Recently I had the chance to play the Beta build of the upcoming indie game Yes, Your Grace, and it taught me a lot about why I’m not a king. My impressions from this build were mostly good, but I need to point out that this version of the game had story elements cropping up far more frequently than they’ll occur in the main game when it releases. As such, my only major complain about the Beta, that the story felt a little rushed, is completely irrelevant.
In Yes, Your Grace you play as the king, listening to the needs of your subjects, dealing with the various issues that crop up, like a small invasion, and generally take all of the world’s problems onto your shoulders. The game is more of an RPG kingdom management simulator, in that your actions have direct consequences within the world, but there are also RPG elements that will affect the outcome of certain future events. It can get very complicated if you think about it too hard, but that’s quite good because it accurately reflects the stress that monarchs felt in years gone by when they were taking court and waiting for someone to present them with an easy dilemma.
Family Is Everything
During my playthrough of the beta, I chose to be a king who valued his family above all else. There are story elements that force you to make some tough choices, such as who to marry your daughter off to, whether or not you should invite another king to your castle for the sake of saving hundreds of lives, and the most heartbreaking decision about keeping or getting rid of your daughter’s pet snail. Choosing family and keeping them happy was easy, but as the story kicked in it became all too obvious that I wouldn’t be able to keep my promises.
Unfortunately this too is a key part of the game’s story. You might want to be the best dad you can be, but your responsibilities as king mean that sometimes you need to make her literally wear rags to her own wedding. Of course you can choose to squander the crown’s money on a shiny new wedding dress and other frivolities, but this will cause your people’s loyalty to drop, and makes you look like a pretty shoddy king in my opinion.
Keeping the loyalty of the people, your food, and your money all in balance takes a lot of work. Each in-game week you’ll be presented with more and more people who have requests of you, and it’s totally open as to where you invest your money and food, with only the vague hope that you’ll get some more from somewhere at some point. One citizen came to me with an investment opportunity, opening a new bar in the town. When he presented the returns, low as they were, I took them graciously, because I knew that over time they would bring in more than I had spent. However, I caught the man saying that he was worried I’d say it was too little. As he walked away, relieved, I vowed to increase my cut the next time we met.
That tiny interaction was enough to force me to make a decision about a future action, and really that’s how every decision works in Yes, Your Grace. Sending a letter takes a week to get a response, so you need to be pretty sure that you want to send it, and if the response is urgent enough. You also only start with one soldier to send off on errands, and if you send them off on a wild goose chase then you’ll miss out on more lucrative opportunities. This makes you want to hire a new soldier, but that will cost more money per week, and so goes the endless battle with yourself over keeping a tight kingdom, and being able to rescue all the stupid farm boys there are.
You Can’t Please Everyone
The biggest takeaway from Yes, Your Grace was that it is a game of many playthroughs. I cut myself off from many options by choosing to put my family first, but I’d also lose out on some other moments if I decided to ignore them completely. It’s not going to be possible to please everyone in a single run, but that’s okay. The gameplay is varied enough that I think playing Yes, Your Grace multiple times is going to be a joy, not something that feels like a slog for 100%.
Yes, Your Grace is slated for an early 2020 release date, but most people think it’ll be out in April or May. Either way, we’ll keep you updated with a review as soon as we can.