Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unboxing: Kingdom Death Monster

All 22lbs of Kingdom Death, inside a custom printed shipping box.

After almost 3 years of waiting, and becoming increasing frustrated with Kindgom Death’s portrayal of women in their Pin-up side project (which admittedly has not bearing on the game itself), I had almost resolved to just sell my copy of Kingdom Death when it arrived.  Upon receiving the box, I decided to give the game a chance, figuring I would likely never get the opportunity to see the game again, due to its impressive price tag ($400 retail, substantially higher than the Kickstarter price).  After spending some time with the game, going through the contents of the box and reading through the rules, I am happy to have decided to keep the game.  Not only does it have the highest production values of any boardgame that I have ever seen, it also treats its subject matter seriously, without any of the objectifying of women present in their pin-up line of models.  I thought people would appreciate seeing some pictures of what is in the box, to get a sense of the quality and to determine if it is something you are interested in.

There was no extra space inside, not even room for bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

The two boxes contained within, the first contains a host of extra models given to backers.

Kingdom Death: Monster is in a very impressive box, thick matte finished cardboard with a shiny UV coated illustration of the Watcher on the front.

The back of the box is also classy looking in its simplicity, with a large illustration depicting how the game begins.

Upon opening the box, you are greeted with a smaller box that informs you where you can find instructions online for assembling the miniatures (although at this point, the instructions are not online).

That smaller box is filled with all of the plastic miniatures that are included with the game, which is quite an impressive number.

Beneath the model box you are greeted with a few cardboard mats that aid in playing the various portions of the game.  While they are not mounted, they have a pleasing matte finish and are made of a nice flexible stock that is unlikely to crease.

The first set of cardboard tokens: each is thick and easily punched out.  They all have excellent illustrations, maintaining a realistic quality reminiscent to Kentaro Miura's Berserk.

The second set of cardboard tokens, most of which serve as terrain markers, again all with impressive art.

The main play board is a large, tri-panel mounted board.

Here the Twilight Knight moves around the stunning, if not a bit chilling, Kingdom Death Board.

Below the tokens and board are the rest of the components, neatly placed in a plastic insert that was specifically crafted to contain all of the game’s cards and tokens.

Here are a selection of some of the game’s tokens and the custom dice.  I was really impressed by the quality, the tokens are colorful and immersive, and the dice are custom carved, with the KD lantern on the 10 face.

The game has hundreds of cards, each looks beautiful, with captivating art on the back. Each class of card uses a different color to differentiate them.  They are printed with a matte finish that will not easily collect fingerprints.

Some of the dice next to the Twilight Knight.

Settlement events occur during each settlement phase, and are detailed on large, colorful cards.

Even the largest cards have slightly rounded edges, preventing the corners from splitting.

Each player takes the role of a survivor, which can be equipped with all manner of wargear (provided that their settlement can develop it).  There is an interesting system where depending on how you arrange your gear on your survivor sheet, you can gain different benefits.  And if anyone doubted the Berserk influence in KD, I direct you to the Lucky Charm (a behelit).

The cover of the rulebook, with an ominous picture of the final monster, the Watcher.

The rulebook is filled with delightful pictures like this one, making it slightly less grim.

Many of the illustrations in the book are excellent pencil/ink drawings like this one.

A large portion of the rulebook is made up of various story encounters which can be triggered during play sessions.

Much of the art is bizarre and horrifying, fitting the grim tone the game attempts to foster.

The cards are American standard playing card size (57.5x89mm), so they fit easily in FFG’s green protectors.  Better yet, after the cards are in protectors, they still fit in the custom insert!

After sleeving most of the cards and organizing them.  I still need to sleeve the gear cards...

Another appreciated touch was including custom divider cards to organize the hundreds of included cards, dramatically simplifying finding cards that you need.  The only negative thing about this is when the dividers are in place, you cannot put the mounted board back on top, lest you crush the dividers.  I will need to devise some manner of spacer to elevated the board to prevent this.

