Henry’s Hotties – Party Board Game Goes A-Courting


I was recently introduced to a hilarious new board game that creators Michael Worley and Elise Stoner worked on with some friends called Henry’s Hotties. Based on King Henry VIII’s “murder-happy approach to marriage”, this lighthearted game can last from five minutes to more than an hour. Each player can choose from eight different ladies based on the historical wives and/or mistresses of the guy who created a whole new church so he could have a divorce. You compete to be the wife who bears him the coveted heir he desperately wants. If that does not work out, you can simply survive while everyone else dies from the plague, syphilis, and rampant accusations of witchery. You can also die during childbirth. Try not to.


I had the privilege to play a couple rounds with Michael and a few other mutual friends before he left town. The game is already very polished and professional. How a few undergraduate students made it working on their own intrigued me. Each cleverly written card shows the time and effort put into the game. The sheer level of wittiness when it comes to the wacky things that can happen is a testament to that fact. Set in London so, of course, it rains a lot.

Example of the board

Each player starts the game at Lady. Designed to represent the social hierarchy at court, the position one will find their character on the board will be dictated by the role of the die. Each turn has the dealer pull a card and read out the actions taken depending on how each player rolls and what position they are in the hierarchy. Every time a player rolls and they move up or down a position, their character is affected by only the section of the card relative to their position. The lower on the hierarchy you are, the more likely bad things are going to happen to you.

If you fall down to the level of prostitute, the likelihood of you dying is so high, I was actually surprised at how hilariously cruel some of the cards were. Here is an example of what they look like from the Kickstarter page.

Henry's Hotties Card Examples

Even the upper classes are not safe. It is very easy for everyone to die, or for nothing remarkable to happen. Each character card the players can choose from at the beginning of the game comes with a little perk that may benefit them later on during the game, which can make things interesting. Because of the fairly mature content, the creators don’t recommend anyone under the age of 13 to play, but they went the extra mile to keep the jokes pretty clean just in case. The Kickstarter page has further information about the game and bonuses patrons can get, ranging from T-shirts, a booklet on the history that inspired the game, and an “autographed” portrait of King Henry himself! They also have a video by the creators explaining the game.

About the Creators of the game

I asked Michael for a synopsis of how this game came to be:

I met Elise Stoner during our freshman year at Whitworth University, and the two of us became friends after sitting together in a public speaking class. We quickly bonded of our love of graphic design and off-the-wall humor. Over the next couple of years, we worked together trying to find fun ways to keep our friends involved in each others’ lives during breaks by concocting silly ways to motivate people to stay in touch.

After moving off campus, we got in the habit of having weekly game nights with friends as a way to keep people close. One day last October, Elise told the group at game night that she was going to try to make a board game from scratch for a graphic design class and asked if anyone would like to help her. Another friend (Sarah Hill) and I volunteered to help. We started working right then, at ten PM on a Saturday, and worked until two in the morning before returning the following afternoon and working for another four hours. By the end of the day on Sunday, we had a rough prototype of a game about the wives of Henry VIII of England and their heroic struggles to survive under the misogyny of the king. We decided to call it “Henry’s Hotties”.

Kickstarter information

As stated on the Kickstarter page, the creators must order 1,000 copies of the game for distribution to produce them at a professional level, as well as cover shipping costs. The current goal of $13,000 just barely reaches the minimum, with almost no profit at this point. The creators have spent hundreds of work hours on this game and it is remarkably good. They also have a Facebook page. Even if you cannot support it yourself, please spread the word before the deadline of June 11! This game is absurdly fun, and I hope it reaches way beyond the goal it needs to become funded for broader distribution.

If you are interested in supporting this game, please go to the Henry’s Hotties Kickstarter page.

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  • Pew Pew

    I love the premise.

    This is my question, where is the skill? Do you get to make choices which influence the outcome of the game?

    You say this

    “Each turn has the dealer pull a card and read out the actions taken depending on how each player rolls and what position they are in the hierarchy.”

    So is the player actually making any decisions or is the outcome of the game purely random?

    Random is not interesting.

    May 30, 2017 at 3:56 PM
    • Vulxanis Viceroy Pew Pew

      Well similar to many party games such at Bunco or Yahtzee, the game is ultimately a dice game with cards that simply dictate what happens that round depending on what you roll. While you yourself might not find it interesting, I can personally attest that it is actually a lot of fun!

      May 30, 2017 at 9:47 PM
      • So the problem with pure random is that it will get boring extremely fast. It’s not even really a game it’s just a story generator. Why not just write some little snippets of story on a bunch of cards and pull them in sequence? The “game” trappings are irrelevant.

        Yahtzee actually involves a lot of skill because with every re-roll the player is choosing whether to take a risk shooting for a rare combination or play it safe and aim at something more probable. Which risks to take depend on how the other players in the game are playing.

        There’s a lot of ways to add a skill layer which would deepen it. You could give each player some coins which they can use to negate the negative effects of a card. You could offer the chance to take a big risk for a big reward or a small risk for a small reward etc

        You could have “factions” where people need to form into teams and whoever is on the larger team moves up a step on the ladder. You could give people cards saying “you are X’s sister and must be on a team with them” or “your family hates Y so you cannot be on a team with them” which would develop rivalries with people, offering money and exploiting the party atmosphere to convince people to switch to their team.

        Just keep going. It’s a great premise and it sounds like it’s working well. Don’t stop at pure random. It has no longevity. People will play a couple of times and give up. If you can get some deeper “court” mechanics going then it could be a great game.

        May 31, 2017 at 11:59 AM
    • Vulxanis Viceroy Pew Pew

      Also if it was not clear, the REASONS are what make the game interesting. IE: A Kitchen Maid is suddenly everyone’s favorite because her cooking was amazing, move up if you rolled a 5 or a 6 (Or something to that effect).

      May 30, 2017 at 9:59 PM
  • Set

    My wife is rather obsessed with King Henry XIII. I probably shouldn’t have sent her the link.

    May 30, 2017 at 7:52 PM