Author: unknown

Publisher: Parker 1998

Awards: none



In ancient times, when Battle was a way to solve disputes, two mighty Kings face each other with grim determination. Each of the Kings leads an army in shining armor, determined to dissolve the opposing forces...

In Lionheart, two players take up the roles of these kings and lead their armies to the battle. In the basic game, each army consists of 20 men of Infantry (divided into 5 units), 8 Bowmen (in 2 units), 4 Knights on horses (2 units) and one King. These armies are posed in a fixed order on a chess-like gameboard. The 2nd row of the army contains the King, the Knights and the Archers, while the first row contains the Infantry.

During his turn, each player may perform two actions, choosing from MOVING, ROTATING and ATTACKING. When MOVING, the player may move one of his units forward one space in the direction he is facing. If the unit has horses, then the movement may be forward as far as there is no blocking unit in the path of the riders. If the player decides to ROTATE an unit, he may turn one of his units to face any new direction. Last, the player may decide to ATTACK. For this he choses one of his units which directly faces an opposite unit and rolls the attack dice. An exeption are the Archers, which may shoot at a 3*3 square area in front of them. The player may perform two different of these options, or he may repeat an option. He may also split up the options on two units, or he may act with one unit twice. The only restriction is that no unit may attack two times in one turn.

When attacking, the attacking player first looks how many men he has left in his attacking unit. For each Infantrist or Archer he will get to roll one die, for each Knight or the King two dice. After determinig the number of dice, the player rolls them. Lionheart contains special dice for combat. These have three sides showing an Axe, two sides showing an Arrow and one side showing a Panic-Symbol. If King, Knights or Infantry attack, they score a hit for each Axe rolled. Likewise if Archers attack, they score a hit when rolling an Arrow. For each hit scored, one man is removed from the enemy´s unit, except from King and Knights since these need two hits to be defeated. If all men in a unit were killed, the unit is removed from game.

If a player rolls only Panic-Symbols in his attack, the attacking unit is shocked, turns around and moves one space back. All units behind this unit behave in the same manner, thus possibly resulting in a chain reaction.

The game continues with both players taking turns until one player loses his King or all his troops apart from the King.

But these are not all features of Lionheart. In order to make the game more interesting to advanced players, some additional units are included and expert-rules are given for these units. The new units are Mercenaries, Peasants and Armored Infantry. Each of these units has its own special skills. So a peasant may use Axe AND Arrow for attack (but is easy to panic), the Mercenary doesn´t panic and rolls two dice (but he will change sides if opposed by the enemy´s King), and the Armored Infatry may attack diagonally (but takes both actions to move). Special rules apply to a game in which players use these additional units. At the beginning both players may build their army secretly, deciding how to compose their maximum of 10 units. After chosing their army, the players put the gamebox on the board between them and build up their armies without seeing the troops of the opponent, thus deciding in which formation to go to battle.

Two my mind, Lionheart is a good, easy going strategy game for beginners and advanced players. At first, it certainly seems to be a variation of Chess (better: Chinese Chess), but players soon will discover the unique possibilities of the game. The most striking difference is the introduction of the element of luck. Thus a player may attack with overwhelming odds and still lose by bad luck. Exspecially the expert rules and the new units allow quite an interesting game, since both players will have to figure out a good composition for their army and it will always become quite entertaining to see two very different strategies meet in battle. An avarage game of Lionheart takes a duration of 45 minutes with the standart rules and 75 minutes when using expert rules (possibly less for seasoned players). I think the game certainly is worth to investigate...

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany