The King of Siam PBF (aka The King is Dead) Recruitment and Discussion thread

Uncertain times in the Kingdom of Siam. Three factions - the Royalists, the Lao, and the Malai - all struggle to be the dominant force in the realm. You, powerful magnates of our kingdom, will influence the political landscape, and the one who has gained the most influence on the dominant faction will emerge victorious.

However, the British Empire watches us with keen eyes. If they see us too divided, they will pounce and eat us, piece by piece. Or maybe, that’s what you want. Let them come, to force the factions to set aside their differences and unite against the encroaching invaders… under your leadership, of course.


This is The King of Siam, reimplemented nowadays as The King is Dead, which will have its 2nd edition this Summer. I will be the GM and will provide the updates. I will restrict our first PBF game to 2-3 players, to keep it simple. We can do the 4 player partnership game in the future. The rules are here.

The game has a weight of 2.71/5.00 on BGG and has a estimated game time of 30 mins.

Here's my summary of the rules:
  • Round starts with a province under contention by the 3 factions. The order of which provinces to resolve each round is randomised at set-up. The order is from top to bottom.
  • You have 8 cards, which are your actions in the entire game. On your turn, play one card and do the action. Your action can be done on ANY province(s). Not just the province currently in contention.
  • After committing the action, you MUST pick up 1 follower from ANY province (but not from the reserve). Place the follower into your court. The number of followers determine your influence on those factions.
  • Any used card is discard and cannot be played the entire game again. Every action matters.
  • This means you have 8 cards, 8 actions, and can pick up 8 followers during the game.
  • Once all players pass consecutively, we end the round and resolve the province currently in contention. The faction with the most cubes will win the province and their token will be placed there (e.g. red has 3, blue has 1 - so, red wins). All cubes will return back to the reserve.
  • If there is a tie, no faction is strong enough and the British will take over.
  • A new round begins with the player on the left of the last player who passed on the previous round. And the next province in line will be the province in contention.
  • Game ends either: all provinces are resolved OR the British invaded 4 provinces - whichever comes first.
  • To win, you need to have the most followers from the dominant faction. The dominant faction is the one with the most tokens on the board. If there’s a tie between the factions, then the tied faction which won last will win the tiebreaker. If there’s a tie between players on the dominant faction, check who has the most followers on the 2nd dominant faction. If there’s still a tie, tied player to play an action card last loses.
  • In the case of 4 British victories, we ignore the original criteria and we check who has the most sets of followers. Only the player with the best relations with every faction will be chosen. E.g. Player A has 3 reds, 3 yellows, and 2 blues. Player B has 1 red, 2 yellows, and 5 blues. Player A wins with 2 sets of followers. If there’s a tie, the player who last played an action card wins.
List of Action cards:
  • Maharacha - swap two provinces in the round order, and place a King marker on one of them. A province with a King marker cannot be moved again.
  • Khon Thai - place a red, blue, and yellow cube on any unresolved province(s). Cubes can be placed on different provinces. If there’s no cube from the faction in the reserve, you don’t put one. You have two of these cards.
  • Rama - place two yellow cubes adjacent to a yellow token - this includes the yellow token printed on the map. I will emphasis that you cannot place cubes on the province with the printed token itself - it has to be adjacent to it
  • Lao - Same as Rama, but with red cubes and red tokens
  • Malai - Same as Rama, but with blue cubes and blue tokens
  • 1 vs 1 - swap a cube with another cube from a different province. Provinces don’t have to be adjacent.
  • 2 vs 1 - swap two cubes with a cube from a different province. Provinces MUST be adjacent.
  • IMPORTANT: If two action cards “1 vs. 1” are played one after the other, it is not permitted to use the second card to “undo” the swap of the previous one; that is a player may not simply swap followers of the same factions between the same provinces as before but in the opposite direction. The same is true for two action cards “2 vs. 1” which are played one after the other.

In theory, we can also do a The King is Dead game, but I don’t have it myself. I’ll check if there’s any workaround for that

BGG Links:
King of Siam BGG Page
The King is Dead BGG Page

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(Put me down as reserve) ©

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I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment but I’ll be trying to follow along and maybe jumping into the next one

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No problem. It wont be a hard one to follow as it doesnt have much chrome and it’s all open information. I would even say it’s probably more elegant than El Grande.

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Sounds like an interesting game to play ftf, but not something I want to play in a PBF format. Are there any rules regarding negotiation?

In general, not specified in the rules of either editions. The only rule specific about this is that in a 4 player partnership game, planning between partners is prohibited.

I would intepret it as “no negotiations” like any average game, regardless of player count.

Happy to hear people’s thoughts.

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Interesting. My default is the opposite - non-binding negotiation is allowed in all games unless the rules say otherwise. I just read a very polarised discussion on BGG about whether or not the King of Siam is a “negotiation game”.

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I would love to give this a shot, if other players are interested.