sleeve from Sleeve Kings, they have a dedicated size for the North Sea series, another trilogy game by the same designer. That will fit the big size card.

The smaller one is the Mini Euro size, which is more common in other games. Most of the big cards are a single side use but we need to know the back of the card for easier setup and take down.

The smaller ones are mostly double sided use. So, in general we might want to use sleeve for two sides.

Rulebook

As far as I know, the publisher has released several versions of Architects of the West Kingdom game for different languages. I assume each different version only has one rulebook for the corresponding language.

The copy that I have is in English. We can find the digital file both the Rulebook and the Appendix from Garphill Games download page or on BGG not just the English version.

The size of the printed rulebook is about 21 x 20 cm with 20 pages. This one only covers the basic setup and gameplay for multiplayer mode.

The appendix book will explain the solo mode, setup variants and details about each character and buildings. More about this later.

Here are the table of contents for the rulebook.

Cover (Page 1). Like most games, the rulebook starts with the same art from the box on the front page. I don’t think developers need to do that.

In fact, they can use this first page for better things like the introduction or general idea of the game instead of just art that doesn’t depict the actual components. At least, this one put all the main credits at the front instead of taking part of the last page.

Introduction & Aim of the Game (Page 2). This explain about the story and setting of the game and the general idea of what players will be doing to win the game.

Components (Page 2 – 3). This part gives a good illustration for each type of components. We can even see the two sides of each card and player board so we can tell exactly and easily which these cards are.

Setup (Page 4 – 5). This part explain the standard setup for multiplayer mode with illustration and step by step guide. I wish they also show what the player’s board or tableau will look like after we get some apprentice and buildings.

Also, I think it will be helpful if they use different color between the workers and the player board. There is also no illustration to depict the general supply.

It is not bad but this doesn’t give a good idea how much table space this game will take.

First Time Players (Page 6). This section explains the 3 key aspects of the game for new players or if we are teaching this game: The Worker Investments, Capturing Workers and Virtue Management.

I think this assumes that players understand the concept of worker placement games. For me, this is about the key element that makes this game unique.

I think the idea of Capturing Workers is important to understand, specifically for recalling our own Workers. But the rule seems to focus on the interaction between players and forget to mention that as the key strategy.

Playing the Game (page 6). This explains the general gameplay of the game from player taking turns until they trigger the end of the game.

On this page, we can find what to do when we run out of workers. We have to spend one turn to only take 1 Worker from the Main board to the Player board.

Placing Worker (Page 7). This explains the 3 type of worker spots that we can actively send to on the main board, the large circle, black market circle and Guildhall.

Board Locations (Page 8 – 13). This explains all of the worker spots on the board into 8 subsections. Here are some important notes from those subsections.

Quarry, Forest, Mines and Silversmith (Page 7).  The opposing workers do not affect the resources a player will receive.

King’s Storehouse (Page 8). From the example, activating ability from Apprentice is considered as taking one action. So having them will give alternative action.

Based on the example from Cathedral example on page 15, I assume we can use different combination of resources and trade them to gain either Virtue or Marble. Also, it is possible to activate the same action multiple times, assuming we have enough workers.

Workshop (Page 9 – 10). There are several notes from this section. The hand limit or building card is 6 but it is not a hard limit. For apprentice, the limit is 5 which I think it is a hard limit but we can discard anytime.

Face up apprentice card can have multiple silver if players skipped them multiple times. We can hire more than 1 of the same apprentice.

Town Center (Page 11). The important note is about capturing more than one group of workers.  Either we capture from multiple locations with less than 4 players or just a single location with more players.

Guardhouse Location (Page 13). I think I missed the part about more details regarding paying debts.  There is a further explanation in blue font color between two images on the right of that page.

Constructing Buildings and The Cathedral (Page 14 – 15). As we can tell, this part explains two things, building regular buildings and advancing the construction of the Cathedral, each in its own page.

I think the important note from this section is about advancing the Cathedral with either wood and/or stone. The page says any combinations of both resources.

From looking at the board, I assumed we should choose one and have either 4 or 8 of that resource.

Virtue Track (Page 16). This explains how the Virtue level works and the benefit and disadvantage we get from being at certain level. There is an important thing from the example.

It says that each Virtue players gain above 14, they may destroy 1 Debt Card. That means if we gain 2 Virtue after we have reached 14, we can destroy 2 debt cards right away, not just one.

The similar goes with gaining Debt Cards from losing Virtue below 0. There is no example for this, though.

Also, destroying debt card is different than paying the debt.

Black Market Reset (Page 17). This explains how the reset is triggered and what to resolve after that in a step by step guide. There is also an example.

An important note from this section is that player can get a debt card if they have the most workers in prison. That is regardless of how the workers ended up in the prison, not just because the black market reset.

End of the Game (Page 18 – 19). This part explains how the end game can be triggered, how to resolve and proceed to scoring then the tie breaker. There is also two  illustrated examples.

There are actually several steps from when the end game is triggered until we get into the scoring. The game will have 1 final turn for each player, we resolve the end-game effects, mostly from constructed buildings then proceed to scoring.

Quick Reminders (Page 20). There are 3 parts in this section, the quick standard setup, resources or cards per worker for each location and reminder about tax and black market reset.

Since this is on the last page of the rulebook, the quick setup and reminders about tax and black market are very helpful. This way, we don’t have to check on the page in the middle of the book.

Specifically for the reminder about black market, this part missed the possible additional action from the Apprentice. I think it is easier to look on the information on that specific page.

For the resources table, it is more of a confirmation for how we count the resources for each locations. This is mostly for the large circle.

Personally, I think the rulebook give a good explanation of how to play the game. The game itself is very easy with some small complex things that can happen during the game.

My issue is more about the presentation style. I get it that they try to use different font color to emphasize important notes.

The problem is that blue color and sometimes the purple one need to stand out more compared to the background. Sometimes they use a block with different color for the background that indicates we need to check the other book.

That is a better way, in my opinion but the result is a bit inconsistent. They could have utilized CAPS or BOLD font more. I don’t know why but when they write in italic style, they also use gray color.

Appendix Book

As mentioned before, the digital file for the appendix is combined with the main rulebook. The size of the book is the same as the rulebook, which is 21 x 20 cm but with just 8 pages.

I assume this will only cover all of the cards in the base game. For promos and expansions, we probably need other book.

The appendix book covers further explanation about several things. We can find out how to read each card, specifically the Buildings and Apprentice Cards, and the variable player power from each player board.

There is also a section about the AI or virtual player for the solo variant or 2P vs Bot variant. This will explain how to use that special deck for the virtual player.

Debt cards are all identical, so there will be no further explanation here. Reward cards and Black Market deck are unique for each card but the difference is just the depicted bonus or resources.

Here is the table of contents for the Appendix book.

Cover (Page 1). The cover uses the art from all of the characters that players can choose as their Player Board. On this front cover, we can also find the table of contents of this book.

Apprentice Abilities (Page 2 – 3). From 40 Apprentices cards, there are 18 unique characters each with two or more variants. The book has a lists for each character in alphabetical order.

They also include the picture so we can easily tell without specifically looking for their name. There are identical cards but for variants, each apprentice will have the same ability but for different amount or type of resources to get or to pay in order to activate.

Building Effects (Page 4 – 5). This part doesn’t actually explain the Building card one by one but more about the effect that can appear on any of the card.

The book will have a list of buildings with immediate building effects first, followed by those with end-game effect. It is possible that one building can appear in multiple subsections.

If we want to find out each specific card, we first need to check the type of effect (either end-game or immediate). Then, we have to look for the name of that card from that specific subsection.

Considering that they don’t provide pictures for any mentioned buildings it is kind of annoying to look for. It will be easier to just use the digital file and then search for the building’s name.

Solo Play (Page 6 – 7). This part primarily explain how we can add the AI or virtual player for the solo mode. We can find out how to use the special deck, the setup for solo play, extra rules or change to the regular mode and scoring.

If we want to add the virtual player into 2 player mode, we need to use the card. The setup, end game trigger and how the AI capture in 2P mode is a bit different.

The thing that I missed from this virtual player is that we have to shuffle all of the Scheme cards again when the AI runs out of workers. I thought we only shuffle the deck when the deck is empty.

Variable Setup (Page 8). This explain alternate setup variant where the players will start with different conditions. It can be about having more resources of certain type or having some of the Workers in prison at the start.

There is an illustration of how to read this side of the Player Board. At the bottom, there is a further explanation for each different player board or character.

Important note from this section is the player with the HIGHEST VIRTUE is the STARTING PLAYER followed by the next in clockwise order. Additional silver based on turn order is not applied in this variant.

I think my complaint is specifically for the Building Effects section. While it is not difficult but it is kind of annoying.

While I appreciate that they provide a separate book but it feels like a lot of wasted space. They could have used them for something else.

One of the fan actually create a digital file for a compact versions specifically for the Buildings and Apprentices sections that we can find here.

Silver Tokens

This is the only token in Architects of the West Kingdom made of cardboards. The box came with a punchboard sheet just for these 50 tokens. The thickness is about 2 mm and the diameter is about 2.4 cm.

We can probably use coin capsule to make the token last longer. The size of the carboard sheet is almost the same as the box.

Each Silver token has a shape like a coin but not a perfect circle. So, it does feel like ancient coins where it wasn’t industrially printed in the same shape. Even if it is irregular shape but all of them are identical tokens.

The design of the Silver itself has a building icon and letters, with the same art for both sides, not mirrored.

If I remember correctly, the designer said that this is not based on real life historical thing. They only wanted to set the game in the setting of that era, circa 850 AD.

As we can probably tell, in this game Silver or these tokens are the currency or money and one of the resources. However, Silver is not a wild resources where we can use if to replace the use of other resources.

Most of the time we will be spending this to pay the King as the government, like to pay taxes, debts.

We can also spend the Silver to pay locals, mostly to capture workers of any players or pay the Black Markets. If somehow our workers were captured by other players, we can pay them out before they send our workers to jail.

Silver is also needed to HIRE APPRENTICE. Later on, some apprentice can even offer more benefit if we pay them again.

There are several ways to earn the Silver. One of them is by sending a Worker to a Silversmith. Sometimes, if we build certain building or advancing the construction of the Cathedral, Silver is one of the possible rewards.

We can also steal from the TAX STAND. If we do so, we will lose some of our Virtue. Maybe if the amount of Silver is worth it.

From APPRENTICE, if we hire Jeweller and one of the Acolyte, we can get extra Silver. If we hire Conspirator or Trickster, we can get cheaper fee when visiting Town Center or Black Market.

From BUILDINGS, if we build Treasury and Thieves’ Den, they can generate one time Silver.

Players as the Architects have their own Workers that we can deploy to various spots to gain other type of resources including this Silver. However, this is not a game of business simulation where we have to pay our Workers.

Because there is only one type of Silver, not with different set of value, we can easily replace these tokens with other game pieces. The publisher even offered metal coins which I assumed can be used for other games in this trilogy.

We just need 50 of them. The shape and size doesn’t really matter. I do recommend using something with brighter color.

For me, there  is a problem with the player board being too dark. Maybe the metal coins really improve the experience.

If we only play with single or two player, maybe we don’t need that many tokens. 50 is probably for 3 or 4 players. For 5, the game has this MULTIPLIER CARDS. More about this below.

Resources Tokens

Other than cards and Silver tokens, the other type of resources in the game are wooden tokens. There are 5 different wooden resources in this game, each with its own shape and color.

I can only assume that each of these comes in a single zip lock plastic bag. They actually include more than enough bags.

In this game we will be gathering these resources in order to build buildings or construct the Cathedrals. Each building or part of the Cathedral requires different set and amount of these resources.

The highest amount of resources from a single type required by any buildings can go up to 6 or 8 for the Cathedral. Any building may require between 2 to 4 type of resources. More about the buildings later.

The main way to gain these resources is by sending workers to specific locations for each type, with the exception for Marble. We can also gain them from the Black Market or as the bonus from constructing buildings.

Some of the apprentice may generate extra amount of resources when we send workers to the location source. We can also trade coins with the help of certain apprentices.

Aside from being a building material, Gold and Marble can contribute to the Victory Points with 1 point of each token. The difference is that to gain Marble, we probably need to trade stone or wood while getting Gold is just by sending to the Mine.

Resources Details

Here are the details of the components for these resources.

Clay (Red) Tokens. The size of these 35 red tokens is 0.8 x 0.9 x 1.5 cm. I guess they want them to look like a brick. The main way to gain Clay is by sending workers to MINES.

There are 19 Buildings that require Clay as the building material with a total of 52 Clay to build them all. We can also earn more Clay one time from building Well card.

Other than building material, the only use for Clay is to increase the Virtue by visiting King’s Storehouse. One of the Trader will allow us to trade Clay into Marble.

Clay is not useful at all for advancing the Cathedral. Except if we hire one of the Acolyte. We can also gain more Clay if we hire Miner, Swindler and one of the Debt Collector.

From the BLACK MARKET DECK, we cannot get any CLAY. The same goes with REWARD CARDS.

Wood (Brown) Tokens. They have the shape like a chopped tree with about 0.5 cm thick and 1.5 cm length. This one looks like probably the smallest component in the game. The main way to gain Wood is by sending workers to FOREST.

Again, with the color being too dark, I feel like they can easily get buried among other resources. The game comes with 40 pieces of these.

There are 30 Buildings that require Wood as the resources with a total of 75 tokens to construct them all. We also need up to 12 of them to advance the construction of Cathedral.

Other use of Wood is to increase the Virtue or to trade them into Marbles. If we have one of the Trader, we can get Marble with cheaper price using wood.

Building Lumber Camp will give us 4 Wood tokens one time.

Woodcutter will give extra wood if we visit Forest, and Swindler if we visit Black Market. One of the Patron will help us gain Virtue using Wood and Merchant will accept Silver in exchange for Wood.

There is one Debt Collector that will give us more Wood everytime we pay the debt. From the BLACK MARKET DECK, there are 4 cards with Wood on both sides and 4 more cards with wood on just the Bigger side in addition to the starting Bigger spot.

There are only 2 cards from REWARD Cards that will give us 2 Woods each.

Stone (Gray) Tokens. This does have an irregular shape but still identical with 0.8 cm thickness and about 1 cm in length. We also get 40 of this from the game. The main way to gain Stone is by sending workers to QUARRY.

There are 29 Buildings that require Stone as the resources with a total of 77tokens to construct them all. We also need up to 12 of them to advance the construction of Cathedral.

Other use of Stone is to increase the Virtue or to trade them into Marbles. Building SMITHY will give us 4 Stones one time. If we have one of the Trader, we can get Marble with cheaper price using Stone.

From the BLACK MARKET DECK, there are 2 cards with Stone on both sides and 6 cards with Stone on just the bigger side in addition to the starting Bigger spot. There are only 2 cards from the REWARD Cards, that will give us 2 Stone each.

Stonecutter will give extra wood if we visit Quarry, and Swindler if we visit Black Market. One of the Patron will help us gain Virtue using Stone and Merchant will accept Silver in exchange for Stone.

There is one Debt Collector that will give us more Stone everytime we pay the debt.

Gold (Yellow) Tokens. These 25 tokens have a trapezoid shape, with 1 and 1.4 cm for the parallel lengths, 0.9 cm tall and 0.8 cm in thickness. So, the shape represents the modern gold bar. The main way to gain Gold is by sending 2 workers to MINES.

Gold will become VP at the end of the game worth 1 point each. As building material, there are 18 buildings that require Gold with a total of 27 Golds to construct them all.

Building TREASURY, PALACE, CLAY PIT or LIBRARY can give us Gold for one time. We need at least 3 Gold to reach the top of the Cathedral.

From APPRENTICE, only Pickpocket and one Squire can generate Gold.

From the BLACK MARKET DECK, there are 3 cards with Gold on both sides and 1 card on just the bigger side and one just on the smaller side in addition to the last of the smaller side on the board.

There are only 1 cards from the REWARD Cards, that will give us 1 Gold.

Marble (Blue) Tokens. Each of these 30 tokens has a rectangular shape of 1.4 cm for each side and with 0.6 cm thick.At first, I thought they were diamonds or so.

There is no specific location to immediately generate Marble. I guess this is the reason why Marble can be considered as the most valuable resources in the game.

As building material, there are 11 buildings that require Marble with a total of 20 Marbles to construct them all. There are only 2 BUILDING CARDS that will generate Marble if we build them, Clay Pit and Factory.

From the APPRENTICE, there are 3 Trader cards that will give Marbles. Those are just alternative action from king’s Storehouse for trading either clay, stone or wood with lower amount.

Another one is the Squire. If we hire him, we can get one Marble per Black Market Reset, assuming we have no worker in prison.

From the BLACK MARKET DECK, there are 5 cards with Marble on both sides and 3 cards on just the bigger side and one just on the smaller side in addition to both spots on the board.

There is no REWARD Cards, that will give us any Marble.

Player Workers and Markers

Since this is one of the game in Worker Placement genre, the game also comes with several sets of Worker and Marker tokens. Each set comes in a separate zip lock plastic bag and with its own color.

The base game supports up to 5 players. We can choose the color from Red, Blue, Yellow, Green or Purple. Regardless of the color, the shape of workers and markers are the same.

In other worker placement games, each player can start with a small number of workers. Over the course of the game, they can increase the number of their workers.

Architects of the West Kingdom is actually the opposite. Player will start the game right away with 20 Workers. They eventually have to lose some of them after successfully construct some buildings.

After we build any building, we have to place one Worker in the spot called Guildhall and they will not help us any further for the rest of the game. Thematically,  I guess, being an Architect and build a building in this game is a tough job.

Almost like require a human sacrifice. But the Architects will be known for their service among other Architects.

The Worker token has a shape of a human. The size is about 1 cm wide and 1.8 cm tall with 0.8 cm thick. I thought the shape is jus generic symmetric pawn but if we look closely, the two hands are different. Also, it seems that the head part has a hair shape instead of just a circle.

In this game, we will be constantly picking these workers from our player board and put them somewhere on the Main Board. They will stay there until either the opponents capture them or we take them back to our player board.

The Marker has a shape like the Virtue track, almost like a vertical banner. Each player will get 2 of them and they can use them to track two things. One is the Virtue level and the other is the Cathedral level.

The size is about 1.2 cm x 1.5 cm with 0.6 cm for the thickness. Both the Markers and Workers are made of wood.

Technically, the shape and size of these tokens don’t really matter. For the most part, we can always replace them with other generic game pieces.

The exception would be when placing the Workers on Guildhall and Markers on Cathedral track. Both spots have spot with the exact shape of those tokens.

If somehow we lose some of them and as replacement, we need at least look for smaller pieces. They will cause some inconvenience if we use something too big.

That will not be any problem if we mostly play with just 2 players or even a single one. We can always use the other colors.

For solo mode, we will still be using at least 2 sets. The AI/bot will still play them on the board.

Multiplier Cards

These cards are the first one with the small size. The Multiplier cards are those with the green background color and a lockbox illustration on both sides.

One side will say “x5” and the other will say “x10”. Anytime we have 5 (or 10) resources of the same type, we can put one of them on these cards with the corresponding sides and return the rest to the supply.

These cards will then remind us that the each token on that card is worth 5 or 10 of that resources. If we put two of that resource, that means we have either 10 or 20 of them, depending on the side of that card.

As the rulebook suggests on page 4, we can also use this for the Silver coins.

The fact that they provide these 6 cards means that we can consider all of the resources as infinite amount. There is a chance that one player may hoard too many of the resource from a single type that can take all of the tokens provided in the game.

If that is the case, other players can still gain that resources. The hoarder needs to use these Multiplier Cards and return the rest so other player can use them.

With lower player count, maybe up to 3, we probably don’t need to use these cards at all. But it is possible if the player is intentionally try to hoard any of the resources, even though there is no good reason for doing that.

So, at most, we will be using probably just 3 of these cards with full player count but I cannot tell that for sure. With that in mind, I’m not sure I like the idea of using this card.

There is a chance that I can forget about having one of the token on that card. Especially if I put the Wood token or the Silver token, with the dark brown color there.

I can see that we can easily run out of Silver tokens, even with just 3 players. It is a bit annoying when we have 10 resources and use that card, then we spend just one resource, and we have to flip the card or get 9 tokens back from the supply.

Again, it is not a big deal, especially if we mostly play with lower player count.

I just thought, maybe they could have designed a better player board and have an integrated spot for multiplier.

Debt Cards

The second type of cards with the small size in this game is the Debt Cards. These are the 22 cards with double sided, with dark gray background and depict a Debt document.

On the other side, the depicted document is torn. It represents that the debt has been paid.

So, in this game, there is a concept of penalty or debt. Everytime we see an gray card icon, it means getting UNPAID DEBT.

A plus symbol in the middle of the gray card icon means getting 1 additional Debt card.

We can get debt from various reasons.

One. If we have the most workers in prison during the Black Market Reset, we will get 1 Debt Card.

Two. Everytime we lose a virtue level when we already at level 0, we will get 1 Debt card each.

Three. If we want to bail out our captured Worker before they throw the workers to prison but we don’t have the money or Silver.

We can instead get a Debt Card in addition to losing 1 Virtue level. If that is the case and happens when we already at the bottom, we can even get 2 Debt cards.

However, this third one is optional while the other two are mandatory.

Over the course of the game, we can always pay these Debt by sending workers to The Guardhouse. We also need to pay a total of 6 Silver tokens with three of them as taxes to pay each debt.

When the debt has been paid, we flip the card to the torn side. As we can see at the bottom, there is a purple banner which indicates a virtue level. So, thematically, we are restoring our noble status everytime we pay off the debt.

