Review: Viceroy provides a satisfying and clever pyramid scheme

“Viceroy! Their general is advancing on us, and they’ve sent an assassin as well! Should we bolster our scouting network, improve our army or mine for more gems? Will science, magic or defence save us? Can we pass a new law to get the populace on our side? We await your instructions, sir!” 

Viceroy 

Published: 2014

Designer: Yuri Zhuravlev

Publisher: HobbyWorld, Mayday Games, others

1-4 players

45-60 minutes

How Viceroy looks with the added gems and playmat.
How Viceroy looks with the added gems and playmat.

Viceroy‘s a short civilization-themed tableau-building game, with the tableau taking the form of a pyramid of cards that you play in front of you, and one of the neat twists is that the character cards (most of the cards you’ll be obtaining and playing) have different powers depending on what level of the pyramid they’re on. You’re also building different economic engines, collecting various sets and competing in auctions, which can result in mutually-beneficial arrangements or tough jockeying for particular cards. The thematic idea is that you’re creating your own kingdom and going up against others in the fantasy world of Laar, generating resources, magic, science, offence and defence. All in all, it makes for a satisfying brain-burner that can be played in an hour or less, one with significant replay value and a solid solo game. However, while there’s a lot to love here, and while it’s a game that thoroughly works for me, it also feels like one that’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Read more