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Subject: Short overview rss

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Rogue Marechal
United Kingdom
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OK, I'm not going to go in a long intro of the game, or detailed gameplay, I merely want to put some info here as there are almost none to speak of for this game.

First of all, it is in French... it should go without saying that rating it on that basis is utter idiocy but there you go, it seems someone did.

The game plays with a single deck of cards, beautifully illustrated it has to be said. There are 2 types of cards in that deck, characters and 'Dame Bleue', basically one-time effects that are taken out of the game after being resolved.

Each round one player is the host of a joust and decides what the price for this contest will be by selecting a card (phase 1).

Then the other players can try to gain his favour by offering him one of their card to become 'champion' for the round (phase 2).

This essentially means that that player, if his gift is accepted, will be able to know, alongside the host, what the stake of the joust is, as well as gain an advantage by selecting his representation in the contest before the other players.

In the last phase of the round (phase 3), all players must choose a representation for the contest in the form of a character card (although 'Dame Bleue' cards can be used as substitutes). Players that are out of cards and therefore cannot do so are eliminated.

The winner of course acquire the card that was designated as the price, placing it in front of him, face down, Rounds are repeated from there on, with the host changing based on the result of the previous. The game ends when a player has won 3 contests.

There you have it, in a nutshell, it is basically an auction game with some hand management going on.

The weird aspect that takes a bit of getting used to is that cards can be used both as price, gift, and representative in the joust. This means that what seems like a deceptively simple game has quite a level of strategy behind it... to make matters worst, those prices have wildly varying VP associated to them, which is basically the sum of 3 numbers.

This is enough in my opinion to make it a difficult game to get into for the casual player, not least because the cards won by a player remain unknown to the majority and only experienced players will be able to gauge, very crudely at that, who is in the lead.

I think that the designer/publisher acknowledged that rapidly after release as the game was expanded with a second deck of card 'Le Peuple Paille', which essentially is a dedicated deck of prices (some of which being VP and others some effects that can be triggered on subsequent rounds). Their value range from 0 to 3 rather that the double digit in the base game.

The game with the expansion I believe resolves one important problem and is the way to go, IMO. On the flip side though it adds some complexity of its own, but nothing drastic.

Still, I'm not entirely sure what the target audience is. It's an OK game but I'm not sure the bluffing aspect will be enough for hardcore gamers. And is certainly, IMO, a rather unusual aspect for a 'filler' game, which it tries to claim to be.

Note that the above is an impression prior to the game hitting the table, but I definitely would not recommend the game for a 10 year old, as the publisher advertises. It's not a complex game but let's call a cat a cat: this is a short game with bluffing and the occasional backstabbing, not a fairy tale...
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