Gibsons relaunches Kingmaker game

Published on: 6th September 2022

Gibsons is relaunching Andrew McNeil’s classic tabletop strategy game Kingmaker with a Kickstarter campaign which starts this week.

Although Kingmaker had been enjoyed by many for decades, the original game had some shortcomings and fans requested a new and improved version. Gibsons, along with Alan Paull of Surprised Stare Games, worked to resolve these issues, yet still retain the essence of ‘Classic Kingmaker’ with Kingmaker: The Royal Relaunch.

First launched in 1974, Kingmaker simulates the Wars of the Roses, the period of sporadic Civil War in England between 1450 and 1490.

Invented by the late Andrew McNeil, the game is based on the premise that the powerful Noble families used the Lancastrian and Yorkist princes as pawns in a greater game of gaining control of England. Players control factions using their military and political power to control and influence the royal heirs, supporting the heir in their control as king while trying to take down all the other heirs. It’s a game of manipulation, deception and unforeseeable incidents – making each game unpredictable and a lot of fun.

Andrew McNeil began to develop Kingmaker in 1962, whilst studying at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University. The game quickly gained momentum after it was enjoyed by Phillip Whitehead MP and writer and broadcaster, Melvyn Bragg and, in 1972, Gibsons took the game to the UK market. Avalon Hill then sold it in the US, and it became a much-loved classic.

Commenting on Kingmaker:The Royal Relaunch, Alan Paull said: “The new version had to provide a similar player experience to the older editions, but with the problems resolved.”

After four years of playtesting, the team turned its attention to the redesign of the box and components. Working with graphic design studio, Greybox, the team modernised the box shape and celebrated the original design by using a similar typeface and colourway. The artwork was created by artist and Kingmaker fan Mat Edwards, who has illustrated the entire game, from the crown deck to the royal portraits.

There are four games in Kingmaker: The Royal Relaunch:

  • The original Classic Kingmaker for 2 to 6 players is a competition where the only path to victory is through controlling the last crowned Royal piece.
  • The new Kingmaker II for 2 to 5 players is for those who prefer a shorter game with a greater variety of win conditions including alliances and prestige.
  • The Extended Classic Kingmaker provides extra Crown and Event cards along with additional optional rules for Parliament and battles, in which dice are used to determine whether Nobles and Royal pieces live or die.
  • The Solo Kingmaker, for those who wish to play on their own.

Kingmaker: The Royal Relaunch goes live on Kickstarter on 9th September and Gibsons need to reach a target of £50,000. Click here to find out more.

You can also see a trailer for the new game here:




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