Royal Visit

Royal Visit

RRP: £21.99
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RRP £21.99
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A game for two from the prolific Reiner Knizia, it’s unusual, complex, yet tightly balanced. The original title, “Auf der Reeperbahn…,” references a popular German movie from 1954. Near the centre of a 17-space track start, the game contains 6 miniatures – 5 figures and a crown which the players will compete to attract them to their end of the board. Players can play a…
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A game for two from the prolific Reiner Knizia, it’s unusual, complex, yet tightly balanced. The original title, “Auf der Reeperbahn…,” references a popular German movie from 1954.

Near the centre of a 17-space track start, the game contains 6 miniatures – 5 figures and a crown which the players will compete to attract them to their end of the board.

Players can play as many cards of the same colour on their turn as they wish. Most of the movement is a direct result of card play e.g., by playing a orange four you bring the orange figure four spaces closer to your end of the board.

Be careful, there are special tricks and restrictions which must be learned and held firmly in mind before the sense of the game begins to emerge. The purple figure wins for you if the game ends with his (the King!) on your half of the board, and can only move within the bounds of his “bodyguards,” two grey figures (the guards). The orange figure (a.k.a the Wizard) can summon, without benefit of a card played, any of these three figures to his square. The jester is a blue figure, and can act as a Joker to use its cards as any other colour. The crown piece, which can also win the game if you get it into one of the two spaces at your end of the board, only moves toward you if the board situation at the end of your turn involves both bodyguards on your half of the board and/or one (or more) of the other figures in your Chateau. And so on.

The game, part of the Kosmos two-player series, is one of attack and counterattack, defense and forward thinking.

Player Count: 2

Time: 20-30 minutes

Age: 12+

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Chunky wooden pieces
  • Easy to Learn
  • Quick to play
  • Good for travel

Might Not Like

  • Frustration
  • Hard to develop strategy
  • See-sawing action and reaction
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Description

A game for two from the prolific Reiner Knizia, it’s unusual, complex, yet tightly balanced. The original title, “Auf der Reeperbahn…,” references a popular German movie from 1954.

Near the centre of a 17-space track start, the game contains 6 miniatures - 5 figures and a crown which the players will compete to attract them to their end of the board.

Players can play as many cards of the same colour on their turn as they wish. Most of the movement is a direct result of card play e.g., by playing a orange four you bring the orange figure four spaces closer to your end of the board.

Be careful, there are special tricks and restrictions which must be learned and held firmly in mind before the sense of the game begins to emerge. The purple figure wins for you if the game ends with his (the King!) on your half of the board, and can only move within the bounds of his “bodyguards,” two grey figures (the guards). The orange figure (a.k.a the Wizard) can summon, without benefit of a card played, any of these three figures to his square. The jester is a blue figure, and can act as a Joker to use its cards as any other colour. The crown piece, which can also win the game if you get it into one of the two spaces at your end of the board, only moves toward you if the board situation at the end of your turn involves both bodyguards on your half of the board and/or one (or more) of the other figures in your Chateau. And so on.

The game, part of the Kosmos two-player series, is one of attack and counterattack, defense and forward thinking.

Player Count: 2

Time: 20-30 minutes

Age: 12+

Royal Visit

Royal Visit sees you try to get the King to visit your Chateau at one end of the realm whilst your opponent tries to lure him to their Chateau at the other end.. Win by achieving this or by having so many of the Royal party continually in your Duchy i.e. half of the board, to move the Crown piece down to your Chateau, The King and his two accompanying Guards are moved by playing cards from your hand as are the two special characters the Wizard and the Jester.

Royal Male

The board is in fact a fabric roll. 17 spaces long it has 2 spaces for the opposing chateaux at each end with the middle 5 spaces being for the initial piece set up around the central fountain. An additional track for the Crown token mirrors this across the top. Setup sees the King placed in the centre by the fountain between his two Guards 2 spaces away and the Jester and the Wizard immediately on either side of him. Each player is dealt 8 of the 54 cards and the player with the Wizard on their side of the fountain takes the first turn.

