WE’VE all dreamed of living like royalty, but not like this. In Reigns, there are no courtesies and humble servants. Instead, there are witches, possessed dogs, political uncertainty and even the devil himself to contend with. You’ll live like a king — it’s just that your life won’t last very long.

Reigns is like Tinder for monarchs. It’s a card game in which you swipe right for ‘yes’ and left for ‘no’ when faced with a request from your many subjects. The choices you make impact four pillars of your kingdom: Religion, The People, The Military and The Treasury. The pillars are represented by a number between 1-100, with decisions you make raising or lowering the number. If the number for any of those pillars reaches either zero or 100, it’s game over, because you can’t let any of them become too weak or too strong.

For example, the military general might plead: ‘My king, the southern kingdoms are moving closer to the border — we should attack first.’ Saying yes will lower your military reserve and probably reduce the happiness of the people, too. Saying ‘no’ might keep the people content, but leave you open to an attack later down the line.

That example paints Reigns in a very staid light, which couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a game with a wicked sense of humour and imagination and a very large amount of strange choices and characters to deal with. You may encounter a witch, for example, who offers to give you a reward if you can rule with 15 years of infirmity — which in Reigns means the game text is almost unreadable, making your decisions more difficult to judge. Perhaps you’ll follow a dog to the forest, eat an orange mushroom and start to see things in a very different light. Or maybe you’ll employ an alchemist to explore strange experiments, which upset the military and the church, but please the people.

Here’s the clever thing about Reigns — the game doesn’t stop when you get usurped by the military, or get killed as a martyr, or die in your sleep due to partying too much when the coffers get full. Instead, you are ‘reborn’ as a new king, who has learned all the lessons of his past. The timeline, which starts at the year 600, continues onwards into the future, but you play as a new king in that ongoing dynasty, trying to beat your previous record of years in power. All the court characters you have previously unlocked stay available in this new reign, making it easier to rule for longer and learn from past decisions.

Still, one of the things that makes Reigns so much fun is that, for all your planning, something unexpected can throw everything into disarray. A crazy bard’s song, the whims of a new wife, scorning a friendly dragon, anything could end your current reign at a moment’s notice. Only one thing is certain - at just €3.49 on the App Store and Android, Reigns is a royal treat. Go on — this is the real game of thrones.

VITAL ADVERTISING

Olympians in Rio are also doing their best to be crowned number one. And while they may not have witches to deal with, there is a real-life Witcher in Brazil. A member of the Russian shooting team, Vitalina Batsarashkina, won a silver medal in the 10-metre pistol event while wearing the Witcher wolf logo on her eyepiece and the Witcher medallion on her front pocket. The Witcher, for those gamers just joining the fun, is CD Red Project’s mega-selling RPG franchise about a supernatural hunter. Batsarashkina didn’t stop there though — she also wore a symbol from American McGee’s Alice on her glasses. A real-life silver wolf.

SOUND EFFECTS

Finally, if gaming is music to your ears, then you’ll be happy to hear that Spotify have opened a new portal dedicated to your favourite pastime. The Spotify gaming portal contains video game soundtracks, songs curated by mood and even tracks about gaming by artists like Eninem and Dr. Dre. The playlists are pretty good— there’s even one for retrowave, which is genre of modern synth music inspired by the ’80s and old gaming soundtracks. You can find it at www.spotfiy-gaming.com.


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