Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Game of Crowns

Product– Game of Crowns

Producer-AEG

Price– $ 25 here http://www.amazon.com/Game-of-Crowns-Board/dp/B00V8Y2P78/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1439267414&sr=8-2&keywords=game+of+crowns

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-45 minutes (4-9(!) players)

Type-Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Love Letter Evolved. 94%

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Basics-In the Game of Crowns, you manipulate, scheme, triumph or you die! Game of Crowns is the next step in the evolution of Love Letter.  Players take the role of one of several different noble houses trying to take the top spot in the kingdom.  This is done over the course of three turns.  Each turn, a player will play one card or attempt to trade cards.  Trading is simple.  The active player offers one card.  Then, all other players have to offer a card in response.  The active player can add a second card to his/her offer, and all players have to follow suit.  Any player can sweeten their deal by offering crows (the main currency in the game).  Finally, the active player chooses one other player, and they exchange cards.  Playing cards is equally as simple.  On a player’s turn, that player selects one card from his or her hand, and plays it for its action.  You start with coinage and knights.  Coinage is just choose a player, steal a random card, and then give them coinage.  Knights are the main combat power of the game.  When you use a knight you choose a player.  Then, all players choose secretly if the defender or the attacker is the winner.  After all players reveal their chosen side, all players can then spend crows to increase the power of their chosen side.  Whoever wins gets to look at the other player’s hand, choose one card, and steal that card or to take a card from a random deck of cards that provides new ways to score points.  The knight that started the fight is then discarded, and the losing side gets all the spent crows.  After three rounds, players score points based on the cards in their hands.  Some cards only give you points such as the trader (coinage), princess (knights), and castilian (crows).  Another card, feud, gives you points if you have the most of it compared to all the other players.  Who ever has outmaneuvered their opponents the best and has the most points at the end is the winner and the new king!

Mechanics-This game is simple and quick.  It’s the the speed of Love Letter’s draw one, play one, and the added depth of microgame Dominion.  I like the variety of different ways that players can play this game by focusing on the different paths to victory.  It’s not perfect; if your group of friends just won’t see how you losing to your other friend makes them all lose, you won’t enjoy the combat much.  Pick your battles well, but keep in mind that the people shape this game to a high degree.  4.5/5

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Theme-AEG is a great company for theme.  Sure, you could play this game and ignore the theme completely, and some players will.  However, AEG builds on this game by having a few pages that must describe the families in the game. They didn’t need to do that, but those touches help draw me in that much more.  It’s not perfect as you’re still only do some minor story things in game terms, but I do feel like a noble family maneuvering through intrigue in this game.  4.5/5

Instructions-The game has great instructions with only one fault.  I wrote the instructions out in one paragraph above, and that right there is all you really need.  The rule book does that well, and give you a bit more.  The only real problem is the Feud cards.  There is some debate if Feud provides exponential points or just increases as you gain more cards.  If you check Boardgamegeek, you find that those cards are just scored according to the most cards, but other sites say the opposite.  I’d like a bit of clarification, but overall, if you decide among your friends how that is played, you will easily be able to pick up the game and play this out of the box no problem in under 10 minutes.   4.75/5

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Execution-I’m going to complain about something I thought I would never say-the game box is too big!  That’s pretty weird to hear me say, but this game almost fits in a Love Letter bag no problem.  That said, that’s an awesome problem to have.  Too many games don’t fit in the box they came in.  This game has great card art, good card stock, and crow meeples!  Top notch work, AEG!  In fact, if you want I’ve made an unboxing video here (http://youtu.be/5B7hC3svWng) if you want to see all the components of the game.  5/5

Summary– I love AEG.  They constantly put out top notch games that don’t require hours to play.  Sure I love my 4 hour Euros, but this one is a simple game that plays quick, and can even include non-gamers without spooking them away like a round of some other games.  And the player count is amazing!  Up to nine people can play this game.  That’s a true blessing.  I’ve had way too many game days at the local store where they couldn’t handle the fifth player.  Now you can run that fifth player and his friends.  Good rules, great mechanics, and some well-written, if slightly flawed, rules all make this game a pleasure to play.  This game isn’t that expensive and if you want a bit more meat on the bones then Love Letter gives you, Game of Crowns is an excellent addition to your library.  94%

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One thought on “Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Game of Crowns

  1. I gave this a go at Gen Con during AEG Big Game Night. Really enjoyed it a lot and ended up picking it up. I’d say that Lost Legacy is a little more like Love Letter evolved (give it a go if you haven’t tons of fun!); Game of Crowns really felt more like Junta light to me.
    Great review, looking forward to bringing this one out at game night–playing up to 9 is a huge plus for this.

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