Sunday, January 05, 2014

Autumn Games - Rosenkonig

The next game in our Autumn Games competition was a new one for us, an older game in the series that I bought after we had started playing last year. That game is Rosenkonig (War of the Roses) by Dirk Henn.

The two players represent the Lancasters (red rose) and the Yorks (white rose) battling over the British throne. The game is played with 24 cards, each of which has a sword pointing in one of 8 directions with either a I, II or III at the top, allowing you to move the crown piece 1-3 spaces in the direction the sword is pointing. The round tokens are two-sided Powerstones and mark which side has power in each square on the board. Finally, each player has four single-use Hero cards.

The object of the game is to create groups of Powerstones in your color by the end of the game. Each group orthogonally (not diagonally) connected gets you points based on the square of how many Powerstones are in the group. So, one Powerstone gets you 1 point, two together gets you 4 points, three gets you 9, four gets you 16, etc.

Each turn, a player must take only one of three actions. One, you can play a card. Two, you can draw a card. And three, you can play a card plus a hero card. If you can do none of these, you must pass.

When you play a card, you move the crown piece unto an unoccupied board space and place one of the Powerstones onto that space with your color face up. Restrictions are that you can't move the crown onto an occupied space and you can't move off the board. Plus, you have to move the full number of moves on the card. If you can't do that, you can't move.

Drawing a card is just drawing a card and putting it in your hand in front of you, face up. As all cards are face up, you can always tell what options any move will leave your opponent. You may only have a maximum of five cards up in front of you, so if you have five cards, you may not draw more.

Ipecac's hand early in the game.

Finally, playing a card plus one of your four hero cards allows you to move the crown onto an opponent's already played piece and flip it over to your color. You do this to capture strategic points, break up one of your opponent's groups, or connect two of your groups. You only have four hero cards for the entire game, so choosing when to play them is important.

The game ends when the Powerstones are all played, or both players have no legal play. Highest score wins.

Carol (white rose) holds the lead

As the game started, both Carol and I realized that she had a better grasp on the game then I did. She quickly started making larger groups and I was forced to use my Hero cards to break them up. As we went, however, I started catching on and made some progress. Eventually, I was able to mold a large group in the center of the board that she was unable to crack.

When scoring, Carol and I each had one large group and a number of smaller groups. The point total of our smaller groups was 44 for Carol and 29 for me. Alas, Carol's large group was only 12 strong for 144 points while mine was 15 strong for 225 points, giving me the win.

Final Scores:

Carol    188
Ipecac  254

Next up, our penultimate game, Flowerpower.

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