Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Walls of York


Emiliano "Wentu" Venturini

Cranio Creations

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

A city building game for the whole family. That's what Walls of York is about. And in fact, family game is the right expression: it is definitely no heayy brainer, but instead it can be played with children aged 8 (but my seven year old also doesn't have any problems with the game). And it is a good entry point to area games for the younger players. Besides it looks interesting and has some nice gimmicks that fascinate the children. At least in my family it was requested frequently in the last months...

It's the players' aim to build up a city wall to protect the most precious parts of the city from a raid of the Vikings. And for that, each player has their own modular player board, consisting of 4 4x4 map tiles. At set-up these map tiles are assembled in a way that every player is confronted with the same map. Every part of the 8x8 grid either shows a clean grass field or a symbol of a hut, a house, a well, a viking and one or two coins.

Now, on their turns players roll a special die that shows us how many wall pieces must be placed on the individual map, and how these walls have to be arranged. For example a die could demand a player to place three wall pieces in one line or to build up two wall pieces as a corner. Before closing a city, players have to make sure that within the selected perimeter there are at least the buildings of the Kings Decree.

Kings decree sounds good, but how do player know what their king is asking for them? To determine the wish of the king Walls of York comes with a pretty cool Kings Tower piece. At set-up 3 normal D6 dice are put into this tower, one in each of the three grooves. Each groove however represents one building type, so a result of a 3 in the hut groove demands the players to include 3 huts within the city walls.

The Kings Decree is the minimum requirement, but players can expand the city to their wishes. Two more symbols on the map are important for us: coins and Vikings. As soon as a city wall is closed, the player takes as many coins and Viking tokens as there are symbols within his or her city wall. However, it is not always the best strategy to make the city as large as possible. And there are two reasons for that:

Firstly, a player, who declared his city enclosed, is no longer in need of new city walls. But he takes on rolling the die. Instead of city walls, he receives coins from the supply. If you know that the player with the most coins wins the game, there is a good reason to enclose a city as soon as possible. The second reason is that the player with the most Viking tokens will be invaded, resulting in a loss of victory points in the final scoring.

Two ages are to be played and in between the mentioned invasion takes place. Unfortunately, that invasion ends with all wall pieces torn down in pieces for all players, so we must start the next round at the beginning again. The second round follows the same structure, with one slight change: in the second age the player with least Viking tokens additionally receives the King's shield, guaranteeing him or her additional victory points.

Walls of York is a pure family game with easy rules. The highlight for the children is undoubtedly the tower for the King's decree. Actually it isn't necessary. You could just roll the dice. But it is a nice feature and really upgrades the game. The game itself plays fluently. Although there are some tactical decisions to be made, it is more a game for gut feelings. In other words: a good family game. And as said, my younger son is very fond of it, and who am I to contradict him....

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Copyright © 2018 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany