Another amazing release from Shem Phillips and Sam Macdonald over at Garphill games!

This deal includes all the Kickstarter Promos from the 2018 campaign (without cardboard tax stand – see below), as well as the metal coins designed by The Mico himself!!

Please note that the reprints of the 2018 promo pack no longer include the tax stand as there was a design flaw that resulted in it continually falling apart. So, if you check the original campaign, the tax stand is missing from the Kickstarter promos. Many thanks to Shaun for bringing this to my attention!  We are back on track with an accurate listing.. whew! It takes a village, people (wink)… truly! And I cannot thank the Upstart community enough for their willingness to help me in making the whole Upstart experience even better! 😊❤️

I should note that the metal coins and Kickstarter promos do not come standard inside the retail game box.  I purchased some add-on sets of the promos and coins and I have included them with each copy of Architects so that you can get the entire Upstart experience in one package!  Yeah…. If you’re like me, you want ALL the games and ALL the high-end bits!!

Please be aware that if you’re comparison shopping for price (which I always recommend), check to see if the metal coins and promos are included so that you’re comparing apples to apples… 🙂  See my note above 🍎😊🍎

Sweet game!!

I’ve played this game a handful of times now and I really enjoy the exceptionally tight mechanics, overall gameplay, game length, and of course…. the theme and artwork!

Is this just a repackaged copy of Raiders of the North Sea?

Everyone who sees this set up at the gaming table always comes around to asking the same question at some point:

Question:  “Is this basically just Raiders re-themed?”

Answer:  “Not at all!”

Of course, the game remains firmly in the worker placement arena (my addiction runs true). And, it has elements of hand management just like Raiders of the North Sea.  And, the artwork is by The Mico after all!  So… it makes a lot of sense for people to have that concern.  Each of us only has so much available cash to spend on boardgames, and people want to optimize their game purchases and avoid games that have every similar mechanics, theme, etc.  Makes sense to me!

How are the games unique?

The worker placement mechanic here replaces the “place one, remove one” mechanic of Raiders of the North Sea with a “place and leave your worker and gain additional benefit if you have multiple workers on the same space” system.  So, for example, your first worker placed in the quarry gets you one stone.  Add a second worker to that same action space on your next turn and now you get two stone; and on and on.  As the game progresses and more and more of your workers are deployed, your opponents may start to consider capturing those workers to stop your massive resource boon!

So, while it’s beneficial to have multiple workers on one spot… you’re also at increasing risk of those workers being captured by another player…  and later sold to the jailer for profit!

Balance achieved.

This game is tight! There are so many options on the table; but they have all been designed with a carefully considered balancing mechanism.  Focus too hard on building the cathedral or constructing buildings (primary end game points generators), and you won’t have enough workers to get resources and take other actions.

Rob the Tax Stand for quick monetary gains but lose virtue in doing so.  Lose enough virtue and you won’t pay as much tax when taking actions (you unscrupulous vagrant!), but you will also be forbidden from working on the cathedral (another potentially big end-game point generator).  Rise in Virtue and you gain points at end game, but if you become too virtuous you can no longer visit the black market!  “We don’t take kindly to your kind around here!” You get the idea…. ?

And, of course, I already mentioned how adding too many workers to one action space might lead to your workers being captured and sold off for profit!  Argh!

A solid mid-weight Euro.

This game is a little more involved than Raiders of the North Sea, but it still falls safely into the mid-weight Euro range in my mind.  The game length will have you either playing a fun filler before calling it a night; or heading home early for a restful sleep filled with visions of new board games…

Total play time has consistently come in at around 2 hours for my group.  No need to play until 0200 on game night with this one!

Of course, your game group might play faster than mine on average…  I’m just trying to give everyone a sense of game length from a “typical” player.  The official game play times listed on most boxes are either for tournament level players… or my game group and I are insufferably incapable of making decisions. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.  Haha.

Another winner by Garphill Games!

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed Other releases by Garphill Games, you’ll be very happy to have Architects on your shelf!  If you’re new to their games, this game provides a fantastic start to the game-making-coolness of Shem and Sam at Garphill!  Get a deluxe copy without breaking the bank!!  And as always, if you find the deluxe version sold somewhere for less… please let me know!!

One last note… I believe that this game is actually Sam Macdonald’s first release (with Shem Phillips doing a bit of co-designing)!!  Really nice job, Sam!!  Congratulations on a solid first game!!!


Ages: 12+
Players: 1 – 5
Play Time: 60 – 80 minutes
Designer: Sam Macdonald, Shem Phillips
Artists: Mihajlo Dimitrievski (The Mico)
Publisher: Garphill Games
MSRP: $72 and up on various sites for base game and promos without coins
Our Price: $61.25
Link to BGG: Architects of the West Kingdom


2 in stock


Kickstarter Edition of Architects of the West Kingdom with promos and metal coins included!!!

Architects of the West Kingdom is set at the end of the Carolingian Empire, circa 850 AD. As royal architects, players compete to impress their king and maintain their noble status by constructing various landmarks throughout his newly appointed domain. Players will need to collect raw materials, hire apprentices and keep a watchful eye on their workforce. These are treacherous times. Rival architects will stop at nothing to slow your progress. Will you remain virtuous, or be found in the company of thieves and black marketeers?

The aim of Architects of the West Kingdom is to be the player with the most Victory Points (VP) at the game’s end. Points are gained by constructing various Buildings and advancing work on the Cathedral. Throughout the game, players will need to make a lot of moral decisions. However, only at the game’s end will their Virtue be judged. A few underhanded deals here and there might not seem like much, but fall too far and you will be punished. The game ends once a set number of constructions have been completed.

Additional information
Weight 6.1 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 12 × 4 in

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