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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Elven Throne

GP Rating

Elven Throne is an upcoming fantasy board game for three to six players, based around influence and negotiation in a high-fantasy setting.  Each player takes on the role of a House within the Elven courts, as they vie to gain control.

From the outset, Elven Throne looks amazing. The cover artwork sets the high-fantasy themes and each of the world tiles has some fantastic pen-and-ink character drawings that reflect their impact on the game.

The boards and components are all solidly made and are utterly in keeping with the theme and mood of the game. Although there are only a few boards – the elven court and other areas – the randomised nature of setup, using the world tiles, ensures that there will be a lot of variation between games.  Likewise, each of the Houses are quite varied and require different strategies in order to be effective.  Some are also easier to play than others, but offer a rich diversity in gameplay possibilities.

The game is relatively easy to set up, provided that the components have been sorted into their own bags.  The boards are laid out, each player chooses a House, then the world tiles are laid out.  The randomised nature of the board game can lead to humorous instances, such as the chaotic-evil human bar tender being on an elven throne.

Unfortunately, problems start following the set-up, when we tried to actually play the game.  The rules, as they currently stand in the English language edition, are incredibly hard to follow.  There are rules that contradict each other, as well as several spelling mistakes and repeated sentences. The rule books also use game symbols, rather than game terms, which results in a lot of flicking between pages to decipher what is meant.

One of the main problems was understanding the mechanics of counteractions.  It was unclear how many iterations of counteractions could be played, and there was conflicting guidance on how to use the counteraction tokens.

Despite having three experienced gamers around the table, with many decades of gaming experience between us, we were unable to understand how the game is meant to be played.  This is a massive shame, as the premise of Elven Throne and design of the components is sound, it is just the poorly written nature of the rulebook that lets it down.

Elven Throne has the potential to be an amazing game; it looks great and has some fantastic ideas.  However, that is providing the rulebook is completely rewritten.

Note: Elven Throne is still in development and was played using a February 2024 version of the rules.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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Elven Throne has the potential to be an amazing game; it looks great and has some fantastic ideas.  However, that is providing the rulebook is completely rewritten.Elven Throne