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Dan’s Dilemma

Yo king, heavy lies the head that wears the crown and all that, but surely your mailed hood makes it heavier?

There’s a disclaimer on the front page of the rulebook for Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva’s The King’s Dilemma, the latest hot thing in legacy games. Written with an assortment of bolded words that would do a comic inker proud, it promises morally challenging situations, tough choices, and sensitive topics. “Remember that this is a just game,” it proclaims, flipping its grammar and its intended meaning. “You’re playing a fictional character. Even if the game world follows elements of the real world, nothing should be taken as real.”

What follows is everything I dislike about board game narratives, wrapped together in an exceptionally compelling package. At least the game is telling the truth about presenting me with “tough choices.”

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