The Last Kingdom: Honest & Precise Review

The Last Kingdom

An Epic Embodiment of History and Fiction

When Gamelyn Games sets out to create a board game that’s a leap from their trademark ‘Tiny Epic’ series, you can expect something grand. “The Last Kingdom” delivers just that—a full-size box brimming with components that bring the tumultuous 9th Century Britain to life. The game captures the essence of the era, intricately weaving the narratives of the Saxons and Danes with the player’s strategic ambitions.

The Intricate Dance of Allegiances

At its heart, “The Last Kingdom” is a game of shifting allegiances. Players assume the roles of leaders torn between the Saxons and Danes, much like Uhtred from Bernard Cornwell’s celebrated novels and the ensuing television series. This mechanic doesn’t just add flavor; it’s the core of a deeply tactical experience where loyalty is your greatest asset and your most perilous liability.

Mechanical Majesty

Game designer John D. Clair has achieved a balance between simplicity and strategic depth that is commendable. The dual-layered battle for control requires careful hand management, with a card drafting system that will test the mettle of even the most seasoned tacticians. It’s a fine blend of calculated risk-taking and opportunistic plays, where each move resonates with the weight of historical conflict.

Visuals and Components: A Mixed Bag

While “The Last Kingdom” shines in gameplay, its visual presentation has garnered mixed feelings. The game’s components, including miniatures for leaders and heroes, are top-notch. Yet, the artwork might feel a tad generic to some. However, this slight misstep is easily overshadowed by the game’s strategic brilliance and attention to detail.

Accessibility Meets Depth

Don’t let the historical theme fool you; “The Last Kingdom” is accessible to newcomers while offering enough depth to keep veterans on their toes. The game’s mechanics are straightforward enough to grasp within a single battle, yet the strategies are as deep and varied as the history it emulates.

Related Games and Inspirations

“The Last Kingdom” echoes the sentiments of games like “Blood Rage” and “Inis,” where area control is king, and alliances are as stable as the English weather. It also draws parallels to “A War of Whispers” and “Dogs of War,” with their subtle layers of strategy and influence.


The Last Kingdom” by Gamelyn Games is a compelling board game that marries the richness of historical fiction with solid, engaging mechanics. It’s a game that will appeal to fans of the series and newcomers alike, offering a robust tactical experience that rewards cunning and adaptability. Despite some criticisms of its artwork, the game stands tall as an embodiment of strategic excellence. It’s a testament to the power of narrative-driven game design, delivering an experience that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. Whether you’re vying for control as a Saxon or a Dane, “The Last Kingdom” is a game that deserves a spot on your shelf and in your gaming sessions. – David

Scratches: 8.5/10.0

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