Reigns is what would happen if you drove a bus full of Tinder profiles into a weird museum while watching some of the best bits of Monty Python.
Now I'll be honest, that doesn't sound like something that's going to happen very often, but the end result is a bizarre and compelling dissection of power that's unlike anything else you've played on your phone.
It's part text-based adventure, part stat-juggling nightmare, and sometimes you'll go a bit mad and meet the devil. And it's all a bit brilliant.
Reign in pieces
Essentially the game is a string of choices. You play the role of the king of a country, and you're approached on a regular basis by a variety of characters who have suggestions and requests for you.
Across the top of the screen there are four different stats that represent your popularity.
There's a cross to represent your standing with the church, a stick figure to show how much the people like you, a sword to show what the army thinks of you, and a dollar sign to show how much money you've got.
The aim of the game is to try and keep all of these in some sort of balance. Lose too much influence with the people and they'll storm your castle and kill you. Lose too much money and your country will be overrun by unscrupulous merchants.
There are other events that can scupper your reign as well. I stroked a dog that turned out to be the devil, forgot to read a message tied to a bird's leg and got invaded, and ate some really nice cake that made me unhealthy.
Your choices are made by swiping a card left or right. Left is usually an answer in the negative, right is usually an answer in the positive. Hold your swipe and you'll see what it is you're about to say.
You'll sometimes pick up cards that add different effects to your reign as well. And when you die, your years in charge are totted up and then you start all over again as a new ruler. Maybe a bit wiser from your last reign, but probably just as useless.
On your own
To all intents and purposes this is a solitaire card game that hides its information from you. You need to figure out the best course of action, while never being entirely sure of the outcome.
And that makes it one of the best leadership simulators I've played in a long time. It's cruel, it's lonely, it'll make you laugh a lot, and then your castle will get ransacked by an angry mob. Just like in real life.
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