Welkin – Ankama – Review

Welkin is a stunningly beautiful family weight game.  The mechanisms are as fresh and unique as the fantastical floating houses.

Heather Swanson

MeepleGamers

8/10

Theme and What is it?

7/10

The land is floating in big chunks of dirt and you need to build a neighborhood.  As a builder you are going to need the right resources to build your fantastical houses.

You aren’t only a builder but you also can modify the market for materials.  Economic manipulation can lead to more profitable builds.  

The theme is whimsical and imaginative.  It is mostly an abstract game with a beautiful raison d’être.  

Gameplay Mechanics

9/10

There are fascinating and unique mechanisms at play in Welkin.  I love the novelty.

There is a circular board with house blueprints placed around in notches.  These are the available houses to build.  Players can take a blueprint on their turn but are limited to holding 2 cards in their playing area, or in special cases 3.

Some of the blueprints have special abilities associated with them.  At times the effects are immediate but in other cases the houses have to be built and sold.

One of three things can be accomplished on a players turn.  They can take a construction site, procure construction materials, or use the construction materials.

When a player takes a card from the center it may have a symbol on it allowing them to flip a bidding token.  These are located in one of 5 quadrants on the centerboard and represent the worth of the associated material.

It is really clever how flipping over a bidding token makes it move to a different area.  A tiny portion of each token is devoted to revealing what is on the other side.  Manipulating these tokens can be beneficial before finishing a construction site.

Once a construction site has been built it is immediately sold.  For each construction material in the building 1 coin is gained per matching bidding token in the center.

The mechanism for gaining building materials is similarly interesting.  In each player area is a token for each type of material.  When the procurement action is taken by a player they are required to flip one of these tokens.  If they want to flip any more, it would cost 1 coin per additional flip.

All visible resources are gained in the denomination of the number of tokens flipped to the “+1” side.  This is a tight game, though.  Only 4 resources can be in your hand at a time.

Initial Impressions

9/10

I was so excited to get this game.  The cover of the box instantly drew me in.  I love the colors and the art.

The back of the box shows a colorful round board with cards sticking out.  I loved the unique look.  It’s so fresh and exciting to see something step out of the traditional rectangular playing board.  I immediately wanted to know how the game worked.

Game Build Quality

9/10

The materials in Welkin are top-notch.  I especially like the inside of the box.  It is decorative and shaped perfectly to hold the irregular-shaped boards.

I also like that the cards are oversized.  It gives space to enjoy the beautiful artwork.

As a board game reviewer with too much inventory, the only complaint I might have is that I think the box size could have been a little smaller.  It doesn’t detract from the game play though.

Artistic Direction

10/10

I truly enjoy looking at the fantastical artwork in this game.  The colors are pleasing and the details intriguing.  

The splashes of color appeal to me greatly.  I enjoy the creativity of the artist as well.  You can see in this picture above how detailed the paintings are.  You can see a dog in the front yard and cats up on the roof.  There is also a man precariously leaning on a fence rail.  That first step is a doozy!

Fun Factor

8/10

It’s really fun and interesting to manipulate the flipping mechanisms associated with the bidding tokens and the building materials.  Planning for which materials will be used on what buildings is unique.

Players can focus on their own plans but may also try to actively reduce the earnings of fellow players.  The game isn’t necessarily confrontational but defensive moves are sometimes helpful.

Age Range & Weight

9/10

Welkin is aptly rated as a 10+ game.  The flipping mechanism might be a bit much for a younger audience. 

The game is easy to learn which makes it a good beginner game.  I would say it is family weight.  At a 40 minute play time it might take the centerpiece for a relaxed gaming night.

Welkin allows for strategic decisions.  It is not very dependent on luck.  It will be variable based on what cards are available.  However, the best plans can be interrupted by other players.

Conclusions

8/10

Welkin is a stunningly beautiful family weight game.  The mechanisms are as fresh and unique as the fantastical floating houses.

This game has great table presence and would be wonderful to introduce new people to the hobby.  There are strategic decisions but not too many that players are overwhelmed.