Tara, Seat Of Kings: An Irish Board Game

By | May 3, 2017

Tara Seat Of Kings is an unusual abstract game where each player vies for power, attempting to become High King of Ireland by gaining control of two of the four provinces.

The game is intensely tactical with the placing of pieces on the board restricted by the cards a player holds and the funds they have to build on their success.

What makes it interesting is the careful balance each player has between defending territory and going out to win new lands. Defending is cheap, but having to control at least half the territory means expansion is necessary, yet expensive. Players can wait for others to invest in new regions, following in behind them without needing funds, but will be a step behind. The same is true of entering new market areas and launching new products in the business world. You can wait for someone else to go in first and open doors, and it can mean that you can easily learn from their mistakes and build on the work they have done in educating customers, but you run the risk of entering a market that is already dominated.

Outright aggressive strategies, such as placing warriors and chieftains without having farmers and herdsmen to support them, may seem like a good idea to quickly take a region. However, this strategy means others may come in behind with more robust supply lines and decapitate your kingdom before you have a chance to build infrastructure behind you, another common problem for overtrading businesses.

Tara has plenty of gameplay to keep players engaged and enough brain burning power to delight chess lovers, whilst providing interesting lessons in territory management and market expansion. Yet from a game that’s thoughtful enough to include rules and game pieces in both English and German and neat little baggies for each type of game component, providing red, white and blue counters for a game about the control of Ireland seems to show a lack of tact and understanding.  Perhaps Green White and Gold would have been more appropriate.

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