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Subject: Versatility is a virtue rss

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Andrew Rae
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Queen's Necklace » Forums » Reviews
Versatility is a virtue

Timing is everything, and it is often out of your hands. Such is the nature of many a game, and Queens Necklace is one of them. Perhaps Queens Necklace is a child’s game, because there is a necklace included as a component. Yet there are some really critical decisions around game theory to make, and making them correctly gave give you a huge boost.



Queens Necklace is a card game where players collect rare jewels to sell at market time. The winner is the player with the highest combined sales value at the end of the game, but this may result from several sales or only one. It is an interesting dynamic.

The presentation is fairly typical. The art is in a carton style and there are solid wooden tiles and the gimmicky Queens Necklace which one player is supposed to wear if they have the card. It is an interesting addition but a feature designed more for kids than adults. One is not surprised with this in mind that it is a Days of Wonder game, and it fits their style well.



The game play proceeds clockwise with each player have 10 ducats to spend each turn. Ducats cannot be saved till next time and so it is use em or lose em. Five cards are turned up in the market place for the first player with a cost in the top right corner. If the card is not purchased from the market place that turn then its costs declines as specified on the card. This makes for some great bargains, but it also makes a good player think about passing up a card knowing that the following player will get it that much cheaper. Players build up a hand of cards which include four types of gems and special interest cards such as thieves (who can steal a card) or the favourite (who can change the value of gems during the sale). Each time a player purchases the five cards are refreshed for the next player



When a merchant is turned up (three times during the game) there is a sale. Special cards like the banker (adds 10 ducats to the value of a gem) or the ring (you can make a second sale) can increase the value of your sale but otherwise the price is determined by the queens favour and the rarity of the gem. The favour value is determined before the sale and is open information to everyone, however the rarity is determined by a blind auction.

This sale decision is the most interesting mechanic in the game. Each player chooses how many of each of the four jewels they wish to sell independently of each other and then revel simultaneously. The player who offers to sell the largest number of a particular gem type will get the sale of that type of gem. The rarity is set based on how many gems in total (from all players) were offered up to sell. If you do not have the highest amount your jewels are discarded and the player with the largest number makes a single sale. The number determines who sells the jewel but only one is ever sold unless special cards are played with the sale.



There is tons of game theory and double guessing in the sale phase, and it is one of my favourite mechanics is all of games. At least once every game I have played there has been a gem for which no one tried to sell it because they thought they wouldn’t win it. So there are bargains to be had, but you can also gamble big and win the game with one fell swoop if you play your cards right.

This is a fine game with plenty of variety, however it is prone to luck. If the wrong gems or cards come turn up for you, it can be a hard struggle. You also suffer sitting to the left of a good player because they will consider minimising your value options as well as maximising their own.

But all in all Queens Necklace is a game I should get to the table more and I am glad when I get to play the game with intelligent gamers. Which proves this is a versatile game. It works just as well in a group of children as it does with a group of intelligent adults. Enjoy
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jonathan schleyer
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I completely agree with your review. This is a great game that is under-appreciated. It may seem kiddy in terms of graphics and the necklace itself but it is more of an adult game. I personally like the theme and like that it is women friendly, making this game a hit with all.
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Stephen Sanders
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Very well put. I agree that the sales are the heart of the game. And it is fun in between while making decisions on what to collect, or picking up some useful character, especially cheap. I think they could have named this game 'King's Court' (since there are 3 king cards to the one Queen's Necklace card) and it would have become more popular.
 
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Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
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    But then it would not have shared the name with a Dumas novel, which I think was their intention given the subject matter. Perhaps "The King's Gallant: King Henry III and His Court."

    This game has its own look and feel largely due to its watercolor artwork, and I've found that it's the one game that ladies pull down when they look at the shelves -- from little girls through grandmas.

             Sag.


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Pierre Pinguet
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Sagrilarus wrote:
    But then it would not have shared the name with a Dumas novel, which I think was their intention given the subject matter

Exactly, and I seem to remember a special (and mostly useless) rule that says that playing 3 Musketeers cards will allow you to snatch back the Queen's necklace.
 
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Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
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Pippin123 wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
    But then it would not have shared the name with a Dumas novel, which I think was their intention given the subject matter

Exactly, and I seem to remember a special (and mostly useless) rule that says that playing 3 Musketeers cards will allow you to snatch back the Queen's necklace.


    Given how cheap musketeers are, this rule is far more useful than one might imagine. Worth a reconsideration the next time you play.

             Sag.


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