Gibsons’ Emily Charles on the fan-led return of Kingmaker

Emily Charles, Gibsons, Kingmaker
Emily, thanks for making time. Before we dive into the new Kingmaker, for anyone not familiar with the original game, talk us through how it played? Why was it special?

Kingmaker depicts the period of English history in the 15th century that became known as the Wars of the Roses. Players manoeuvre Noble pieces representing the leaders of 24 major families in England and Wales in order to gain control over a Royal piece of their own – all while also eliminating rival Royal pieces and weakening their opponents through political and military actions.

The game has a long history. Since its first publication in 1974, it has been developed and re-published several times. Over the years, Kingmaker not only gained a large following; it also gained a huge number of house rules, options and variants. After many thousands – probably tens and eventually hundreds of thousands – of plays since 1974, the rules, the map, the other components, and the flow of the game came under minute examination.

It’s a fantastic mix of politics, military strategy, history and loveable intricacies that captured the hearts of gamers, with many people still playing their old versions and adding their own rules to this day.

Why is now the right time to bring it back?
The development has been in the works for around four years after many calls from fans to re-publish. The team have spent that time making the ultimate version of the game and playtesting it meticulously. It’s now ready to be revealed.

Emily Charles, Gibsons, Kingmaker

In what guise is it coming back? What’s new this time around?
The Royal ReLaunch will have four games in one box. Gamers will be able to play Classic Kingmaker, the new version Kingmaker II, the Extended Classic with all its variants, and a brand-new Solo Challenge.

The graphics and artwork have all been updated, there’s an incredible double sided gameboard, the spec of all the components is vastly improved, the rules have been clarified and we’re also including play aids and a quick start Guide to Kingmaking. It has everything you need for a great Kingmaker experience.

Talk us through the creative process behind those updates… How did you innovate, without disrupting what made it popular in the first place?
As I mentioned, The Royal Relaunch has been in development for years now and the team spent that time gathering feedback from fans about what they love and what they don’t like so much about the original game. They took that information and have created a product that will appeal to fans of the original game, as well as draw in new gamers. The principle was to retain the essence of the original game but fix some of the issues it had.

Emily Charles, Gibsons, Kingmaker

Why was important to allow fans into this process?
It’s such a fan favourite and has been the subject of so many forums and discussions since publication that we couldn’t have brought it back without input from the people who know and love it best. The players and fans have invaluable insights into what they want from the game.

Why opt to launch via Kickstarter?
We wanted to be able to offer fans the chance to get exclusive access to the game at a great price and ahead of the rest of the market. The Kickstarter campaign contains a whole host of background information on the development that we wouldn’t normally share. It’s a real behind the scenes look at what has gone into the development.

Is this a sign that Gibsons is looking to do more in the strategy games space moving forward?
We will have to see how it goes. Bringing back products from our archive has been something we’ve been doing for quite a few years now and have had a lot of success with games like Civilization and 221b Baker Street. So I wouldn’t say that this is about moving into the strategy games space; it’s about the Gibsons Games heritage.

Understood. Finally, when can folks jump in and back the Kickstarter?
The Kickstarter officially launches on September 24th. The preview page is already live so you can follow this link – – to follow the campaign and be notified when it goes live.

Thanks Emily. Good luck with the campaign!

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