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Tre Kronor Infernum: Fire to Ashes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Tre Kronor Infernum - Fire in the hall! rss

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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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(Designer's own review)

There are many cooperative games but few where the cooperation is so tangible like in Tre Kronor Infernum. Unless you link your playing pieces with the other players' pieces, you simply cannot perform any actions. But let's start from the beginning.

The burning castle of Tre Kronor is a simple game board with 10 x 10 square, divided into 9 rooms. Each servant is symbolized by a tile in the player's color and each fire by a marker. The objective of the game is simply to place the servants on the game board and set up chains between the wells in the corners and the rooms with fire markers. The longer it takes, the more squares does the fire spread to. Once a room is connected, ALL servants in the chain may perform one of the following actions:

1. Extinguish a fire (and earn points for extinguishing the most fires)
2. Secretly save a possession in the room (and earn points if, and only if, the fire is extinguished)
3. Secretly steal a possession in the room (and earn points if, and only if, the fire is NOT extinguished)

Each action ends with the play of a secret spread marker, whereby the player chooses which row or column the fire spreads to. Once there are one or more intersecting squares, the fire spreads.

Obviously, the actions conflict with each other and this is the essence of Tre Kronor Infernum: to choose actions that are likely to be supported by the other players' actions. Once a player has placed a save/steal marker in a room, the other players must deduce whether it is a save marker (in which case they have no interest in extinguishing the fire in that room) or whether it is a steal marker (in which case they want to extinguish the fire as soon as possible). With only one action at the time, each player must choose wisely.

As pointed out in the beginning, the game is very abstract. The game board has more similarities with a chess board than a castle and the tiles do not give any feeling of human servants. However, the spread of fire markers are quite effective in conveying a sense or urgency, particularly when a fire in a room you wanted to burn down suddenly begins to spread to other rooms.

If you don't mind abstract games, Tre Kronor Infernum offers unique and intriguing game mechanisms for a mental and interactive challenge.

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