Review – Inheritors
The king died peacefully; now his Inheritors must prove their virtue!
|Designer||Jeffrey CCH, Kenneth YWN|
|Artist||Roxy Dai, Coda Ho|
|Publisher||NorthStar Game Studio|
|Category||Card Game, Set Collection|
The king is dead! Players play cards, collect sets, and compete for dominance and the support of clans in a humanoid-animal fantasy world. Is it a paw-sitive experience or a disssappointment?
In Inheritors, players will take turns playing Influence cards and claiming clans, honors, and quests in order to be the player with the most points at the end of the game, and thus the future ruler of the Five Realms.
To begin, each player will receive their hand of cards and a helpful reference card. On your turn, you can play an Influence card in front of you (must be played in order from 1 to 6), discard cards in some fashion in order to draw more cards or claim quests or honors, or play an advocate (advocates have special, one-time use abilities). The gameplay is simple. The strategy often hinges on the Market.
The Market is where all discarded cards go. There are 3 columns of market cards, and when players discard a card, they choose which column that card goes on. Often, columns will end up holding 3 or more cards. Because players can choose to discard a card to the Market and take all the cards from another column (provided the discard card matches the color or number of that column’s last-discard card), choosing when and where to discard cards is essential.
Similar to Skip-Bo, players will play Influence cards in different colored stacks in ascending order from 1 to 6 in front of them. This is part of why the Market matters. Maybe you don’t need another purple 2 because you already have played a purple 4, but you don’t want to discard it because your opponent only has a purple 1 in front of them and could use the 2 to increase their Influence. Moreover, players can discard 3 cards of the same color to claim quests, which guarantee 1 point and offer potential for more. There are other ways the Market deck is affected, but hopefully you can see the risk/reward push and pull that can go on.
Unlike many other games, 1 point in Inheritors goes a long way. So even if you only stop your opponent from getting 1 or 2 points by hanging onto dead cards in your hand, it’s worth it. Winning scores are often in the upper 20s or lower 30s, so a point here and a point there can add up.
Other points of strategy worth mentioning: deciding when to claim a clan is important because you can only claim 1 clan, but once players have 3 Influence in that clan’s color, anyone can claim it. Not all clans rewards are equal: some are better for later in the game, and some give you 1-use advocates. Players can also claim Honors for obtaining certain achievements, such as having 3 colors with Influence 3 or more or getting to 6 Influence. Some advocates allow players to bend the rules as well, such as the Spy, who allows you to ask an opponent for any card you could play in your Influence tableau. If your opponent has that card, then you steal it from them (another reason to watch the ever-evolving Market!).
The art, though not as varied as you might expect (the green Influence cards all have the same background, so do the red ones, etc.). Setup is fairly straightforward, though there are a few cards you have to remove, depending on what clans you put in the game, which is a fine trade-off because having different clans for each game increases replayability. The reference cards are also incredibly helpful because without them, Inheritors wouldn’t feel as simple as it is, which is a good thing!
Inheritors plays like a classic card game. It doesn’t have much in the way of bells and whistles, but the gameplay is solid and it’s incredibly teachable. The depth of strategy isn’t immense, but the player interaction in the Market and the little ways to earn an extra point here or there have made every play enjoyable. Check out Inheritors if you’re looking for a solid card game that feels like it’s been around for a while.
NorthStar Game Studio kindly provided a review copy.
The Bottom Line
Inheritors is a well-designed card game that feels like it's been around for a few years.