Khan of Khans: The Most Fun I've Had Stealing Cows
Before you ask, yes, I've stolen a cow. Or at least I've been an accessory to stealing a cow. I would say I didn't have much choice in the matter, though, as I was in grade school, it was late at night, and I had no idea what my dad had planned until I was in the back of a pickup truck being told to keep the calf quiet.
But nevermind that! We have much more important cows to speak of! Khan of Khans, published by Chaosium, is a game of stealing and protecting herds of cattle on the plains of Prax. For full disclosure, this was a game I was given by the fine folks at Chaosium; I was not paid for this review, but the game itself was a gift.
What is it?
Khan of Khans is a family-oriented card game from Chaosium. Rather than focus on the dark and twisted world of Cthulhu that they are known for, this game features some gorgeous artwork on decks of cards. Each player randomly selects (our preference, anyway) one of the various tribal Khans that are available. These cards will alert you to your tribe's special abilities which may add or bend the existing game rules.
In the center of the table you place a small map and connected via lines on the map you lay out the shuffled decks representing each geographic region of the game. The decks are roughly the same, featuring herds of cattle in various sizes, tribal champions that can come aid your cause, and events like Wild Magic or Stampede which can cause you to lose your collected cattle. The goal of the game is simple: collect more cows than your fellow khans.
You'll go around the table choosing a geography deck to draw from and either adding to your collection of cattle (which, 3x per game, you can corral to make safe) or losing cattle depending on what you draw. There aren't a lot of rules to remember, and almost everything else you need to know you can find on the card you draw. For a quick, family style game, this is fantastic.
How's it play?
We've played this game several times in our house now, with everything from adults to 9-year-olds, and everyone has enjoyed it. It took almost no time to learn the rules, and the random drawing of the khan cards has been a sure way to make sure that you don't play the game the same way twice.
How? One card lets you corral 4x in a game, so you don't try to hold off to the last moment and risk losing your cows so quickly. It's a different strategy than, say, the card that lets you peek at the geography decks before making a decision to draw.
There's also a Blessing card that allows you to steal cattle straight from other players. We've had entire mini-games come about in the back and forth between the aggrieved.
All of this ensures that the game is very replayable.
Do I Recommend?
Yes! Emphatically, yes.
If you're looking for a game you can play a few rounds with your family, then I'd highly recommend picking this one up. It packs into a box about the size of a hardback book, so it can easily be stuffed in a backpack or other bag and taken on travel. It doesn't take long to learn, and whether you with children or strangers at a convention, Khan of Khans is easily something you can break out for 30 minutes of entertainment.