The paid debt card can also give us additional benefit if we build RESERVOIR card at the end of the game. For every 2 paid debt cards, we get 1 Virtue level with that building.

PAID DEBT is represented by icons with 2 gray cards symbols with a turn arrow.

At the end of the game, each debt we didn’t pay, as indicated by the card, there is two torn Yellow banners. That represents losing 2 Victory Points. So, we really want to try paying as many as we can.

Depending on the Building we have in our tableau, we can get extra benefit or extra penalty depending on having no unpaid debt or for each unpaid debt, respectively. Having University built will give us extra Victory points if we have no unpaid debt.

On the other hand, Gambler’s Den and Fountain will take Victory point or points per unpaid debt.

We can also DESTROY the debt. If we do destroy the debt, we don’t keep the card and gain the benefit later. Instead we return the debt cards to the supply.

The main way to destroy the debt is by gaining another Virtue once we are at the top of Virtue track. Alternatively, if we build CHURCH, it will destroy one debt card for one time bonus.

It is possible that we pay one debt when we already at the top of Virtue track. We then gain one virtue from that paid debt which allow us to destroy the other debt.

So, it gives a possibility of combos and we probably want to have 2 debts or more at a time. No really need to pay off every debt card immediately.

DESTROY DEBT is represented by a gray card icon with a cross symbol.

From the rulebook on page 4, Debt cards are considered as unlimited supply. I think it is possible to happen but very unlikely that we will run out of debt cards, especially with higher player counts.

I guess, we also need to use the MULTIPLIER CARDS if we ever run out of these debt cards.

With 5 players, each player can have 4 or 5 debt cards whether paid or unpaid. Maybe even worse if we use different player power which starts with low Virtue and unpaid debt from the start.

So, we are not going to shuffle these cards at all. In the game we just create a pile of Debt Cards from which we take the card or return the card to. Or we take the card and flip it as ours until the end of the game.

We might not need to sleeve them.

Reward Cards

The next small cards component is the Reward Cards. These are the eleven cards with the light green color and an illustration of a scroll.

On the back of the card, they have the same illustration of a rolled scroll. The other side is an unrolled scroll with from 2 to 4 icons of bonuses, from Virtue level, card, Silver or either Gold, Wood or Stone.

In this game, as an Architect, we will be trying to advance the construction of Cathedral. Each time we manage to fulfill some part of the Cathedral construction, we are eligible to gain one of these reward cards.

The eligible player takes the card from the face down deck, gain the depicted bonuses and discard the card. That means, the next reward will be a different card.

Each game, we will only be using 2 per player + 1 cards of these and we put them face down on the Main Board. So, each time, the order of the card that will come out will be random and become one of the setup variable.

With full or 5 player count, we will be using all of the Reward Cards. But the order is still a random thing and each player may gain a different number of cards depending on how the game progress.

It is possible that we may use more than the available cards. If that happens, we don’t form a new deck from the discard pile. Instead, the Main Board will have an icon that depicts the rewards for the rest of the game.

Here are the details of possible combinations of rewards from these cards.

2 Virtues: 2 Cards
2 Stones + 1 Virtue: 2 Cards
1 Virtue + 2 Wood: 2 Cards
1 Building Card + 1 Virtue: 2 Cards
3 Silver + 1 Virtue: 2 Cards
1 Gold + 1 Virtue: 1 Card

Main Board: 1 Virtue

So, we will at least gain 1 Virtue for advancing in the construction of Cathedral.

With the nature of face down deck, it also adds some randomness to the game. We really cannot tell, which card will come out next.

The rulebook doesn’t say whether we can keep checking the removed cards or not. If they do allow it, that means, it is not that hard to predict what the remaining cards are in the deck.

Not that it will significantly help us to win the game, though. Mostly because we don’t always have access to the Cathedral. Either other players are blocking us or our Virtue level is below the minimum level.

Black Market Cards

This is the last component of the game that uses the small size cards. We get 10 double sided cards and all of them are unique.

On one side, the game will refer it as the SMALL side and the other as LARGE. The small side will have up to 2 resources icons while the large ones are always 4 resources icons.

Each card has a dark background with, I guess another loot box. As the name suggests making a deal with the black market is not considered as a good thing and as a result, we will lose our Virtue.

Black Market is actually the opposite of constructing Cathedral. If our Virtue is too high, we can no longer access the Black Market feature.

In this game, there are 2 locations where we can send our Workers to for these two sides of Black Market cards. One Black Market will only give us smaller amount of resources and for cheaper price while the large one will give us like double the smaller part and more expensive.

Every game, we will always use all 10 cards, shuffled into a single deck with the small side facing up. During the game, there is an event called BLACK MARKET RESET.

When that happens, we flip the top card of the deck and put that card on the large worker spot. By doing so, the large spot and the small spot will show different set of resource bonuses that we can get.

With that system, the order of how the card come out will be different from game to game. This gives another setup variable.

Unlike the other Worker spot, where anybody can send any number of their Workers on, the Black Market spot only allows one player to place one worker each. The workers will occupy that spot until the reset without the possibility of getting them back.

That means, for each side of the card, only one player will get that specific resources indicated by the card.

Here are details of each card.

Large: 2 Marble + 2 Wood
Small: 1 Marble or 1 Marble + 1 Wood

Large: 2 Marble + 2 Stone
Small: 1 Marble or 1 Marble + 1 Stone

Large: 1 Marble + 1 Wood + 2 Stone
Small: 2 Gold or 1 Marble + 1 Stone

Large: 1 Marble + 1 Gold + 1 Stone + 1 Wood
Small: 2 Gold or 1 Gold + 1 Wood

Large: 1 Gold + 1 Stone + 2 Wood
Small: 1 Gold + 1 Wood or 1 Marble + 1 Stone

As mentioned before, we cannot get any Clay or Silver from the Black Market. In fact, we have to pay some Silver in order to get the benefit from the Black Market.

In this game, having 10 Silver at the end of the game is worth 1 Point. On the other hand, each Gold and Marble is worth 1 point as well.

So, if we can pay just 3 Silver for the large side of the Black Market and get 2 Marbles, we actually get more points per Silver. Of course, we have to consider the losing Virtue as the penalty for making these deal.

Moreover, getting to the Black Market open the risk of having our Workers into the jail and get debt cards. That can make us lose more points.

So, there are a lot to consider. But most of the time, maybe losing 1 Virtue because of the Black Market means losing no points at all or just 1 point. There are Apprentice like Swindler and Illusionist that help us not losing any Virtue when using the Black Market.

With all of that in mind, I think the Black Market is a great deal if we plan it correctly.

Apprentice Cards

Next are components with Bigger size cards. The first one is the APPRENTICE CARDS. We get 40 cards from the base game and all of them have the blue color for the back side of the card.

Usually, the back side of the card will tell us the name of the game, so if we somehow mix it with other games, we can easily tell. That is not the case here.

We can at least tell from the back side of the card what they are for the game. If we look closely, the back side have icons that represent all 3 skills that the Apprentice can have.

I think they could have made it easier with bigger icons or any better design. Also, I don’t know why there is something like a cloudy thing as part of the art.

From these 40 cards, there are 18 unique characters. Each character can have one or more copies which can be identical or different minor variant.

On the front side of each Apprentice card, we can find several information. At the top left corner, we can find three possible icons. These icons represents the skills that I just mentioned.

When constructing certain buildings in this game, the building may require no skill or up to all 3 skills. Before we hire these Apprentices with the corresponding skill, we cannot build them.

Oddly enough, we don’t need any of those skills when constructing the Cathedral. I though Cathedral, arguably is the most prestigious building which require specific skills.

The three skills in this game are CARPENTRY, TILING and MASONRY. Carpentry skill is represented by an brown axe icon.

Tiling is represented by a trowel icon with yellow color. Masonry is represented by a hammer with gray color.

Almost all of the Apprentice cards will have just one skill. The exception is Labourer which is the only card that has all 3 skills but no other benefit.

The next info from the card is the name or more like the job title of the Apprentice. We can find that right below the skill icon.

Each different Apprentice name will have their own illustrations which takes the biggest portion of the card. I think the illustration is unique enough that, at least, for me, I tend to remember their art easier than their name.

While some of the illustrations can easily tell what they do, but others can easily get mixed. For example, between the Merchants, Patron and Trader which all of them are associated with the same Worker spot, the King’s Storehouse.

Then we get to the bottom part of the Apprentice Cards which is probably the most important one, the Apprentice Abilities. Each Apprentice can have none or up to 2 abilities.

If they have two, the second one is always a one time immediate abilities. We get the effect right after we hire them. These instant abilities are mostly just either increasing or decreasing the Virtue.

We can find the purple Virtue icons at the right part of the abilities section which will take the space from the art. There is a blitz icon which indicates the immediate effect that we need to resolve right away.

The first or main ability is an on-going one. We can activate the ability everytime we send workers to the associated location on the board or if certain event happens.

Which is why we can see the location name right next to the ability on the card. Or, we can find some icons that represent the events.

What we need to understand is that in this game, we can only have up to 5 Apprentices. We can hire more but we need to replace the existing with the new one.

Clearly we might want to hire those with better on-going ability as early as we can. That way they can give more bonus.

However, there will be times when we no longer need to visit certain locations, like when we have enough resources from that location. Another reasons are the games is about to finish or we already have other Apprentice that do the same thing or better.

Any of them is probably a good reason to focus on the secondary abilities, which is mostly just to increase the Virtue.  While we don’t need their main abilities, we still can use their one time bonus.

The tricky part is we don’t know exactly when they will come out. In this game, we will be using all of the Apprentice cards to form a single deck face down.

From that deck, we reveal 8 cards and we can only hire from those 8 cards. The revealed cards will be placed on a track with two rows where one side has the cheapest cost and the other has the highest cost.

Everytime the cheaper one gets hired, the more expensive will slide to the cheaper slot. Maybe we can wait for the cards we want to get cheaper but the opponents can choose to pay more and get them first.

With that system, the game will be different from time to time. The order of how the cards come out  will be another setup variable.

I do feel like, because of the system, with lower player count, we might not see all of the cards. That can be a good thing, but sometimes, all of the available cards are not that good and none of the players are willing to hire them.

Even if they do, if the next card that come out is a good one, they will be giving it to the next player. It is possible to get stuck, even with higher player count.

At the end of the game, Apprentice will not give any Victory Points. It is also not cheap to hire them. So, most of the time, we only hire up to 3, just for the skills.

Apprentice Details

Acolyte
Number of Cards: 3
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry
Secondary Ability: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Ability: Advance Cathedral to get 1 Building Card / 2 Clay / 2 Silver.

We should hire this one if we think we have a good chance on advancing the Cathedral. Otherwise, the only benefit would be the one time Virtue and the skill.

Maybe the best variant is the Building Card. It’s like we pay a card for one advancement and get the card back right away. Hopefully we have a bad card and trade it and get a better one.

If that is our strategy, we can get this benefit up to 5 times from the Cathedral.

Conspirator
Number of Cards: 2
Skill: Carpentry / Carpentry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Spend 1 less Silver (not for tax) when making captures using the Town Center.

We still need at least the second worker on Town Center in order to gain benefit from this one. I think Conspirator will be useful with more players but there is always a limit like up to 2 locations or just 1 with more players. The ability is not that great, even if we have both cards.

Debt Collectors
Number of Cards: 3
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: When paying off a Debt, also gain either 2 Wood / 2 Clay / 2 Stone, in the respected order.

This can be powerful if we choose to stay with low virtue and gain a lot of debt cards. The Wood or Stone bonus can be spent to gain Marbles while Clay can only be used to gain Virtue.

If we use the strategy with low Virtue and at the end want to increase the Virtue, maybe, the Clay one is not that bad. However, it’s not a guarantee that we can find this one though.

Gatekeeper
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Masonry
Secondary Ability: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Ability: This player may release 2 of their Workers from Prison during the Black Market Reset.

I guess the idea of this one is that if we choose to occupy all 3 Black Market spots, we will lose 1 Virtue. This apprentice will help reduce that chance and possibly avoid getting debt cards.

But that is if we don’t have anybody else in the Prison. We still need to maintain our Workers in the Guardhouse. If the strategy is to keep gaining Debt Cards and pay them off, maybe we should not hire this one.

Illusionist
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Carpentry
Secondary Ability: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Ability: Do not lose any Virtue when taking action at the Black Market.

This is a very powerful one if we want to take advantage on the Black Market multiple times. The one time penalty when hiring this one is not a big deal compared to the long term benefit.

This is a good way to convert a lot of Silvers to VP via gaining Marbles or Gold from Black Market without losing any Virtue.

There is only one Illusionist card. If the card got removed by the AI, we probably will not see him again for the rest of the game.

Jeweller
Number of Cards: 2
Skill: Tiling
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Gain 1 additional Silver when taking action at Silversmith.

If we hire one of these, 1 Worker to Silversmith will give us 3 Silver, 4 Silver for 2, 9 Silver for 3. That means, with just 1 worker, we can immediately take advantage from the right most Black Market.

With 2, we can hire Apprentice right away. In long term, this can give a lot of benefit, as long as we know how to convert Silver to VP. So, it’s a good combo with Illusionist.

We can get more Silver from Tax Stand per worker but that is less likely to happen with more players. I don’t think hiring 2 Jewellers are that beneficial. They both have the same skill.

Labourer
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Carpentry +  Tiling + Masonry
Secondary Ability: None
Main Ability: none.

This is a unique apprentice and can be considered a powerful one. Mostly because this is the only Apprentice with all 3 Skills. Hiring him is enough to build any Buildings.

However, it is not going to be useful if our strategy is going for the Cathedral. Labourer is good at the start but eventually, we probably will hire more Apprentice and replace him.

I guess, it’s very thematic for construction world. Low cost labourer can do a lot of things and eventually get replaced.

Merchant
Number of Cards: 5
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Tiling / Masonry / Masonry
Secondary Ability: none.
Main Ability: Gives alternative action at King’s Storehouse where we can pay Silver to gain resources. 1 Silver for 2 Wood / 1 Silver for 3 Clay / 3 Silver for 1 Marble / 1 Silver for 2 Stone / 2 Silver for 2 Gold.

Merchant apprentice is probably the one with the most cards in the game.

This could be the easiest way to convert Silver to any of the resources, especially to VP via Marble or Gold. The Gold is probably the most valuable one because it is cheaper than the Marble while each will give the same VP.

That is a better deal than 2 VP per 10 Silver at the end of the game. Even the Marble Merchant is a good deal if we consider the number of turns.

The Wood and Stone can be a better deal than the Marble. With 3 coins, we can get 6 resources and at King’s Storehouse, we can get 2 Marbles. The difference is just the number of turns.

Maybe we need at least one more of the Merchants with the Wood or Stone to help us with the Cathedral. Clay Merchants is also good for increasing the Virtue.

With just 2 coins, we can get 3 Virtue. That is a good deal if we include getting at least 2 Silver from Tax Stand.

Miner
Number of Cards: 2
Skill: Tiling
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Gain 1 additional Clay when taking action at the Mines.

One additional Clay means, with 1 Worker, we get 3 Clay, 4 Clay for 2 and 5 Clay for 3 workers. If we go for 3 immediately, we can get a total of 12 clays which can be 6 Virtue level or half the Virtue track.

I guess the best way to utilize Miner is if we have a lot of Building Cards that require Clay from the start.

Patron
Number of Cards: 4
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry / Masonry
Secondary Ability: none.
Main Ability: Give alternative action when taking action at King’s Storehouse. 1 Wood for 1 Virtue / 1 Clay for 1 Virtue / 2 Silver for 1 Virtue / 1 Stone for 1 Virtue.

Basically Patron will give a better deal for trading resources into Virtue than the King’s Storehouse standard action. We probably want to hire any of these towards the end of the game to increase the Virtue.

We probably need to combine the Patron with other resource generator. Once we know the resources, then we should try getting the right Patron.

So, I guess this will help in tactical level. Like towards the end of the game, we should consider  checking the Workshop and maybe we can hire the right Patron for better use of our resources.

Pickpocket
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Tiling
Secondary Ability: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Ability: Gain additional Gold when taking action at Tax Stand.

This will definitely give an easy way to gain Gold which can be another VP, especially if we plan on visiting Tax Stand a lot. We just need to make sure to find a way to increase the Virtue back.

Thief is a good combination but we are still going to lose at least 1 Virtue. If we plan on staying with low virtue and gain a lot of Debt cards, we have to make sure that the Tax Stand will have at least 4 Silver so we can pay of the debt.

Patron, specifically that convert Silver is also a good combination. We just need to make sure that the Tax Stand have at least 4 Silver.

Squire
Number of Cards: 3
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry
Secondary Ability: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Ability: During Black Market reset, if we have no worker in Prison, we gain 2 Virtue / 1 Marble / 1 Gold.

This one is probably a bit difficult to take advantage. While we can predict when the reset is going to happen, we don’t know exactly when other players are going to send our Workers to jail.

I feel like when we make a plan around Squire, we keep sending workers to Guardhouse just to make sure we don’t have one in prison to gain the benefit. The reward is not that great compared to the number of turns we lose for releasing workers.

In fact, other players can end up dictating our moves. For me, I would rather just hire Squire for the one time bonus. If I can take advantage of the reset, that is just the bonus.

Stonecutter
Number of Cards: 2
Skill: Masonry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Gain 1 additional Stone when taking action at Quarry.

That one additional stone means, with just 1 Worker to Quarry we can get 2 Stone. That is enough to increase 1 Virtue. Combined with one of the Trader, that 2 stone can be a Marble or 1 VP.

If we do it twice with just single Worker each, we can get 4 stone, which is enough to advance the Cathedral for 1 level. With 2 Workers, the quarry will give us 3 Stone, which is enough to trade into Marble.

If we play with lower player count like 2, we can probably get easier access to stone from other location like Black Market. So, this will definitely an option when playing with 4 or 5 players.

Swindler
Number of Cards: 3
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry
Secondary Ability: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Ability: When taking action at Black Market, gain additional resources: 1 Wood / 2 Clay / 1 Stone.

I think for this one, the Clay variant is probably the best option. The reason is because we cannot get Clay from the Black Market while we can still get Wood or Stone.

Those clays can be helpful for increasing the Virtue that we have lost because of the Black Market action. It is true that Stone and Wood are more flexible since we can spend them for Cathedral or gain Marble.

I guess, the best variant is the one that can work well with the Patron. Alternatively we can hire Trader that accepts Clay for Marble.

Thief
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Carpentry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Lose 1 less Virtue when stealing from the Tax Stand.

As mentioned above, this one works perfectly with the Pickpocket. We get a Gold, and possibly a couple of Silver and lose just 1 Virtue.

I think we need at least 4 Silver at Tax stand to make it worth if we hire Thief. On her own, she doesn’t really give a lot, especially if nobody is paying any Tax.

Thief is less useful when playing against player using Ada. I guess she would be very beneficial if we pursue the low Virtue strategy.

If we can keep losing Virtue and get debt cards, and pay off the debt using Silver, maybe we can eventually get better return from the Tax Stand.

Trader
Number of Cards: 3
Skill: Carpentry / Tiling / Masonry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Gives alternative action at King’s Storehouse. Gain 1 Marble for trading 2 Wood / 3 Clay / 2 Stone.

For this one the Trader that accepts Clay is probably a good variant to pursue. In general we cannot use Clay to gain VP.

This variant will definitely change  the game. Everytime we send worker to Miner, we don’t need to gain Gold. unless the Gold is required for construction.

That specific Trader is probably a good combination with Therese since she treats Marble like Gold.

The other two variants of Trader gives a cheaper deal to gain Marble using less amount of Stone or Wood than the location.

Trickster
Number of Cards: 1
Skill: Masonry
Secondary Ability: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Ability: Pay 1 less Silver than required when taking action at Black Market.

This is also a good one if we want to take advantage of the Black Market. With Trickster, we don’t lose any Virtue when taking action there. We just need to pay the Silver.

What we need to do next is figuring out how to get enough Silver. If we go for the Tax Stand, then we probably want to hire Thief and Pickpocket as well.

Alternatively, we can go for the Silversmith route and hire Jeweller to gain more Silver. The last thing to do is probably going for the Town Center, capturing Workers and send them to jail.

Hiring Conspirator is probably a good idea here. This can be a good combo as well with the Tax Stand if we can force other player to pay us.

Woodcutter
Number of Cards: 2
Skill: Carpentry
Secondary Ability: none
Main Ability: Gain 1 additional Wood when taking action at the Forest.

That one additional wood means, with just 1 Worker to Forest we can get 2 Wood. That is enough to increase 1 Virtue. Combined with one of the Trader, that 2 Wood can be a Marble or 1 VP.

If we do it twice with just single Worker each, we can get 4 Wood, which is enough to advance the Cathedral for 1 level. With 2 Workers, the Forest will give us 3 Wood, which is enough to trade into Marble.

If we play with lower player count like 2, we can probably get easier access to Wood from other location like Black Market. So, this will definitely an option when playing with 4 or 5 players.

Building Cards

The next component with big size card is the BUILDING CARDS. We get 40 unique Building Cards from the base game.

The cards has similar back side like the Apprentice cards but instead of blue color, they have a green one. We can also find icons of 3 skills and the cloudy design.

In this game, we will be using all of the Building cards every session. The exception is in the solo variant, we will remove certain cards.

In the game, we will shuffle all of the cards and put them into a single deck facing down. The order of how the card will come out is different from time to time and that gives another setup variable to the game.

Players will get this card as their hand of cards that they keep secret to the other players. They then need to gather the required resources and skills from Apprentice before they can construct the building and gain the benefit from it.

