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2-6 players, playing time 1 hour

reviewed by ALFONZO SMITH

It promises to be ``an enchanting game of capturing Medieval Kingdoms''. The hype on the box leads me to believe that might be a sort of Renaissance Faire in a game format. So, four friends and I gave Eagle Kingdoms a try.

A complete game comes with a forty six piece puzzle, forty five character stands, forty five characters, one felt template, two six-sided dice, one eight-sided die and rules. My set contained an extra puzzle piece. The air was filled with laughter as we struggled with the task before us, but the fun came to a complete stop once we had put the game together and started to play. The forty six piece puzzle forms a crowned two-headed eagle clutching an orb and sceptre. Forty five of the pieces have a die roll on them. A medieval character is placed on each of these pieces.

Each character has a point value from zero to ten. Certain characters give the players extra options when the opportunities present themselves (That is, when you roll a lucky number). Jesters are zeroes but you trade them for any other character on the puzzle. Vendors and merchants are threes and fours, respectively, and they can force a player to trade with you. The knights are sixes and they allow you to challenge players to a duel.

A player's turn begins with the player rolling 2d6. If the player rolls one of the combinations on any of the available puzzle pieces, the character captures the character on the piece, discards the piece and passes the dice to the next player. There is a hierarchy of pieces and certain pieces cannot be discarded until those of lower rank have been taken. If the player fails to take a piece, the player may try rolling the dice again or, instead, roll the ``Enchanted Die'', a transparent d8, ad consult the chance table. This may give the player a free available puzzle piece, force the player to forfeit a character, take a character, trade characters with another player or challenge another player in a duel.

Play continues with dice rolling and players taking the occasional calculated risk until all puzzle pieces are gone except the shield. During the course of play, players will be forced to surrender characters to the shield. The first player to roll the exact number of characters on the shield using 2d6 collects those characters. The players' collections are totalled with a bonus going to the players who managed to collect one of each of the characters valued one through ten. The player with the most points wins.

The game is not recommended. There is no skill, no excitement, no atmosphere, no crucial decisions to make and no theme to relate to. It is, however, interesting looking and will no doubt be a conversation piece. The conversation should go something like this: ``What's Eagle Kingdoms?'' ``Oh, a game that I played once but will never play again.''

Alfonzo Smith

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Next: 1837 Up: No Title Previous: LIGRETTO
Stuart Dagger