On each turn you play cards to move a token or tokens or use a special power then possibly move the Crown and finally replenish your hand. Each card will be one of four types : King, Guards, Wizard or Jester and will move that particular token. You can play as many cards as you wish of the same type as long as you can complete the move shown. The two Guards are both of the same type and if playing Guards cards, you can move either or both of them. The King must always be between the two Guards. They do not have to be alongside him but they must be either side.

Play continues with alternate turns until the deck is exhausted. The first time this happens the deck is shuffled and goes again. The Crown token is flipped over to show we are on the second deck. If that is exhausted before either player has succeeded then victory goes to the player with the King on his side of the board.

Royal Visit Token Pieces

The Crown

If it the end of their turn a player has tokens in their Chateau or the entire Royal Party i.e. the King and both Guards in Duchy, they move the Crown along the track towards their end. The Crown moves 1 space for each token in the player’s Chateau and 1 space for the Royal Party being in their Duchy. The Crown has to move just 7 spaces your way to win. There can be as many as 4 points available in any one turn and until your opponent moves the pieces away they will continue to score each round. The Crown will move back the other way when the opposing player meets the same conditions but reaching that 7th space is an instant win with no right of reply. I found more games were won this way rather than the arrival of the King himself.

King Pin

The King has 12 cards in the deck that are all the same showing a 1. These can be played in one of two ways. Either move the King 1 space or play 2 cards to move the entire Royal Party of the King and his Two Guards 1 space keeping their same relative distance.

Guards!, Guards!

There are 16 cards in Royal Visit for the Guards. 4 move 1 Guard a single space, 10 provide 2 movement points that can be split between the two or given to one Guard and the last 2 are a special move that puts the Guards immediately next to the King.

Wizard Wheeze

The Wizard can either use cards as normal or else use a special power. The 12 cards move: 2×1 space, 8×2 spaces and 2×3 spaces. The special power, used instead of playing cards, will move a piece to the same space as the Wizard. The Jester can not be moved, however, and the King if moved must still finish between two Guards. If you get a Guard on your last space and the Wizard next to it then you’ve got a killer move to transport the King next go.

Jester Game

The Jester, naturally enough, can act as a Joker. The 16 movement cards are: 1×1, 3×2, 4×3, 3×4, 1×5 and 2 cards with an “M” which moves the piece to the Middle. The special power can only be used if the Jester is between the King and your Chateau. If this is the case you can use your Jester cards as if they were any of the other types of card and move those pieces. Note the two guards count as one type and you can move either or both of them.

Royal Visit Cards

King’s Cross

Royal Visit, let’s face it, is a frustrating game. With the various movement retrictions you usually need two turns to accomplish something useful: move a Guard towards your end so you can then move the King; get the Jester your side so you can then use his joker powers; move the Wizard somewhere useful so you can transport another piece. Of course in between these two moves your opponent will have a move and more than likely undo what you have just done. This can result in a continual tit-for-tat like spat which is most unedifying. Then luck kicks in and one of you runs out of the right cards and eventually some progress is made.

Royal Visit, because of this, is largely dependent on luck. Tactically it seems compelling with a wide variety of options to take but as a lot of these can be immediately undone it’s hard to develop a cohesive strategy.

Having said that it’s good to get a piece into your end zone as quick as possible, on the first turn ideally. It’s only 5 spaces for a Guard. Each piece has greater value there: a Guard waits patiently for his King, so might a Wizard and the Jester will be able to use its power. This forces your opponent to either winkle him out or watch those Crown points start to clock up against them.

Royal Visit is hard to evaluate. The super chunky tokens are a delight. The cards are very slick and professional but could maybe have done with making the types a bit more differentiated. The cloth playing “board” is nice enough and rolls up to make an easy travel game but it always has wrinkles and the colour scheme is a bit insipid. My main issue is that I never felt in control. I played a lot of games solo playing both sides. Easy enough to do and quite diverting. Play as hard as I might and whether from a winning or losing point of view I felt that victory just “happened” to one side or the other and was never able to recall the move that made it all happen. I guess a lot was on whether the right cards were available.

I’ll probably play some more 2-player solo and it does grow on you but should it make a Royal Visit to your gaming table? I’d say maybe and only if you can handle frustration.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Chunky wooden pieces
  • Easy to Learn
  • Quick to play
  • Good for travel

Might not like

  • Frustration
  • Hard to develop strategy
  • See-sawing action and reaction