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Knights in Germany have fallen on hard times: the Crusades are over, big tournaments no longer draw the interest they once did, and peace prevails. In these uncertain times, a knight must make his own luck and find new challenges. And nothing seems more suitable in times like these as the construction of one's estate.
However, such a defensible castle, with four towers and walls between, costs dearly. Collecting purses filled with coins is surprisingly easy, but for a knight of the world there are always problems. Thus, the knight must send his people into the country, raise a few customs here, collect some taxes there... all while trying to out-plan other knights with bluff, deceitfulness, or -- even better -- theft.
Do your best to hide your plans from the other players. Be the first player to complete your castle and win the game!
'Die Glucksritter' is a very entertaining family game that owes much of its appeal to its scissor-rock-paper mechanism. While not as elegant a design as Adel Verpflichtet, it is also not as dry as that game can sometimes be.
The components are extremely well made, with a colorful gameboard and nice wooden castle pieces. Only the cards could stand to be of better quality. We found that the small amount of German language on the document cards was easily memorized, or read off the accompanying translation provided by Funagain.
Four or five players seems about right for this game, as either extreme seems to change the dynamics a little too drastically. Three players means there is little interaction from turn to turn, and six players tends to make for a very chaotic game with very little money making in into each player's treasury.
The game is easily grasped, and it seems that non-gamers seem especially fond of it. Consider it a nice light game to start a gaming evening, or a good one to play when non-gamers are part of the group.
Peter recommended this game to one of the people in my gaming group, and we decided to start with it at our last session.
The point of the game is to build a castle consisting of four walls and four towers. To do this, each player has a deck of six cards, each one allowing him to 'visit' one of six different sections of the board to accomplish different things. Each turn, each player chooses to visit two sections of the board. If you end up being the only person to visit that section, it's generally a good thing. If you aren't, then things are either more expensive, money is split up, and you might end up with your knight in the dungeon.
There are locations on the board to get action cards, to buy the towers and walls that will make up your castle, to get a piece of the money the Tollbridge Guy and the Tax Man generate each turn, or even to be the Black Knight, and either get the scoop on the big bucks from the tolls or taxes, or even to try to steal money or a part of a castle from another player.
The trick is to visit the areas that will give you the most bang for your buck. Some of the action cards are very powerful, and it may be possible to simply go for useful cards that will win you the game. On the other hand, it may be good to use your Black Knight to steal part of someone's castle. Each turn you have to decide what is important to you, but also what is important to others, as often you won't get nearly as much benefit from choosing locations other have as well.
The game is very lighthearted and fun, and there was much interaction and laughter, especially when three players would play the Black Knight and realize that all of them were off to the dungeon again! I really like games where each player is always involved in the game, or has very short downtime, and this game captured that spirit perfectly. The game manages to keep the possibility of catching the leader, yet the game doesn't last too long... it took us a bit over an hour to play, with 10 minutes of that devoted to rules. The rules are easy enough for anyone with basic math skills to be able to play, meaning that it would be good for children (the market it is aimed at, I am told).
If I had to come up with anything negative to say, it would be that the game boils down to essentially choosing two cards every round. You do get some other choices, but in most cases it's whether or not to spend your money, whether or not to play a card, and what to have the Black Knight do on those turns you're lucky enough to be the Man. With fewer players than five or six, card choices become more tactical and less based on what others have decided to do. Thus, the game might work for those who like deeper games as well as those who like lighter fare.
Pros: Nice bits in general, if a bit cartoony with respect to the characters. Easy rules, fast play. Good balance, we had lots of contenders at the end of our game. Low luck factor. Good social interaction.
Cons: May have too young a look for some. Action card text is in German, but is easily memorized. Not a particularly deep game.
Each player selects two of six actions to perform in an effort to be the first to complete their castle - Building four towers and four walls. Difficulties arrise if multiple players select the same action - Everything costs more or you are sent to the dungeon. Since there is little depth of strategy beyond out-guessing your opponents, and when to use the special action cards, it is very light fare. However, with the very nice components and interactive play, its something the entire family can enjoy.
You say you don't think like other people do? Then you'll excel in this race to build a castle consisting of four walls and four turrets. Everyone has six numbered cards corresponding to six spaces on the board. On each turn, a player secretly chooses two; then all are turned faceup.
You derive benefits from choosing a number nobody else has picked. You might get all the money on either of two spaces without sharing it. You could buy castle walls or turrets at a discount. You might get an official document for free instead of having to buy it; documents ease the travails of building by letting you, for example, steal an opposing piece. Really risky is playing your Black Knight. If it's the only one played, you get to steal all the money; but if a second Knight appears, it means a duel and the loser cools his heels in jail until ransomed. Three or more Knights all go to jail immediately.
If you're an independent thinker who sometimes feels underappreciated, this game may be just what you're looking for.