English language edition
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The old King is dying and the princes are all vying to succeed him. The players are the princes and each begins with three castles and three knights. Using limited resources, each tries to build stable regions and then expand them. When a prince expands into a brothers region, he gains points and his brother loses points. The more territory a prince can claim, the more points he earns. When the king dies, the prince who has gained the most power points, becomes the new king and the winner of the game!
Lowenherz is Klaus Teuber's best design to date. Better than Adel Verpflichtet, and better than Settlers. There are agonizing choices to be made every turn! The mechanic of forcing four players to choose among three options each turn, with two players having to duke it out to perform one of the choices, works very well. The balance among the various strategies (going for gold, choosing a politics card, building walls, building up a knight force, expanding one's territory) is remarkable -- each of these is valuable in its own way, and choosing how much one of them is worth to you at any given point in the game is not easy! I'll play this game over and over and over -- it's just loads of fun!
Allthough I have nothing new to add to the previous reviewers, I still want to express my enthousiasm for this game, because it simply deserves it. The game is just brilliant. Even if it would only have been a 'place a few pieces on the board' type of game (like Medina) it's my guess it still would have been a nice, abstract game.
Klaus Teuber however, has managed to mix a good abstract game mechanism with a completely other mechanism, wich is highly responsible for a lot of interaction between the players: trading the actions. If you want to do something, you'll have to pay for it. This way, you don't only have to keep focussed on what's going on on the board, you also have to make sure you have enough money in order to execute your strategical plans. I think this can be frustrating at times, especcially when you can't afford yourself to make a certain 'now watch me what I figured out here' move on the board, due to the lack of money (wich is needed to buy your desperately wanted action ) but on the other hand: every player has this problem, so it is a matter of balance and timing. That is what makes this game to a great game.
Money is equal to power, but if you use it wrong, you'll destroy your options. Control your greede, but control it to much, and you will find yourself wonderering why the other player(s) do exactly the thing you had planned to do, instead of you :)
A great, great game, thanks to its diverse elements.
Klaus Teuber has been making high quality games for a long time, and Loewenherz is just one in a long list of his triumphs. But it might be the best triumph of his.
Loewenherz is set in medieval England. As the King dies, each of four players (as princes) vie for control of the kingdom. Gameplay is based on bidding for action cards that allow you to build, recruit knights, or gain money. As you build kingdoms and expand into other knight's kingdoms, the choices you make as to what to bid when become critical. The many different options in this respect make the games strategy very multi-faceted.
It's this fact that makes Loewenherz so unique and replayable. Given all the different strategy options, there is no one best way to play the game. Will you set up a kingdom early? Or will you save your resources and attempt to expand into another player's kingdom once he's spent? Will you develop a number of small areas, or one giant of a kingdom? How much will you bid for each action card? All these are questions whose answers depend on the choices your opponents make.
The board play of Loewenherz feels a lot like Acquire. The bidding feels somewhat like poker. The strategy choices feel a lot like Executive Decision (another great overlooked game). And the intensity is somewhat comparable to Diplomacy. A must try for any serious gamer.
This magnificent variant on the ancient game of go includes negotiations! There are no conflicts as long as players in turn choose different available Actions. Negotiation commences if two players compete--e.g., "Here's 20 ducats, if the Action's mine." If negotiations fail, or if more than two compete, whoever secretly offers the most money wins. Actions allow you to get money, place fences (you score for surrounding territory that includes one of your castles), expand (even into enemy regions), or place a Knight. Only adjacent regions with more Knights can encroach upon yours. Highest score after the final Action wins. This game is a sadly overlooked masterpiece.