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The lion is generally regarded as the king of the beasts. But until that title is achieved, a little lion must first rise within and marry into the family dynasty. Others want to prevent this ascension and try to capture the lion. It's good when you have the matching cards to be able to release yourself. Who will be king of the beasts?
Like Gang of Four (or Dalmuti), you have to decide how to allocate your resources: Do you keep topping your opponents to take the trick, or hold off for a bigger haul later? And unlike Phase 10, you can jump up several levels in one hand.
The endgame rules mean you can't just blast your way to a win. Precision playing is needed if you want to guarantee your win: Reaching ten just as the hand ends takes planning.
Lowendynastie has all the elements of a good, medium-weight card game with repeat-play quality. Roar!
Lion Dynasty is a interesting game for those who enjoy trick taking card games--It is certainly unlike any other I have played. While it is still a little too early for me to have figured out the strategy for this game (I got it for Christmas), it does seem to have some--but there is enough luck involved to give a novice a chance to do well in their first game.
I especially like the novel idea of using a card as both a playing piece and as a score marker! Very interesting idea! I also like the fact that the game can be played in about 20 minutes (unlike hearts which can drag on for too long).
A word of caution: the rules are not terribly well written and we wern't sure exactly what we were doing until our second game. A few illustrations would have been helpful.
All in all, it seems like a good game for card enthusiasts. It's quick play and excitement will bring me back to the 'den' for another game.
Roar your way to becoming king or queen of the jungle! Each player begins with a 1-point lion cub card, indicating the player's suit. Remove extra suits and deal out the rest of the deck. Any card can start a trick; after that, lion cards can only be played on lower-numbered cards in the same suit. Nets can only be played onto lions, cubs can only be played onto nets, and mice are jokers. When the top card is a 7,8, or 9, a lion of the opposite sex may be played next to it, starting another trick. The last player able to play a card on a trick takes it. At the end of a round, you exchange your lion for one greater in rank by an amount equal to the number of tricks you took. You win if you're the first to get your lion's rank up to 10 without someone else being able to do the same, making you the undisputed king of beasts.
Each year, I traipse to Essen with several key questions in mind. "Will Moskito have a new game?", "Can Reiner Knizia maintain his extraordinary standards?", "What will Alan Moon be wearing?" and "Will Hartmut Witt have the follow-up to Koalition ready?". The answers at Spiel '98 were: "No", "Yes", "Suit", "No, but ...".
Ultimately, Hartmut will forever be lauded or lumbered by Koalition, a quite brilliant mix of skill and strategy shrouded in a powerful theme, and a game I would have thought difficult to "top". And whilst Löwendynastie is rudimentary in comparison, it does provide an intriguing set of objectives.
Each player assumes the role of a Lion family, and attempts to ascend from cub to King. And although Löwendynastie is a simple trick taking game, this venture is fraught with quirks and uncertainty.
Having laid claim to the number '1' card of a specific family (there are 10 in total), the trick is then taken is the traditional manner. However, there are several diversions. These are:
Jokers -- The Mouse is a traditional replacement card, whilst The Net "covers" all cards except another net. It can be trumped by the Lion cub (value '1') or Mouse, and can win a trick if all other players pass.
At the end of each round (when all cards have been played), the number of tricks won is added to the current ranking of the player, and that card (of the corresponding colour) is recovered from the pack. This detail contributes a particularly nifty element to the game, because a winning trick prompts the '1' cards into the deck, which, of course, provide limited opportunities except when devouring a Net.
In a typical piece of Witt thinking, the acquisition of rank '10' (by any player) cues an additional round, when any other player who reaches '10' wins, replacing the original incumbent. An example is in order:
Fluffy Mike is at rank '7', wins three tricks and takes his specific '10' card. The final round now begins. Bruce (currently at '8') steams in with four tricks, and assumes the mantle (Fluffy Mike leaves the table). But, with cards still left, Ginger Mike also attains '10', moving from '9' with the final, and ultimately, winning trick. This knockout element is huge fun, and requires a reflective look at respective rankings to see whom might sneak in at the death.
Löwendynastie has been well-received, and offers a slightly more cerebral "closer" than usual. There has been a minor smattering of criticism about the graphic approach to the game (stand up Mike Siggins), but I thought the cards bright and attractive, with their purpose clearly defined. I note that the artwork is by Jürgen Martens, and not Hartmut's usual compadre Andreas Steiner.