Wednesday, June 04, 2008

#95: Prinzessin Pimpernell

Prinzessin Pimpernell

  • designer: Heinz Meister
  • publisher: Goldsieber
  • date: 2003
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.3
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: EUR 12,95 (about $19.50)
This memory game crossed with a race game almost has too much going on... you're collecting armor & weapons to fight the dragons while protecting (read: moving back to start) smaller knights even as the board shrinks as you pick up equipment. The age rating is not so much about the difficulty of the game as it is about keeping track of all the different things going on.

But once you get past all that, I think you've got a really nifty little game here. Each player has three knights (pawns) in three sizes... and on their turn, rolls three dice that correspond in size to their pawns. Starting with the largest knight, they move forward and encounter the space they land on. If it's grass, nothing happens. If it's a "lucky" space, they roll again & keep moving. If it's an armory, they guess which of the five different types of equipment (sword, lance, helmet, shield or armor) it is - get it right & you get to keep it. Get it wrong and your knight goes back to start (the Round Table).

The game has a semi-cooperative feel to it as well - if you get a 2nd equipment item, you give it to another player who doesn't have that item. And, though we've never seen it happen, the game can win if your knights make 5 unsuccessful attempts to rescue the princess from the dragons.

How do you succeed against the dragons? Reach the dragon castle & flip over one of their tokens - which have the five pieces of equipment on them. If you've got that equipment, you win & rescue the princess. If you don't, you are sent back to the Round Table.

There are only 3 of each type of equipment in the game, so you'd think that the best way to play this would be with 4 players to increase the possibility of players fighting the dragon without a full set. Unfortunately, the game bogs down a bit with a full complement and is actually more enjoyable with 2 or 3.

My eldest son went through a phase where he was creating variants for the game - using the pieces to make alternate pathways & shortcuts - which was a lot of fun to play with him.

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