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King of the Elves is in a nut shell the card game version of Elfenland/Elfengold. Just like the Settlers of Catan card game, King of the Elves takes the basic theme and mechanics of the board version and translates them over to a card game format. My first impressions weren't too great. Unlike the Settlers port, this translation doesn't seem to transfer over as well. It doesn't seem broken but overall if you have the number of players it would seem that simply playing the board game version would be the right choice.

The card game has four rounds to it and each round is divided up into two phases, just like the board game. The first phase involves establishing the route of cities that the players will pass through and any particular obstacles that will hinder travel. Players have a hand of cards that would be a mixture of the standard transportation cards from Elfenland, along with a mixture of city cards and obstacle cards. Players have several options for each of their turns. They can purchase cards from the deck, trade in cards, or play cards. City placement is very important as it establishes the route through which players have to travel. As the route is established players have to try and get the right combination of transportation cards to make the journey.

Players of Elfenland will be able to tell that this is a compacting of the tile placement sequence. Instead of fixed city locations and tile placement to establish routes, the card game compacts this by simply creating one route that all the players must follow. Players continue to perform actions until everyone passes. Once this happens then the next phase begins for the round.

The second phase is just like it is in the board game. Players travel through the land visiting as many cities as they can. Each player's turn is basically a solitary round as it simply comes down to people trying to use their hand as efficiently as possible. Players move around the circle of cities as far as they can go and collect the gold value of each city. If a player makes it all the way around then they receive a bonus of 10 gold. The goal of the game is to get the most gold by the end of the fourth round.

I find the game underwhelming compared to the board game simply because the game overall feels more cumbersome than the board game. Player turns seem to take longer, especially when players have to thumb through the deck to get a city. I wouldn't say that the game is broken or is bad, but when you compare it to the board game it seems the only benefit of King of the Elves is that it is smaller and easier to travel with. However if both versions were sitting on a shelf it would only make sense for me to pull down Elfenland/Elfengold over the card game.

 
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