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On one side is the House of York with a white rose in its coat of arms; on the other side is the House of Lancaster with a red rose. The "War of the Roses" was fought to determine who would be king of England. The players use their cards to bring large, connected areas under their control. They also use their courageous heroes who bring about interesting twists of fate. At the end, the new ruler of England is declared.
Average Rating: 3.9 in 8 reviews
This is a sweet little filler game. I like the limitation of only 4 hero cards to flip your opponent's stones. Use these near the end to break up those large territories and get out of a tight spot. It sometimes feels like there aren't enough power cards (movement cards) and there should be a chance to move 4 spaces also.
The board is very nicely illustrated, and the game components are very sturdy and high quality. The cards are a bit on the small side but durable.
A very good 2-player game!
This is an excellent two-player game. Several unique aspects of the game provide the challenge and make it fun: the manner of placing pieces during the game, the chance to turn an opponent's piece to your side, and scoring at the end of the game. This game got us playing board games again.
My wife and I picked this up on a whim... With very simple rules and fast play, this is one of our favorites after a tough workday. The balance between luck and strategy seems ideal. Looking more than a few moves ahead is pointless, so the pace tends to be pretty quick. That's not to say there isn't ample room for strategic thinking... when will you draw more action cards? Will you play an action card just to keep your opponent from a good play? Use your hero cards early? Keep hero cards too long and waste them? The game has a distinctive feel through the early-mid-endgame. The scoring system is simple, but I tend to prefer systems that don't require pencil or calculator to total up. This takes away only slightly from an otherwise fast paced game.
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"Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York taking arms against a sea of troubles from the House of Lancaster." You have five power cards (which show direction and distance) at your disposal, and four rosy-cheeked heroes to do your bidding. A crown lies at the board's center. On your turn, pick a powercard to determine the empty square upon which you will place a powerstone of your color. Employing a hero enables you to occupy a space containing your opponent's powerstone, and flip it to your color. Your newly placed powerstone wears the crown, which indicates the point from which the placement of the next powerstone will be calculated. A territory, which is a group of orthogonally connected stones in one color, scores the square of the number of stones in it. Easy lies the head that wears the crown by scoring more points from territories.
One of the most pleasant developments coming from the German game scene over the past two years has been the release of a series of games specifically designed for two players. Kosmos, in particular, has led this effort, releasing such titles as Lost Cities, Caesar & Cleopatra, Druidenwalzer and Kahuna. The latest in this line is Rosenkönig by Dirk Henn. Actually, Rosenkönig is a remake of Dirk's earlier game Texas which was released under his db Spiele label. I enjoy both Lost Cities and Caesar & Cleopatra, but am rather lukewarm on Kahuna and dislike Druidenwalzer. However, Rosenkönig came highly recommended, so I was anxious to add it to my collection.
Upon receiving the game, I roped my wife into two games. Much to my surprise and disappointment, we were both underwhelmed. The game was, well... dull. Very unexciting. All moves were very quick and easy and the game felt bland. Still, I wanted to give it a go with my gaming group (The Westbank Gamers) and corralled John Moore into a game. He was a perfect choice as he is a very capable, intelligent and open-minded guy. Sadly, the game didn't improve. Several subsequent playings have not altered my opinion at all.
The components of the game are quite nice. The heavy-duty and durable board depicts a 9 x 9 grid upon which players move the king pawn and place their control markers. The markers are wooden discs which are cleverly double-printed, each side representing either the white or red faction. This certainly helps as players don't have to constantly change tokens. A mere flip of a token is all that is required.
Play begins with the king pawn resting on the center of the board. Each player has five directional cards face-up in front of them. On a turn, you perform one of three potential actions:
- Play one of the face-up cards and move the crown pawn in the direction and number of spaces indicated on the card. Place one of your pieces on the space the crown lands on.
- Replace one of your face-up cards from the draw pile IF you have less than five cards face-up.
- Play one of your four `hero' cards in conjuncture with a directional card. This allows you to move the crown token onto an opponent's piece and convert it to your own.
The object of the game is to get as many of your markers adjacent to each other as possible. The larger the area covered, the better. Points are scored on a `squaring' method.
Example: if you have 7 tokens adjacent, you will earn 7 x 7 points. The player with the largest point total wins.
The game concludes when players no longer have any legal moves. This can occur prematurely, which has happened in several of my games, as the crown token was moved to the edge of the board and neither I nor my opponent had directional cards which could move it.
When deciding which directional card to play, you must carefully see how this will help your cause and not aid your opponent, based on the cards he/she has face-up. This takes a bit of studying, but it's not terribly taxing or exciting. As the game progresses, it is not unusual to be beset by cards which severely limit your moves. In spite of having as many as five cards in front of you, very often these cards cannot be played as it would either force the token off the board or land it on one of your own tokens, both illegal moves. Thus, your options are severely limited on most turns during the game. It is very easy to calculate your best move as your opponent's cards are also visible, so one can easily discern the move which will best benefit you while not aiding your opponent. With two reasonably competent players the game boils down to who draws the best cards. There's just nothing here which has me excited or wanting to play again.
One thing the game has in its favor is that it is quick. My two matches with my wife lasted less than 10 minutes each, while my other matches clocked in at 15 minutes or so. Brevity, however, isn't a virtue unless the game is exciting and fun. Sadly, this one isn't.
Rosenkönig is a great disappointment to me. In spite of giving the illusion of being a game requiring deep thought and planning, it is simply too easy. There is no real challenge here. It does, indeed, boil down to who draws the best cards. What a shame.