Sleeping Queens

Reviewer Reviewed On Publisher Designer Published In Rating
November 2, 2005 Gamewright Miranda Evarts and Family 2005 7
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I tread with a very careful step to review Sleeping Queens (Gamewright,2005 - Mrianda Evarts), simply because of the designer. And this is because she is a six-year old girl, and I don't think any Age of Steam is to be expected here. The rules say that she thought up the game when unable to sleep one night, and then her family helped her develop it. So instead of me reviewing it, we're going to take comments from my five-year old daughter, who is obviously the target of such a game.

Melody says, "I like the game because of the queens and the cards. The queens, the kings, and the numbers are all fun. I really like the magic wands and the sleeping potions, because they make the queens go to sleep. It's fun to make the other people's queen's go to sleep. The soldier [knight] tries to take another queen away, but the dragon stops him. I also like these guys [jesters] that let you flip cards over. I like the game because the cards look fun, and I play the game with you and Mommy and Amy [sister]." Melody then launches into a five year old's description of the game, but I'll rephrase it for her.

Twelve queen cards, each with a different name (Peacock Queen, Heart Queen, etc.), a different picture, and a point value (5, 10, 15, or 20). A stack of playing cards is shuffled, and each player draws five cards for their opening hand. One player is chosen to go first, and then play passes clockwise around the table.

On a player's turn, they play a card from their hand, then draws cards back up to five from the deck. The cards a player can play are:
- Kings (such as the Turtle King or the Chess King) allow a player to turn over one "sleeping" queen and place it face up in front of themselves. Some queens have special effects - like the Rose Queen, who allows the player to turn over an extra card; and the Cat and Dog Queen, who cannot be in front of the same player.
- Sleeping Potions are played to put an opponent's queen back to sleep, turning it face down in the middle of the table. A player can play a Wand card to counter a Sleeping Potion.
- Knights are played to steal an opponent's queen and place it in front of themselves. A player can play a Dragon card to counter a Knight.
- Jesters are played, causing the player to flip the top card and add the card to their hand, allowing them to take another turn. If, however, the player flips over a number card, they count of the players, starting with themselves and ending at the number. The last player counted gets to "wake" a sleeping queen from the middle and place it in front of themselves.
- Number cards are discarded, rather than played. A player can only discard one card, unless they have a pair of identical cards (both cards have the same number), or an addition equation (a two, four, and six card for example: 2 + 4 = 6).

The game continues until either one player has gotten a certain amount of queens (4 or 5 - depending on number of players, or a certain sum on all their queens (40 or 50 points - depending on number of players.) This player then wins the game!

A few comments on the game…
1.) Components: The cards must be of good quality, because my daughters have played with the game countless times, and it still has held up fairly well. The pictures are cute drawings by Jimmy Pickering, who has done a good job of illustrating ridiculous stuff, such as the Pancake Queen and the Bubble Gum King. Everything fits nicely into a plastic insert in a small box.

2.) Rules: The rule book is an eight-page foldout that shows illustrations and even has a small Q & A section near the end. Honestly, the game is simple enough, and my five year old daughter understood all of it easily - except the addition equation part - which I assume she'll pick up some time next year. This rule was easily ignored, however, and the game still flowed smoothly. It's certainly a game youngsters will enjoy.

3.) My take: Like I said, I'm reluctant to give my personal opinion of the game, since it wasn't directed to me. Truth be told, I wouldn't play the game ever, but I will with my daughter because she enjoys it so. There are games that I think are great for adults and children; I think this one will appeal solely to children. My daughter loves it - probably more than any other game I own. Using the kings to "woo" the queens and the knights, etc., really gives her great joy. And because it's a card game, and I want her to learn the basic mechanics of card games, I'm glad to see her having fun with it. For me, the constant discarding of number cards became drudgery, but for her, it was tremendous fun. And playing a game with my daughter that she loves - well, I can't argue with that!

So, if you have young children (5- 8) who you think may be interested in the silly theme and game that is geared towards them, you might want to pick it up. I certainly can't argue with the happiness it's brought my own daughter. You know, who cares what I think of the game? If she likes it, then it's worth owning for me. But just so you know, when all my kids are older than seven, the game will be given to the first one of my offspring to produce grandchildren. There's nothing in the game for me.

Tom Vasel
"Real kids play board games"