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How To Play The King is Dead – Second Edition


"The King is Dead: Second Edition" is a captivating board game of power struggles, strategic maneuvering, and cunning diplomacy set in a divided kingdom. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to play, teach, and master the game, complete with tips and tricks to help you and your fellow players dive into its rich and complex gameplay.


The aim of "The King is Dead: Second Edition" is to ensure the faction you secretly support gains control of the most regions by the game's end or to position yourself as the most powerful supporter of the dominant faction.


1. Lay out the game board, which represents the divided kingdom, consisting of several regions.

2. Each player receives a set of eight action cards.

3. Faction cubes (representing English, Welsh, and Scots) are placed in their respective regions as indicated by the setup.

4. The power struggle cards are shuffled and placed face down. Draw the top eight and lay them in a row next to the board; these represent the regions that will have conflicts.


- Players take turns in clockwise order.

- On your turn, you can either:

1. Play an Action Card from your hand to perform a specific action, such as moving faction cubes between regions or drawing a cube from the supply.

2. Pass to take a faction cube from the board's current conflict region and add it to your personal supply. This action also means you are abstaining from further actions in the current conflict.

- After all players pass consecutively, the conflict in the current region is resolved. The faction with the most cubes in the region wins the conflict. The game continues until all conflicts have been resolved.

End of the Game

- After the last conflict is resolved, check which faction controls the most regions.

- Players then reveal which faction they have the most cubes of in their personal supply, showing their allegiance.

- The player with the most cubes of the winning faction is declared the winner.

How to Teach "The King is Dead: Second Edition"

Start with the Objective

Begin by explaining the goal of The King is Dead. Clarify that while players will be influencing factions, they don't outright own or control any single faction.

Explain the Game Components

Go over the components, the board layout, and the significance of the faction cubes and action cards.

Outline the Turn Structure

Detail the two choices players have on their turn - playing an action card or passing to influence the current conflict's outcome. Emphasize the strategic importance of when to play cards and when to pass.

Conflict Resolution:

Teach how conflicts are resolved, how to determine the winning faction, and the significance of winning conflicts.

End Game Conditions

Explain how The King is Dead ends and how the winner is determined, stressing the importance of strategic cube collection and revealing allegiances.

Practical Demonstration

Before starting the actual game, it might help to play through a few mock rounds, showing examples of actions, passing, and conflict resolution to solidify the rules.

Tips and Tricks

1. Strategic Passing:

Sometimes, the best move is to pass early in a conflict to secure a crucial faction cube for your collection. This can also force other players to deplete their action cards prematurely.

2. Manage Your Action Cards Wisely:

Your action cards are a limited resource. Use them judiciously, keeping in mind both the current state of the board and future conflicts.

3. Keep Your Allegiance Secret:

While you might have a preferred faction early on, it's beneficial to keep your true allegiance hidden to prevent other players from sabotaging your plans.

4. Balance Your Influence:

While it's important to have the majority of cubes in your preferred faction, holding cubes from other factions can be beneficial for tie-breaking purposes and to maintain flexibility.

5. Adapt Your Strategy:

Be ready to change your allegiance if the board state shifts significantly. Flexibility can be key to seizing control at the opportune moment.

6. Pay Attention to Opponents:

Watch which cubes your opponents collect and try to infer their allegiance. This can inform your decisions and strategies in influencing conflicts.

7. Use Power Struggles to Your Advantage:

Remember that the order of power struggles can greatly affect strategic priorities. Plan not just for the immediate conflict but for future ones as well.

8. Endgame Focus:

As the game progresses, start focusing on solidifying your position with your chosen faction, but don't make it too obvious to avoid becoming a target.

There are other nuances to the game, and a set of advanced actions cards, however those are left out for the reader to explore on their own.

"The King is Dead: Second Edition" is a game of subtle strategies and shifting allegiances. By following these tips and understanding the core mechanics, players can navigate the tumultuous political landscape of the game with confidence. Remember, the key to victory lies not just in how well you control the factions, but in how adeptly you manage your opponents' perceptions and actions. Enjoy the intrigue!