World Without End: Board Game Review

Game Overview

World Without End is a traditional Euro-style strategy board game, thematically built around events in Kingsbridge’s fictional village from 1337 to 1361, nearly 200 years after making the imposing cathedral known as The Pillars of the Earth. Players take the roles of merchants, farmers, and builders, striving for wealth and prestige while living a pious and loyal life. The object of the game is to gain the most victory points. These are achieved mainly by participating in various building projects and taking care of the Kingsbridge inhabitants stricken by the plague, known as the Black Death. However, life in Kingsbridge is not an easy one. Players must struggle to gain enough food continuously, show loyalty to the church and the crown, pay taxes, and deal with sudden misadventures that occur randomly during the game.

World Without End

This game’s most important component is a huge, four-panel gameboard of superb quality depicting Kingsbridge and its surrounding lands. On the game board, there are several locations, such as:

Production spaces: the Quarry (producing stone), the forest (growing wood), and the fields (growing grain)

Various building sites in which players can contribute with stone or wood and gain victory points to Kingsbridge’s village with its houses and market. Some families fall ill during the plague and can be healed, granting VPs and bonuses. In the market, players can trade wool and cloth for money.

The game takes place in 4 chapters (periods), each with six rounds. Each chapter represents a period of a few years. Players participate in various building projects, thus gaining precious victory points while dealing with several unexpected events. At the End of each chapter, all players have certain obligations. Failing to meet them costs victory points and additional penalties occurring at the beginning of the next chapter. In each round, the same sequence of actions occurs:

The active player (with the active player token) reveals an Event card. Events can be immediate or have a lasting effect till the End of the chapter.


After resolving an immediate event, the event card is oriented in a special city council space on the game board’s top edge. The active player chooses an orientation that fits his current goals, as it affects two elements in the game: each player’s income and a special bonus for the active player only.

Players receive their income according to the card’s orientation.

The active player receives his special bonus as he favors the Prior / Prioress, the King / Queen, the Guild Master, the Merchants, the Earl of Shiring, the Bishop, or the Outlaws.

Beginning with the active player, each player plays an action card. All players have the same set of 12 action cards. These actions include selling wool or cloth at the market, exchanging thread for fabric (which is more valuable), building a house that provides a bonus when rented, rent up to 2 homes, getting a grain, contacting a resource (wood or stone), getting piety from the cathedral, taking care of ill people, taking part in a building project contributing timber or stone, or repeating the action chosen in the previous round. In this phase, players choose a card to play and discard another one. This way, they will play six activities during the chapter and discard the rest.

At the End of the chapter, players have the following mandatory obligations: Show that they live a virtuous and pious life by paying two holinesses, have enough food to sustain themselves by paying 2 grains, and pay a tax. To determine the amount of tax, the active player throws a dice. Upon failing to fulfill one or more of the above duties, players lose victory points and suffer additional penalties at the beginning of the following chapter, such as losing their income in the first round of the next chapter or playing one less action card. It is possible to avoid the additional penalty by paying 1 Loyalty.

At the beginning of the third chapter, the plague hits the village, and certain plague counters are placed, face down, on each house of Kingsbridge; in each round, a family in one of the houses may fall ill and can be cured using the appropriate action card to give victory points plus other bonuses to the players who choose this action. To take care of the ill, players must have enough medical knowledge.

Now, let’s go through our usual scoring categories:


All components of the game are wonderful and of high quality. The game board is visually stunning, with the village of Kingsbridge and its surrounding lands drawn, making the players feel like England in the 14th century.

Resources (wood, stone, grain, wool, cloth) are made of wood and appropriately colored. They also have shapes that resemble their real form, especially grain and cloth. That is somewhat rare in a standard edition of a game. Houses are also made of wood and have the shape of houses in each player’s color. All other components, purity, and loyalty markers, cover markers, money, and medical knowledge, are made of thick cardboard with attention to detail and appropriate shapes. Action and event cards are made of thick paper and deserve a special mention. They are elaborately designed, and their background has the visual feel of the paper used in the Middle Ages. That applies to the players’ screens as well. All in all, components will satisfy even the most demanding gamer. Thumbs up to Michael Menzel, responsible for the game’s artwork and graphics. 9/10


World Without End has rich gameplay and depth that will challenge strategy game lovers. Luck plays a role in the game, but not in a way that can spoil a player’s strategy (at least not entirely). After all, life is full of surprises, and things cannot always go as planned. I think this was the designers’ concept when they incorporated the game’s Event cards. Some of them are frustrating and can mess up your plans, but think of it as challenging your mental skills.

Plus, they enhance the replayability factor. Each chapter has eleven event cards, and you randomly choose which six will be included in each game. This way, each game is different from every other. The game is about maintaining an often fragile balance between catering for food supplies, money, and purity, all players’ duties at the End of the chapter. In between all these, struggling for resource gathering and gaining victory points by building projects. A design element that some people may object to is how our opponents determine personal income. It could be regarded as another luck element, making the game more interesting and unpredictable. Never during my games have I felt that my fate was in the hands of random events or luck.

Each player takes their turn in orienting an Event card, which is a good opportunity to get what he needs and the favor’s bonus. Moreover, by manipulating action cards and houses, it seems that you can be in control of your strategy. That is easier in 2-player games than in 4-player because, in 2-player games, you will  be controlling your income 50% of the time, whereas in 4-player games, only 25% of the time. As for player interaction, there is not much of it in this game. Opponents’ resources are hidden behind special screens, so consider what other players get and need. You can only interfere with their plans by orienting an event card so they don’t get something they need.

However, on most occasions, you will be consumed by your problems and orient the card to get what you want. You don’t have the time or the urge to bother with what other players do; you have enough troubles of your own. There are so many things to do in this game that you can’t easily get bored. I am always willing to play a game of World Without End at any given board gaming night. 8/10

Learning Curve

Though the game is not very complex, and there is not much to do in every round, it takes a little time to get accustomed to all the game components and strategic elements. World Without End is rather easy to learn but difficult to master. What will especially puzzle you at first is what your priorities must be. There is much to decide about orientating the event cards; playing your actions will be hard. After playing your first game, you will probably get the whole picture, start doing much better, and appreciate its depth. 7/10


World Without End is a thematic game. This element is strongly supported by the text printed in italics on event cards that describes a particular event from the book and the formidable gameboard that brings the book’s world to life. All the mechanics are also tied to the theme, from selling wool to healing ill people and the sudden occurrence of events that influence life in the village. If you have read the book, you will appreciate the game more, but even if you haven’t and you are looking for a Eurogame game with a strong theme, this game is definitely for you 9/10


The game’s depth and versatility guarantee you will not easily lose interest. The random event cards and the way personal income is determined to ensure that no two games will be the same. I am more than willing to play The World Without End at any given time. 7/10


It’s not fun in a way that you will laugh while playing it, nor will it trigger humorous comments between players. But I consider it fun to challenge one’s mind to overcome obstacles and manipulate the game mechanics in the most resourceful way to win. However, whining about misfortunes due to event cards can be fun. 7/10


Beautiful components

Challenging gameplay

Nice theme

Equally good with any number of players


Some may be annoyed by the luck factor or how income is determined.

According to our new scoring system, scoring categories have different weights. Components have 15% weight, Gameplay 40%, Learning curve 5%, Theme 5%, Replayability 25%, Fun 10%. According to this system and the above scoring in each category, the overall weighted scoring of the game is:

Overall Rating – 7.8

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I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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