Saturday, 12 July 2008

King Arthur The Card Game

King Arthur The Card Game was played at Carcasean. This is a Reiner Knizia card game. He has quite many card games making use of simply numbers and colours, and many of them are quite clever, yet simple. The other two that I also played at Carcasean are Trendy and Circus Flohcati. I will write about those too later.

In King Arthur The Card Game, there are 3 types of cards. I don't know the exact names of the cards so I'm just making them up here. There are enemy cards which come in different colours and numbers. There are knight cards, which come in 1's or 2's, and come in a different set of colours from the enemies. The knight cards are used to defeat the enemies. And the finally there are mission cards, which you claim using enemies that you have defeated, and they give victory points.

The enemies appear in groups according to their colours, and the biggest group size is four. To defeat an enemy, you play knight cards of the same colour that add up to the value on that enemy card. What's tricky with the grouping of the enemies is this: even if you have defeated one enemy in the group, you cannot claim it until the whole group has been defeated. There are some exceptions, e.g. you use double the knights to defeat the enemy, or on the next turn you spend the same number of knights to extract that already defeated enemy from the group. Doing these is expensive though, because you normally only draw one card at the end of your turn. If you don't do any other action (fighting an enemy or completing a mission), you can draw two.

One optional action that you can do is to release more enemies into the game. This can only be done when there are no more enemy groups with 4 enemies. You keep drawing enemy cards and adding them into the appropriate groups, until one of the groups has 4 members.

To claim the mission cards, which award victory points, you must "pay" enough defeated enemies to fulfill their criteria. Some mission cards require cards in specific colours. Some require cards with values adding up to a certain number. Some require cards of a specific colours and adding up to a certain number. Some even require cards with specific values. So the players are basically racing to fulfill the conditions as quickly as possible and claim the mission cards (and victory points as quickly as possible). Of course the players also need to be efficient and not waste their knight cards.

Mission cards at the top. The criteria are on the left margin, and the victory points in big font on the right. The red row of cards are the enemies. Usually the red enemies are more powerful. The coins are just markers for the players to remember who had defeated which enemy among a group which has not been all defeated yet.

In my hand are enemy cards which I have defeated (red 4 and green 2), and three knight cards. At this point I had only claimed 2 missions. The sea monster requires 4 cards of different colours as specified, and Excalibur needs a total value of 5.

More enemy cards

The game is alright. Quite a clean design (you wouldn't expect less from Reiner Knizia), and some interesting strategy involved. And also some cheering and groaning when the enemies are refreshed, especially when there are some enemy groups with a single enemy, i.e. easy pickings for the active player. There is also an interesting tension in guessing which mission your opponents may be targeting for based on what enemies they have defeated, and in the race to claim these missions.

I am amazed how many card games Reiner Knizia has that are based on just numbers and colours (or maybe I should call them suits), and how they somehow have the Knizia signature feel and yet are still unique.

No comments: