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Surprise! Mechs vs Minions creators’ second tabletop game Tellstones: King’s Gambit is out now

Intrigue of Legends.
Tellstones: King's Gambit box and components
Image: Riot Games

Tellstones: King’s Gambit, the next board game from the creators of Mechs vs Minions, has been given a surprise release.

Tellstones is the second tabletop release from Riot Games, the developer behind ridiculously popular PC game League of Legends, and the first launch under its new Riot Tabletop division. Like Mechs vs Minions, Tellstones’ lore stems from the wider League of Legends world of Runeterra, but doesn’t attempt to recreate its intense MOBA - multiplayer online battle arena - gameplay.

Tellstones is also vastly different from Mechs vs Minions. Whereas the 2016 campaign-based co-op game saw players fend off waves of attacking enemies by programming their robotic mounts with cards, Tellstones is a much simpler head-to-head abstract game of bluffing and memory for either two or four people - the latter using an optional variant in the rulebook.

Players take turns to add one of the game’s chunky tokens to a row, swap two existing pieces in the row or hide a piece by flipping it facedown. Points are scored by challenging your opponent to name a facedown piece - if they fail, the challenging player scores. The entire game is won by a player boasting they can name the entire row of tokens correctly, which their opponent can respond to by stealing the boast and claiming they also know. If the boasting player successfully names all the hidden pieces, they win - if a single guess is wrong, they lose.

Originally announced in late 2019, Tellstones was show off in a reveal trailer earlier this year, with no release date given at the time. Riot has now announced that the game is available to buy exclusively via its online store from today, with the set - featuring seven hefty tokens housed in a metal travel case along with a cloth strip to represent the central row - priced at $30/€31.50.

Our own Alex Meehan has spent the last couple of weeks with Tellstones, finding it in our review to be a disappointing gameplay experience despite the impressive presentation and production value, writing: “The lack of interesting mechanics means that Tellstones barely qualifies as a worthwhile diversion, let alone something you’d want to keep coming back to.”