Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Tara: Ireland's Royal Board Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Project Kells rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Harvey O'Brien
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
badge
...easy ...easy ...eeesay...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I bought this game mainly on the strength of meeting the designer at a recent crafts fair in Dublin, where I live. It is quite a simple, elegant little game designed for quick, light, repeat play. It is a fairly straightforward tile laying game which uses the design concept of Celtic knots. Players attempt to control space on the board by laying basic 'fort' tiles in turn on a grid and gradually building links between these forts with 'bridges' (which form the Celtic knot patterns as you gain more territory).

Sacred Hill is not much more than a variant on classic tic-tac-toe, and can result in stalemate fairly easily. However, it is fun to play: quick and light. The second variant, High Kings of Tara introduces a little more srategy with the introduction of 'Kings' (small plastic figurines who can be inserted neatly into the 'fort' pieces as they are moved around the board). Again the emphasis is on quickfire strategy rather than painstaking planning and execution as the movement of the Kings determine your building rights, and the result is again fun without proving too taxing.

The basic game comes only with rules for the first two variants. The third must be looked up online. I actually haven't done this yet.

The game is very attractively presented and the pieces are very satisfying to use in building the knots. Though the Celtic knot theme is arguably gimmicky (though bound to appeal to older Irish-American gamers), it actually makes for a very aesthetically pleasing gameboard as the play goes on. The simplicity of the gameplay, coupled with the attractiveness of the design has made this a game that I have managed to persuade my wife to play, which is a point of strong recommendation in itself!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Colin
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I totally agree with your comments on this game. It's a simple game with mesmerizing artwork. I picked my copy up in Macroom on a recent trip to Ireland with my father, but I wouldn't have done so had I not had the urge to browse an Irish toy store. If this game were availible in the many giftshops peppered throughout the country I'll bet sales would be very substantial, especially since my primary reason for purchasing this game was for the knot creation theme and the souvenier value.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Harvey O'Brien
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
badge
...easy ...easy ...eeesay...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're probably right about the souvenir value. I don't know what kind of pecentage the gift shops would want though, and I get the impression that every sale counts for the people who put the game together. The German market is probably a good one for them to target also.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Young
Wales
Wellesley
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Played it tonight for the first time. I think it's a great 2 player fast game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
VETRHUS of Rogaland
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
An ash I know, Yggdrasil its name. With water white is the great tree wet; thence come the dews that fall in the dales. Green by Urth's well does it ever grow.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hob69 wrote:
It is a fairly straightforward tile laying game...

Sacred Hill is not much more than a variant on classic tic-tac-toe, and can result in stalemate fairly easily.


My apologies, but I must respectfully correct your post. I don't believe that you were playing either facet of the game correctly because ties are impossbile.

First, remember that there are two scoring methods, scoring the total number of ringforts played versus each other. And the second is the advanced scoring with the fewest number of knots formed total deciding the outcome.

But, I think that you failed to complete second phase correctly, where after knights moves are no longer possible, the person who cannot play that move begins orthagonal placement. Here are some further reasons why ties cannot occur...

Project Kells - Sacred Hill:

The board will be full at game end, and even if neither player has fewer kingdoms, one player will have more territory, as there is an odd number of points to be contested.

Every turn adds one of your pieces to the board. Captures are possible, but limited so cycles of captures can never occur. But, captures remove pieces from the board as well, as in 'go'...

This remains true for Sacred Hill level 1, with either kingdom-scoring or knot-scoring, and Secred Hill level 2, with either kingdom-scoring or knot-scoring.

Project Kells - Poisoned Chalice:

No ties are possible, for same reasons as Sacred Hill. This is again true with either kingdom-scoring or knot-scoring.

Chalice is a much more of a brain burn. My head was spinning when I was introduced the variant by Murray (the designer) himself at Irish Fest Milwaukee 2007.

It is played at right angles, meaning the players sit adjacent, and not facing each other. They each control horizontal rows, which are perpendicular to one another. After initial tile placement around the edges, per the rules, no player can place a tile into any row in which they have a majority presence.

This counter-intuitive play, and the brain-burn factor, make this Poisoned Chalice variant similar to the challenge of Tigris & Euphrates.

Project Kells - High Kings of Tara:

It can end in a draw. Although it isn't likely with experienced players who exercise their options properly.

Murray Heasman said that the scoring here provides for two very different strategies. This variant can be won by capturing two kings of the opponent. This results in a two point victory.

However, it is possible to win via scoring ringforts. In this case, because of fewer placement restrictions, one player can opt to try and win in this way, and may have an 11 point disparity by games end.

BUT, Murray said that a brilliant move in play at this point is for the opponent to force the other player to take his or her second king (providing that one had been taken) and insure that the victor merely gleaned two points instead of 11 plus the point for the win...

But that would mostly apply to tournament play.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.