There are a few different article series we are writing for The GameSpark Dungeon; GameSpark Plays is when we play a board game or video game and review it, Growing Up Gaming is tales of my childhood and video games. Sometimes there are articles that don’t fit those two categories, and for the last twenty years board games have been an incredibly large part of my life considering my huge collection and having owned a board game store. For all of those topics I will be calling these articles Board Games and Life, and my first story will be when I proposed to my wife using a board game as a ruse.
When my wife and I were dating, and I had decided to propose to her, I really didn’t have any idea how I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to do it in a public place, but at the same time, I wanted to make sure we could celebrate with our friends and family. Coincidentally, we went to a murder mystery party with Kim’s family around the time that I was trying to think of something to do for the proposal, and everyone seemed to have a good time dressing up. At the same time, a coworker told me about a card game where everyone is a different character and he had everyone dress up to play the game, and it was called The Last Banquet.
The Last Banquet is a card game published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2014, where the royal family has decided to throw a banquet so that the guests can show their respects to the king. Unfortunately, everyone seems to want to kill the king. In The Last Banquet, players are given characters and split into three teams. One team is the royal family and the other players are split into two teams. The objective of the two teams is to assassinate the king by having their chosen assassin sitting next to the king at the end of the round after all players have completed their actions. The royal family must defend the king for three rounds to win.
We decided to take this simple card game, turn the dial to 11, and create an entire night of it. We gave everyone their characters two months in advance so that they could find costumes, we created a whole menu that was medieval themed, and made sure the decorations were all themed as well. We had a large temporary wooden table created, and twenty people sat somewhat comfortably around the room. I played the king and Kim played the queen, and just before the guests arrived I proposed to her as she was dressed in a queen’s gown. The food and drink were flowing all night as we celebrated with our friends and family, and after dinner the game portion of the night began.
The game began with the royal family seated together at the head of the table and the two teams interspersed at the seats that they ate dinner in. The neat thing about the characters is that there are always two characters that do close to the same thing, and we were able to give those characters to couples so they could shop together but they would be split up on different teams. All players stood at their seat and the scepter was passed around, with the person who is handed the scepter taking a turn by completing one of their characters actions, and then sitting down. At the end of the first round, I was sitting next to Tom, and I was pretty sure he was the assassin and that I was toast, but thankfully he wasn’t (and I ended up spilling my beverage allover him while falsely accusing him, which lead to the nickname King Spills for months after).
After three rounds of play, and a couple of hours, the royal family won because I was able to avoid being poisoned or stabbed. The assassins turned out to be the steward, and the jester, and the rest of the night the hardcore gamers sat around talking about how they could have won, and who was to blame for the king not meeting his demise.
I would suggest picking up The Last Banquet, but only if you were to do something like we did and plan an entire night around it. We haven’t opened the game since then, and I doubt we will unless we were to have another banquet. The game has a few different scenarios to play, but without the excitement of a thematic evening, it is just a card game for a large number of players like Love Letter or Werewolf. Overall, The Last Banquet is a great “An Evening With Murder” type, but I wouldn’t get it just as a card game.