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ARTUS  Michael Kiesling   Wolfgang Kramer

ALEA  RAVENSBURGER

Take two of Europe’s best games designers and add what is quite possibly the best associated strategy company, ALEA as part of RAVENSBURGER, and you have one of the better family strategy games of the past 24 months.

The game board features Camelot’s famed Round Table, set on a pivot system so that it actually turns, around which are the seats of the Arturian Knights.

The players each have a set number of Knights (determined by number of players and identified by colour) which they place on the seats around the Table. Also sat at this table, beginning in specifically marked chairs, are 3 Princes and 1 King. These are represented by two Gold and Two Silver pieces.

Three golden rings are placed round the King and the Table is turned so that the Crown plate (each seat corresponds to a plate on the table) faces the King. The game now revolves around card play.

Each player has two decks of cards, one showing a Knights Helm on its back and the other showing a Crown. The Helm deck has Knight pictures and movement numbers (a shown bottom left) and the Crown deck shows the King and either a Movement range or a Ring (see pic adjacent).

Some of the cards have a Gold background, some have a Silver one and some have half and half Gold and Silver. This background denotes the colour of Prince/King you can affect by playing this card.

Playing a card to move an own Knight means the player scores the value (plus or minus) of the plate assigned to the seat the Knight leaves (not the one he is going to). Placing a Ring on a Prince or Moving a Prince scores similarly. Moving the King gives no score but it does rotate the Round Table - the Crown plate always aligns with the King’s seat.

This is a very clever and well thought out game. The players have a set hand of cards, equal Helm and Crown to begin with, and then take up cards from either deck after playing a card (or cards - the advanced game brings in a 3rd Deck and 2 cards are played per player/turn). Balancing the use of these cards is the strategy while the tactics are manipulating the King and his Princes. It’s a shame this is only for 2-4 players but it’s excellent.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015