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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.
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.
As I was shown how to play by some of the guys from the local game store, I was of course only told some of the rules. The variation they play involves not showing your cards to your opponent (keeping them hidden in your hand). This makes it a great strategy game, trying to force your opponent into corners and fearing ALL possible moves. I highly recommend this game... even if your friends know how to read.
Just picked this game up last night, brought it home and convinced my wife to play a game. The result? We loved it.
You have read enough of the mechanics below, so I will not bore you with that. I will just say that knowing your opponent's moves brings this game to a whole new level. It becomes like chess, with only one piece. One can use the knowlege of what their opponent can do to their advantage and spring a surprise move on them. It is simply wonderful, and can be played on so many levels. It will be a long time before this title gets dusty.
I usually agree with Greg regarding his game opinions, but I disagree with him regarding Rosenkonig (Condottiere is another one). Anyhow, I find this game fun. It isn't strategy-heavy, but it gives me enough to think about to fit as a semi-light strategy game. People I played it with in my local gaming group like it also. It also features an interesting 2-on-2 team play. Yes, the strategy pretty much consists of doing a quick mini-max on every turn not to screw up, but that is fine with me.
I first played the game when it was known as Texas and sought the game out and was glad to see it get rereleased with better components. I do recommend the game.
There is a car commercial that airs with the narrator talking 'there are no gracious winners. Sure we say things like, great game! but inside we're thinking, I'm better than you are!' Isn't that why gamers love heads up games. There is just something about taking on someone 'mano a mano' and WINNING! YESSSS!
The War of the Roses is the backdrop for this two player game from Kosmos. The gameboard is a simple square grid superimposed over the lands of Lancaster & York. The round wooden stones are Othello-like with a white/red rose print. Players are dealt, face up, five cards each. The cards have a sword showing distance (1-3) and direction. Players move a crown piece using these cards to vacant squares and place a stone with the appropriate rose face up. Player also have four 'heroic' cards that enable you move the crown to an enemy-occupied square and flip it. Players do not automatically draw a new movement card after playing one. That is where the challenge of this game lies. Players must decide when the best time to add to your hand is. As both players' cards are kept face up (you know all your opponent's possible moves) , this aids you in weighing this decision. After all cards or stones have been played, the game ends and is scored. Each group of roses connected orthogonally is counted, squared (mulitplied by itself) then totaled. So four connected roses is worth 16 points, five roses 25 points.... High score wins.
I enjoy this game even with its rather simple play. It's light, easy to teach, compact to play at lunch and offers some interesting decision making. Being able to know exactly what your opponent has in terms of movement, though makes the game rather unsurprising. I have played with my own game variant which adds some zest, and I suggest it to anyone playing the game. Add a 'fog of war' element by exposing three of your cards, while keeping two hidden. This creates a sense of strategic 'pounce' with one of your hidden cards and keeps your opponent (and yourself) on your toes. Be stingy with your 'heroic' cards, especially at the beginning of the game. Use them to break up large groupings of opposing stones. A grouping of eight scores 64 points--break that up into groups of 3 and 4, and you lower your opponent's score dramatically!
Worth adding to your collection as a laid back, quick 'fix' game. Let's face it, I love a complex microbrew, but once in a while, a light beer hits the spot.
Little did I realize that small game board of the map of Texas could provide such absorbing fun. Our foursome played three games of Texas, counting the third game as a 'bridge rubber' game. The game sucks you into more than beer and pretzels.
You start out with three directional cards that allow you to place your ranches or farms on one of the squares of the Texas map. If your card reads NW2, you can move diagonally the two squares rather than vertically or horizontally. You can as the only part of your move draw a card, move with one of the directional cards, or miss a turn.
Our foursome discovered we need to work together as teams. No oral diplomacy is allowed, but you start studying the faceup directional cards of every player, including your partner. You can take the two judge tiles you are given and displace a farm with a ranch, for example. One problem always remains: Do I keep the judge tiles for later in the game or use quickly at a strategic time to remove the other player's piece and replace with mine?
The game ends when no one can do any more placement of ranches or farms. Other possibilities cannot be carried out, such as drawing a card or no markers remain. I kept the game moving with comments about sheepherders and ranchers, who traditionally started range wars. Your objective is to always place contiguous ranches or farms on the spaces, referred to in the rules as 'coherent.'
You think you have won the game in the early rounds, especially if five ranches, for example, are contiguous to each other. Suddenly, another player uses a judge tile and displaces your continuous placement. Often, directional cards force you to use judge tiles in the early rounds. We found at the end of the third game the score 61 for the farms and 59 for the ranches. That was the lowest score for all three games, because the foursome had mastered more strategy.
You score the game by say, three ranches contiguous to each other, is squared to nine victory points. It is important to remove other people's ranches or farms and replace with your own. That is easily done by turning over the ranch or farm counter to the opposite side.
One of our players commented the game had more than meets the eye. I liked the game for its spirited interaction, but the game is driven by the directional cards. You can communicate your love for the Old West with Texas.
"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:
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.