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I have been palying this game since the mid 70s and it is one of the very best. Why cant you get it anymore? I have looked all over for one for a Christmas gift for a relative. Cannot find it. You have lots of strategy and a fair share of luck and you learn english history along the way. Bring this game back!
I'll start with the drawbacks. The rules are printed in 4 point font and could be better organized. The board is a bit muddy looking. And the game can take anywhere from two to ten hours (which for some folks, won't be a drawback).
Otherwise: this is one of the finest strategy games ever produced. Period. Those of you who play diplomacy-type games, give this a look. Those of you who like El Grande and its ilk, take a look; the influence is obvious. And players of Magic and Cosmic Encounter might just notice a few resemblances....
Each player is a power broker during the War of the Roses, attempting to capture a royal heir and make him king of England. The player has a power structure of various nobles--represented by cards--who provide troops and influence--but also can be called away to fulfill duties just as you need them... the stronger the noble, the more responsibility they have.
Power shifts often, as plagues, assassination, and wars kill off nobles, changing each person's power structure. But even if all of your nobles are killed off, you are not out of the game. You can start building power from scratch--and occasionally win.
There are two types of battle rules--basic, for the more diplomatic minded players--where battle is solved by the draw of one card--and advanced, for those who wish to mix tactics with the overall strategy of the game.
And despite the board's somewhat dull appearance, it's livened up by the markers of the various nobility you control--which have accurate period coats-of-arms of each of the families.
I have played games that were entirely tactics and strategy, or spent entire evenings playing a more diplomatic game--it depends entirely on the group you bring to the table.
A classic. Let's hope that Hasbro re-releases this one....