So when a game has an element of chess to it, I am immediately interested.
Now some, most likely, would suggest there are already more than enough chess variants out there, and in some respects I agree. Most are oddities at best, and should never garner more than a passing look.
That said, when you find a gem such as Odin's Rune Chess, you are glad you waded through the chaff to find the kernel.
You can mark For the Crown among the worthwhile finds as well.
For the Crown, from designer Jeremy Lennert, takes the basic premise of chess and overlays a card deck building mechanic which has become highly popular thanks to the release of Dominion, a card-building pioneer which has spawned a number of games with a similar mechanic.
The game, which comes from Victory Point Games is a bit thin on aesthetics. The company specializes in simple constructed games and this one uses simple graphics on card stock for both game pieces and the cards. They won't win awards on looks, and they may not last for For the Crown to be an heirloom game, but they are functional nevertheless.
The game comes in a plastic bag with a simple card stock board, again functional.
There are 100-cards used in the deck-building aspect of the game. As you might expect cards can influence game play in different ways. It adds a bit more of the unknown to For the Crown, which may turn off a few diehard chess fans, but will be a bonus for others who are not enamoured with the pure strategy of chess, preferring an element of randomness to even the playing field.
The playing pieces are again simple graphics on card stock. There are 15 different pieces, which is more than regular chess, and adds to the re-playability of For the Crown. There 108 pieces included with the game.
While not a perfect information games, like chess, there is a lot to offer here, in particular with the replay aspects the varied pieces and cards combine to allow. With the myriad of combos no two games will be completely alike.
That has its benefits in keeping the game fresh, but strategies are slower to galvanize because of it since the piece mix and influence of cards is not constant. There is less long-range planning to For the Crown than in chess, making players focus much more attention on reacting to the immediate make-up of the board.
Overall there is a lot to offer chess and strategy fans, with the added bonus of being friendlier to non-chess players.
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb 22, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada