The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

New To Court The King Variant

After a few more games of Um Krone und Kragen, I realized:

  • The Fool isn’t always the Kiss of Death, but usually is.
  • Many people just dislike the fact that getting lots of dice + 0-1 manipulator is a solid strategy.

So, I decided to tweak it a bit. This variant is lightly tested, but I don’t think it breaks anything. All normal rules apply, except:

  1. The Fool can reroll a single die, as normal.
  2. The Charlatan gets a single die as usual, but keeps the Fools ability as well.
  3. The General gives two dice, but one must be locked each turn (or you can lock both on the first turn).
  4. Each turn you must lock at least one die that you rolled that turn!

So if you are rolling to try and get 1s, and have the Laborer (who has a ‘1’ die) the turn you lock that die, you must still lock another die … so it’s not a ‘1’ plus a reroll, just a sure thing one.

This will make the numbered dice a touch weaker, which will drive the average number of maniuplators taken (by choice or lack of a better roll) per game. Probably not 1 per player, but maybe .5/per. I still want to make the fool a bit better (I’m tempted to make it “Reroll or subtract a pip”) but I still want it to be a consolation prize. Since people who get the fool often back into a charlatan (especially if the first row quickly runs out of dice) I decided this way was a decent step. Probably not enough. I may try the “OR subtract” in my next game.

Update — Someone else in the group had the idea of giving the fool a tempo advantage. Not a full turn, but going first against non-fools in the turn. That’s too confusing (IMO), but letting the fool designate a pile as “No non-fool can get this until I get one” may do the same thing. Again, still too complicated, but I’m intrigued by the idea.


Written by taogaming

September 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Variants

4 Responses

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  1. A simpler way to handle turn order might be that first player passes to the next player who has the most fools. So if only one person has a fool he always goes first. If two, they alternate going first. This might not be fair to the person left of the fool, who always goes last. This is no more difficult than the current first player movement (counter clockwise).

    I still think allowing the fool to buy an empty pile is a simple and non-invasive solution.


    September 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

  2. I agree that there are some alternatives that help to improve selection of the manipulators in this game. My house rules for To Court the King:

    Weakening General – The General’s 2 extra dice are different (white) and they MUST be fixed prior to any other dice. This makes the General less effective overall and generally requires at least one control card to make him beneficial which balances him with other choices.

    Helping Control – The following cards and card combinations provide players with an additional Fool/Charlatan card when they are taken (combo is met).
    • Serving Maid
    • Philosopher
    • Merchant
    • Noblewoman & Magician
    • Nobleman & Alchemist

    The combos above allow a player who gets some of the less powerful manipulators to gain a temp with an additional Fool/Charlatan. This allows them to try different strategies other than simply grabbing the dice adders.

    I did modify the setup chart slightly also per below (allowing up to 6 players):

    Players 2 3 4 5 6
    Level I 1 2 3 3 4
    Level II 1 2 3 3 3
    Level III 1 1 1 2 3
    Level IV 1 1 1 2 3
    Level V 1 1 1 1 1

    Please try this out sometime and let me know what you think. We’ve been playing this way for several years now and my family enjoys it.


    September 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

  3. Can someone just go ahead an publish the expansion already?!

    Anthony Rubbo

    September 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    • Well, obviously that. I really enjoyed it the one time I got to try it. And funky dice, too.


      September 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

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