Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Swipe right to build homes for the poor. Swipe left to refuse to help the priests being charged protection money by the army. Swipe again and again to to make decision after decision until death befalls your king in Reigns [official site].
Reigns has such a simple concept that it feels lazy to repeat it, but there’s no better way to describe it: it’s dating app Tinder’s main mechanic crossed with Game of Thrones. You swipe right and left to yay-or-nay decisions which affect resources representing the people, the church, the military and your kingdom’s coffers. If any of those resources reaches zero – or if you max them out, even – then death or doom will come.
You can therefore play the game with min-maxing in mind, trying to play the hand you’re dealt in order to live for as long as possible, but the random chance of the cards you meet means I find that unsatisfying. Reigns is better enjoyed as a simple machine for telling stories, its probability-driven system for selecting cards steering you down different paths based on chance and choices. There’s an interesting GDC talk on how that system works.