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Christina Regina: The Queen's Path» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Christina Regina - unveiled rss

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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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(Designer's own review)

Christina Regina comes with surprisingly few game components. You have one (1) chess-like game board on which one (yes, only 1) chess-like piece is moved around one (still only 1) square at the time by the players. The game board is covered by tiles in different colors and the objective of the game is to move the piece (the "Queen") to tiles of your color. Once a tile is moved onto, it is taken away from the game board and the Queen may not return the same path. That's basically it!

So what makes this game so special? First of all, the players hide their colors from each others so each player is unaware of the other players' objectives. Secondly, all players score a certain amount of points for a certain color so it's not immediately obvious which player plays which color. Thirdly and most intriguing, once a player does guess the color of another player, he or she may attempt an assassination on that player to score extra points from the victim (or lose points to the victim if wrong). This is the key to the game: you need to ensure that the Queen is moved to "your" squares, either yourself or by forcing other players to do it for you, while at the same time protect the secret of your color and unveil the colors of the other players.

There are some additional rules or actions that players may attempt to promote their color and/or confuse the other players:

1. "Persuasion", the removal of a blank tile to block the Queen's path.
2. "Agitation", the removal of a colored tile.
3. "Manipulation", the switch between two colored tiles.
4. "Assassination", the above mentioned action to guess another player's color.

The game has a pasted on theme where the Queen represents Queen Christina and the colors some of the different factions at her court. All rules and components are traced back to historical facts and the real queen did indeed abdicate and convert to the Catholic faith (the black faction). Nevertheless, the game is abstract and could easily have been either set in another context or remain abstract depending on personal taste.

Instead, the essence of the game is found when we unveil Christina Regina. Under the theme, the mechanisms remind of various games like chess (moving a piece and create forced moves), poker (bluffing), Master Mind (color guessing), the old Nokia game "Snake" (blocking paths) and Cluedo (murders with unknown villains and motives). A player may go for his or her own color, hoping that the others think it's a bluff, or go for other colors, provoking the others to attempt assassinations and fail. The winner is the player who best reads the others' minds.

To sum up, Christina Regina is easily learned but difficult to master - just like a classical board game. Since all four colors are always in play, the game is equally playable with less than four players, and the random tile placement makes every new game unique. Add to this a short playing time and you have a game that could appeal to everybody.

Christina Regina is recommended to anyone enjoying a mental and interactive challenge.

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