During the game, the main and mostly way to gain more Building Cards is by sending at least 2 workers to WORKSHOP. We can also get them from Black Market but with a price.

In this game, the hand limit is 6 cards but it is not a hard limit. It is possible to gain more and at the end of turn, we need to discard the excess.

From Apprentice, I think only one of the Acolyte can generate cards but only if we construct the Cathedral. The Cathedral is also another use of this Building Card.

Most of the time, in order to construct the Cathedral, each level will require us to sacrifice one of the Building Card. So, essentially the Building Cards are a Multi Use Cards.

That means, even if we have a bad starting building card, we can always use it for the Cathedral.

As part of the setup, each player will draw 4 cards and do card drafting where they pick one and pass the rest to the next player until each player will have 3 as the starting hand.

With this system, even if we only use less than 10 cards during the game, we probably access more cards each setup.

However, this works better with higher player count. With 5 players, we have access to 20 cards or half of the deck just for the setup.

While as a hand of cards, we don’t know what the other players will have in their hand, when we build them, we are placing the card on the table. So, there is a bit of tableau building and all players can see.

Considering that all cards are unique, if other players have built them, that means we don’t need to look for that specific card from the deck.

On the front side of the card, there are several information that we can find from each card. First and foremost, we can see an illustration by the Mico and the name at the bottom portion of the art.

While the art style is great but I don’t necessarily think that the art really describes the name of that building.  Especially those that depict the exterior feature of the building.

Some of them are rather too similar like between Church and Chapel or between Castle or Fortress. Not that it is going to help us play the game better. We probably don’t pay attention enough about the building.

At the top right corner of the card, we can find a number inside a yellow vertical banner. This represents the Victory Point value that we can get at the end of the game if we build it.

The VP can be between 3 up to 14. Here are some stats from these 40 cards regarding the VP.

3 VP: 5 cards
4 VP: 3 cards
5 VP: 5 cards
6 VP: 6 cards
7 VP: 6 cards
8 VP: 4 cards

9 VP: 3 cards
10 VP: 3 cards
11 VP: 2 cards
12 VP: 2 cards
14 VP: 1 card

At the top left corner of the cards some will have icons and some will not. These icons are the required skills that we need to have from the hired Apprentices in order to construct the building.

There are 13 cards that requires no skill, 13 cards that require any one of the skill, 7 cards with any combination of 2 skills,  7 cards with all 3 skills.

Right below the required skills, we can see a column of required building materials. The type of materials is at least 2 types up to 4 types.

In the middle of the icon for each material, we can see a number. This indicates how many of them we need to construct the building. The amount can be as low as 1 and up to 6 and the total required materials can be between 4 up to 10.

At the bottom most part of the Building Card we can find their BUILDING EFFECT. Each building can have one or two effects.

If the building have 2 effect, the secondary one is always about gaining or losing 1 Virtue. We can find this at the right side that takes space from the illustration.

The main Building Effect can be categorized into two types.

First, the one time immediate effect with a lightning or blitz icon. For this, we need to resolve the effect right after we build the building. The effects can be about getting resources or virtue, optional actions or even penalty like getting debt cards or losing Virtue.

Some of the effect of this category can also affect other players or based on certain situation. To gain the most benefit, we probably want to wait and only build them when the time is right.

Second, the endgame effect with the flag icon. This should be resolve right before we enter the scoring phase. The effects are mostly about gaining VP but it can also affect the Virtue.

For the latter, it can lead to gaining more Debt cards or even destroying debt cards. We need to carefully plan before building this kind of cards because we cannot unbuilt the building later.

Building Details

Aqueduct
VP: 3
Skills: none
Materials: 2 Clay, 3 Wood, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per Constructed Buildings (End Game).

I assume with the main effect, we get a total of 4 VP at least if we include this building. Maybe it is helpful if we focus on staying on low Virtue through out the game without access to Cathedral. Still, at most, we can get like 5 buildings, that give us extra 5 VP.

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Forest 2x. It could be more for the Forest if each time there is only one worker.

That means, for the 4 turns for 4 VP or 1 turn per VP.

Armoury
VP: 9
Skills: Carpentry + Masonry
Materials: 3 Wood, 5 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Capture one group of Workers, similar to Town Center (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x, Quarry 3x, Mines 2x. With 10 turns we get 9 VP or about 1.1 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need 12 turns and get 9 VP or 1.3 turn per VP.

The problem with the effect is that we need to wait for the right time to build it. Otherwise we lose the effect. Of course, we can always capture our own Worker.

Barracks
VP: 10
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 2 Clay, 6 Wood, 2 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Release our captured Workers from one player or capture one group of Worker (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Forest 3x. With 6 turns, we get 10 VP or 0.6 turns per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we get 9 turns for 10 VP or 0.9 turns per VP.

Similar to Armoury, we need to wait for the right time if we want to gain the benefit from the effect. Luckily they offer different actions, releasing and capturing. That makes Barracks a better choice than Armoury.

Betting House
VP: 7
Skills: none
Materials: 1 Clay, 2 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Gain 1 Debt Card (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Quarry 2x. With 4 turns, we get 7 VP or 0.57 turns per VP.

This doesn’t require any skill but we do lose 1 Virtue and get a debt card. However, if we can pay off that debt cards, we can gain back the Virtue.

We have to be careful because we can get additional debt cards if we already at the bottom of Virtue track.

That means we need like 6 Silver at least and that can be another 3 turns to Silversmith or just 1 turn at Tax Stand. That means the rate can become 7 turns per 7 VP or 1 turn per VP.

Carpenter’s Hut
VP: 5
Skills: none
Materials: 3 Clay, 1 Wood, 1 Stone
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: 1 VP per hired Apprentice with Carpentry Skill (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Quarry 1x and Forest 1x. With 4 turns, we get 5 VP or 0.8 turns per VP.

We will get additional 1 VP per hired Apprentice with Carpentry Skill. If we can get up to 5 Apprentices and crazy enough to gain all 5 Carpentry skills, that will give us just up to 5 VP.

The problem is if we do that, we are basically increasing the number of turns per VP because each hiring requires at least 1 turn, which is bad.

Castle
VP: 10
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 2 Clay, 4 Wood, 1 Gold, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: 1 Virtue per 2 Gold that we have (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Forest 3x and another 2x to Forest and 2x to King’s Storehouse for Marble. With that plan, we need 9 turns and gain 10 VP or 0.9 turns per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we get 12 turns for 10 VP or 1.2 turns per VP.

For the Marble, there is a good chance that we can take it from the Black Market with just 1 turn and additional 2 turn to Silversmith. Well, that doesn’t help that much.

The main effect will give us just 1 Virtue assuming we still have some Gold. It is not necessarily going to give us extra VP at the end but might prevent us for losing more.

Chapel
VP: 6
Skills: Carpentry
Materials: 2 Clay, 1 Wood, 4 Stone
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Effect: If we have the most contribution to Cathedral, we will get 2 Virtue. Ties doesn’t count (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Quarry 3x and Forest 1x. With 6 turns, we get 6 VP or 1 turns per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we get 7 turns for 6 VP or 1.17 turns per VP.

To gain the benefit from the main effect, we need to work hard on the Cathedral. Maybe it is easier if we just play with lower player count but not with the Bot.

I think if we want to build this, we should just go for the secondary effect.

Church
VP: 5
Skills: none
Materials: 3 Clay, 3 Stone
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Destroy 1 Debt Card (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Quarry 2x. With 4 turns, we get 5 VP or 0.8 turns per VP.

This is definitely not a bad card to build. Destroy a debt card as the main effect means losing the chance to get 1 Virtue. Sometimes, we probably want to wait getting a debt card.

Maybe it is a good chance to release our worker from other player, losing 1 Virtue and get 1 Debt card, then build the Church. That way, we also prevent the other player on getting more Silver.

Clay Market
VP: 6
Skills: Tiling
Materials: 3 Clay, 2 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP for having the most Clay. Ties doesn’t count (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Quarry 2x. With 5 turns, we get 6 VP or 0.83 turns per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we get 6 turns for 6 VP or 1 turn per VP.

While the extra 2 VP is good, but there is no guarantee. We could have spent those Clay for other purposes like gain Virtue or if we have the right Trader, get Marble which could be more than 2 VP.

But sometimes, the game is about to end and we don’t have enough turns to spend them all. If that’s the case, maybe this one can be an option.

Clay Pit
VP: 3
Skills: none
Materials: 4 Clay, 1 Wood
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Gold or 1 Marble (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Forest 1x. With 3 turns, we get 3 VP or 1 turn per VP.

Since the bonus resource is worth 1 VP, that means we get 3 turns for 4 VP or about 0.75 turns per VP. That is actually not a bad deal.

Drafting Room
VP: 8
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling
Materials: 4 Stone, 3 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 Building Cards (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 4x and Quarry 3x. With 7 turns, we get 8 VP or 0.875 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 9 turns for 8 VP or 1.125 turns per VP.

This is probably the only cards that can generate more Building Cards as the effect. Those 2 cards is the same as 2 turns at Workshop.

However, this will be useless if we build it almost at the end of the game where we cannot use the cards for anything. There is no guarantee that the cards are a good one.

They are still useful if we pursue the Cathedral strategy.

Dungeon
VP: 14
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 4 Stone, 2 Gold, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Lose 2 Virtue (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Quarry 3x just for gold and stone. For Marble, we need 2 more to Quarry and 2 to King’s Storehouse. With 10 turns, we get 14 VP or 0.714 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we need 13 turns for 14 VP or 0.928 turns per VP.

This is the Building with the highest VP. That secondary effect of losing 1 Virtue is nothing. However, it can be tricky for the end game effect, especially if we pursue the low Virtue Strategy.

If we can play very efficiently, this can be a great deal. Maybe we want to hold on to this card and once we have enough resources, we can build it.

Another way to look at it is the 2 Gold and 2 Marble, which is worth 4 VP at the end. That means those 10 turns is just 10 VP, or 1 turn per VP, which is just an okay deal considering the end game effect.

Factory
VP: 7
Skills: Masonry
Materials: 2 Wood, 2 Stone, 3 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 Marbles (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 4x, Forest 2x and Quarry 2x. With 8 turns, we get 7 VP or 1.142 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 9 turns for 7 VP or 1.286 turns per VP.

Even if we consider the 2 Marble from the effect, that will bring us to 9 VP for 8 or 9 turns. That is still just 0.88 or 1 turn per VP.

Unless we can find better use of those Marbles, this is just an okay deal.

Fortress
VP: 12
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 3 Clay, 4 Stone, 1 Gold, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: Lose 2 Virtue
Main Effect: Capture 2 Group of Workers from the same or up to 2 locations (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Quarry 3x for clay, stone and gold. For Marble, we probably need another Quarry 1x with multiplied effect and trade stone for Marble at King’s Storehouse 2x. With 9 turns, we get 12 VP or 0.75 turns per VP.

Alternatively, we can also go to Black Market and hopefully gain 2 Marble for 1 turn. That means we just need 7 turns and get 12 VP for 0.59 turns per VP rate. But we already lose 3 Virtue.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we need 12 turns for 12 VP or 1 turn per VP.

This is one of the Buildings that can be a great deal if we can gather resources efficiently. Also, this building will generate the second highest VP after the Dungeon. I think this is a better choice than Dungeon.

Also, the effect is situational. We might want to take advantage so we can gain some Silver by capturing other player’s workers.

Fountain
VP: 4
Skills: none
Materials: 3 Stone, 1 Marble
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Lose 1 VP per Unpaid Debt Card (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Quarry 2x for the stone and a 3rd time for the Marble and 1 turn for the King’s Storehouse. With 4 turns, we get 4 VP or 1 turn per VP.

That is a decent rate between number of turn and VP. However, we have to be careful with this if we are using the low Virtue strategy.

Gambler’s Den
VP: 10
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling
Materials: 1 Stone, 1 Gold, 3 Marble
Secondary Effect: Lose 2 Virtue
Main Effect: Lose 1 additional VP per unpaid Debt Cards (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Quarry 1x for stone and gold. For the Marble, we need another 3 turn to Quarry in a row and 2 more at King’s Storehouse. With 8 turns, we get 10 VP or 0.8 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 10 turns for 10 VP or 1 turn per VP.

The main effect will add 1 penalty VP for each unpaid debt card. That means with just 1 unpaid debt card, we can lose 3 VP.

This is actually a good deal, as long as we can make sure to pay all of the debts.

Hideout
VP: 8
Skills: Carpentry + Masonry
Materials: 1 Clay, 3 Wood, 2 Stone
Secondary Effect: Lose 2 Virtue
Main Effect: Release all of our workers from prison (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 1x, Forest 2x and Quarry 2x. With 5 turns, we get 8 VP or 0.625 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 7 turns for 8 VP or 0.875 turns per VP.

This is actually a great deal but probably not for low Virtue strategy. Or, we have to make sure, we increase the Virtue first and then build it.

Those 2 Virtue lost can mean losing up to 4 VP in the form of Debt Cards, which is equals to losing Virtue at level 14 to 12 or from 4 to 3 or from 5 to 0.

Keep
VP: 12
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 5 Wood, 2 Stone, 2 Gold
Secondary Effect: Lose 2 Virtue
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per 3 Captured Workers (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x, Forest 3x and Quarry 2x. With 8 turns, we get 12 VP or 0.67 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we need 11 turns for 12 VP or 0.917 turns per VP.

This is also not a bad deal assuming we can manage our Virtue very well. Those 2 Virtue can mean losing up to 4 VP.

The main effect is a bit tricky to take advantage of. We can only find out probably the last round after the end game has been triggered.

Sometimes the other player can try to release them. So, it is a bit situational.

Library
VP: 8
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling
Materials: 4 Wood, 2 Stone, 1 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 Gold by discarding one of the Building Cards in hand (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 3x and Quarry 2x for Wood and Stone. For the Marble, we need just 1 more turn to trade the excess stone and wood at King’s Storehouse. With 6 turns, we get 8 VP or 0.75 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 8 turns for 8 VP or 1 turn per VP.

This is also a good one. Assuming we have a card that we can discard, we will get 2 Gold which are worth 2 VP at the end of the game.

Lighthouse
VP: 6
Skills: Tiling
Materials: 3 Wood, 1 Stone, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per 4 Virtue (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x and Quarry 1x for wood and stone. For Marble, we need 1 more turn to the Forest and 1 to King’s Storehouse.

Alternatively, we can just go to Black Market once if we have 3 Silver. With 5 turns, we get 6 VP or 0.833 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 6 VP or 1 turns per VP.

The end game effect is not that great. At most with level 14, we will get like 3 VP. But it is not that hard to control. Even if we fail, we probably just fail to gain like 1 VP.

Considering how easy it is to gain the benefit, this is a good one to build.

Lumber Camp
VP: 3
Skills: none
Materials: 4 Clay, 2 Stone
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 4 Wood (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Quarry 2x. With 4 turns, we get 3 VP or 1.13 turn per VP.

The effect, gaining 4 wood, can be traded into 1 Marble with 1 additional turn.  It is just make things worse as the rate becomes 1.25 turn per VP.

This is definitely a candidate for cards do be discarded for Cathedral.

Mason’s Hut
VP: 5
Skills: none
Materials: 2 Wood, 4 Stone
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per hired Apprentice with Masonry skill (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x and Quarry 3x. With 5 turns, we get 5 VP or 1 turn per VP.

The main effect will give us at most 5 VP, which is also very unlikely to happen. Even if we try, we probably need several more turns just to replace the existing apprentices.

While the rate can be lower but it is probably not worth it. We can always use the same number of turns to do something else.

Maybe this can work if we are at the bottom of the Virtue track, and we can find 4 Apprentice that will increase the Virtue instantly and all with Masonry skills.

Money Lender
VP: 5
Skills: Masonry
Materials: 4 Clay, 2 Wood, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per Paid Debt Card (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x, Forest 2x. With 5 turns, we get 5 VP or 1 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 6 VP or 1 turn per VP.

For the effect, we each paid debt will give us 1 VP. To pay off the debt, we need 6 Silver and maybe 1 Worker to the Guardhouse.

I think this can be a great deal if we play with the low Virtue Strategy and gain a lot of debt cards. Even the instant bonus can help us reaching that.

Monument
VP: 9
Skills: Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 2 Wood, 3 Stone, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Effect: All Players gain 1 Virtue (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x and Quarry 2x for Wood and Stone. For the Marble, we need 2 more turns at either Forest or Quarry and 2 more at King’s Storehouse.

With 8 turns, we get 9 VP or 0.888 turn per VP. Alternatively we can go to Black Market with just 1 turn and gain 2 Marbles instead of 4.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 10 turns for 9 VP or 1.11 turns per VP.

For this, if we can play efficiently, and take advantage of the Black Market, this can be a good deal. Even if we help other players to gain 1 Virtue, we still gain 2 for building this.

Observatory
VP: 7
Skills: Carpentry
Materials: 1 Clay, 3 Wood, 1 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Virtue per 2 Marble that we have (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Forest 2x and Quarry 1x. With 5 turns, we get 7 VP or 0.714 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 7 VP or 0.857 turns per VP.

Oddly, there is no specific mention in the appendix book for Observatory. I assume we get extra 1 Virtue for having 2 Marble without spending the Marble.

That means we already get 2 VP from the Marble and 1 level Virtue which can worth 2 VP. Even if we don’t care about the end game bonus, this is still a good deal.

Palace
VP: 9
Skills: Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 3 Wood, 3 Stone, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Gold per 4 Virtue (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x and Quarry 2x for wood and stone. For Marble, we probably need to 2 turns at either Forest or Quarry and 2 more at King’s Stonehouse. With 8 turns, we get 9 VP or 0.888 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 2 turns. That means we need 10 turns for 9 VP or 1.111 turns per VP.

The building effect can give us up to 3 Gold which is worth 3 VP. With that in mind, I think this can be a great deal if we play very efficiently even if with just 1 Gold or 4 Virtue.

Reservoir
VP: 4
Skills: none
Materials: 6 Clay, 1 Wood
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Virtue per 2 paid debt cards (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Forest 1x. With 4 turns, we get 4 VP or 1 turn per VP.

This can be useful if we try to pursue low Virtue strategy. The more debts we paid the higher the Virtue we get at the end of the game.

That means we can still stay very low and get a lot of debt cards. We just need to make sure that we can figure out how to gain Silver to pay of the debts. There is still a chance that we lose VP because we cannot increase the Virtue.

This is still a decent value, even if we ignore the end game effect. We are probably denying the other players for using that specific strategy.

Silver Market
VP: 6
Skills: Tiling
Materials: 2 Wood, 1 Gold, 1 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP for having the most Silver (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Forest 2xfor Gold and Wood. For Marble, we probably need at least 1 additional turn to Forest and 1 turn at King’s Storehouse.

With 6 turns, we get 6 VP or 1 turn per VP. Alternatively we can also visit the small Black Market and gain 1 Marble and possibly the large one to gain Marble and Gold within 1 additional turn instead of 4. The ratio can be 0.5 turns per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 7 turns for 6 VP or 1.17 turns per VP.

The end game effect is a bit difficult to achieve. Other players can have more than 10 Silver and we can lose the eligibility just by 1 Silver.

Even if we ignore the end game effect, this can be a good deal if we play efficiently. With luck, this can even be a great one.

Smithy
VP: 3
Skills: none
Materials: 2 Wood, 4 Clay
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 4 Stone (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Forest 1x. With 3 turns, we get 3 VP or 1 turn per VP.

That is just a decent rate. We can do it more efficiently if we hire like the Miners.

The bonus from the effect, 4 stone can be traded into 1 Marble or 1 VP. That doesn’t really change the rate.

Steeple
VP: 4
Skills: none
Materials: 2 Wood, 2 Gold
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP for the most contribution on Cathedral. Ties doesn’t count (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Forest 2x. With 5 turns, we get 4 VP or 1.25 turn per VP.

We only get the bonus from the effect if we advance the construction of Cathedral. And only 1 player can have that.

Even if we consider the effect, the rate is not that good. At least, we are preventing the competing players for Cathedral to gain those 2 extra VP.

Stone Market
VP: 7
Skills: Masonry
Materials: 2 Clay, 4 Stone, 1 Marble
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP for having the most Stone (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 1x and Quarry 3x for clay and stone. For Marble, we just need 1 extra turn to King’s Stonehouse and use the excess Stone.

With 5 turns, we get 7 VP or 0.714 turn per VP. The issue is if we can go 3 times in a row to Quarry.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 7 VP or 0.857 turns per VP.

This is not a bad deal, even if we ignore the end game bonus. The problem with this bonus is that we can only get 2 VP while every 3 Stone can become 1 VP.

Unless the other players don’t really have any stone, we can of course get 2 VP with just 1 stone. But that is very unlikely to happen, especially with higher player count.

Tavern
VP: 6
Skills: Carpentry
Materials: 3 Wood, 2 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Hire 1 Apprentice (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Forest 2x and Quarry 2x. With 6 turns, we get 6 VP or 1 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 7 turns for 6 VP or 1.17 turns per VP.

Without the apprentice, that is a decent rate. We can still do it more efficiently from the Black Market, assuming there is one that offers Gold. But that will lower the number of turns just by 1.

The building effect is situational. If there is no good Apprentice, there is no point on building this. We also need to be prepared even before the Apprentice come out.

Thieve’s Den
VP: 8
Skills: Masonry
Materials: 2 Wood, 3 Stone, 1 Clay
Secondary Effect: Lose 2 Virtue
Main Effect: Gain 4 Silver (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 1x, Forest 2x and Quarry 2x. With 5 turns, we get 8 VP or 0.625 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 8 VP or 0.75 turns per VP.

