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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > June 2018 (#19) > Architects of the West Kingdom

Architects of the West Kingdom

After exploring, sailing and raiding the North Sea, Shem Phillips is headed in a new direction with a follow-up trilogy to his Viking saga – and, this time, he’s not going alone


Three, as they say, is a magic number. The Lord of the Rings. Back to the Future. The Dark Knight. The Godfather. Toy Story. The triple trilogy of Star Wars. There’s just something about having three of something that makes it feel special – more substantial than two, but without the dilution or weariness of becoming a longer series. Beginning, middle, end. Deliberate. Meaningful. Magic.

Of course, just because three often feels deliberate and planned doesn’t mean it always starts out that way. That was the case for New Zealand designer Shem Phillips. A part-time designer for years, Phillips found modest success in his home country in 2012 with Plethora, a pick-up-and-deliver game crowdfunded through New Zealand site PledgeMe. The following year, Kickstarter began accepting projects from Australia and New Zealand. Phillips brought to the platform Shipwrights of the North Sea, a Viking-themed card game about constructing a fleet he had created years earlier but shelved as a result of its ambition. Shipwrights, rather fittingly, allowed Phillips’ vision to cross the oceans, opening the game up to interested players around the globe. It eventually raised more than NZ$73,000 – over ten times the amount made by Plethora.

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About Tabletop Gaming

In a special bumper-sized celebration of the Greatest Games of All Time, we count down the 150 best board, card, miniatures and roleplaying games ever made – as decided by you! As well as running through the rankings, we get famous fans of some of the biggest games to tell us how they fell in love with the tabletop titans and answer some of the burning questions about what’s better. After completing his acclaimed North Sea trilogy of Viking games, designer Shem Phillips talks to us about his next series set in the West Kingdom, beginning with this year’s Architects of the West Kingdom. In our latest How We Made, one of the tabletop’s most prolific creators, Reiner Knizia, takes us on a trip back to the game that made his name an icon, as we go behind-the-scenes of civilisation-building masterpiece Tigris & Euphrates. Hot from raising millions on Kickstarter, the creators of the new Fireball Island tell us about resurrecting the ‘80s classic with their remastered and expanded version of the marble-rolling favourite. Listen up! Gamers and musicians are bringing cinematic soundtracks and atmospheric sound effects to board games – they tell us how you can enhance your gaming by pressing play. Flash Gordon is back in a gloriously adventurous ah-ahhhhh-PG that pays tribute to the sci-fi hero, from his pulp origins in comic strips to the cult movie soundtracked by Queen. Writer Scott Woodard joins us to save the universe. He’s the man behind the unmistakeable artwork of Munchkin, Cash ‘n’ Guns and more. In his own words, John Kovalic explains how the Illuminati, OJ Simpson and Watchmen turned his cartoons into an icon of the tabletop. Our Star Wars: Legion painting guide continues as we join the Rebel Alliance and bring the allies of Luke, Leia and Han to life. Plus much, much more, including reviews of: Crystal Clans, Lords of Hellas, Rise to Nobility, Feudum, PetrichorGet, theMacGuffin, Blood Red Skies + more!