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A Royal Will Game Review

If only it was an inheritance worth having

Justin reviews A Royal Will from Mega Mint Games!

The best games feature interesting decisions, but more importantly, the best games are flat-out fun. Fun to bring to the table, lots of fun moments, plays you can really savor.

In the review business, it’s not often that you play games that really have it all. Sadly, A Royal Will (2021, Mega Mint Games) fails to provide any solid moments from play to play. Despite its miniscule playtime, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable regularly bringing this to a game night as filler between some of my better options.

So, All the Coins Are the Same Denomination?

During each of my plays prepping this review (at 2-, 3-, and 4-player counts), I really struggled to teach this game to other players. I still can’t figure out why, because the rules for A Royal Will are very straightforward.

Working to claim an “inheritance” from rich heirs, players start each game with a measly 2 coins but need just 10 coins to win the game. From a deck of 25 cards—6 types of cards repeated 4 times each, with one card type appearing just once—each player will be dealt 2 cards each round.

One card is played face-up to trigger an action, like betting on whether the hand will bust or messing with other players to take their face-down card or to steal a coin from their personal supply. The other card will be placed face down, denoting a number of coins you’ll receive as long as every player can receive coins from the allotment of coins in the middle of the table (this allotment scales, based on player count).

When the big card reveal happens, things are very simple. If everyone can gather their requested coins to ensure that everyone gets paid, they will, and rounds continue until someone has 10 coins. If the pot in the middle goes bust, the greediest player has to spend 2 coins from their personal supply, and no one gets paid.

The production for A Royal Will is fine, and features well-illustrated robotic-like creatures serving as the people chasing after the family will. Coins are included in the box, but all have different symbols; each one is the same denomination, a single coin, but for the life of me I can’t understand why the team at Mega Mint opted for different symbols on each cardboard coin.

But despite the good-enough production elements and what felt like a straightforward teach, A Royal Will just never proves to be much fun.

It’s in the Cards

I lost A Royal Will each time I played it. Usually, winners have nice things to say about games or want to play them again. Not here.

“This just wasn’t very interesting.”

“It just felt like it was too easy to win.”

“Uhh…good game? Let’s get dinner going for the kids.” (This final play was a 2p with my wife.)

Games of A Royal Will never overstay their welcome; each of my games took less than 15 minutes, including teach. Because cards are randomly dealt, you don’t have much agency for messing with your fellow players unless you happen to be given a card that, say, takes a coin away from someone who is about to win.

Another note about the deck of 25 cards: you have to reshuffle that deck EVERY SINGLE ROUND. So, you won’t even be able to work from the knowledge that one type of card is likely gone by round 4. Nope, your odds of getting a card each round remains the same across rounds.

We house-ruled this for our second game and discarded any cards used in a previous round, which emptied the deck. That didn’t really change much; it’s hard to play when you only have two cards per round and no way to determine how you get the card you really want on a future turn. A Royal Will is firmly in the “game of chance” category.

Meh

I appreciate the artwork in A Royal Will and it’s a non-offensive addition to any game night’s filler lineup. It’s just not a game that resonates in any meaningful way. I struggled to think of ways to improve it because the core gameplay loop is so short and simple that this loop never aspires to be more.

A Royal Will details

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

About the author

Justin Bell

Gamer / husband / dad / DEI champion / foodie / hoop head / cinephile / travel enthusiast. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice! @justinbellsays

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