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Author: Leo Colovini

Publisher: Kosmos 2003

G@mebox Star



Once again Kosmos has released a new shooting star to their ever-increasing range of two player games. This time Leo Colovini, well-known games author from Venice, Italy, has thrown his skills onto the scales, and he has done a very impressive job, creating a small game offering some intriguing rules and in-depth gameplay.

The game Avalon is centered around both players trying to become the conqueror of the mystical kingdom of Avalon. To reach this task, each player can send a force of different-coloured Knights and Sorceresses into the battle.

At the beginning, all 11 landscape cards showing the land of Avalon are set face down in a row between the players. Each player gets 11 randomly drawn Knights and Sorceresses, and one card of each player will be aligned next to each landscape. To finish the set-up, each player players also will receive a hand of 5 randomly-drawn Knights and Sorceresses, and these cards will be all the players get to begin the game with.

In his turn a player now will be allowed to perform as many actions as he has cards on his hand. Basically, a hand-card will be placed next to a landscape card, in a row with any Knights or Sorceresses the player may already have placed there. The newly placed card strengthens the position of the players force on that landscape, but - depending on whether the new card is either a Knight or a Sorceress, the player may also perform a special action.

If the newly placed card was a Sorceress, the player may try to steal a Knight which the opponent might have aligned to the same landscape. This enchanting of the Knight will be successful if the Knight card is of the same colour as the Sorceress and if the Knight was the last card the opponent has placed in his row of cards at that landscape. If the enchantment was successful, the player who has used the Sorceress may now add the opponent's Knight card to his own side. However, even if the general requirements for the enchantment are met, the opponent may have a final defense-card on his own hand of cards: if he possesses a Sorceress of the same colour as the Sorceress which has tried the Enchantment, then the defending player can play that Sorceress, forcing the attacking player to hand over his Sorceress.

The other option a player has is to add a Knight to his row of cards at a landscape.

As long as he possesses equal or less cards at that landscape than his opponent, nothing will happen. However, once the player adds a Knight to a landscape where he possesses at least as many cards as his opponent, he may decide to use his Knight to attack and possibly conquer the landscape. The opposing player may try to ward off the attack by playing a Knight of the same colour from his hand, but if he cannot do so the attack will be successful. If it is still turned face down, then the landscape will now be revealed, and furthermore it will be turned towards the player who has conquered it. Depending on the value of the landscape, the player now can add 1, 2 or 3 victory points (Crowns) to his total. He will have won the game if he comes up to a total of 15 victory points.

However, conquering a landscape does not go without losses. The opposing player loses all cards he has on that landscape, and the conqueror has to remove that many cards from his hand or landscapes as well. Furthermore, the conqueror will face special attacking losses, meaning that he has to discard from his side as many cards as were participating in this battle on both sides. Thus, the better a landscape is defended, the more difficult it gets to conquer it.

When a player end his turn, his final action will be to chose one of 9 different reinforcement cards. Several of these cards allow the player to instantly get a few cards for his hand, while other reinforcement cards allow to draw more reinforcements - but only at the beginning of the player's next turn! Thus, a player has to decide whether he needs new troops instantly or whether he can wait. However, during the course of the game, the choice of available reinforcements is narrowed down, since a reinforcement card only becomes available again once all 9 different cards were taken.

It is actually not an easy task to try to outline the rules of Avalon here in a short review. I have tried to give you a general overview of the game, but many aspects only become visible while playing the game. Leo Colovini has introduced many nice and interesting twists (different reinforcement cards, landscapes with special attributes), and by putting all this together he has succeeded in creating a very innovative and captivating games concept. I really like the game for its clever playing mechanisms, and a very fitting artwork rounds up my overall good impression.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany