Publisher: Medieval Lords
Game Designer: Dominic Huang
Artwork: Pricey, Isaiah Tan
Ages: 10 and up
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $12
Queen of the Hill is a new push your luck card game from Medieval Lords where 2-6 players take on the roles of female rulers vying for control of a celestial hill. You will summon, then draft or recruit these female warriors, each with different numerical values and unique powers to raise the strongest army of all and lay claim the title, Queen of the Hill. But beware the Dark One who awaits in the shadows, eager to pounce and disband your army and foil your plans!
The prototype was a print and play that was built and sent to me for review so will not be scored on component quality but I will comment on the art as it was about halfway complete on the 100 cards that were sent to me.
The warrior art is beautifully done with high quality anime from the pen of Pricey, a professional Japanese Anime/Manga artist. One of her best known works was creating anime heroin Inori Aizawa, the official Microsoft Internet Explorer mascot. All of the art is quite wonderfully done and will be a bit hit with anime fans.
The rules sheet was clearly written and very easy to understand, getting you up and running in just a few minutes.
Game play for Queen of the Hill is simple, making it quite accessible for 2-6 players ages 10 and up. The goal of the game is to win two rounds with the highest score to emerge victorious. This is done by pushing your luck with each draw from the 100 card deck, called summoning. Once summoned, the cards can either be drafted into your tableau for potential points or recruited to your hand, where you can use their special powers in following rounds.
All card draws are kept secret, placed face down until all player turns are completed and then the cards are revealed simultaneously. Prior to revealing, any warrior cards in your hand that you wish to use, enacting special powers to either help you or harm others will then be played. Of course, this is all assuming no one has run into the Dark One!
Drawing the Dark One card immediately ends your turn and forces you to discard all of your drafted cards, recruited cards however are safe. So while you lose your potential points this round, you will have a way to level the playing field on your next turn with power cards to play, just hope that you don’t encounter the Dark One again!
The warrior cards are all valued from 1-5 and have special powers, the exception being the Seraphim with a value of 8 but no special power. This is to counter-balance the two-player variant where players face off against a dummy player, the Dark One. While the players bust immediately when drawing the Dark One, any Dark One cards in the dummy players hand is valued at 8 points.
Each of the warrior card powers offers something unique to either help you or hurt others along with two other special cards that hold no point value, the ruby heels and broken mirror. The ruby heels let you discard a Dark One card with no effect while the broken mirror cancels the effect of a warrior card played against you.
The powers are pretty potent, such as the Troll card that forces another player to draw three more cards after they end their turn, the Musician doubles the value of any card and the Thief cancels out ruby heels and broken mirrors. One of the strongest is the Bombardier, who discards three cards from a players area, ouch!
As you can see Queen of the Hill is a very simple game and while it is heavily luck based it does have some very lite strategies with playing the power cards. Since the draws are secret you never know what cards everyone else has, making bluffing important for players who draw low cards. With the odds of winning on score alone not in your favor with low card draws, you might want to risk it and give the impression of a stronger score by drawing more cards and showing a huge tableau. Go big or ho home!
While this is a heavily luck based game, it can be mitigated by the power cards but to use those powers, you have to forego scoring points form those cards to be able to use them on the following turn. With 15 Dark One cards in the 100 card deck, it never hurts to recruit a couple of cards early on so that you will at least have some powers for next turn should you get knocked out of the round.
This game can be rather fun with the right group as the amount of trash talk and taunting to get other players to keep drawing cards increases, making this a fairly fun little filler. This is not at all a thinky game and will be a decent option when you’re looking for a fast game with some fun social interactions, beautiful art and very lite strategy.
If you’re group enjoys games like Dead Man’s Draw, then Queen of the Hill will be a good fit for you so give it a look and back it!
Company Website: https://www.medievalords.com
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/medievalords
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/MLordsGames
Note: A preview copy of this game was provided to me.