While Reigns looks fairly simple, this game that puts you in charge of a kingdom is not a light bit of entertainment. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, after all. Players are asked to flip through a set of cards and make decisions about how to run the country. You swipe left or right to make your decision about the problem listed on the card. Each decision affects the balance of your kingdom between four powers: the church, the people, the army and the treasury. If one of those powers grows too powerful or too weak, you may find yourself with a reign-ending problem — a religious coup, a popular revolt, a bankruptcy — on your hands.

This is a game you’re expected to lose repeatedly, but don’t worry. After each loss, you’re reincarnated as the next king and have to make another round of decisions. Even though this is not a graphic game, the descriptions can get quite gruesome, so it may not be the best for small children. At $3, it’s a bit pricey for an app game, but it is a fun exercise in learning how to keep things balanced. Plus, it has its own strange, quirky and often dark charm that may appeal to your inner despot.

$2.99, for Android and iOS.

Hayley Tsukayama