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Subject: Royal Turf Review rss

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Michele Mura
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1 game board representing the track,7 plastic horses, 21 horse cards, 24 bet coins(4 for each player –0,1,1 e 2),6 markers,1 peace coin,1 special die with 6 faces, some game money(12 x 50£,26x100£ e 12x500£),rules.

Royal Turf is the classic game that allows passionate players and even first timers to gather at the same table. The union of a simple mechanism of the game and the fact that it doesn’t require a real strategy plan, creates a nice mixture and an immediate enjoyment. The game is composed of 3 runs and each one requires a preparation phase ,a bet phase, the real run, and finally the money collection phase. At the end of the 3 runs the player who has obtained the greatest amount of money, will be declared the winner.

Every horse has 3 different cards on which his characteristics are determined, or of how many signal-box the horse moves for each die roll. One of the characteristics of the game consist in a special die because on 3 faces there are horse’s heads, and on the other 3 there are 3 symbols: a jockey’s hat, a saddle and a horse shoe. Some horses will have a high score on the most frequent symbol and a low score on the rest of the symbols, other will move of a few signal-boxes with the head of the horse but they’ll be able to do fast sprints with the saddle or with the jockey’s hat. Each player must value correctly these characteristics in order to assess his bet.

During the preparation phase the cards, which determine the horses’ characteristics and consequently their starting order ,are sorted randomly. After each race these cards will be discarded and players will have to pick-up new ones.

At this point each player begins to bet, taking into consideration these 3 important factors: the characteristics of the horse, the starting order and the other bets. Each player has 3 bet coins:2 with the value of “1” and one with the value of “2”.Bets are made during several turns in which every player bets on a single horse. It’s not possible to bet twice on the same horse but each horse may pick-up bets coming from different players. Players don’t bet money but coins representing the winning multiplier factor (the different values of the victories are on the board at the center of the game board).It’s important to look after enemies’ bets because a lonely bet may yield to high scores but the horse may also be easily disadvantaged from enemy game, the group bet instead offers less earnings but seldom do enemies damage their own horses. An interesting variant exists, in which the coin of value “0” is introduced. This coin doesn’t have any role in the game/payment of the bet but, it only serves for a bluff, because when this option is introduced the bets are made secretly because the coins are face down.

The real race is played along a track of 33 signal-boxes, and consists of making a complete “home run” of the horses. One by one each player rolls the die and decides which horse he moves. The number of signal-boxes along whom the horse advances is determined by two elements: the symbol obtained from the die and the number printed on the horse card on the base of the same symbol. A simple rule says that two horses cannot stay on the same signal-box, if the movement finishes on a signal-box already occupied the horse must move backwards until he finds a free signal-box. A consequence of this is that the horse moves of a less number of signal-boxes, or he doesn’t move at all! The clue element on which Royal Turf is based on , is that if a horse moves (even if he moves”0”) his turn is always considered so he cannot move anymore until all horses have finished their turn. This simple mechanism gives the opportunity to use horses’ characteristics as more as possible ,moving the horse when on the die the symbol associated at the biggest number of signal-box turns out (only if you haven’t already made you’re movement),but also to damage a horse on which the enemies have bet by moving those horses with the lowest score(or even to “burn” his movement when he is in a situation where can’t move because there are horses in front of him). On the signal-box number 18,at each race, there is a special signal called “race opener” the first one who gets on that signal-box or passes it gains it. The only purpose of this coin is to award an extra win to players who placed a bet on that horse.

When 3 horses pass the starting line ,which means they have completed a “home run”, the race finishes and we find out who’s horse arrived last. Payments are clearly shown on a precise board which includes different types of payments on the base of arrivals order(the first horse pays more)but also related to the number of bets effectuated on that horse(less number of bets=more earnings). The last horse causes a loss of money for the unfortunate players who have bet on him.The bet coin only makes you multiply x1 or x2 the payments. The third and last race permits to double all gains or losses and so the result of the game is not sure until the end .

Good points
Certainly one of the greatest pro’s of Royal Turf is that it comes out to be a funny and nice game, and that it’s possible to spend a full hour enjoying every minute of it. The comprehension and the explaining is easy and immediate. The simple mechanism offers an interesting challenge for one’s own risk-taking ability. The possibility to play up to 6 players is also very interesting. Game’s material is great, it’s also very noticeable that signals don’t have the classic colors(red ,yellow ,green, blue, etc..) but the real colors (black, white, beige, brown, etc…).

Bad points
Certainly the fortune factor risks to influence completely the end of some races. The die doesn’t listen to our reasons and to our strategies, forcing us to limit the damage or to simply damage the enemies.

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