Regicide is a fast-playing game of royalty and world power. While you might expect a .pdf card game to come with its own cards, this one uses a standard deck of playing cards. It's an unusual idea, but a clever one, rather like the Cheapass Games philosophy of not selling you anything you don't already have. You'll also need some counters or tokens; again, something you almost certainly have around the house.
What you get with the Regicide download is the board and the rules. Actually, you get four versions of the board to pick from, which is pretty convenient: a large coloured one with quick reference rules around the edge, a small coloured one without the rules, and a black-and-white version of each. The board itself is a fairly abstract network of nodes and lines, superimposed onto a map of the world. Each node represents a continent or major land mass, with each worth a varying number of points.
The game starts with players taking turns to place kings and queens on the board, claiming ownership of the territories in the process. Once all the locations are taken, the rest of the deck is dealt out and the game proper begins. Your turn consists of playing a single card. For example, by playing a spade you can attempt an assassination. If successful, this will allow you to remove the target monarch from the board, and with him or her go the controlling player's ownership tokens. Other suits allow different actions, and higher numbers are harder to defend against. Interestingly, each suit also counters a different action, so (for example) you might want to save some spades to defend against opponents playing clubs. The function of each suit is pretty intuitive; I scribbled out a cheat sheet but barely needed to refer to it. The game continues until all cards have been played. You then count up points, which can be gained from some actions as well as by controlling territories, to find a winner.
The rules as written are solid enough, although they could be cleaned up in places. I was particularly impressed by the extensive example of play, which gives a clear idea of how the game plays and should answer any rules questions you might have.
So how does the game itself play? Well, it's not deep, but it's certainly fast and fun. We went from learning the rules to finishing our first game in about fifteen minutes. Luck isn't as much of a fact as you'd think, either; during the course of that first game, I drew all four jacks (which are the best defensive card in the game) and still came last due to a couple of bad decisions.
Overall, then, a cheap and cheerful game of world domination, well-suited to casual play in between bouts of Risk or Diplomacy.
LIKED: Easy to learn, quick to play and just plain fun.
DISLIKED: The editing and presentation could be improved.
QUALITY: Very Good
[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]