Welcome To The ‘Key To The Kingdom’
Site of its original author & games designer Paul Bennett.
Thank you for visiting the official site of the Key to the Kingdom board game….I do hope you enjoy your visit!
To the right is the page from the original Waddingtons trade catalogue advertising the game. It was originally designed as an adventure/fantasy game that could be played by all the family straight out of the box. It all came about when I bought a game called ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. It was packaged in a very large and amazingly illustrated box that promised so much but alas when opened gave me nothing more than a small black and white instruction book hiding away in one corner. No board, no playing pieces, no dice, no fun. They were expecting me to do all the work for them to make the game viable. It was a huge let down for what was an expensive game at the time.
I decided then and there that I would produce a game that looked good to play not just on the lid but from the very moment anyone opened the box. Fortunately the British manufacturer Waddingtons liked my idea for an adventure board game and ‘The Key to the Kingdom’ became a reality. A colourfully landscaped board that folded out to over a metre in length complete with superbly crafted playing pieces, beautifully illustrated playing cards and an eight sided dice ensured that the game lived up to the promise of that box lid! It allowed every member of the family to gather round a table and enjoy an hour of fun together; no silly dungeon master, lots of luck with no complicated gaming skills were required, just a good fun game for Mum, Dad and the kids to play along with!
It sold throughout the world during the 90’s, appearing in the USA under Golden Games, across Europe with Jumbo Games, MIKA, Borras Plana SA as well as Waddingtons and as far away as Australia and New Zealand with Crown & Andrews. I hope it’s a game you may have played in your youth at some time and that you enjoyed playing it as much as I did in designing it!
There’s always loads available on eBay & Amazon if you’ve never played it before! But if you are a serious ‘gamer’ be warned, it wasn’t really designed for you in the first place… it’s just a basic fantasy adventure board game for young kids and the whole family to enjoy!
Above are photos of the original hand drawn prototype ‘Key to the Kingdom’ board that I played with my children for refining the rules before showing to Waddingtons in the UK.
I did design a follow-up, ‘Fight for the Kingdom ‘ that although it could be played in its own right it also could be joined onto the original board to make the kingdom a staggeringly large place to explore. It had many more fold out sections plus a revolving centrepiece. Alas Waddingtons were already committed to other games at the time and so it still remains as a mere prototype just to be played within the family!
If I was to start the game again from scratch I would change a number of the original rules trying to make it a little less based on chance and more biased towards the skill element. *One particular rule I would now add would be when landing on another persons square and you wish to steal one of their treasure envelopes. Instead of simply being handed over, it must be fought for. This is done by challenging the player to a ‘Scissors, Paper, Stone’ contest with the best of three being the winner. The winner can take their pick of the treasure envelopes owned by the opposition. If you land on another person’s space and you do not wish to challenge them, this is also acceptable.
The box lid for the Golden Games US version of ‘Key to the Kingdom’ differed drastically from its British counterpart, but was none the less just as colourful and action packed! The name was changed slightly with the dropping of ‘The’ from the main title.
The UK version with the rather evil looking Demon King was considered a step too far for most European tastes. All the Northern European boxes featured the less intense Wizard of Plenty. This was for sales purposes so the game didn’t look too frightening or ‘off putting’ for younger players.
( Tarralands Dreamland )
De Schat En De Sleutel
( The Treasure and the Key )
( Realm of Darkness )
La Llave Del Reino
(The Key to the Kingdom)
with US games manufacturer Restoration Games!
If you have any queries concerning ‘ The Key to the Kingdom’ or would like to comment on any aspect of the game, please contact Paul Bennett.
Thank you for visiting ‘The Key to the Kingdom’ page of its inventor!