That can be a great deal. The only problem is dealing with the Virtue then. Those 2 Virtue can mean losing 4 VP. Even if that leads to gain debt cards, we can use the Silver to pay some of the debt.

Tiler’s Hut
VP: 5
Skills: none
Materials: 1 Wood, 2 Stone, 2 Clay
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 VP per hired Apprentice with Tiling Skill (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 1x, Forest 1x and Quarry 2x. With 4 turns, we get 5 VP or 0.8 turn per VP.

The problem is that the effect doesn’t really give a lot of benefit. We can only get up to 5 VP assuming all of the Apprentice has this skill.

Even if we ignore that, this is still a great deal.

Trading Post
VP: 7
Skills: Masonry
Materials: 1 Wood, 3 Stone, 2 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Virtue for having 4 resources, either stone, wood or clay in any combination (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x, Forest 1x and Quarry 2x. With 6 turns, we get 7 VP or 0.857 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 7 turns for 7 VP or 1 turn per VP.

This can be a good rate but the effect is not that great. We can get a better deal if we trade them at King’s Storehouse. This is just to take advantage of the left over that we don’t enough turns to trade them.

Maybe if we play efficiently without any left over resource, this will be less useful. Still, that extra virtue can mean 1 or 2 VP.

Treasury
VP: 6
Skills: Tiling
Materials: 1 Wood, 3 Stone, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 1 Gold or 3 Silver (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Forest 1x and Quarry 2x. With 5 turns, we get 6 VP or 0.833 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 6 VP or 1 turns per VP.

This can actually be a good deal. If we take advantage of the Black Market, we can even spend less number of turns.

We still get 1 Gold which is worth 1 VP or the 3 Silver can be useful to cover the Black Market.

University
VP: 11
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 4 Clay, 2 Wood, 3 Stone, 2 Marble
Secondary Effect: Gain 1 Virtue.
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP if we have no unpaid debts (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x, Forest 2x and Quarry 2x for clay, wood and stone. For Marble, we probably need 2 more turns at either Quarry or Forest, and 2 more at King’s Storehouse.

With 10 turns, we get 11 VP or 0.91 turn per VP. We can still do it more efficiently at Black Market when one of them offer 2 Marbles. Instead of 4 additional turns we can get it just 1 turn, assuming we have the Silver and Virtue.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turn. That means we need 13 turns for 11 VP or 1.18 turns per VP.

If we do consider the end game effect, this can really give a great rate. Otherwise, we still need to play efficiently to make it worth.

Watchtower
VP: 11
Skills: Carpentry + Tiling + Masonry
Materials: 4 Clay, 4 Wood, 1 Gold, 1 Marble
Secondary Effect: Lose 1 Virtue
Main Effect: All players with 3 or more workers in prison lose 1 Virtue (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 3x and Forest 3x for clay, wood and gold. For Marble, we need 1 more turn at Forest and 1 at King’s Storehouse.

With 8 turns, we get 11 VP or 0.73 turn per VP. It is possible to be more efficient using Black Market but the difference is just 1 turn.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 3 turns. That means we need 11 turns for 11 VP or 1 turn per VP.

We need to build this one at the right time or lose 1 more Virtue. That 2 virtue can mean 4 VP. It really matters if we play with low Virtue strategy.

Otherwise, this can be a great deal.

Well
VP: 3
Skills: none
Materials: 2 Wood, 2 Stone
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 4 Clay (Immediate).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Forest 2x and Quarry 2x. With 4 turns, we get 3 VP or 1.13 turn per VP.

Those 4 Clays can give us 2 Virtue in general which can worth not losing 4 VP. Still, that will take 2 additional turns to trade at King’s Storehouse.

In general, this is not that good but in certain situation, this can be helpful. Like if we hire one of the Trader or Merchants.

Wood Market
VP: 7
Skills: Carpentry
Materials: 4 Wood, 2 Clay, 1 Gold
Secondary Effect: none
Main Effect: Gain 2 VP for having the most wood (End Game).

To gain the required resources from basic route, we need to send workers to Mines 2x and Forest 3x. With 5 turns, we get 7 VP or 0.714 turn per VP.

If we include the extra turn to hire Apprentices for their skill, we need additional 1 turn. That means we need 6 turns for 7 VP or 0.857 turns per VP.

Even if we ignore the end game bonus, this is still a great deal. We can actually gain 2 VP with 6 Wood at King’s Storehouse maybe less with some Apprentices.

It can take a lot more than 6 wood to make sure we get those 2 VP, especially with higher player count.

AI / Bot Deck

This is the last component with big size card from Architects of the West Kingdom game. It is a deck solely for the bot / AI / dummy/ virtual player.

The Bot will play almost like another human player that we can play against in the solo or 3rd player in 2 player mode. This deck consists of 20 Scheme cards, 10 Future Scheme cards and 2 Reference Cards.

Both Scheme cards and Future Scheme cards will have the same back of cards, with yellow background and 2 characters. These 2 characters, one male and one female is the AI, named, Constantine and Helena.

Both of them will use the same deck with the same gameplay. The difference is just how they score.

As some can probably guess, the way the AI works is that, each turn, we will flip one card from the face down Scheme deck and it will tell us where the AI will place their workers.

The action at each location will be a bit different than the how the regular player will do. However, it still use the same idea like Capturing or Hiring Apprentice.

They will not collect resources or Silver other than Marbles. The AI will still contribute to Cathedral construction but not the regular building.

This dummy player will start with the 20 shuffled Scheme cards. As the game progress, we will add one of the Future scheme cards randomly to the deck.

That way, what they will do will be a bit unpredictable.

From what I understand, the rule didn’t specify that we are not allowed to check the discard pile of the Scheme cards.  By knowing what cards have come out and what remains will definitely help us beat the bot.

Bot Reference Cards

The game will come with 2 reference cards regarding the dummy player. One is for the Solo mode and the other is for the 2 player mode.

These 2 cards are double sided. One is for the setup and the other side will tell how the AI will play.

Basically, if we add the AI to the 2 player mode, we still use the same rule as the bot for the solo with just a small tweaks.

Also, the card will tell us the setup if we play as the standard character without the variable player power setup. Here are what we can find from both cards.

Setup
Solo: 7 Virtue, 3 Silver. Draw 5 Building Cards, keep 3, discard 2. 5 Rewards in Cathedral and the game will end after 12 constructions.
2P: 1st player starts with 7 Virtue, 3 Silver, 2nd player starts with 7 Virtue, 4 Silver. Draft building cards in the same manner as a standard 2 player game. 7 rewards in Cathedral and the game will end after 16 constructions.
Bot: 7 Virtue, no Silver, No Building Cards. Bot become the second in solo and third in 2P turn order.

The main difference is between solo and 2P for the bot is the CAPTURING. In solo mode, the bot will only capture one group of worker in one location.

For the 2P, the bot will capture the most workers of both players with a single action.

There are several info that they don’t include on the card for the Bot that we can find on the Appendix book. If we only read the card, we will probably have some questions.

One. We have to remove all 4 Resource Market Building Cards from the deck. This is just for the solo mode.

Two. Bot can always visit the Black Market or work on Cathedral regardless of their Virtue.

Three. Bot will not need Building Cards or resources when advancing on the Cathedral.

Four. Bot can still gain Debt Cards. They can also pay off the debt or destroy the debt.

Five. Bot will never capture their own workers. That is even they send workers to Town Center and cannot capture any workers from human players.

Six. After 12 or 15 constructions, we will still get 1 additional turn for all players including the bot before scoring.

Seven. For the scoring, the bot will score almost the same as human player. In addition to standard scoring, they will also score 1 VP or 3 VP for each of their workers in Guildhall. We can actually find out this from the Bot’s player board.

Because of this, I still have to check the Appendix everytime I play against the Bot. They could have add one more card for these. I still think there are a couple more things that needs further clarification, even after the appendix.

Starting Scheme Cards

These are the 20 Scheme cards with a brown header at the top on the front side of each card. The Bot will start with this deck randomly.

That means, we can actually predict their first 20 turns. The added Future Scheme cards will not come out before the deck runs out of cards.

We don’t know the exact order but we know their numbers for each location.

Each of these cards has the name of location at the top of the card. This will tell us where to put the workers.

At the bottom part of the card, the card will tell us how to resolve the action. The bot may gain Marbles, add Silver to Tax Stand, Capture, gain or lose Virtue etc.

Some of the cards may also instruct us to add the Future Scheme cards to the deck. Several cards will have several options that we can resolve conditionally.

That can be just one action or multiple depending on the number of Workers on the location. Some may have step by step actions in certain order.

Here are details of each cards.

Black Market (2 Cards). These will allow the Bot to occupy the Black Market one spot for each. From these the bot will get 3 Marbles worth 3 VP at the end of the game.

Based on these cards, the Bot will always try to occupy the Large Black Market spot to gain 2 Marbles and lose 1 Virtue. If we occupy that spot first, they will then go to the second one in the middle.

This will allow the bot to lose 1 Virtue but gain 1 Future Scheme card to the deck. If this is also occupied, then the Bot will try to take the Small Black Market spot which they will gain 1 Marble and lose 1 Virtue.

As per regular rule, once all 3 spots were occupied, we need to resolve the Black Market reset.

With all of that, we can easily prevent the Bot to gain at least the 2 Marbles. We can let them get the other two that may give them 1 Debt cards but I find it very useless.

Unless we prevent them on King’s Storehouse, they will always be able to destroy any debt cards. With this strategy, we also need to be aware of having too many workers in prison. Also, make sure to have enough Silver.

Guildhall (2 cards). These will allow the Bot to advance on Cathedral track. By doing so, they will gain 1 Virtue and remove one of the Reward Cards.

If the bot manage to reach the top or unable because the human players block them, the Bot will instead gain 1 Marble. In solo mode, I find it almost impossible to block the bot at all.

While Marble is just 1 point for them but that 1 Worker on Guildhall is another VP. Constantine will only gain 1 VP per worker but Helena will take 3 VP.

This is the only difference between the standard or hard bot. If we really want to beat Helena, we need to figure out how to have more workers at Guildhall.

Because there is only 2 cards, we know for sure that the bot will not trigger the end game in the first 20 turns.

Guardhouse (3 Cards). This one will have a multiplying effect but for the number of action. For every worker the AI has at Guardhouse, they will trigger one action.

First, they will always try to release their own worker. The bot will skip this if they have no worker in prison.

Second, they will send all captured workers to prison and gain 1 Marble. The bot will skip this if they have no captured workers.

Third, they will pay tax and release all of their captured workers from players. Obviously the bot needs to have at least 1 of their worker captured.

Fourth, they will pay tax to destroy debt card and gain 1 Virtue. The bot needs to have 1 debt card at least to activate this. They will only gain Virtue if they have debt card to destroy.

If the bot doesn’t meet any criteria in this, the bot simply pay 2 Silver to the Tax Stand (third action). With more workers, they can activate this 3rd action multiple times.

So, this is, really a way to increase the Silver at the Tax Stand if we plan and execute carefully.  We can also prevent them to gain 1 Marble by paying off with silver, possibly using the Silver we stole from the Tax Stand.

It will be useless if we capture their worker and before we can send their workers to prison, they activate the Guardhouse. We will not gain any silver if that happens.

On the other hand, Guardhouse is also the way to help the bot to keep having Workers. The reason why we want to do it is because everytime they run out of Workers, we have to shuffle all of the Scheme cards back to the deck.

It will be more difficult later to predict their cards. Mostly because by that time, there will be Future Scheme cards included.

King’s Storehouse (4 cards). This will allow the bot to increase the Virtue, with the multiplying effect based on the number of workers.

If we allow the bot to have all 4 workers, the Bot can easily gain 10 Virtue. This is how the bot will very likely to never have any Debt Cards.

Even if we try to cut them every worker at King’s Storehouse, they will still get 4 Virtue.

Tax Stand (2 cards). This will remove all Silver at Tax Stand to the supply. The bot will then lose 2 Virtue and gain 1 Marble.

I assume that even if there is no Silver at tax stand, they will still occupy and activate the action.

Town Center (5 cards). This location has the most cards for bot and possibly the most annoying one. The bot will have to pay tax 1 Silver for each card and there will be no multiplying effect.

All of these cards are identical. So the order of the tie breaker is the same. That means, we can probably build up workers starting from the location at the top on the list then proceed to the bottom. This way, we know for sure which location the bot will capture.

If the Bot cannot capture anybody, I assume we still place their worker at Town Center and pay the Tax from the supply.

Notice that Bot will not capture our worker at Tax Stand. We can try to take advantage of that.

Because there are 5 cards, it is not rare when these same cards came out in a row. But once we know that the bot has spent all of the cards to capture, we don’t have to worry anymore.

While diversifying is probably a good idea but I do feel like sometimes it’s better to just accumulate at one location. There are three reasons.

One, of course, the multiplying effect. Two, the bot will only get 1 Marble, regardless of how many workers they send to prison.

Because of that, why not let them take as many as possible. That way, if the bot visit Guardhouse, we can release more workers.

Three, there is also a chance that the bot will not go to Guardhouse for a long time. Or, the 3 Guardhouse cards come out in a row. Which is why, we probably want to let them get as many workers as they can with just one capture.

With all of that in mind, we really need to play the game strategically. We have to know which resources we need and try to get as many as we can in a row.

Workshop (2 cards). This is the only location with non identical cards. These 2 will allow bot to send workers to Workshop. The bot will need to pay 2 Silver as tax and that will remove one of the Apprentice in the first column.

One card is for the top row and the other is for the second row. There is also a next step that we need to resolve. We have to add a Future Scheme cards.

What these cards tell us is that we don’t have to worry about not hiring some Apprentice. The bot will only remove twice in their first 20 turns and always just the first column. It is very easy to mitigate.

On the other hand, that also means, the available Apprentice may not change that much. We can get stuck with bad cards and we are the one that can cycle the card faster.

Future Scheme Cards

These 10 cards are similar to the Scheme cards. The difference is the header color.

This one has gray. Some are almost identical but there are others that give slightly better or worse benefit to the bot.

As mentioned before, that some of the 20 Scheme cards will instruct us when to add new cards from Future scheme deck to the discard pile.

It is either the Black Market or the Workshops. That means after 20 turns, we will add up to 3 new cards to the Scheme deck.

The new one will not come out unless the first deck has run out of cards or the bot has run out of workers.

That way, after the first 20 cards, it is more difficult to predict their action. We don’t really know which card will be added to the deck.

Black Market (1 card). That means the total is 3. This one is identical to the Starting Scheme Card.

Guardhouse (1 card). This is also identical and the total is 4.

Guildhall (5 cards). This one is a bit different. The bot will not gain anything other than placing one worker at Guildhall. That still means that the bot will score 1 or 3 VP and become another timer.

King’s Storehouse (1 card). This is also slightly different. If we draw this card, the bot will not just increase their Virtue per worker but also gain 1 Marble.

The marble is not a big deal. However, the multiplying effect will definitely allow the bot to reach from the bottom to the top of Virtue track. In VP terms, from -7 points to 9 points is a huge jump.

Town Center (1 card). This is also a bit different than the starting scheme card with the same location. The bot will still pay 1 coin but will take Workers from 2 locations. The order for tie breaker remains the same.

None of the cards explains how it works in 2P mode. I assume the bot will take 2 groups from each player.

Workshop (1 card). This is also slightly different. Instead of removing just 1 Apprentice from the first column, we will remove both.

The bot still only pay 2 Silver and if possible add 1 Future Scheme card.

Player Board

The game will come with 5 horizontal Player Boards. They are more of a playmat like cards but with bigger size. The size is about 20.9 x 12.6 cm.

Each player board will have a unique character that we can choose. The purpose of the board is to store all of the workers, captured workers and probably the resources.

My biggest issue is that this game use a lot of different resource types. The board can become very messy and as I mentioned about the Wood stone, they can get buried among other resources.

Maybe the best way is to place the resources outside the board. But that means, it will take more table space per player.

The boards are also double sided. One side, with a unique color for each character will use a standard setup. The other side with gray background will have a unique variable setup that will be different between these characters.

These characters will start with different amount of resources and Virtue level. Also, they will have one unique power that the other character will not have.

So, this will introduce a variable player power to the game. Even solo player can start with different character and get different experience.

As we can see, the board will have a giant illustration of the character on the right side. We can see their name on the left.

The top left corner of the board will have a spot dedicated to place the captured workers. The size is about 4.3 x 5.5 cm which can hold up to 30 workers if we place them standing.

Not that we really need to place them just in that box. Since all the workers come with different colors between players, we can definitely just place them anywhere on the board. However, it will help to inform the other player.

At the bottom part on either side, we can see a lot of different icons on each board. These are for the scoring phase.

They will help to remind us how to gain or lose some VP at the end of the game. These scoring system works the same for either side and for all characters.

On the unique side, we can see more icons at the top right corner of the board. This will tell us the number of workers in prison, the starting amount for Silver and Virtue and more icons about resources.

In addition to that, we can also find the character’s unique power which we can find right above the scoring conditions in the middle of the board. We can find some icons there.

My issue with this is sometimes, when I have a lot of resources, these icons in the middle can get buried as well. It’s easier to forget that we have those unique power. I think they could have placed those icons beside the character’s head or near the name and box for captured workers.

Another issue is that the rule doesn’t come up with suggestion regarding where to place the debt cards. While it feels like we have a lot of empty space, it can get messy right away.

Sometimes, even the character’s illustration gets in the way. Of course we can always place the resources on them but it still feels crowded.

Also, it is recommended to use workers and markers with different color than the player board. It is easier to play that way.

If one player use the variable side, it’s recommended that all players should use them as well. The game suggests the character with the highest virtue as the starting player, followed by the next player in turn order.

With this side, players will not gain additional Silver based on turn order. Both the solo and 2P mode vs bot can also use this side.

I feel like in multiplayer, using these different player power can make this game very cutthroat because each of them can have a very specific way to win. Other players can try to block them out from that specific path and possibly win the game.

However, the different starting condition is a good one for solo mode. We probably want to have more of this player boards. Some people recommends to look for promos or expansion that offers more player boards.

Character Details

Ada (Pink)
Prison: No Worker
Silver: 0
Virtue: 11
Resources: 1 additional Building Card (after initial draft) + 1 Gold
Power: Pay 1 less Silver for Tax on all actions.

Ada has the highest starting Virtue so she will always go first. The problem is, she doesn’t really have anything else other than more cards.

Sure, with that 1 Gold, she can immediately advance on Cathedral. That is assuming she has a bad building card to discard. We also still don’t know what she will get from the Reward card.

With 11 Virtue, she needs to lose 2 level before she can take action at the Black Market. So, I guess, she can just go straight to Tax Stand and get those 4 Silver. She probably needs to wait for the Black market to reset.

I guess the best power of Ada is that she can immediately capture workers for free. It can be annoying to other players but that is the way she can build up some Silver. At least, she can take back her own workers for free.

I’m not sure about her ignoring Tax at other location will give a great benefit. It is cheaper for her to hire, pay debts and release captured workers. But all of them are very situational and still require a lot of Silver.

Caroline (Green)
Prison: 8 Workers
Silver: 10 Silver
Virtue: 3
Resources: 1 unpaid Debt + 1 Marble
Power: Gain 1 Building Card each time she takes an action at Black Market.

Caroline starts with the lowest Virtue and the most Workers in prison. She is the closest one to pursue the low virtue strategy.

If we cannot maintain the Virtue level, it is very easy for her to keep getting debt cards. The goal is to get a lot of debt cards and pay all of them. Hopefully she can build like university and Reservoir.

On the other hand, she also starts with the most Silver. She definitely needs to take advantage on hiring. Mostly Apprentice that lets give benefit at Tax Stand and Black Market like Trickster, Swindler, Thief or Pickpocket.

She already at low virtue. We should just forget about the Cathedral and keep visiting the Black Market. That will also give her a Building Card so, it is easier for her to find a good building. However, it is also very easy to get blocked by not letting the players occupy the Black Market.

Maybe try to build buildings that don’t require any clay because she cannot get them from Black Market. If she can build like Well and get free Clay, she can use it for maintaining the Virtue.

With all of the debt cards, Caroline will regularly visit the Guardhouse. Maybe trying to capture workers is a good idea so she can use the Silver she gets to pay the debt.

Frederick (Red)
Prison: No Worker
Silver: 4 Silver
Virtue: 7
Resources: 1 Stone
Power: Doesn’t need to discard a Building Card when advancing work on Cathedral.

Frederick has the biggest advantage if he wants to pursue the Cathedral strategy. With his power, he only need to find a way to gain resources.

The starting Virtue is 7. That means he still has 3 before he is not allowed to work on Cathedral. So, he can still go to Black Market and gain the large resources.

Everytime he works on Cathedral he can get back 1 Virtue at least. He definitely needs to maintain the Virtue. Hiring Illusionist or Thief can be a great benefit for him.

A combination of Mines and King’s Storehouse can help him gain Gold for Cathedral and Clay for Virtue. With the right Trader, those Clays can be Marble.

Hiring Acolyte is also not bad especially to gain Clay or Silver. I guess he has to visit Silversmith and Tax Stand a lot for those hiring.

His power is always active. Some may say that the power doesn’t offer anything in long term. However, I think we can take advantage of that in the end of the game.

Even if we fail to reach the top of the Cathedral, his power already make him more efficient with less visit to Workshop just to get building cards.

Rudolf (Yellow)
Prison: No Worker
Silver: 3 Silver
Virtue: 9
Resources: 1 Wood
Power: Pay 1 less Silver (not tax) when hiring Apprentices in the Workshop and may hire up to 6 Apprentices.

I feel like Rudolf may not work very well with lower player count. While it is easier for him to hire Apprentice, but it doesn’t mean the available ones are good.

With low player count the Apprentice market become more static. We have to be the one to trigger the change by hiring.

The cost is cheaper but if we have to do more and more hiring, the cost can still add up without getting any real benefit.

With 3 Silver as the start, Rudolf can definitely hire someone right away but only from the first column. The real advantage from Rudolf is probably having a sixth Apprentice.

But even for that, we need to hire someone with long term abilities. Player who play Rudolf really needs to figure out first their overall strategy.

Only then, they need to hire the right Apprentices. Since he still needs Silver to pay the hiring cost, he needs to hire like the Jeweller, maybe Conspirator for cheaper capturing.

Therese (Blue)
Prison: 4 Workers
Silver: 5 Silver
Virtue: 5
Resources: 1 additional Building Card (after initial draft)
Power: Treats Marble and Gold as the same resource for all intents and purposes.

Therese has the lowest starting Virtue. She can definitely take advantage of the low virtue strategy. With 5 Virtue at the start, she cannot contribute immediately on Cathedral and ignore 1 Silver for tax.

That means, we can spend the first couple of turns at Black Market as well. With 5 starting Silver, she can definitely afford the Large one.

The problem is other players are going to start first. With the exception for Ada, other characters can occupy the Black Market before Therese.

Her power to treat marble and gold as the same resource means it is easier for her to build buildings and advance on Cathedral later. If she can hire Pickpocket, she can get a lot of Gold for a lot of purposes.

Even going to Mines and gain Gold is already cheaper than trying to trade resources into Marbles at King’s Storehouse. Some of the buildings can become very cheaper since she only needs less number of turns.

That can make her a target of capturing, though if she keeps going to Mines.  She needs to hire that merchant that accept 2 Silver to 1 Gold. We can get 5 VP instead of 1 VP with 10 Silver.

We just need to figure out how to pay off debt cards. Money Lender and Reservoir building will be very helpful with those paid debts.

She also got 4 Building cards at the start but we don’t know for sure what that would be. Those 4 workers in prison is also not really bad.

Unless ,of course, everybody is trying to occupy the 3 Black Market spot right away. She will definitely lose Virtue and gain debt cards, except against Caroline.

AI/ Bot Board

This is similar to the Player Board but specifically just for the AI or Bot. This one sheet is included in the same plastic bag as the player boards.

One side will have a male character, known as Constantine and the other side, a female named Helena. Both of them work the same as the AI.

The only difference is how they score points from their Workers at Guildhall. Constantine will gain 1 VP per worker while Helena will gain 3 VP. Which is why Helena is considered as the hard mode Bot.

Other than their illustrations, all of the icons are the same, except, of course, the last scoring category. In the middle of the board, both of them have two icons, the black market icon and Cathedral icon which both icons have a cross symbol.

This means that regardless of the Virtue level, the Bot can always go to Black Market or advance the work on Cathedral.

Technically, it doesn’t matter which side we use. We still play the same game and we can compare score to both Bot at the end of the game.

However, I feel like the overall strategy will be different whether we just want to play the Standard or the hard mode. So, if we try to just play ignoring which bot we are competing against, and compare score to both, most of the time we can win against Constantine but lose to Helena.

I feel like we need different approach for both. If we want to beat Helena, we definitely need to figure out how to build more buildings so she can occupy less spots at Guildhall.

With that in mind, we should use the corresponding side of the board to remind us that we need to pursue different strategy.

Main Board

Finally, we reach the final component of Architects of the West Kingdom game, the Main Board. This is what makes this game a board game and a Worker Placement game.

The Main Board is very big and if it is folded, it will occupy the same footprint as the base box with a total thickness of 1.5 cm. When we unfold the board, it will take about an area of 42 cm x 63 cm.

As part of the general area that all players will use, we still need more table space for resources supply and several decks of cards. That is before the table space for each player.

In this game, we only use one side of this big board. So, the other side is just black with no art.

My friend’s copy actually has some issue with the top layer of the board. It seems that he didn’t know that before and must have happened after a while since the last time he played.

Somebody said on the forum that there are several lines of bubble underneath it so they kind of push the layer outward and leave some marks. He also said that he had the same experience, contacted Renegade Game Studios and got replacement for free.

I already contacted them and at this point of writing, I’m still waiting for the shipping. They didn’t charge any fee like shipping, even though I leave in the other side of the world.

Update: It took several months but I got the replacement without paying any fee. Shout out to Renegade, publisher for sending it.

Personally, I’m not a fan with the art of this game, especially the board. For one, the color is a bit gloomy. Secondly, it seems like the art was meant for smaller size not the big board like this.

It is not very pleasant to look at the details like people on the board. We can still tell what they are from afar but it is a bit weird to look at them closely.

In this Worker Placement game, players will be placing their Worker on some parts of this board in order to take the action or gain the benefit. So, the board has some locations or worker placement spots that can give different benefit.

The benefit are mostly for getting certain resources or cards. For the action, we can trade resources, capture and release workers, pay debt and taxes that can lead to getting Victory Points to win the game.

The board also serves different purposes like a tracker for the Virtue and timer for the game. There are also some spaces for decks of cards on the board and a market for Apprentice cards.

Unlike standard worker placement games, Architects of the West Kingdom has some twists for the rule that can affect the benefit. It is the idea of multiplication.

The more workers we place on one spot can multiply the benefit. If we place 1 worker on that spot, we can get 1 or the base amount of that resource. The next time we place a second worker on that same spot, we can get double or higher of that base amount.

For locations that allow us to activate action, the more workers we have, the more actions we can take on a single turn. These locations are called a LARGE OPEN CIRCLE.

Any player can place any number of workers there. The circle is about 4.5 cm long, partially cut at the top left corner.

An exception is the Tax Stand. The benefit or resources can increase as the game progress and players can gain all of the benefit with just one Worker. The location can be occupied with any number of workers.

With the idea of unlimited worker space, players don’t have to worry about getting blocked by other players because they didn’t occupy the location first.  This way, the game doesn’t have rounds, players just keep taking turns placing one worker until the end game has been triggered.

As the result, the designer introduced the idea of players capturing other player’s worker. This is to stop the targeted player to keep placing workers just on one spot. Another advantage of this idea is encourage players to diversify where they want to put their workers.

There are some locations where they use the standard rule where it can only be occupied by one worker at a time. These are called the SMALL OPEN CIRCLE, which is about 1.5 cm long.

This is mostly just the Black Market. Capturing doesn’t apply for this. However, once all of the spot has been taken, it will trigger a reset.

The last type of location is the Guildhall. If player place their worker there, the workers will not return to the player for the rest of the game. While they can get additional one time resources as a bonus but the player will then have less number of workers.

Understanding how each different location works and the consequences can definitely help us to win the game.

Virtue Track

If we look at the left end of the board, we can find a series of ascending numbers from 0 to 14 with purple color. These are the Virtue Tracker and players will be placing one of their markers according to their Virtue level.

For the standard setup, all players will start with 7 Virtue. Over the course of the game they may lose or gain some virtue. Being in certain level of Virtue allows players to access some feature or forbid them to access some others.

Once we have reached level 10, we can see there is a sign of a black bag with a cross on it. This represents that we have a descent noble status and should not be associated with bad deeds.

What it means is that we can no longer access the Black Market feature and gain benefit from there. Only after we lose below 10 Virtue we can get the access back.

As a bonus at the end of the game,  we can get additional victory points if we can maintain our Virtue from 10 up to 14. But that is just one time thing at the end. The highest extra points is just 7 VP.

If we play mostly just staying at the top, we may not do very well for other scoring aspect of the game. Once we have reached the top Virtue, we cannot get more than 14.

Instead, the game allows us to gain one benefit per excess level. For each level, we may destroy one debt card, not pay. So, it is possible not to pay any debt cards at all and focus on increasing our virtue hopefully to reach that point.

The question is, do we still have enough time to do so? If we fail, every unpaid debts will take 2 VP from us.

On the other hand, we can also go very low and it may even give more benefit for long term. Once we have reached a virtue level as low as 5, we will start losing VP. We can lose -1 at level 5 and down to -9 at level 0.

But remember, that is just at the endgame scoring. As long as we can increase our Virtue before that happen, we can avoid losing too many VP.

There is another disadvantage for having too low on Virtue. Once we have reached level 4 and below, we can no longer contribute on Cathedral construction.

This is actually not a big deal. The only thing we are losing is the chance to be on the top of the track of Cathedral, getting lesser VP than our competition. We still need to have the required resources in order to advance the construction.

So, it is not a guarantee and the benefit is just up to 8 points at the end. It’s not that we cannot contribute at all for the rest of the game. We just need to increase the Virtue first to level 5 at least.

Sure, we may lose the chance to get extra resources from Reward cards but it is not a big deal.

Other than having access to Black Market, staying at low virtue will give us free 1 Silver when paying taxes. If we go as low as level 3, we can see an icon of red Coins with a cross. That represents we can ignore 1 Silver from the required tax.

If we can even go lower to level 1 Virtue, we can even ignore 2 Silver. This is a huge thing. We pay less when hiring Apprentice, paying off debts or releasing captured workers and even capture workers for free.

So, if we can plan carefully, we can stay very low, take advantage of these tax free bonus, and prepare towards the end to increase our Virtue.

Still, there is a risk.

Once we reached level 0, everytime we lose 1 Virtue, we will instead get a debt card. We need to figure out how to pay them off or at the end of the game, we will lose 2 VP per unpaid debt cards.

On the other hand, everytime we pay off a debt card, we will gain 1 Virtue. So, it also gives an opportunity to increase the virtue later.

We just need to figure out how to gain enough Silver to pay those debts.

For how we use the Virtue track itself, my issue is that with more players, we probably have to stack markers if all players are at the same Virtue level. This can be annoying if we play while our Virtue fluctuate a lot.

Sometimes we also need to keep checking our Virtue. There were times when I forgot that I had very low Virtue and yet I advance on the Cathedral. For that, I had to undo my action.

The same goes with the tax discount. Sometimes I just forgot that I don’t need to pay that much. It is not a big deal though.

I also recommend not to place the board at the end of the table. There was a time when I knocked one marker off the table and I forgot where it was on the track.

Guildhall and Timer

The next part of the board is the Guildhall, which is at the top left corner part of the board. Here we can see 24 worker shape slots in 6 columns and 4 rows.

Right below the word Guildhall, we can see two icons which both icons have hammer symbols on them. The green one represents the Building card and the orange one represent the Cathedral.

What that means is, everytime we want to construct a building from Building Card or advance the construction of Cathedral. we have to place one of our Worker on this Guildhall track.

Thematically, this is like the hall of fame of Architects. Or we can also consider it as a human sacrifice. The reason is because once we place the worker, here, we can no longer use that worker for the rest of the game.

So, we might think we are doing better by making any construction. The reality is that we will play less efficiently since we have less workers.

Which is why, it is not a bad strategy to hold on building anything and just keep getting resources and only build toward the end of the game. The reason why we want to build something is probably to gain the immediate effect from those buildings which is mostly just one time action or resources.

Maybe another way to look at it is how the game discourage players to just run and turn this into just racing game. We also need to remember that the capturing mechanism by other player is also a way to limit our efficiency. It will be more difficult to do any action with just small number of workers.

The Guildhall track also serves another purpose. They will become a timer for 2 things. One is when to trigger the Black Market reset and the other is to trigger the end of the game.

The Black Market reset will only happen twice because of this track. They will happen when any player place their worker on the first spot of the third and fourth row. We can see an icon of black bag with recycling symbol on it that represent the reset.

For triggering the end game, after all of the spots have been occupied by any workers, that will trigger the end of the game. However, depending on the number of players, we will only use less number of spots with less player.

Solo or 2 Players: 12 Workers
3 Players: 16 Workers
4 Players: 20 Workers
5 Players: 24 Workers

As we can see from the board, the workers spot from the three right most column will remind us the number of players like “+3”, “+4” or “+5”. We will not be using those spots with lower player count.

That means, the number of players will also affect when the Black Market reset will be triggered. With 2 players, the reset will happen at 7th construction  while for 5 players, it will happen at 13th.

With that idea, the game will encourage player to pay attention on other player’s progress. We have our own plan but the other players can be the one to trigger the reset or the end game.

Especially the reset since we don’t want to gain any penalty like losing Virtue or gaining debt cards. If we play strategically and only build at the end of the game, we might want to recalculate our strategy. We might not have enough turns to build.

Using this idea, there will be some escalating tension towards the end of the game. Maybe all players will try to build as many as they can and suddenly just trigger the end game.

Usually that will happen when we have reached the fourth row of the track.

In the SOLO MODE and 2P vs BOT MODE, the Guildhall track serves one more purpose. The Bot will gain VP based on the number of their Workers at Guildhall.

So, the more we let the bot build, the more points they get.

As for the art, thematically, this should be one of the most important building. However, I feel like the graphic design kind of gets in the way. Even if they don’t, the art is not that appealing.

Cathedral Track

Right next to the Guildhall track is the Cathedral track that has an illustration of unfinished Cathedral construction.  On the foreground of the art, we can see a lot of icons there.

The Cathedral has 5 stages of construction, represented by the 5 rows. Each row require a combination of several resources which always include 1 Building Card. I guess thematically, that means it require a blueprint or such, even though which building card doesn’t really matter.

In this game, each player will place one of their marker on the track start with below the first stage. Everytime a player has the required resources and decide to advance the construction, they can move their marker and place on one of the available square spots for that level.

Notice that at the 1st stage, there is only 3 available squares and the top stage will only have 1 square. This introduce another racing mechanism for this specific feature.

What that means is, only up to three players can work on the same 1st stage. Unless those players progress to the next one, the other player cannot even progress to the previous stage. They need to wait even though they have the right resources.

It is possible that those first 3 players decide to stay on that stage blocking the other 2 players to make any progress at all. However, at the top, there is only one available spot and this is not a cooperative game.

One of the 3 first players can have their own plan to get to the top. If all players decide to compete on building Cathedral, one player will get 20 VP, 2 players will get 12 VP and the rest can only get up to 7 points.

There is no obligation to participate on this racing game at all. With the possibility of players blocking each other, it is not a bad strategy to just build regular buildings and ignore the Cathedral. We can even still build them later and gain 7 VP.

Also, we need to remember that in order to participate in Cathedral construction, the player needs to have at least  5 Virtue. So, it is possible that we don’t pursue the Cathedral because we just can’t at the moment.

We may not pursue the Cathedral as our main strategy but we should not just ignore it completely. Who knows? Maybe we have enough left over resources to build just one or 2 stages.

We may only get 4 VP at the end but we still get 2 Virtue for doing so. That can worth up to another 4 VP.

The idea of player blocking each other on this Cathedral track will be less interesting with lower player count. While the blocking can still happen at the top but at the bottom, the available spots remain the same regardless of the number of players.

In SOLO MODE or 2P VS BOT mode, the Bot will also try to occupy those slot and therefore can block the player.

From Apprentice, only ACOLYTE will give extra benefit everytime we advance the Cathedral Construction.

Here is the reward and requirement for each construction stage of Cathedral.

1st Stage: 2 VP, 1 Building Card + 1 Gold.
2nd Stage: 4 VP, 1 Building Card + 4 of Stone /  Wood or any combination of those two.
3rd Stage: 7 VP, 1 Building Card + 1 Marble.
4th Stage: 12 VP, 1 Building Card + 8 of Stone / Wood in any combination of those two.
5th Stage: 20 VP, 1 Building Card + 2 Gold + 2 Marble.

At most, being at the top of Cathedral will give us 20 VP with a total of 3 Marbles, 3 Gold, 5 Building Cards and 12 resources of Stone or Wood. If we go regular way to gain those resources, we need like 16 turns.

Those 16 turns already includes the multiplying effect for the resources. That means 16 turns for 20 VP or 0.8 turns per VP. Compared to the regular buildings, that is not a bad deal.

There are still a lot of chance to play more efficiently like resources from Black Market or any bonus from Apprentices. But that is if we really plan it very well to get to the top.

If we end up just a couple of the first stages, the ratio between number of turns per VP is between 2 turns per VP to 12 turns per 12 VP. Only if we can get to the top then it become worth it.

Cathedral Reward

On the right side of the Cathedral illustration, we can see an arrow pointing to a box with an open scroll. This is where we will be placing the REWARD CARDS.

What it means is that everytime we advance the construction, we get to draw one card from this face down deck and get the reward. As mentioned before, the reward cards will always at least give us 1 Virtue with up to 3 more resources.

Depending on the number of players, we will only use all 11 Reward cards if we play it with 5 players. The formula is always just 2 cards per player plus 1.

The first player to go on top of the Cathedral track will gain up to 5 of the Reward cards or almost half of them. Then, the 2nd and 3rd can get just up to 4, while 4th and 5th can get up to 3.

That means, some of the players will not get the rewards from cards. As we can see, the Board suggests that we will still get 1 Virtue once all of the cards have been taken.

It doesn’t mean that the 1st or 2nd or 3rd player will always get the reward from the card. Maybe one player can go to the top just after the reward has been taken.

That is how the game still encourage players to race to the top. However, I think the reward is not that worth it. Moreover, we don’t know what we will get.

As mentioned before, we can still at least gain 1 Virtue which is can worth up to 2 VP.

Mines, Quarry, Forest, Silversmith

These are the 4 locations on the Main Board where we can gain resources. Everytime we place a worker on any of these locations, we can get the corresponding resources and the more workers we have there, the higher the amount we get.

These are also considered as the LARGE OPEN CIRCLE. They can take any number of workers from any number of players. Remember that the opposing workers doesn’t affect the amount of resources we can get.

MINES, located at the top will give us either Clay or Gold. While Gold is thematically right by being in mountain but I think Clay should be near the river or so.

The formula for Clay is 1 Clay + 1 more per Worker. So, the first worker we place there will give us 2 Clay immediately. If the next time we place our worker there, we have 2 workers on the location, we can get 3 Clay.

For Gold, the formula is 2 workers for 1 Gold. That means the first time we place the worker, we cannot get any Gold. We need two workers at least in order to gain Gold.

Only one type of resources we can get per one worker placement. Which is why usually we alternate between gaining Clay and Gold.

We choose Gold everytime we have an increment of 2 workers. But that is not necessary. We may just go for another gold when we have 3 workers.

From Apprentice, hiring MINERS will give us extra Clay everytime we activate action at Mines.

QUARRY, located right below Mines will give us Stone. Right below that, we can also find FOREST, which will give us Wood. The illustration suggests that the once the forest area has been exploited enough, they turn it into a quarry.

The formula for both is 1 of the corresponding resource per Worker. So, with 2 Workers, we get 2 and so on.

From Apprentice, hiring WOODCUTTER will give us extra Wood everytime we activate action at Forest. For quarry, the Apprentice is STONECUTTER for the same benefit.

The last one is the SILVERSMITH, located next to the quarry and forest below the Rewards for Cathedral. The illustration is just like regular house with no indication for it being a silversmith.

The formula for this one is similar for getting Clay. We will get 1 Silver plus one more per worker. The Apprentice for Silversmith is JEWELLER to give us extra Silver.

If we play against Bot, Mines is always the first target for capturing when all locations have the same number of workers. Forest, Quarry and Silversmith are the 4th, 5th and 6th in that order.

King’s Storehouse

Right below the Cathedral area and next to Silversmith, we can find KING’S STOREHOUSE. This big storage building is almost like the focal point of the entire board. Arguably, this has the most beautiful building design.

The main purpose of this building is for trading resources. We can sell Clay, Wood or Stone for Virtue or we can trade Wood or Stone for Marble.

This is not the only place to gain Marble but it is the most accessible one. The same goes with for gaining Virtue.

The board says (Stone / Wood / Clay) x 2 for 1 Virtue and (Stone / Wood) x 3 for 1 Marble. I thought, at first, we still need to trade the same resources. Based on the example from the rulebook we can in fact trade any combination of those resources.

So for Virtue, we can trade 1 Clay and 1 Stone, as an example.

The multiplying effect based on number of workers works a bit differently here. The more workers only allows us to activate more of the trading actions.

So, with 2 workers, we can either trade for Virtue twice or one for Virtue and one other for Marble, as an example.

From Apprentice, if we hire TRADER, MERCHANTS or PATRON, we can get alternative actions to activate at this location. Patrons and Traders are basically offering better deal like we can get 1 Virtue for just 1 resources or 2 for Marble.

However, one of the variants for both allow us to pay with additional resources like Clay for Marbles and Silver for Virtue. That is probably the most interesting variant.

Hiring Merchant actually allows us to buy resources with Silver. If we somehow manage to gain a lot of Silver, maybe it is a good idea to hire one of them.

Workshop (Building Cards)

At the bottom middle right portion of the Main Board, we can find WORKSHOP. There are two things that this location can generate if we send our workers there. One is for Building cards and the other is for hiring Apprentice.

Like Mines, we can only get one of them per one worker placement. The next time we can choose the same or differently.

I will go first with the Building Cards. The formula is 1 Building Card plus 1 more per 2 Worker. So, the first time we place a worker here, we cannot take any building card. If the next time we place, there are at least 2, we can then take the Building Card action.

As we can see on the left side of the WORSHOP spot, there is a card size slot. This is where we place a deck of building cards face down. When we activate the action, we draw cards from the top of the deck.

On the other hand, if we have to discard Building Cards, there is no discard pile. Instead, we place at the bottom of the deck.

There is a hand limit of 6 for building cards. However, that is not a hard limit. We can draw until we have more than 6 in our hand but at the end of turn, we need to discard the excess.

