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Subject: A first glance after 2 games. rss

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Hello and welcome to my very first review of a Boardgame - EVAR!

I got this game as an unexpected birthday present. It was a very nice surpise and we agreed that we had to play it right on.

*What you get: The Hardware*

"Um Krone und Kragen" comes in a small box, which is half as big as the "Hans im Glueck" Carcassonne. Since the game is from Amigo it is better compared to "Union Pacific": "Um Krone und Kragen" is nearly a quarter of the big Amigo Box size.
... ok, you asked for it: 17x12,5x5,5 cm or 6,7x4,7x2,1 inch.

In the box you will find:
- 1 Startplayermarker
- 12 dice(in a zip-bag! yeah!cool )
- 5 "Game-overview" sheets
- 60 cards
- A rule book(duh!)

Maybe you already wondered why the box is so big for just 60 cards. Well, at least I did. I expected something like "6 nimmt". First, there are 12 very nice red dice in this box. Second, the startplayermarker, which looks pretty cheap, but functional and third 60 nonstandard-sized cardboard cards. The cards are wider than the usual playing-cards and thicker, too. Since you are not going to hold them in your hand, there is more room on them for the beuatiful artwork. The upper part of the card shows a character(a person, not a letter), the lower part the name, cost and the special ability of the person. The cost and ability are depicted by symbols.
On the "Game-overview" you will find descripitons of all the characters available in the game an their abilities.
The dice look very nice.

*What you play: The Software*

The theme of the game goes as follows:
Beeing "nobodies" at a royal court the players try to gain influence by impressing the different people who live in and around the kings palace.
At the beginning all these charactercards are laid out on the table. There is only one king and one queen card, the other characters have up to 4. It depends on the number of players.(20 different characters in total)

Here comes a quick rules-abstract. The goal of the game is to be the player who rolls the highest final die roll in the final round.
The final round is started when a player succeds to impress the king.
Impressing a character is done by rolling some dice and looking up that characters card for what the dice have to show. After a roll you have to freeze(lay aside) at least one die. You continue rolling until all dice are frozen. If the frozen dice show the requierd pattern you have impressed that character put his card in front of you and can use his special abilities in the later game.
The requirements are typicel dice patterns: "3 of a kind", "all dice even/odd", "sum greater than 15" and so on. "The farmer" needs "2 of a kind", "The philosopher" needs "all dice even"
The special abilities come in two flavors: getting more dice or manipulating your die roll. So you either use the farmer for getting on more die to your roll or the philosopher to reduce the number on one die and increase one on an other. A character closer to the king is harder to impress, but bears "great might of die rearranging" (short: GMODR)
To impress the King you need "7 of a kind"!
As soon as this happens the final round is started. Every player gets a chance to create a roll which shows as many dice of one kind as possible. The player who rolls "The most of a kind" wins the game. That means rolling 8 ones is better than 7 sixes.

*Whats the point: the pros and cons*

Long version:
The game looks great. The Artwork, done by Volkan Baga, is fantastic. All of the characters were done as oil paintings, look really awsome and fit absollutley great into the theme.
(you can get some more info on the amigo webpage www.amigo-spiele.de) There is only one drawback: it's not easy to recognize and distinguish the characters.

The gameplay itself works well, but is pretty much non-interactive. Everybody plays for him self, trying to get an character before sombody else does.

You roll your dice, check the remaining characters and decide which kind of character you need. Some guy who gives you more dice, or some other who lets you manipulte the roll.
And now the fun of the game begins: Do your best in using the special abilities. Check possibilities and the decide: schould I freeze that die or should I risk another roll? Hope for the right number or use up a special ability? And all the other players sit beside you and "try" to help.
"What? you need 3 sixes? roll em! you can do it!... oh only one six... what a pity"devil
You need creative use of the special abilities to win this game.

It remains to be seen if there are actually some strategies one can follow or if it is just "be the first one to get the king" In both games we played, the game ended after 8 rounds. The final round became very thrilling, both times. It is not sure that the player who initiates it, will win the game, since everybody has the final roll and if your characters won't let you manipulate your 10 dice, you wont get "lots of a kind"
Don't confuse this game with Yahztee! The die manipulation makes "Um Kragen und Krone" a completely different game.

We enjoyed the game, there is some downtime during the turns of the other players but it is minimal, as you can do some mean trashtalking...
Oh, and always check if the character you try to get is still available
Our games lasted nearly 60 min.

Short version: The game is nice. It looks nice, it plays nice.
 
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