This is the first sprue you really have to spend any time with, since it contains the initial survivors and the White Lion, your first adversary.

The game comes with many multipart sprues like this one, each designed to allow you to create survivor models equipped with the weapons and wargear possible to develop after defeating a particular monster; this one has components available after defeating the White Lion.

Here is another multipart survivor sprue, for after you defeat the Phoenix.

Some of the sprues contain multiple models from different events, such as the Screaming Antelope and the Hand on this one.

The largest model in the box is the Phoenix, separated over three sprues.

The last creature in the box is this monstrous specter called the Watcher.

While I am the first to admit that Adam Poots, the creator of Kingdom Death, did something impressive with this game, seeing his name at the bottom of every model's base is a bit much...

Well there you have it, quite an impressive collection of miniatures, cardboard and dice!  I had heard that all the components would be of high quality, hence the long production time, but I was not prepared for every single component to be so nice (it should be nice for the price tag, however).  Honestly, I cannot think of anything I would have liked to see done better, from the quality mounted board, to the excellently printed cards and tokens. Everything is superb.  Every facet of the game embodies care and consideration, such as the plastic insert to hold every component, even if put in card sleeves.  More importantly, unlike the cringe-inducing pin-up models they sell separately, the board game eschews all of the objectifying qualities that I was afraid of.  While it is still a mature game, with many horrifying images and no shame about showing some skin, it is done in a mature way, without being sexual and provocative, and equally represents both males and females.  It is a shame that many may be turned away from the game due to the pin-up models they sell, when they have no bearing on the game itself (I almost was).  I am really happy that I decided to give the game a chance, and am extremely excited to start playing the game, and delve into the madness that is Kingdom Death.  I will be sure to keep you all updated as we start to play the game, letting you know how the mechanics work, and how the campaign progresses!

-Eric Wier


  1. The unboxing of the kickstarters and quality within made me preorder the game while I had the chance. Wish I would have gotten in on the kickstarter, but after being bitten by robotech, I was a bit hesitant to back another mini extravaganza. I really wish I did, as just the pre-order was 2x the cost of the kickstarter.

    Its crazy though, people selling the KS pledges for 550!

    1. Yeah, I am pleased I decided to back it all those years ago. I can understand your hesitation though, some of these miniature game kickstarters get really expensive really quickly. And admittedly there was never too much information provided as to how the actual game would be, which I feel is important considering the amount of money they are asking for. Having read through all the rules though, I think KD will be pretty good though.

      I think the game might be worth the asking price, as such care has gone into every aspect of the game, but no matter how you look at it, $400 is a heck of a lot of money. Something I would be hard pressed to spend today. I should have some posts coming soon talking about the model quality and game impressions!

    2. It is (if anyone is reading right now) about 295 + shipping off the KD main site. Far cry from the 150 the KS guys got (plus no KS extras, but those are mainly dupes + a few uniques), but way way cheaper then the 500+ people are asking on KS!

  2. Hello,
    Do you have a link to card sleeves for the settlement event cards?

    1. Unfortunately, I have not found a a good solution for sleeving the settlement event cards. These would work, but are still going to be a bit large:

      If I find something better I will let you know!

  3. It does look very nice. Some of the art in the rule book looks a bit anime for my tastes but not so exploitative anyway. Maybe I should forgive the pinup thing and give it a go, it's not often you get a Berserk board game after all. I wonder though - is it any fun?

    1. Everything is of extremely nice quality. I admit I was a little worried that the art in the book would be really anime themed, but was happy to find very little of it was generic anime themed. Most is more in the style of the berserk manga with detailed pencil drawings. Overall, I like it a lot.

      We are going to start playing the game soon and will be sure to post our impressions. Having read the rules, they seem pretty neat and engaging, with some rpg elements.

  4. It does indeed look quite splendid. The price is insane of course but it is good to see that the final game is ready now. It's been a long wait.

    1. Yeah, it certainly was a long wait. I almost forgot about it, ha ha. But I am glad it is finally here!