In Glory: A Game of Knights players take roles of ambitious knights on their journey to become glorious by engaging in adventures, gathering supporters, and competing in tournaments! Put on your armor and get on your horse, you’ve got many duels ahead of you!
This game has been part of my collection for many months now but only now I get to talk about it because there’s a lot of stuff in this box. And I’m not talking about components (although there are lots of tokens in there), but about the gameplay! There’s a lot of attention put into the details of this game, with multiple tournament types and solo modes.
How to play
Glory is played on the course of three rounds, each following the same structure: placing workers to collect resources, traveling to gain benefits, and then participating in a Tournament, fighting against up to three opponents and earning glory. Players start with a basic Armour and a Mount, along with some resources that they can use to upgrade their equipment or increase their chance to win a fight.
Glory’s worker placement aspect is not especially new, but it’s intriguing. During this phase, you’ll have to take the most game-changing decisions. You’ll work on acquiring Travel cards, resources for duels, and advancing your Title goals. Traveling by playing Travel cards is a terrific addition to your actions, providing you with additional opportunities to fight duels against NPCs, get some special items that may help you during Tournaments, or gain some more resources.
Tournaments are clearly a very important aspect of the game (being the main theme), but becoming the champion is not easy. Properly preparing during the Action phase is the key to winning fights during the Tournament phase. This part of the game can be really entertaining and breath-taking, especially if you and your opponent have similar equipment and throw the same number of dice. It pushes your luck a lot and it will keep you on your toes every battle. You’ll almost never be able to fight all battles at full power, so you’ll have to plan your moves well.
You earn a large portion of your glory points over the course of the three rounds, whether from resolving Events, fighting Duels, or recruiting Supporters. However, the Title cards have a significant role in scoring. There are three public Title cards that can be scored by all players, and each player can have an unlimited number of private Title cards that they can score. At the end of the game, the player with the most glory points will be declared the winner!
I can’t say that this game shines from a mechanical point of view. It’s your typical worker placement, just like Stone Age or Architects of the West Kingdom (however, Architects has a really cool twist on capturing workers), with the addition of a luck-based battle system. However, this doesn’t make it a bad game. The theme helps it a lot, blending very well with the mechanics.
I appreciate that the designers implemented two different Tournament approaches, enabling you to tailor the game to your group’s playstyle, having more or less interaction between the players. Also, having the possibility to give advanced players a disadvantage when playing against newbies by customizing their beginning Mount or Armor is another nice touch.
Committing 4 Strength or using a Relic/Supporter early in a Tournament may result in you being unable to win subsequent duels because you’ll lack the necessary power. This is especially crucial during a Joust à plaisance Tournament, where duels become increasingly more difficult as you advance through the brackets. At the same time, saving up resources and Relics or Supporters won’t help you much if you lose your first Duel, as you won’t be able to advance any further.
However, always winning in Tournaments may not mean that you’ll also win the game. You’ll need to strike a balance between doing well in them and scoring as many Titles as possible. Every time I focused too much on Tournaments led me to not fulfilling too many Titles and lose the game. The winner always proved to be the one who did proper planning for his actions, deciding when to take specific resources and when to use them, when to take the turn order action to pre-register in the Tournament and get the pairing that could give him the best outcome.
For those of you that are not fans of push-your-luck battle systems, I think you’ll be happy to hear that Glory offers you many ways to manipulate luck in your dice rolls. It can be done by spending Strength or Faith, by using Relics, or by calling Supporters for help. I really appreciated this because I despise relying on die rolls to determine whether or not I win a game.
Another thing that I appreciated a lot about this game is that it has 3 different solo modes, each with three levels of difficulty. One of them requires you to win all tournaments, a second one asks you to defeat an AI, and the last one assigns you a goal score to beat. All these modes are driven by a special deck that prohibits certain activities on your turn. Some cards give a personality trait to the AI, adding some flavor to the game. It’s amazing to see such a strong emphasis on the solo part of this game, as well as having a gradual difficulty that helps you improve.
Glory is an engaging worker-placement game with push-your-luck aspects that strikes a gratifying mix between strategy and chance. It has a great table presence, honoring the knight theme by offering you thematic actions and giving you the chance to create a tale about your Knight’s journey to greatness. The long rulebook made me think it’d be a complex game at first, but it proved to be easy to understand and follow as you play.
The worker-placement phase allows you to gather resources to develop your knight, while also giving you the chance to work on your goals. The duels are the most nail-biting part of the game, being simple to resolve but hard to master, since you’ll have to juggle with the available ways to mitigate the luck of your dice rolls. I’m not a fan of luck-based fighting systems, but my group enjoyed the competition and we ended up having fun playing this.
Designers: Dominik Mucha & Marcin Wisthal
Publisher: Strategos Games
Time: 60-120 min
Times played: 8
Full disclosure: A copy of Glory: A Game of Knights was provided by the game publisher.
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