That means, we can actually discard the card that has been previously in our hand or the recently drawn one. With the nature of face down card, we don’t know exactly what we will draw.

I find it that we don’t use this action that often compared to other locations. The reason is because we probably should have a lot of workers there first so we have higher chance to get better cards.

Even still, having the good card in hand doesn’t give us VP. We still need the resources and one more turn to build them.

As far as I know, there is no Apprentice that give us extra bonus from this action.

If we play with BOT, the Bot will not activate this action at all.

Workshop: Apprentice

The second action we can take at Workshop is hiring Apprentice. As we can see at the right side of this location, there are 8 card slots in 2 rows and 4 columns. These will display all of the available Apprentice cards that we can hire using this action.

In this game, we will have a deck of Apprentice card which we will place it face down not on the board but near this Apprentice section. Each time there is an empty Apprentice slot, we will draw one from the deck and put it face up to refill the display.

We can only hire one Apprentice per turn regardless of the number of workers there. Also, we need to pay 2 Silver and 2 Tax before we can hire them.

However, with just 1 Worker, we can only hire the two Apprentices at the first column from the left. The next time we place a worker at Workshop and there are 2 of our workers, we can immediately hire from the first and the second column. That is how the multiplying effect works on the Apprentice section.

We can see on the board between the two rows, there are icons that will tell us the number of Workers required to access each column. This can go from 1 up to 4 workers.

Once we hire any Apprentice at the left columns, those on the right will slide down and become cheaper. The market will not change unless one player do the Hiring.

We can wait for the right Apprentice to become cheaper or we can keep placing more workers there so we can eventually access them. However, in this competitive game, if we don’t take it right away, we are giving other players a chance to take them first.

Another way to immediately access more Apprentice with less workers is to pay more Silver in addition to the regular fee and tax. For each Apprentice we want to skip from any given row, we have to place 1 Silver on each card.

That means, with just 1 Worker, we can access the right most Apprentice if we have 7 Silver, 2 for the supply, 2 for tax and 3 for skipped Apprentices. So, it is almost double the regular cost but it might be worth it.

There are definitely Apprentice with just a single copy and no variant that can really help with our strategy. Seven Silver might be a lot but it saves what I consider the most valuable thing in this game. Our turn.

It is still cheaper than just hiring Apprentice one by one and pay 4 Silver each time. This can be worth it, especially if we consider the long term abilities that the apprentice may offer. If we can get them early in the game, the Apprentice may generate enough benefit over the course of the game.

Also, we can still get those 3 additional Silver if we hire the skipped Apprentices. It’s like down payment for future hiring. On the other hand, we are giving a chance to our opponents to get those Silver. For them, it makes the cost for hiring becomes cheaper.

Towards the end of the game, if somehow we got a lot of Silver and don’t have much option to spend them on, Apprentice can be an option. We can go for their one time ability to increase Virtue. That can worth 2 VP with just 7 Silver instead of 10 Silver for 1 VP.

With the hiring system as it is, I do feel like this game will be much better with more players because of this aspect. The number of available Apprentices remains the same regardless of player counts.

With more players, each player can help cycle through all 40 Apprentice. If each player can have 5, that will take about more than half a card with just one play.

Immediately having 5 is also not a dead end. We can still hire more Apprentice and let go our previous ones. So, it is possible to access all cards with a game of 5 players.

Another criticism specifically regarding Apprentice section, it is very unlikely to see the art on the Main Board. We will constantly replacing the market with new Apprentice cards.

Arguably, the river on that part is probably one of the most eye catching element with the only element with striking blue color. Sadly, it will be covered most of the time.

If we play with BOT, the Bot will remove one of the card from the first column and pay taxes from the supply. They will also take Future Scheme card to their deck.

Town Center

This is probably the location with the most interesting mechanism. Town Center is where one player can capture their or the opponent’s worker.

The location is almost at the center of the board with some kind of tent for informal markets. I was expecting the center of the town would be the plaza in the middle.

The idea of capturing is that players will go to the Town center and paying some local people there to capture workers. It’s like we are spreading bad rumor about our opponents like they are being too greedy at one location.

This doesn’t apply to workers at BLACK MARKET, GUILDHALL and PRISON, not Guardhouse.

The captured workers will then be taken from that location and placed on the active player’s board who activate that action. This action can also be used to take back our own worker. It’s like we are sending message to our friends to return before somebody else capture them.

We can release our captured workers from another player by visiting Guardhouse and pay 5 Silver. Or, we can wait for that player to send our workers to prison to gain Silver and we can then bail them out for free.

However, there is a chance that the capturer will keep holding them. This is how the game can be very mean between players, especially with lower player count.

The capturer can either get 1 Silver per captured worker if they send them to prison. Or forcing the targeted player to spend 5 Silver overall. The capturer may not get anything directly if they hold the workers but they still got the benefit from other player’s suffering.

The formula is, we need 1 Worker and pay 1 Tax to capture one group of Workers. We can multiply the effect by having more workers and pay 1 additional Silver to take another group.

The second group can be from two different locations for up to 3 players, or just in a single location for 4 or 5 player mode.

Since the first capture is always a Tax, if we have very low virtue, we may activate it for free.

From the Apprentice, we can hire CONSPIRATOR to pay less Silver when we want to do second capture in a turn.

If we play with BOT, the Bot can also capture our Workers. It is probably the action with most cards. The Bot will then get 1 Marble if they send any number of workers to the prison.

Tax Stand

Tax Stand is the left most building in the middle part of the board, right next to the King’s Storehouse, part of the plaza. The art depicts a 2 storey building covered with a big opaque square.

Tax Stand is a bit unique compared to other locations on the board. The location will not generate more resources based on the number of Workers but it can accumulate on its own.

What it does is, the Tax Stand will collect all the paid Silver from Taxes. This can either come from Capturing (Town Center), Hiring (Workshop), releasing Workers and paying off Debts (Guardhouse).

So, everytime any player do an action that will require them to pay taxes, the Silver will be placed on the giant square of Tax Stand. Over the course of the game, the location can have different amount of Silver. It can get very messy with all of those Silvers.

Thematically, when we send our Workers to this location, we are stealing all of the available Silver. Which is why the illustration has a bit of fences that surrounds the building.

If there is no Silver, we cannot just send our workers there. Of course, there is a penalty for that which is just losing 2 Virtue.

So, in a game where we can be captured and sent to prison, the consequences of stealing money from government is just losing our noble status. Apparently, bad rumor will punish us more.

Still, those 2 Virtue could mean 2 debt cards or up to losing 4 VP. What makes it interesting is that maybe we can get enough Silver so we can pay off those debts.

This also introduce a bit of push your luck element. Do we wait so the Tax Stand will store more coins with the risk of other players taking it first? Or do we just get them now?

If we play with BOT, the Bot will remove all of the Taxes and the bot will gain 1 Marble. They will still get the Marble even if there is no Silver at Tax Stand. Against the Bot, Tax Stand is the only location that they cannot capture workers from.

From APPRENTICE, hiring Pickpocket will give us 1 extra Gold in addition to the stolen Silver. With Thief, we only lose 1 Virtue instead of 2 when stealing from Tax Stand.

Black Market

The Black Market area is located at the bottom left corner of the Main Board. I think the illustration doesn’t actually tell. However we can see some icons there.

Black Market is actually using the standard worker placement mechanism where we can only place one worker on a location at a time. Until the workers have been removed from the location, no other players can do action there.

Which is why the circle is smaller compared to other location with Large open Circle. This circle can only be occupied by a single worker.

Thematically, as the name suggests, this is how we can get some resources but not from the main area but from illegal market. While we cannot multiply the effect with more workers but we can still get a lot of resources with just a single worker.

However, there is a price. We need to pay Silver and because it is considered as illegal, we will lose 1 Virtue for each location.

Black Market has 3 locations. The first one is the Small reward Black Market at the left most location of this section.

From here, we can always get up to 2 resources. One of them is always either Gold or Marble, which is worth 1 VP. For that, we need to pay just 1 Silver.

It is always a good deal, assuming we have the money. Instead of 10 Silver for 1 VP, we can trade 1 Silver for up to 2 VP.

Of course, only whoever goes first will get that deal. It is definitely a good idea to check his option towards the end of the game.

We can find out the reward from the Black Market card placed below the location. The card will not change unless The Black Market reset happens. In which we have to flip the card from the top of the deck and put it on the Large Black Market.

It is always an open information to all players. If somehow the deck runs out of cards, the board offers MARBLE and GOLD as the next rewards for the rest of the game.

The second location of the Black Market is the Large reward Black Market. This is the right most from the Black Market section.

From here, we can always get 4 resources. One of them is always Gold or Marble. From the other 3, it is not rare that one of them can be another Marble and the other possible resources are either Wood or Stone.

Yes, we cannot get any Clay from the Black market. Even if we only care for the Marbles and Gold, it is still a good deal because we can trade 3 Silver for up to 2 VP compared to 10 Silver for 1 VP.

Obviously, the other resources are better for in earlier rounds as they can help us with Buildings or Cathedral. We can also use them at King’s Storehouse to gain more Marbles or Virtue.

Which is why losing 1 Virtue is not that bad. We can find out the set of rewards from the Large Black Market card below that location.

The board itself has 2 Marbles 1 Stone and 1 Wood which is always the first reward from this Large Black Market. At the start of the game, the card section will not have card but by the end of it, it may have several cards, depending on the number of reset that happened.

As the last location of Black Market, we have the middle one which offers 2 options. One is to HIRE APPRENTICE and the other is to DRAW 5 BUILDING CARDS, take 1 card from them and discard the rest.

For this, we only need to pay 2 Silver and lose 1 Virtue. Specifically for the Apprentice, we can only hire from the face up card. This can be a great deal if we want to hire Apprentice from the right most column. Instead of paying up to 7 Silver, we only need 2 Silver.

For the second option, this is also not a bad deal since we only need 1 Worker as opposed to 2 from the Workshop. The biggest benefit is that we may only have one but we have better chance with 5 cards.

Of course, there is no guarantee that a good card may come out at all. Even if we do get a good building card, we still need to gain resources and another turn to actually build it and get the benefit.

At least, it is the faster option if we only want to discard the card for Cathedral.

If we play with BOT, the Bot will try to occupy the location from the right most available first. That means, the Large market, the Middle Market and then the Small Market.

The Large will give them 2 Marbles or 2 VP and the small will give the bot 1 Marble. From the Middle one, the bot will just get 1 Future Scheme card to their deck.

Once all three Black Market locations have been occupied, it will trigger the BLACK MARKET RESET. More about this later.

From APPRENTICE, Swindler, Illusionist and Trickster will give benefit each time we send workers to the Black Market.

Black Market Reset Event

Somehow I cannot remember how to resolve this and always have to check the back side of the rulebook. The Black Market Reset can happen if one of these 2 things are met.

One. All 3 Black Market locations have been occupied with Worker. Two, a worker is placed on Guildhall spot with the Black Market reset icon on it.

When any of that happens, we need to do these things to resolve the event.

One. Remove all Workers currently in the Black Market and place them to the Prison.

Two. Flip the top card from the Small Black Market deck and put it on the top of Large Market card spot.

Three. Players can activate any Black Market related abilities from their hired Apprentice in any order. In this case, the Gatekeeper and any of the Squire.

Four. All players with 3 or more Workers in Prison will lose 1 Virtue. This includes any Workers already in the prison not because of the reset. If that player already at the lowest Virtue, they will instead get 1 unpaid debt card.

Five. The player or players with the most Workers in Prison will take 1 unpaid Debt Cards.

If a player occupy all 3 Black Market locations, they will immediately lose 1 Virtue. However, there is a chance that other player may have more Workers in prison so that player will not gain any debt card.

That means, even if a player doesn’t care about the Black Market, the reset can still affect them. Mostly if they already have Workers in prison.

Because of that, the game encourages the player to keep paying attention to how likely the reset is going to happen. They can then try to mitigate that by releasing workers from prison.

We probably also need to pay attention to other players who have captured our workers. There is a chance that they may send our workers right before the reset.

Maybe we want to trigger the reset ourselves so we won’t get the penalty later. Another thing that can happen is that the reset can be triggered consecutively.

Like one from the Black Market itself and maybe after that from the Guildhall. In that case, maybe on the second one, the Black Market isn’t occupied at all. We still need to resolve the flipping Black Market card and penalty for having too many workers in prison.

Guardhouse

This is the last location from the board. Guardhouse is located at the top right corner of the Main Board. The illustration depicts a structure that look like a fortress with a watchtower.

We can also see a giant opaque square covering the top part of the illustration. This is the Prison where we will be placing captured workers. Regardless of the color, they all will share this giant space.

Right below that square, we can see icons that reminds us about the penalty when Black Market Reset happens.  Somehow, I didn’t notice that the reminder is there.

As a worker placement spot, Guardhouse offers 4 possible actions that we can take if we place our worker there.

One. We can send captured workers to Prison and gain 1 Silver per captured worker. So, this is a way to gain Silver by capturing other player’s worker.

Two. We can release our own workers from Prison, back to our Player Board. That means, we can wait for other players to send our workers to prison so we can release them for free.

Three. We can release our own captured workers from all of other player’s board by paying 5 Silver (2 as tax). Alternatively, we can choose to take 1 debt card and lose 1 Virtue.

This can be a very powerful one if other players keep trying to hold a lot of our workers instead of sending them to prison.  Especially if we are playing with higher player count.

The cost with silver or debt card can be worth it depending on the number of workers we can release. On the other hand, other players lose their chance to gain any Silver.

Four. We can pay off 1 debt card with 6 Silver. This will flip the debt card and immediately gain 1 Virtue. From Apprentice, if we hired any of the DEBT COLLECTOR, we can gain the bonus resources.

This is the only way to deal with debt cards without destroying them.

There is still a multiplying effect when having more than 1 workers to activate the Guardhouse action. Each worker will give us one action and we can choose to activate one action multiple times.

This will be useful for paying off multiple debt cards. However, we need to resolve them individually. Mostly because of the Tax.

There is a chance that paying just 1 debt is enough to increase the virtue where we no longer have discount for tax. In that case, for the next debt card, we probably have to pay full price.

Against the BOT, the bot will have their own order of action to be resolved, if the conditions are met.

First. Bot will release their workers from Prison.

Second. Bot will send captured workers to Prison and gain 1 Marble. If we can mitigate that, we are forcing them to lose 1 VP each.

Third. Bot will try to pay tax in order to release their workers from the human players. This can happen not rarely.

We thought we can hold their workers and traded them into silver later and suddenly the bot just release them. That way, we are losing the chance to gain any Silver.

Fourth. Bot will pay taxes for destroying a debt card and gain 1 Virtue. From what I understand, the bot doesn’t activate the action if they have no debt card. Therefore, they will not pay taxes as well.

The fourth one is also the only action that the bot can do multiple times in a turn.

That is it with all of the components to play the base game of Architects of the West Kingdom.

How to Play

Architects of the West Kingdom is a competitive game for 1 up to 5 players with just the components from the base game. For the single player mode, we also need to run the Bot or AI and we need to beat their score in order to win.

How the game is played is similar regardless of the number of players. This section will only discuss the setup in the base game. The expansion may alter some of it which can also be applied without actually using the expansion.

Here is a tutorial video by Rodney Smith from Watch it Played channel.

Setup

1st. Place the MAIN BOARD in the center of the playing area. We also need to leave some extra room for other general supply right near this board.

2nd. Shuffle all of the BLACK MARKET CARDS and place them as a single pile on the left Black Market space. The Small Reward side should face up and no cards on the Large space.

3rd. Shuffle all REWARD CARDS and place a number of cards face down to the right side of the Cathedral. The number should be equal to 2 cards per player + 1. With 5 players, we will be using all cards included in the base game.

4th. Place all DEBT CARDS in a single pile near the Guardhouse location with the unpaid side facing up. The rule suggests placing them outside the Main Board.

5th. Place all MULTIPLIER CARDS in a pile near the Main Board. The rule suggests right near the Debt Cards but it really isn’t necessary. We can place them in the box and take them out when we need it.

6th. Shuffle all APPRENTICE CARDS and place them as face down pile to the right side of the board near the Workshop area. From the top of the pile, reveal 1 cards to fill each 8 spaces to the right side of Workshop area.

7th. Shuffle all BUILDING CARDS and place them as face down pile to the left side of the Workshop area on the Main Board.

8th. Place all SILVER, CLAY, WOOD, STONE, GOLD and MARBLE TOKENS separately into a single general supply near the board.

9th. From the supply take 4 SILVER and place them on a square above the TAX STAND area.

10th. Each Player takes 1 PLAYER BOARD and place them on a table with the side one (different background color) as standard setup. We can use the other side for VARIABLE SETUP and all players should use the same side.

11th. Players also take 20 WORKERS of a chosen color and place them on their Player Board. The color of Workers doesn’t have to match the color of the Player Board.

If we use the Variable Setup, some players may have to place a number of their Workers in the Prison area of Guardhouse.

Ada with 0 Worker in Prison, Caroline with 8, Frederick with 0, Rudolf with 0 and Therese with 4.

12th. Players place 1 of their PLAYER MARKER right below the Cathedral track.

13th. Players place the other PLAYER MARKER on the number 7 of the VIRTUE TRACK as a standard setup. For the Variable Setup, the starting Virtue will be different between 5 players.

Ada with 11 Virtue, Caroline with 3, Frederick with 7, Rudolf with 9 and Therese with 5.

14th. From the Building Cards deck, deal 4 cards to each player. Each player will then choose 1 card from this and place them face down in front of them.

All players then pass the remaining cards to player to their left. Repeat the process with choosing one and passing the remaining until all players have 3 cards in front of them.

These 3 will be the PLAYER’S STARTING HAND. Players should discard their last card and put them at the bottom of the Building Cards deck.

Note: Players are not allowed to know their opponent’s cards throughout the game.

If we use Variable Setup, the players who play Ada and Therese will draw 1 additional Building Card as the starting hand.

15th. Randomly choose the STARTING PLAYER and that player will take 3 Silver from the supply. The next player in clockwise order should take 1 Silver more than the previous players. So, the 2nd will take 4, 3rd will take 5 until 5th will take 7 Silver.

Ignore this part if we use the Variable Setup. For Variable Setup each player will take Starting Silver according to their Player Board.

Ada with 0 Silver, Caroline with 10, Frederick with 4, Rudolf with 3 and Therese with 5.

The Starting Player is also determined by the one with the highest Virtue, followed by the next player in clockwise order.

16th. If we use Variable Setup, each player should take ADDITIONAL STARTING RESOURCES according to their Player Board. This is in addition to extra building cards for Ada and Therese

Ada with 1 Gold (+1 building card mentioned earlier), Caroline with 1 Marble + 1 unpaid Debt, Frederick with 1 Stone, Rudolf with 1 Wood and Therese with just the additional card mentioned before.

That is it with the general setup for multiplayer mode of Architects of the West Kingdom game. The next part is for the AI/Bot if we want to play solo or for 2P vs bot.

Bot Setup

1st. Take the PLAYER BOARD FOR BOT. We can use the Constantine side for the easier mode or Helena side for the hard mode.

2nd. Take 20 WORKERS of the unused color for the bot and place them on their Board.

3rd. Place 1 PLAYER MARKER of the chosen color for the Bot below the Cathedral Track. Also place the other PLAYER MARKER on number 7 of the VIRTUE TRACK.

4th. Shuffle all of the 20 STARTING SCHEME CARDS (Brown Header) into a single pile and place them right near the board for Bot. Leave some room for discard pile for this Scheme cards.

5th. Shuffle all of the 10 FUTURE SCHEME CARDS (gray header) into a single pile and place them right near the Starting Scheme deck. We will only draw from this when instructed to.

6th. For SOLO MODE, remove all 4 RESOURCE MARKET CARDS from the Building Card deck. Ignore this for the 2P vs BOT mode.

7th. For the Player, if we use the Standard setup, in solo mode, player will start with 3 Silver and 7 Virtue. In 2P vs Bot Standard setup, the two players start with 7 Virtue but 3 Silver for 1st player and 4 Silver for 2nd.

Ignore this step when using the Variable Setup. Players will start with the indicated Virtue, Silver and other resources from their Player Board, including sending some Workers to the Prison.

8th. Use 5 REWARD CARDS for the solo mode or 7 REWARD CARDS for 2P vs BOT mode.

9th. For the STARTING HAND in solo mode, draw 5 cards and take 3. Discard the other 2 by putting them at the bottom of the deck.

For the 2P vs Bot, use the regular card drafting setup for 2 players.

10th. We can use the REFERENCE CARD and place them next to the Scheme deck. Each mode will have their own reference card to remind us how to run the Bot.

That is the setup for the Bot in either solo mode or the 2P vs Bot mode.

Gameplay

In clockwise order, starting with the Starting Player, players will take turn doing 1 action. Taking action means placing 1 of their Workers from the Player Board on to any location of the Main board. Then, that player has to resolve the action or the benefit from that location.

In general, each turn there are 8 LARGE OPEN CIRCLE and 3 SMALL CIRCLE and a number of GUILDHALL spots that players can place their Worker on to.

The Large Open Circle can be occupied by any number of groups and workers. If the location requires paying taxes to activate the action, check the Virtue track. Player may have a discount.

Here are some notes about the Large Open Circles.

Quarry, Silversmith, Forest, Mines. The opposing player’s Workers do not affect the number of resources that the active player can get. For Mines, we can only gain one type of either Clay or Gold per activation.

Guardhouse (Pay Tax). Players cannot place any Worker here unless they can activate any of the action. That means they can either try to release workers, captured workers, send workers to prison or pay off debt.

