Cheap and Cheerful: Reigns

Written by Culture, Gaming

Both Reigns and its sequel Reigns: Her Majesty have a simple premise: rule a kingdom for as long as you can. Published by Devolver Digital, they are available on Nintendo Switch, Steam, and the Apple store, as well as the Play store.

The length of your rule is determined by how well you balance four groups – the Church, army, treasury and your subjects. Upset your General and face a violent insurrection, let your debts spiral and find yourself ousted for poor money management.

If you’re one of the many unfortunate souls that uses Tinder, or ever has, you will be familiar with Reigns decision making mechanic – a swipe to the left or right. This is partially why it’s so engrossing (and unlike Tinder there’s zero danger of an obnoxious student patronising you while demanding you meet him for drinks), and the game provides visual hints for what impact your choice might have.

Once one monarch is deposed (or, in exceptional cases, dies of old age, beloved and fondly remembered) another replaces them, and faces new challenges — possibly a plague outbreak, or the effects of treacherous gossip circulating in the royal court.

Ideal for strategy game fans, medieval history enthusiasts, and students with fifteen minutes to fill

Common sense and luck might save you from a gruesome death, when it comes to negotiating peace with an aggressive Lord or appeasing a conniving Cardinal, however a few mistakes or simple bad luck can be equally important when it comes to sealing your fate. In Reigns: Her Majesty my Queens have the bad habit of dying in childbirth, and while I appreciate the historical accuracy I’m beginning to spurn the affections of every single Sir in an attempt to prolong my rule.

Ideal for strategy game fans, medieval history enthusiasts, and students with fifteen minutes to fill (or even a couple hours, if you’re really absorbed by political scheming, alarming alchemist plots, and mysterious warnings from the All-Mother who appears in Her Majesty).

The art style and writing are a highlight, as these games lose little entertainment value on repeated playthroughs. At only £1.99 on Steam for the first game, and similarly low prices across platforms, there’s hardly any reason not to try these delightfully weird, witty games.

Last modified: 4th May 2020

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