Paladins of the West Kingdom is my favorite game so far from Shem Phillips. And yet I'm still not keeping it.
While every time I play another of Shem's games, I enjoy it more than the last...they still all fall short of making me feel like they are games I should own. Don't get me wrong, they're all incredibly well designed, mechanically sound, visually appealing, easy to teach....Shem has clearly hit upon a formula that works well for a lot of people. And yet that same formula to me has mostly resulted in a slightly soulless feel.
In all of these games, from Raiders to Architects and now Paladins...I play them, I see the engine at play, and yet it always feels like the engine works together because it has to work together, not because it makes sense. When I play a game like Le Havre, everything interplays and makes sense. When I play a game like Troyes, everything feels like it's just meant to interact. And yet when I play Paladins, everything feels like it had to work together....in order so that the game would exist.
Don't get me wrong, the end result is still a magnificent engine...but the combination of too many games and always being on the lookout to cut games, means I want something more. I want a game engine where it all feels like it's meant to be work together, and not just that it had to. I want a system that is as addictive as it is mechanically sound. I want a game that pulls me in, and not a game that I merely recognize as being great intellectually, and not emotionally.
Perhaps Viscounts of the West Kingdom will do it for me....it definitely looks amazing, I'll definitely give it a shot....the good news is that every Shem Phillips game has been better than the last for me, so at some point something might actually stick.