King’s Storehouse. The number of Workers equals the number of action that we can activate. Hired apprentices related to this location only offer alternative actions. Players can activate the same action multiple times in a single turn.

Tax Stand. Players are not allowed to place their Worker here unless there is at least 1 Silver in Tax Stand.

Town Center (Pay Tax). Players cannot capture Workers from Guildhall, Black Market, in Prison or from other player’s board.

For up to 3 player game, players can capture 2 groups of workers from up to 2 locations. For game with 4 or 5 players, they can only capture 2 groups from one location.

Captured workers are placed on the capturer’s board. They can then send them later to the Prison by sending worker to Guardhouse.

Town Center can also be used to call back the player’s own worker from the Main Board to their Player Board. This includes workers from the Town Center that they just put on.

Workshop (Pay Tax for Apprentice). Players can only choose 1 action either for the Building card or Apprentice per activation.

For the Building Card, players can only have 6 cards in hand. They need to remove the excess at the end of the turn.

For the Apprentice market, each row works the same but separately. Players are allowed to hire more than 1 of the same Apprentice.

However, there is a limit of 5 hired Apprentices at a time. We can always discard the existing to make room for the new one anytime.

If the Apprentice have a secondary one time ability, activate them immediately by adjusting the marker on Virtue track. Discarding the Apprentice doesn’t reverse the effect.

Players can also skip some Apprentices and hire those in the right side further with fewer workers. In order to do that, players have to put 1 of their Silver on every skipped Apprentice.

This Silver can be collected by whoever hire that Apprentice.

The Small Circle from the BLACK MARKET can only be occupied by just 1 Worker. Check the Virtue track before placing the Worker here.

Players can also place their Worker on Guildhall everytime they build any buildings or advance the construction of  Cathedral. Workers at Guildhall will stay there for the rest of the game.

For Cathedral, discard the card by putting the card at the bottom of the Building deck and pay the resources by putting them on the general supply. Then move the Marker on Cathedral track accordingly.

For constructing any Building, make sure we have the required Skills, pay the resources to the supply and place the card above the Player Board. Then, resolve all of the immediate effect.

If somehow the player doesn’t have any Worker on their Board at the start of the turn, they have to spend their turn just taking back 1 Worker from the Main Board. They will not place this Worker to the Main Board until their next turn.

Players will keep taking turns until the end game is triggered. Check the next section on how to resolve the end game.

Black Market Reset

This event can be triggered by two things. Either all of the Black Market space were occupied or any player place their Worker on the Guildhall spot with the Reset icon on them.

Here is how to resolve the event, step by step.

One. Take all Workers from the Black Market Spaces to the Prison.

Two. Take the top card of the Black Market deck, flip it and put it on the Large Market space.

Three. Activate any abilities from the hired Apprentices related to the Black Market Reset.

Four. All players with 3 or more Workers in Prison will lose 1 Virtue.

Five. Player or Players with the most Workers in prison will take 1 unpaid debt card.

All of these should be resolved after the player who triggered the event has finished their turn and before the next player takes their turn.

Bot’s Turn

The Bot will always go the last after all players have taken their turn. On the Bot’s turn, we reveal the top card of the Scheme deck.

We have to place the Bot’s worker from their Board to the location on the Main Board as indicated by the card. Then, we have to resolve any action or event according to that card.

If somehow the Bot doesn’t have any Worker on their board at the start of their turn, we have to take back all of the Bot’s Workers excluding Workers at Guildhall and Black Market.

This includes Workers in prison and captured Workers. Then, on the same turn, shuffle back all of the Scheme Card discard pile back to the Scheme deck.

Bot will also do action on the same turn by revealing the top card of the Scheme deck.

If somehow the Scheme deck has no card at the start of their turn, we simply shuffle back all of the Scheme cards from the discard pile and create a new deck. Then, immediately the bot will take action by revealing the top card.

The possible action or event that can happen during the Bot’s turn are as follows.

Guildhall
Action: Gain 1 Virtue or Gain 1 Marble, Advance Marker on Cathedral Track

Tax Stand
Action: Remove Silver from Tax Stand, Lose 2 Virtue, Gain 1 Marble

Workshop
Action: Remove Apprentice Cards, Pay Taxes, Add 1 Future Scheme Card

King’s Storehouse
Action: Gain Virtue, Gain Marble

Town Center
Action: Pay Tax, Capture Workers

Black Market
Action: Lose Virtue, Gain Marble, Add 1 Future Scheme Card

Guardhouse
Action: Release Worker from Prison, Release Captured Workers, Pay Taxes, Destroy Debts, Send Captured Workers to Prison, Gain Marbles, Gain Virtue or No Action just placing the Worker.

Each Scheme card can instruct us to do one or more actions on the list. Here are a couple of notes about the Bot.

Bot can also Lose Virtue and gain Debt card during Black Market Reset. Their Virtue status can also allow the Bot to destroy Debt Card or gain Debt cards or gain discount for Taxes.

However, their Virtue level doesn’t affect their accessibility to advancing the Cathedral or Black Market. For the Cathedral, the Bot doesn’t need to spend goods or Building Cards.

Everytime the Bot gain Marble, we take the Marble from the supply and place the Marble on the Bot’s Board. We also adjust their Marker of Virtue track when losing or gaining virtue.

Bot can also trigger the end of the game by placing their Worker on Guildhall.

This next video is a solo playthrough from Soloed Quest channel.

End of the Game

The end of the game will be triggered when the last worker is placed on the available spots on Guildhall. We’ll be using different number of available spots based on the number of players which we can find it on the Main Board.

After that, all players will take 1 more turn, including the one who triggered. During this final turn, players can still place their Worker on Guildhall if they build anything or advance the Cathedral.

That may not affect anything except for the Bot’s scoring in solo or 2P vs Bot mode.

The next step is to resolve all of the BUILDING EFFECTS that happened during the end game with the flag icon. These are mostly about GAINING or LOSING VP or VIRTUE.

Gaining or Losing Virtue can still lead to destroying debt cards or gaining debt cards.

Scoring Phase

There are several aspects that the player can gain or lose Victory Points from. Here are those.

One. Gain or Lose VP from all of the Constructed Buildings. We can find the VP at the top right corner of each card. This also includes every bonus and penalties from the end game Building effects.

Two. Gain VP from the Cathedral track. Depending on which construction stage the player is on the player can gain between 2 to 20 VP.

Three. Gain or Lose VP based on the Virtue Track. If the player is on level 10 to 14, they will gain VP and lose VP if they are on level 5 or below.

Four. Lose 2 VP for each unpaid Debt Cards. If the Player built the Gambler’s Den, that player will lose 1 additional VP for each unpaid debt.

Five. Gain 1 VP for each Gold and each Marble in their possession.

Six. Gain 1 VP for each set of 10 Silver in their possession.

Seven. Lose 1 VP for every 2 Workers in Prison. One worker in prison on its own has no effect.

The player with the highest score wins the game.

In case of a tie, the player with higher Virtue wins. If still tied, the one with more Silver wins. Otherwise, all tied players shared the victory.

Bot’s Scoring

Playing against the Bot, player will use the same scoring system as in regular mode. The bot will count their score differently.

One. Gain VP based on the Cathedral track.

Two. Gain or Lose VP based on their Virtue track.

Three. Gain 1 VP for each Marble that the Bot has.

Four. Lose 2 Virtue for each unpaid debt card.

Five. Lose 1 Virtue per 2 Workers in Prison.

Six. Gain VP for each Worker in Guildhall. This includes the Bot’s Worker after the end game is triggered. Constantine will gain 1 VP per Worker and Helena will gain 3 VP per Worker.

Basically, the Bot will score the same as human player except the VP from the Guildhall. Human player will not score their Worker in Guildhall but it can prevent the Bot from gaining.

That is it with how to play Architects of the West Kingdom game with just the base game.

My Experience & Thoughts

I play this game mostly in solo mode or try to play 2 players with the bot like any reviewer. The game will take like 60 turns per player and in solo mode it is like 60 minutes before setup and tear down.

I do feel like the Building Cards and the Apprentices are not utilized optimally. Maybe because they are a bit too expensive or for the Building cards, the randomness gets in the way.

As a result, the Apprentice market will get stuck unless somebody is willingly to waste their turn to hire them. I get it, that the expansion actually introduce an idea to solve this a bit. We can even apply them to the base game without having the expansion product.

Even if, let’s say, the market does offer a good Apprentice, that will only happen in the first couple of rounds. After players got their 5 Apprentices, hopefully covering all 3 Skills, players tend to settle with what they got.

Because of that, we will see a lot of tax payment in the first couple of turns and then the Tax Stand seems not generating any Silver at all. Of course, if they understand that the next coming Apprentice is better than what the players already had, they may consider hiring again.

I can see that the Market for Apprentice can become less static with more players. Moreover, if they actually understand that some Apprentice can really be very beneficial for certain strategy, players can be very competitive to hire them.

Otherwise, for casual players, they may think that it is not worth the trouble because Silver can be very tight. Somehow I wish that the Workshop may offer different multiplying effects for the Apprentice.

One is what the game has now, where we can hire from the next column with more Workers. But I wish there is a second option where with more workers, we can pay less Silver. That way, I think players can keep coming back even if just to gain the one time ability.

The same goes for the BUILDING CARDS. Because of the randomness, player tends to just draw only when they need or just settle with what they already have at the start.

Maybe combining those 2 actions in Workshop hurts a bit. While the ratio is still one card per worker, we still need 2 workers to draw those cards. That means, the first time the game force us to hire, spend Silver with a chance of getting no good Apprentice at all.

Then, assuming the worker is still there, we place a second one just to draw 2 random cards. With 2 or single player, we will only use like 5 cards per player from those 40.

The only way that the card can be useful at least is if we spend the card for Cathedral. That means, if we fail to have a decent Virtue, that is already a waste of turn.

I wish that maybe the King’s Storehouse can offer a trade for Building Card, maybe to some other resources or Virtue. It is not that we need but for a game about Architects, we will at most build 4 or 5 buildings at most.

While the multiplying effect is an interesting twist but I feel like they are the most boring way to gain resources. Combined that with the risk of getting captured, the Black Market is more appealing. It is actually the basic Worker Placement mechanism.

With lower player count, we definitely can just focus on this but with more players, we have no choice but to go for this boring route. I don’t feel like getting an engine building feel but rather about push your luck thing.

Every turn will give some anxiety and we keep asking ourselves, can we keep pushing and placing more Workers there to gain a lot of resources? Of course, that is just a consequence of a strategy.

But I do believe that is the right way to win or play the game. This is a game where we will be losing our Workers as the game progress everytime we build.

That way, we will be less efficient. If we just build right away after we have the resources, in the second half of the game we will be losing turns just recalling back our Workers.

What’s worse if, we hope that there will be a lot of workers in the prison that we can release for free. However, the other players can just keep holding our workers until they can trade them to get enough Silver with just a single turn.

Which is why, this is completely a strategy game. We first have to make sure we have a good Building cards and hire Apprentice that can support our strategy. Again, there is a chance we may not find them.

After we know the resources we need, then we can try to take advantage of the multiplying effect to get those resources. The last step is making sure that we can build those buildings or trade some leftover resources for points or virtue.

In general, with the standard setup, I feel like there are a couple of different paths to play the game. But I’m not sure if they are equally can win the game.

The reason is because they are dictated by the same Virtue track. The higher Virtue still gives higher Victory Points.

What that means is, regardless of our strategy, we still need to increase our Virtue towards the end of the game. We can play the game staying at low, middle or high Virtue but still need to figure out how to get to the top.

The problem is that executing the strategy relies heavily on either the Building Card or the Apprentice. Without the right support from those two, we will not score very high.

Which is why, we need to figure out the strategy after we look at the market and the building card. Also, this is why those Variable setup and different Player Power can make the game unbalance.

It’s not that they cannot win the game but some will be situational. The more they have to rely their specific strategy to the randomness of Building and Apprentice cards, the less likely they are going to win.

Some of their Power can be considered as active everytime while others are situational. Moreover, some can boost their efficiency while others can be blocked easily by their opponents.

For me, they are good for solo and coop mode but for competitive play, I would suggests using the standard setup. Again, the game still offer an interesting way to deal with those different starting setup and power, but there is no guarantee of winning.

The Cathedral, which seems like the most important element of the game, is not really that interesting. Casual player will think that they may get a lot of points from there.

If they understand that it is not worth it between the points and the number of turns unless we can reach the top, they will not be competitive on it. Building regular buildings are much better.

This is also the reason why staying at high Virtue is not an interesting strategy. Maybe even less chance on winning. The only benefit is to get access to Cathedral, which gives very low and limited benefit.

Cathedral is mostly just to increase the Virtue at the end of the game, assuming we can get access to it at the right time.

As for the player interactions, the capture mechanism can be very cutthroat. There are also some other ways to block our opponent’s progress especially when they try to increase their Virtue.

There is also an interesting tension when we are about to trigger the Black Market reset. We definitely want to avoid getting penalty for having too many workers in prison. However, if we are the one who trigger the event, we are giving the next player opportunity to occupy the Black Market first.

Similar things can also happen for triggering the end game. But we will be too busy making sure we have enough turns to trade the leftover resources.

With all of that in mind, I feel like while the game does offer a lot and interesting gameplay in tactical level, I don’t see that much different strategically. There are enough variability but in bottleneck situation and not enough replay value. At least for the competitive play.

I wish that the Virtue track is more neutral in terms of VP and offer other ways to get extra score by staying at the top. That can really change the overall strategy as we no longer need to always get to the top.

Maybe they can use a secret objective where the player can score certain points for being in certain range of virtue level.

The game has a lot of potential with all of the interesting concept. Maybe they can also add a story campaign for cooperative mode like what Alexander Pfister does with his games.

The campaign can tweak the rule a bit like we cannot go lower or higher than certain Virtue unless we have completed certain buildings or before certain event occurs.

Expansions and Accessories

Architects of the West Kingdom has been a very successful game. The designer keeps releasing promos and eventually one or two big expansions.

Since this is one of the game in West Kingdom trilogy, the designer also offered the promo in the campaign for their sequel. There is even an expansion for the three games in this series.

I guess if will be easier if we love all 3 games in the series to purchase those expansions.

They also occasionally releases their promo via several YouTube channels’ Kickstarter Campaign. Some of the channels are The Dice Tower, GameBoy Geek, or Tantrum House.

There were a couple of upgrade but we can only get them if we backed the game during the Kickstarter campaign. They may offered them again as add on in their future campaigns and it is a good idea to just follow their account here.

Metal Coins (2018)

This is an upgrade offered since the Kickstarter campaign. We can purchase 50 Metal coins as an add on for 14 USD (about 25 – 40% off MSRP) before the shipping. Alternatively, we can also purchase them from the publisher’s website.

It seems that the other 2 games in this series can also use these coins. For people who love this game or even the trilogy, they might want to check them out in future campaigns.

Garphill Games as the publisher offered this in the campaigns for Paladins, Viscounts, Tomesaga expansion and Paladin’s expansion. It seems like the metal coin is bigger than the token.

3D Tax Stand Frame (2018)

This is a 3D Frame made of cardboard that we can assemble and put on the Tax Stand on the Main Board. The purpose is to keep all of the Silver tokens in place

I don’t know if we can still purchase this somewhere else but it seems we can only get them for free during the campaign. Maybe it will be useful for the Metal Coins.

Based on the picture below, it is not just a frame but it has a base so it becomes like a tray that we can put on the Main Board.

2018 Kickstarter Promo

These are promos that the backers can get for free during the campaign of this game. The package include 5 new Player Boards, 3 building cards and 3 Apprentice Cards.

For Player Boards, that means we get 5 new characters, each with different starting setup and variable player power. The characters are Lothaire, Clovis, Bertha, Fara and Hugo.

Lothaire lets us spend 1 less wood or stone when constructing a building or advancing the Cathedral. This can be a huge benefit if we can plan it correctly.

Clovis will get 1 Building card after we build another building. While it can be helpful early in the game, maybe at least for Cathedral. If we cannot really build it, maybe Clovis is not that powerful.

Bertha will gain 2 additional Silver when sending Workers to prison. The additional Silver is nice but I don’t think it is worth doing it multiple times just for that 2 Silver.

Fara lets us release one worker during Black market reset. This can be a lifesaver if we are planning to occupy all 3 Black Market spaces. But if we have more than 3 already, then, it is kind of useless.

Hugo lets us pay 2 Silver to avoid taking a debt. I think this is can be helpful with the low Virtue strategy. We can still manage how many debt cards we want to get compared to just pay 2 Silver each.

The 3 Building Cards are Museum, Graveyard and Crane. Crane is interesting as it allows us to do 2 actions in a row. But we need to plan ahead and be prepared with the required resources. This can be a deal breaker during the final round after the end game has been triggered.

Museum will give us 1 Virtue per 2 constructed buildings. This one is not going to help us much. At most, we can get only 1 or 2 Virtue but they can worth like 4 VP.

Graveyard is weird. We will lose 1 hired Apprentice after we build it. It is more like a penalty than a bonus. However, I think the ratio between VP and number of turns is a good deal.

The new Apprentices are Peddler, Overseer and Enforcer. With Peddler, we will get 2 Silver everytime Black Market reset happen. The problem is that we don’t know how often the reset can happen.

Two Silver is also not that great if we are getting the debt card as penalty.

Overseer is interesting. When we send workers to King’s Storehouse, it’s like we send 2 workers immediately. That means with just 1 turn and we get 2 actions.

Enforcer can become very annoying. Everytime we send captured workers to prison, we will get 1 additional Gold which worth 1 VP each at the end.

Some people say that the Player Boards will be the most valuable expansions. We can definitely start using them right away and somehow change the overall strategy.

On the other hand, Buildings and Apprentice can be buried in the deck of cards. There is no guarantee that we can find them in any game.

Mini Card Set (2019)

These are a mini card set for both Architects and Paladins. They call it Mini because the expansion is for cards with mini size.

For Architects, we will get 1 Cathedral Reward card and 1 Black Market card. The other 5 cards are for Paladins.

This was offered by Renegade Game Studios as part of their Level Up 2 Loot Promo Pack. Garphill Games themselves then offered this as just Mini Card Set via their Online promo Store in November 2019.

Currently, we can buy them for $5.00 USD via their website.

Garphill Games 5 Year Anniversary Promo (2019)

This was offered to celebrate the publisher’s 5 year anniversary. In this promo pack, we can find 26 new cards for 3 of the publisher’s games, Shipwright of the North Sea, Raiders of the North Sea and Architects of the West Kingdom.

The forum page for this entry says that there are 8 promo cards for Architects of the West Kingdom. Five of them are new Apprentices Cards and 3 of them are new Building Cards with Viking as the theme.

Somehow, I cannot find the offer on their website.

Somehow the designer only shared 3 new Apprentices, Abbot, Watchman and Defender. The Abbot can be very powerful as he allows us to get 1 Virtue just by sending Worker to King’s Storehouse.

The same goes with Watchman. We will get a discount of 1 Silver everytime we want to pay off a debt or release our captured workers.

Defender can make the game more confrontational. This allows us to release workers from prison by taking action at Town Center.

That means, while capturing opponent’s worker, we can also release ours. By doing so, we can save some turn, which is very valuable.

The 3 Buildings are Viking Church, Viking Market Hall and Viking Boat House. The Viking Church can be very powerful if we can pursue the Cathedral Strategy, especially with Frederick. We get 1 VP per one advancement.

The Viking Market Hall will give us 3 Gold but we need to spend 1 Marble and 4 Stone. That can worth 3 VP in addition to the 2 VP from the building itself.

The Viking Boat House is a bit weird as we need to sacrifice 1 Virtue to gain 3 Wood. To build, we even need 4 Wood and the building will give us just 4 VP.

While the idea with the new cards can be very interesting in the game, they are still just more cards for the two decks. There is no guarantee that we can even find them during the game.

Unless we are a fan of the other 2 games, maybe we shouldn’t try to pursue this promo pack.

Promo Paradise Kickstarter (2019)

The Board Game Spotlight run a Kickstarter campaign offering a compilations of promo cards from various games. We can learn more from their campaign, from this link.

Garphill Games was one of the sponsor and they were offering promo cards for Architects of the West Kingdom as part of the pledge rewards. From the 29 included promos for $39, we get 2 cards for Architects of the West Kingdom.

Both of them are new Building Cards, Spotlight and Pool of Martyn. Here are details based on the picture below.

The Spotlight will allow us to draw 3 Building Cards and keep 1 of them. We also gain 4 VP by spending 3 Wood and 1 Marble. I don’t think it is necessarily useful.

The Pool of Martyn will give us 6 VP and 1 Virtue by spending 1 Gold and 2 Marble. In addition to that, we can also spend 2 Silver to gain 1 additional Virtue for one time immediate effect. This can be great for increasing Virtue after staying low on Virtue.

Obviously the price would be too expensive if we only care about these 2 cards. But it is not a bad deal if we can play some or sell the others.

Paladins 2019 KS Promo (2019)

When Garphill Games launched their Kickstarter campaign for the sequel, Paladins of the West Kingdom, they also offered some promo cards for Architects. We can currently purchase this promo pack directly from the publisher’s website.

For $10 USD (+$6.00 Worldwide Shipping), we get 26 cards for the Paladins and 3 cards for the Architects. The Architects cards are 3 Apprentices, Abbot, Peddler and Acolyte.

All 3 of them are existing Apprentices. These are variants of previous promo cards with Acolyte being in the base game. I thought that the Acolyte can be very powerful for Cathedral strategy but we still have a limit of 5 Apprentices.

Maybe it is not a good idea to hire all 4 of Acolytes. However, this does give an opportunity for other players pursuing the same strategy. Both the Peddler and Abbot are, in my opinion, not as powerful compared to their other variants.

King’s Table Top Building Card (2019)

This promo card was released right on International TableTop Day 2019. I’m not sure where we can actually get this.

King’s Table Top is a Building card that if we build it, we gain 4 VP by spending 2 Marble and 2 Wood. In addition to 1 Virtue as secondary effect, the main effect will give us 1 extra VP for every 3 Marble we have.

That means, we need at least 6 Marbles in our possession in order to break even. I guess the effort is not really worth it. The extra Virtue can mean 2 VP but it really depends.

The West Kingdom Tomesaga (2020)

The West Kingdom Tomesaga is an expansion for all 3 games in the West Kingdom Trilogy. For $30 USD, this expansion will do two things.

One, this offers a CAMPAIGN for the competitive play of 3 games. Two, the other module can turn each game from competitive into a COOPERATIVE one.

The expansion was offered in a Kickstarter campaign alongside the third game in this trilogy. We can learn more from the Kickstarter page here.

The digital file of the rulebook for the expansion can be found on the publisher’s page via this link.

Tomesaga Campaign

The campaign was designed to be played with all 3 games in this trilogy. Basically this module will introduces cards that tells us how to gain TOMES for each game.

There are in  game Tome cards which only one player will be able to get them and there are also 3 Victory Tome. Depending on whether the winner gain a major or minor victory, the 3 Victory Tomes will be distributed differently.

Players can also collect Crest Tokens mostly for the 2nd or 3rd place. If they can collect all 3 or 4 Crests of the same type, they will gain 1 Tome Card.

Once acquired, this Tome cards will give additional power to the owner for the subsequent sequel. We have to play the game in order from Architects to Paladins and end with Viscounts.

Players will be competing against each other and whoever has the most Tomes after 3 games is the winner.

Based on that description, if we only have one of the game, maybe this is not an ideal expansion to have. We can still use it but the result may not be very significant.

These card are just objective. There is no new gameplay mechanism added by this module.

Specifically for Architects, the rule says that we will not be using the variable setup player board. All players will start the game with the same setup. So, the is expansion loses the replay value for each Player Board.

Cooperative Module

The next module in this expansion will turn all 3 games into cooperative play individually. If we only have one of the game, we can ignore the components for the other two.

For the Architect’s Cooperative mode, players will have to work together to defeat the OVERLORD. This is a new AI/Bot with their own Scheme and Future Scheme deck.

Unlike the AI in the base game, the Overlord will not try to simulate another human player. There are a lot of new icons here.

The Overlord has their own double sided board. One side for the easy and the other for the hard mode. Unlike the AI board from the base game, the board for Overlord has a spot to place the Scheme card and the follow up actions.

The Scheme cards is similar to the base game, except that it will tell us to place 2 Workers in 2 different location. Here is the interesting part.

The scheme card itself can tell us what to resolve after placing the workers for that specific location. Or, it can activate an action printed on the board.

This always leads to capturing workers and sending them to prison, even though the Overlord doesn’t send workers to Town Center. So, the idea is that the Overlord will come to certain location and capture our workers at that location.

The new mechanism for the Overlord is that the Overlord can PERMANENTLY REMOVE PLAYER’S WORKER. This can happen either to Workers in prison or from Player Board.

There is also a DEMAND CARDS. This card will tell us what resources we need to pay to this card with specific amount based on the number of players.

Each game there are 4 DEMAND CARDS from level 1 to 4. Depending on the Scheme card we may have to fulfill all or some of the demands.  If we succeed, we will gain VP at the end of the game or lose if we fail.

To accomplish that. players can now do DONATION action. It means players will be taking action to place 1 resource to that Demand Card which can be done by sending Workers to King’s Storehouse. The game will come with an overlay tile for that location for the new action.

This Donation action can also be used to DONATE ITEM BETWEEN PLAYERS. Other than resources, Silver and building cards they can pass on paid or unpaid debt cards to another player.

To help this, each players will also get 1 SCOUNDREL / CLERGY CARD. These are double sided Apprentice Cards which the abilities are related to donate action. Each player must choose which side they want to use for the entire game.

The last new module for the cooperative mode is the EVENT CARDS. When an event card is revealed, players have to suffer anything that the card says.

The Event Card also works as a TIMER. If we fail to finish the game with the number of constructions, before we run out of event cards, the game ends immediately and we lose 10 VP per player.

So, the Demand and Event cards encourage players to finish the game as soon as possible. The leftover cards that remained unrevealed will give us VP. If they are revealed, either complete them or just suffer the punishment.

To win the game, depending on the number of Players, we have higher collective score than score per Overlord’s worker in Guildhall.

Some say that the AI is very difficult and I can see how the timer can gives a lot of pressure. While this expansion is meant for multiplayer but maybe a single player can still do it if they are willing to play two characters.

This module will definitely use the variable setup from any Player Board. That means, even if with just 1 new AI, the replay value can be very high.

This next video is the cooperative mode playthrough for this expansion by the designers. They also made playthroughs for the other 2 games.

Racketeer Promo Card (2020)

This is another Apprentice card that was offered originally in SpielBox Kickstarter campaign, a board game magazine subscription as pledge reward. We can also purchase this for $2.00 from the publisher website.

The Racketeer allows us to gain 1 Building Card everytime we gain 1 Debt Card. This can be helpful for the low virtue strategy if we want to climb the Cathedral track.

However, we still have a hand limit of 6 building cards. So, unless we discard them regularly for Cathedral, the bonus from this Apprentice will become a waste. That means, this is more for middle Virtue strategy.

King Dan Promo Card (2020)

Another Apprentice released as part of the pledge reward for The Game Boy Geek Kickstarter campaign. We can also purchase this for $3.00 from the publisher’s website that includes 2 promo cards for the other two games in this trilogy.

King Dan will allow us to discard 1 building Card to Destroy 1 debt card. This is an alternative action at King’s Storehouse.

This can be useful towards the end of the game where we will be trying to convert the leftover resources using that location. We definitely will have more Building cards that we cannot build and now there is a use for it.

Destroying debt card means we are not going to get 1 Virtue but at least we will not get the penalty and lose 2 VP at the end.

Jugador Promo Card (2020)

More Apprentice Card and this time was released as Special Promo for Analisis-Paralisis 2020 campaign. Somehow, we cannot purchase this one from the Garphill Games website.

Jugador will give is 1 Silver everytime we gain 1 Debt card. That may not be much but it is still a discount when we want to pay those debt.

Dice Tower Promo Pack (2020)

More Apprentice cards and this time we got 3 from the 2020 Dice Tower Kickstarter Campaign. We can purchase this set for $3.00 from the publisher’s website.

The new Apprentices are Artist, Foreman and Journeyman. Artist allows us to gain 1 Silver everytime we get 1 Marble.

That can be very handy to cover the fee if we get Marble from the Black Market. The Small Market is free with this ability.

Foreman’s ability is to treat the Workshop as if we have 2 extra Workers there. This is very powerful one to either gain Building Cards or Apprentice. But that effect will not work for long as we may not need more of those 2.

Journeyman lets us gain 2 Silver everytime we construct a building with one time ability of gain 1 Virtue. I don’t know how many buildings are we going to build in a game but I suspect maybe 5 or less.

That means we just get at most 10 extra silver or 1 VP, assuming we have this Apprentice for everytime we build.

Age of Artisans (2020)

This is the first big box expansion just for Architects of the West Kingdom. There are a couple of things that we get from this expansion.

First, we got a set of component for the 6th PLAYER. This includes the 2 Markers and 20 Workers with the orange color to the game.  While we do get more Player Board but we can use the previous Player Board from the base game or other promo.

The first new module that we get is the idea of ARTISAN WORKER. Each player, up to 6 will get 1 bigger size Worker for their chosen color, which is called Artisan.

The Artisan will be considered as 2 Workers but only when being placed at any location. When we place another worker at the same location next time, the Artisan will go back to being just a single Worker.

The other benefit is that when we place the Artisan to a location where we have to lose Virtue, the Artisan may ignore 1 Virtue loss.

Another difference between the Artisan and the Regular Worker is that we cannot use Artisan at Guildhall. For others, the Artisan works the same as Worker.

The other new module is the CRAFT CARDS. These 12 new cards are multi use cards that we can either use it as ADORNMENT or as TOOL.

Adornment means we will add this card to enhance the effect of constructed buildings. The building will then get 1 more effect and give extra VP at the end.

Tool means we will add this card to enhance the hired Apprentices. The apprentice will then get 1 more ability which we can only activate once per turn. At the end, we will also gain extra VP where if we have more Tools, we will get higher VP.

While adornment requires some Silver that we need to pay, Tool does not.

In order to gain this benefit, we need to do CRAFT ACTION. The Craft action means we place 1 Worker on top of the worker previously placed at Guildhall.

That means, to gain the benefit of Craft Card, we still lose 1 Worker but we will not take the space or timer.

For that purpose, the expansion also include a GUILDHALL OVERLAY TILE. This will cover the Guildhall section of the Main Board.

Basically they will serve the same purpose as before but with new icons for the Craft Action. However they introduce one more thing.

The third worker spot of the first 3 rows will now RESET THE APPRENTICE MARKET. What it means is, if everytime a worker occupy that spot, we will remove the 2 Apprentice cards from the first column.

This way, the market will not be static because nobody is hiring the Worker. A very good idea, especially for lower player count.

The crafting Tool action can also be done at Black Market. They include a BLACK MARKET OVERLAY CARD that will replace the middle market by adding symbol for the craft action.

The Craft action also affect how the base game BOT or AI works at Guildhall. They will also do Crafting Adornment without stacking their Workers and get additional VP.

From the old type of components, we get 12 NEW BUILDING CARDS and 12 NEW APPRENTICE CARDS. Some buildings will have the effect of the new module.

So, we get 2 new PLAYER BOARDS: WALARIC and GISELA. This means 2 new starting characters, with their own starting setup and variable player power.

However, their powers are related to the new module that these expansion introduced.

Walaric got 1 Free Tool at the start and his Artisan is considered as 3 Workers instead of 2. Gisela will gain the benefit from Adornment section when using those cards as a Tool.

The expansion also comes with SCORE PAD and 6 NEW PLAYER AIDS. This Player Aid will be an extension of the Player Board with icons for the new module and integrated Multiplier card.

I think there is also a change of how we set up the game that can be applied to the base game. It is the idea of players hiring 1 Apprentice in reverse turn order at the start of the game.

Weirdly enough, the designer admit that they didn’t include extra Cathedral reward cards which is necessary for 6 players based on the original rule.

I don’t think the expansion is necessary but this does introduce interesting new concepts.

Learn more about Age of Artisans from the rulebook here. 

1 Promo Card from BGG Geek Store (2021)

This promo packs include 3 cards, 1 for each West Kingdom Game. For the Architects, we got a new Apprentice, Suzerain with Scott Alden portraying the character.

Suzerain will give us 1 Gold everytime we lose 1 or 2 Virtue from constructing or adorning at Guildhall or from hiring the Apprentice. So, it’s not just when we lose Virtue like from Tax Stand or Black Market or when releasing Workers from other players.

I guess, this is not very powerful but this indeed encourage us to build buildings or hire apprentice that might hurt our Virtue. Those Gold can be 1 VP or to help us Build more buildings.

Works of Wonder (2022)

We can learn more from the Kickstarter campaign here.

From this big box expansion, we get more contents from the old features but they also introduced new elements to the game.

The first new element is WONDERS. This is actually similar to building cards but with very high amount of required resources like 6 Gold or so.

However, competing players may collectively contribute to its development. Whoever finishes the construction become the owner of that building.

Once built, we will place a wooden token specifically for that Wonders on a corresponding location. The benefit for being the owner is, everytime we send workers to a location where the Wonder was built, they may consider the Wonder itself as additional Workers or gain 1 Influence.

The expansion comes with 5 different Wonders, each with its own Wonder card and Wonder token.

So, the next new element is INFLUENCE. This is similar to Virtue that players can increase or decrease their Influence and adjust their markers on INFLUENCE TRACK accordingly. So, each player will get an additional PLAYER MARKER.

Influence is another resources that we can spend to build those Wonders. Another use of Influence is as replacement of losing Virtue or paying Silver, Gold or Marble.

At the end of the game, only the player with the highest influence will gain 4 Gold. Unlike Virtue, there is no penalty for having less than 0 Influence or bonus for having more than 12.

As we lose and gain Influence, certain Influence level allows us to gain 1 Building Card. This can be claimed repeatedly.

Another new element is the CONTRIBUTE action. This is how players can collectively contribute to the construction of Wonders.

We can spend 1 resource and place them on CONTRIBUTION CARD. By doing so we can get at least 2 Influence and probably Virtue or Reward Card.

The problem is that each type of resources only works for 1 Wonder and the Contribution Card can only accept 1 resource of each 5 type. Once all 5 type have been contributed, it will trigger a BLACK MARKET RESET and send those resources to the corresponding Wonder.

After the Contribution card has been emptied, players can continue with their contribution and access the benefit again.

Contribution can only be done if we send workers to a location where the PRINCESS TOKEN is at. So, this is another new element from the expansion alongside PROFITEER, also with a Profiteer Token. If we send workers to where the Profiteer is at, we can gain 1 Influence.

Both of these 2 characters will use the same double sided cards to tell us the location they will move to. These cards are CONSEQUENCES / CONTRIBUTION CARDS.

The other purpose of these cards is that it will tell us additional event that we need to resolve during Black Market Reset. The event can be like capturing Workers (Consequences) or gain Influence (Contribution). There are 7 cards in this expansion.

Another purpose of these 2 characters and where they will be at is that they will give additional effect when capturing workers at the same location. If we capture any worker from a location with the Princess, we will lose 1 Virtue, but gain 1 with Profiteer.

All of the new elements like the influence track, Contribution card and space for Consequence deck comes in an EXTENSION BOARD for the MAIN BOARD. This will be placed on the right side of the Main Board.

This extension board will also give a spot for APPRENTICE DECK and the FIFTH APPRENTICE COLUMN. That means we can see 2 more Apprentices that will come out.

The last new element of this expansion is the 3 AI DOUBLE SIDED BOARDS for solo play with 6 DIFFERENT AI and 24 new SCHEME CARDS.

These 6 AI will work differently than the AI from the base game. Almost similar to the AI from the Tomesaga with additional elements. It is a bit more complex as each AI will have several actions that they can perform if they meet the requirements.

Other than that, we will gain more Building Cards, Player Boards, Apprentice Cards, Reward cards and 1 Scheme card to be played with the Tomesaga expansion.

Collector’s Box (2022)

For fans of the game who collects every expansions, the publisher is offering a Collector’s Box. This can fit all of the expansions, promos and metal coins.

The size of the box is about 295 x 295 x 69 mm. It comes with 5 resource trays with curved bases.

By purchasing the Collector’s Box, we will also get 14 promo cards. The Kickstarter page says that the promo will be available on the publisher’s website.

Neoprene Play Mat (2022)

Alongside the Works of Wonder expansion, backers can also purchase a neoprene play mat as an add on. The page says that the size will be 777x536mm with 2mm thickness.

This playmat already include the extension board from the Works of Wonder expansion and spaces for Age of Artisans cards. I think by purchasing this, we will also get 5 Building Cards.

It seems that we cannot place the mat into the Collector’s box but they will send it in cardboard tube.

Conclusion

Architects of the West Kingdom is the first game in West Kingdom Trilogy from Garphill Games. In this competitive game, players are Architects trying to build buildings and contribute to the construction of Cathedral while maintaining their noble status in front of the King.

This is a Worker Placement game where we will start with 20 Workers. We have to send these Workers to various different location to gather resources, trade them, hire Apprentices that can help us build some buildings.

The designers introduced a twist to the standard mechanism where in this one, all players can place multiple of their Workers on the same location. That way, players are not blocking or denying their opponents to access that location.

Moreover, there is a multiplying effect. Instead of getting just one amount of resources per placement, we will instead gain more resources the next time we add workers to that location.

The designer also introduced a capturing mechanism. In order to prevent one player to gain too many resources from a single location, their opponents can capture workers.

The captured workers can be traded into Silver later for the capturer. This is how the player interaction will come and force other players to diversify, spread their workers to various different location.

Or, they might as well push their luck to keep focusing on 1 location. That way the capturer can get more Silver instead just holding the Workers.

Another interesting element of the game is the idea of Virtue track. This is how players maintain their noble status. If their Virtue is too low, players can no longer participate in the construction of Cathedral but they can have access to free tax and Black Market.

On the other hand, if the Virtue is high enough, they lose their chance to access to the Black Market. They can build the Cathedral and at the end of the game, gain VP based on their Virtue.

There are multiple ways to gain or lose Virtue. This can come from building certain buildings and hire different Apprentices.

The game will end after a certain number of constructions based on the number of players. For each constructions, we also need to permanently lose our Workers for the rest of the game.

So, overtime the more we built, the less efficient we become. The idea is to play long term or strategically.

There is a bit of racing element with the construction of Cathedral. Only one players can reach the top of construction stage and gain the highest VP.

However, maybe that is like the weakest part of the game. Players can still score more points from different avenues.

The game also comes with 5 different characters. Other than standard setup, these characters will have a unique ability and start with different resources and virtue.

These characters will definitely change how we play the game. The game also comes with an AI or Bot to support the solo mode or the 2P mode.

While the whole concept of the game with all of the twists is interesting, I feel like there are some parts of the game that are lacking. Like the Apprentice market can become very static, especially with lower player count or in the second half of the game.

The game does have a lot of set up variables but I feel like they don’t actually support the different possible strategies equally. Combined that with the luck of the draw from Building cards and Apprentice cards, some characters will have higher chance to win.

While the Virtue track opens more opportunities and different way to play the game, in the end, we are still chasing the same thing.

Higher virtue still means higher victory points. That’s the bottleneck.

The different variable setup from each characters only means just different starting point of the same strategy. We may feel a bit different in tactical level.

For the competitive play, the replay value may not be that good. But for solo play, this base game is a good one.

So far, none of the expansions has solved this issue for competitive play. But the cooperative mode from the Tomesaga expansion has some potential. More characters can definitely add more replay value.

More Games

If we enjoy Architects of the West Kingdom and are looking for other games that share some similarities, there are a lot more games like this out there. Unfortunately, at this point of time, I haven’t played that many games, especially the one with this size.

We can always try the sequel of this trilogy, either Paladins of the West Kingdom or Viscounts of the West Kingdom. A lot of people says that the second one is the best.

For more games of the same designer, we can also try the North Sea Trilogy, or Raiders of Scythia. Some says that the designer is planning to do 2 more trilogies, the East series and the South series.

Maybe someday I have the chance to try them out and write a review on this site. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, here are other games that I have played so far. I think some of them share some similarities with Architects of the West Kingdom.

This is basically a Worker Placement Game. We have a number of Workers that we also need to manage where to deploy them to and how to take them back.

For that genre, I have played Mint Works. But this is just a micro game, very small one compared to Architects.

Another smaller game that I have played is Oh My Goods!. This is just a card game so our Worker is in the form of card. Unlike Architects where we will lose Workers overtime, here, we start with one and there is a chance to have more later.

There is also a twist in Oh My Goods! where each Worker card can do 2 things, the efficient work or the lazy work. There is an element of push your luck added to the genre.

The other element of Architects of the West Kingdom that stands out for me is the Contract or Objective Mechanism in the form of Building Cards or Cathedral.

We need to fulfill those contracts in order to gain points. However, some of them will give us immediate benefit that can be useful for the next objective or contract, like doing a combo.

For that genre, I have played Quests of Valeria, another small card game but from the same artist. Here we will also hire characters like the Apprentice in Architects that can provide us some resources to complete a Quest or the objective.

Once completed, we will get VP and probably some extra resources that we can use for the next Quests. Like the Cathedral in Architects, we will need to be the first to complete those objective. This is more interactive than Architects.

We can also try the prequel, Villages of Valeria. This is also a City Building Game. The difference compared to Architects is that we need to build the building first before we can recruit people.

Villages of Valeria is focus on the Building Card part of Architects. We can only build from the cards in our hand and the player interaction will come from the follow mechanism.

So, we can say that these 2 Valeria Games can almost become the similar game as Architects.

Another element of Architects is the Resource Management. Not only we have to figure out how to gain those resources, we also need to know how to manage them for various different purposes.

For that, I have played the two smaller versions of The Castles of Burgundy. Both the card game version and the dice game version do offer some resource management element.

For games with deeper resource management it can lead to an engine building game. Imperial Settlers is one of them for a bigger card game. Café is another one but smaller.

We can also try Peloponnes Card Game. Like a minor part in Architects, those objective that we have completed may end up hurting us at the end of the game unless we have enough the required resources to cover.

For more games with City Building element, where we also need to manage the people or characters in the game to help us win, we can try Tybor the Builder. Those people can help us gain resources and get a discount for certain type of buildings.

We can also try Walking in Burano. In this game, the character will determine how we score and the set of resources we need to collect.

I guess Architects is also known for the Player Interaction element with capturing mechanism. While I’m not a fan with the aggression that the mechanism can lead to but it can also lead to positive interactions.

That aggressiveness can actually become a benefit to the opponent. For that, Seastead may offer a similar interaction.

I will keep updating my website with more games. Find out the latest update from this Complete List. If we are just looking for portable games that we can play anywhere, there are more games on that list.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Architects of the West Kingdom, a board game. At this point, this is probably the biggest one that I have played and written a review for.

I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget.  If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with more player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *