Löwenhertz: Rules

Published by Goldsieber
Designed by Klaus Teuber
For 2-4 players aged 12 and up
Imported by Rio Grande Games: RioGames@aol.com (505) 771-8813

The old King is dying and the princes are all vying to succeed him. The prince that has the most power when the king dies will succeed him. Power is gained by controlling territory within the kingdom.

Each prince has three castles, but only one has the stable boundaries that allow the prince to control the territory surrounding the castle. The other castles lie in territory that is contested by other princes. Each prince gains power by adding territory to a stable region or by making the region surrounding one of his castles stable. The more territory added or stabilized, the more power gained.

What’s in the Box
    1 board frame
    6 map pieces
    4 power markers (1 in each of rose, gold, purple, and gray)
  16 castles (4 each in rose, gold, purple, and gray)
  48 knights (12 each in rose, gold, purple, and gray)
100 boundary walls (black)
    1 first player castle (black)
    1 rulebook
112 cards:
         52 money cards
           4 summary cards (1 for each player)
         12 decision cards (3 for each player)
         31 action cards
         13 politics cards

Löwenherz may be played two ways. The basic game uses a standard layout for the board and the initial placements of castles and knights); the basic game is shorter and an excellent way for beginning players to learn the game. Experienced players may want to use the variable construction rules, which provide a greater challenge and a longer game.

Basic game

At the start of the basic game, each player (prince) controls one region containing one castle and one knight. Before starting play lay out the map as shown in the picture on the card labeled "Spielübersicht für die Einstiegsversion":
• Lay out the board frame.
• Put the 6 map pieces within the frame so that they read in alphabetical order from top left as shown in the picture.
• Each player selects a color and takes 1 power marker, 3 castles and 12 knights in this color (The fourth castle is used in the special 2-player version described later).
• Each player places the 3 castles, 3 of the knights and boundary walls on the map board as shown in the picture (if playing with three players, the pieces of the fourth color are placed on the board as obstacles to the three players.
• The 31 action cards are sorted by the letters on their backs; remove those featuring the letter A (these are used in the variable layout rules only); shuffle the remaining four sets separately; and place them face down, one on top of the other in the place shown in the picture (the B cards are on the top, C cards are next, then the D cards, and finally the E cards at the bottom). The space adjacent to the action cards on the board is used to place these cards as they are drawn.
• Each player places his power marker on top of the lion (the starting space of the power track.
• The unused boundary walls and the first player castle are placed near the board.
• The money cards are sorted out by value (1, 2 and 3 ducats) and placed face up on the 3 spaces on the map board as shown in the picture. This is the bank.
• Each player takes money cards worth 12 ducats, (2 x 1, 2 x 2, 2 x 3). A player’s money is private.
• The 13 politics cards are shuffled and divided into 2 piles, one of 6 cards and one of 7. Both piles are placed face down on the map board as shown in the picture.
• The decision cards are sorted by the color shown in the coat of arms on their fronts. Each player takes the color matching his other pieces. Each player will have three decisions cards numbered 1, 2, and 3.
• Each player takes a summary card.

Regions are groups of spaces which are completely enclosed by boundary walls and contain 1 castle. In the example in the German rules book page 3, only the gold prince controls a region. Although the castles of the rose and purple princes are completely surrounded by boundary walls, neither controls the area because both have castles there. Notice that the inner edges of the map frame have printed boundary walls on them and, thus, form a boundary wall around the entire kingdom.

Tip: Place your boundary walls so that the area enclosed is as large as possible. When you create regions you score power points based on the size of the region: bigger is better. Also, including towns and hills will make the region more valuable.

Who starts the Play

As with many German games, the youngest player starts, taking the first player castle (designating that player as the first player on this turn).

Playing Turn
• The first player turns over the top action card and lays it face up on the adjacent space. The card will picture three actions or it will be a special silver mine action card.

• When a card with three actions pictured is turned over, the first player must decide which action he wants to perform. He does this by placing one of his three decision cards face up on the table. He selects card 1 if he wants the top action, card 2 if he wants the middle action, and card 3 if he wants the bottom action. The other players follow in clockwise order, each placing the card designating their choice face up on the table. When playing with three players, the first player selects two decision cards, placing both face up on the table. The actions are performed by the players selecting them with the top action being first, the middle second, and the bottom last. If two or more players choose the same action, there may be a power trial (see power trials), as most actions can only be performed by a single player. This may cause one or two players to have no actions to perform in a turn. When playing with three, it is possible that the first player performs both his chosen actions. When all actions have been performed, the decision cards are returned to the players.

• When a silver mine action card (Silberfund) is turned over, each player moves his power marker one space forward on the  power track for each hill space that he has enclosed in his regions. Then the first player turns over another action card. (there is only one silver mine action card in each set of lettered action cards).

• The first player gives the first player castle to the person on his left who becomes the first player for the next turn.

Action Descriptions
There are brief descriptions of the different actions on the summary cards, but these are in German and, thus, not likely to be very helpful to English-speaking people. These cards do have scoring information on them, which may be more helpful; players should refer to these when planning or scoring.

Money bag - receive ducats. Whoever chooses this action receives as many ducats as stated. If 2 or more players choose this action, the ducats are divided between them. Ducats which cannot be evenly split are not distributed.

Boundary Walls - place boundary walls. Whoever chooses this action may place as many boundary walls as shown on the card (1, 2, or 3). Boundary walls are neutral and, thus, can form a wall for neighboring princes as well as the prince placing the wall. The walls are taken from the common stock and are placed observing the following:
• Boundary walls must always be placed on the line between two spaces.
• Boundary walls may never be placed between a knight and a castle of the same prince (color) or between two knights of the same prince.
• Boundary walls cannot be placed in a region.
• If the placing of boundary walls creates one or more regions, scoring is done immediately (see scoring).
• When a prince has three regions, he can place no more boundary walls.

Single sword and shield - place a knight (see below) or expand a region (see below). Whoever chooses this action may either place a knight from his stock pile (if he has no more knights, he may place no more) or extend one of his regions by two spaces.

Two swords and two shields - place two knights or place one knight and expand one region. Whoever chooses this action may either place two knights or, in either order, place one knight and expand one of his regions by two spaces. Using this action to expand twice is not allowed.

Crown and scepter - take a politics card. Whoever chooses this action may look through one of the two piles of politics cards and select one card. The meanings of the these cards will be explained later.

Rules for Placing Knights
• Knights MAY only be placed on blank or wooded spaces. Placing a knight on wooded spaces costs 5 ducats which paid immediately to the bank.
• A knight may never be placed on hill or town spaces.
• A knight must always be placed on a space that is adjacent to but not diagonal to one of your own knights or castles.
• A knight is not considered to be adjacent to another knight or a castle if a boundary wall separates them.
Example: (see picture in the middle of the left column on page 4 of the German rule book) - the gold prince wants to place a knights near the castle shown. He may only place it on one of the two spaces marked with arrows. The other spaces cannot be used: the space above the existing knight contains a hill and both spaces below would be separated from the new knight by the boundary wall.

Rules for Extending Regions
• A player may extend one of his regions by one or two spaces.
• The 1st space must be adjacent (not diagonal) to the region. The 2nd space must be adjacent to the region as it now exists due to the addition of the first space. It may be adjacent to the new space or any space that existed before the first addition. (See example at the bottom of the left column on page 4 of the German rules.)
• Spaces which are occupied by another prince’s pieces cannot be expanded into. (See example at the top of the right column on page 4 of the German rules.)
• Spaces which belong to no prince’s region or spaces in neutral zones (see below) can be taken over without restrictions.
• A player may not extend into one of his own regions.
• A player may only extend his region into another prince’s region if the number of knights in his own region exceeds that on the other prince's. If the number of knights in a neighboring region is as large or larger, a player cannot take any spaces from this region.
Examples: (see 2nd picture in the right column on page 4 of the German rules) - the gold prince may expand into the region of purple. (see 3rd picture in the right column on page 4 of the German rules) - the rose prince may expand into the regions of purple and gold; gold may only expand into purple’s region; and purple may not expand into either of the other two.

When a player expands a region, neutral zones can be created.
Neutral zones consist of spaces which are enclosed by boundary walls, but contain no castle. Spaces in a neutral zone may be taken over by expansion of any neighboring region.

Regions may only be expanded by use of an expansion action card. It is not possible to enlarge a region by placing boundary walls.

Rules for Power Trials
With the exception of the receive ducats action where ducats are distributed between players, one action can only be performed by one player. If two players choose the same action, they first negotiate with each other as to who will carry out the action. Negotiations take the form of offers (possibly mutual) of ducats to gain the opportunity to perform the action.
Example: Fred and Kevin have both chosen the same action (place 2 boundary walls). Fried offers Kevin 3 ducats to let him perform the action. In response, Kevin offers Fred 4 ducats. Fred takes the money and Kevin may now perform the action by placing 2 boundary walls. It is not allowed for an action (other than receive ducats) to be split between two people. In this example, Fred and Kevin may not agree to place 1 boundary wall each. Politics cards may not be the subject of negotiation.
If the players cannot agree, there will be a duel. If 3 or 4 players have chosen the same action, there can be no negotiations. A duel takes place at once.

Rules for Duels
All participating players take any number of money cards in one hand (none is allowed). It is best to conceal the cards in your hand so that other players cannot see how many cards you are holding. Players reveal their cards simultaneously. Whoever has bid the most ducats pays his bid immediately to the bank and may then perform the action that was in dispute. All other players keep their bid money.

If there is a tie for most ducats bid, these players take back their money cards and re-duel. If there is a second tie, no player may carry out the action and players take back their money.

Scoring when creating a region.
When a player creates a region, whether it is his own or one of the other prince’s, scoring takes place immediately. The spaces in the region are counted and will be cross referenced on the region creation table with the power points. Each town contained in the region  counts for an extra 5 power points.

The owner of the newly created region (this does not have to be the player whose play caused the creation of the region) at once moves his power marker the same number of spaces along the power track as points have been scored.
Example: (see pictures at the bottom of the right column on page 5 of the German rules) Before the play, neither prince has a region in this area. During play, gold adds a boundary wall in the location shown by the left arrow, creating two regions (one for gold and another for purple. Scoring is in accordance with the region creation table.Gold’s region contains 12 spaces and 1 town. He receives 7 power points for the spaces (11-20) and 5 power points for the town and immediately moves his power marker 12 spaces forward. Purple’s new region contains just 4 spaces and the purple power marker is moved 3 spaces forward. After scoring, the boundary walls within the new regions are removed and returned to the common stock.

Scoring after region expansion
When a player expands his region, he can at once move his power marker one space forward for each space taken over. If he captures a town he moves an additional 5 spaces. When a player loses spaces or towns, he moves his power marker backwards accordingly.
Example: (see top picture on the left column of page 6 in the German rules) - Gold takes over 2 spaces from the purple prince (marked with red arrows). Gold moves his power marker forward 7 spaces (2 spaces plus 5 for the town). Purple moves his power marker back 7 spaces.

Special case - neutral zone
If through the expansion into another prince's region a neutral zone is created, the loss of spaces contained in the neutral zone should be recorded using the region creation table.
Example: (see bottom picture on the left column of page 6 in the German rules.) Gold expands into purple’s region. As a result, purple loses 2 spaces and must move his power marker backward 2 spaces; gold moves his marker 2 spaces forward. Since a neutral zone was also created (see the red spaces), taking 8 spaces from purple. For the loss of these spaces, purple moves his power marker backwards an additional 10 spaces: 5 points for the spaces (5-10) plus 5 points for the lost town; gold, however, does not gain these power points.

Politics cards
When a player takes a politics card, he keeps it face down until he chooses to play it. Cards with a black shield symbol in the top left corner will always be played with a decision card. Once played, politics cards are discarded. The 4 different types are described below.

Alliances (Bündniszwang)
This card is played with a decision card. The instructions on the card are immediately carried out (before the action and, thus, also before the next player lays a card). Therefore, the effect occurs whether or not the player actually performs the action the decision card referred to.

The alliance card has an effect on two neighboring regions (one of your own and another prince's). The prince playing this card chooses which regions will be affected (once chosen, this cannot be changed. As a result, neither region can be expanded into the other. As a sign of the alliance between the two regions, one of the shared boundary walls is turned by 90 degrees. If the space with the turned boundary wall is later taken over, the alliance between the original regions remains intact.

An alliance can be ended at any time if one of the two players participating in it pays ten ducats to the bank.
Example: (see picture in the middle of the right column on page 6 of the German rules) - Purple plays an alliance card. Gold may not expand into purple’s lower region; he can still expand into the purple region to his right as no alliance exists between himself and this region. If gold pays 10 ducats to the bank, he may cancel the alliance and then be free to expand into either region.

Renegades (Überlssufer)
This card is played with a decision card. The instructions on the card are immediately carried out (before the action and, thus, also before the next player lays a card). Therefore, the effect occurs whether or not the player actually performs the action the decision card referred to.

The alliance card has an effect on two neighboring regions (one of your own and another prince's). The prince playing this card removes one knight from the neighboring region (the owner places the knight back in the stock pile) and then places one of his knights from his stock pile in a region of his own that borders the region that lost the knight. All normal placement rules must be obeyed during this placement. A knight may not be removed unless it is in a region; likewise, the knight placed must be placed into a region. If a knight is removed from a wooded space, the player playing the card pays 5 ducats to the bank.

When removing another prince’s knight, you cannot create an invalid knight placement situation for the other prince. For example, a knight which serves as the only connecting link between another knight of the same prince and the prince’s castle or between two knights of the same prince, cannot be removed. You must place one of your knights when you use this card to remove another’s. If you have no knights in your stockpile, you may not play this card. The last knight remaining in a region may be removed leaving a castle alone in a region.
Example: (see picture at top of the left column of page 7 of the German rules. Gold plays a renegade card. He removes the knight marked with the red arrow from purple (the knight on the right next to the castle can not be removed as this would break the connection with the castle). Accordingly he places one of his own knights.

Treasure (Dukatenschatz)
The number on the card is the size of the treasure. It can be used during a duel together with other money cards, or on its own. The treasure card can not be exchanged for money cards nor can change be given when it is used. Thus, if an 8 ducat bag is used to pay to place a knight on a wooded space, the 3 extra ducats are lost.

Parchment Cards (Lehen)
These cards are saved and used at the end of the game. Their owners move their power markers forward the number of spaces stated on the cards.

End of the Game (Der König ist tot!)
One of the action cards in the bottom part of the deck (with the letter E) says the King is dead. When this card is turned over the game ends immediately. Each player receives 1 power point for each hills space in his regions (same effect as the silver mine card). Players with parchment cards plays them and move their power markers the number of spaces indicated on the cards.

The new king (and winner of the game) is the player whose power markers has moved the farthest on the power track. In the case of a tie, the player (among those tied) with the most ducats wins (treasure cards are included).

Variable construction rules
Once you have learned to play the game, you may want to add the challenge and variety offered by different starting positions for both the map and the players’ pieces. To do so, follow the guidelines below:
• Mix the tiles and place them randomly within the frame. The order and orientation are not important.
• Starting with the youngest player, each player (in clockwise order places a castle on one free plain space and beside it on a free plain space a knight. This continues around the table until each player has placed 3 castles and 3 knights.
• As in the basic game, nights and castles may not be placed on towns or hills. During the start of the game, knights may not be placed on wooded spaces.
• Castles of the same prince must have a gap of at least 6 spaces between them (not diagonal).
• When playing with 3, after placing the 3 castles and knights, each player in turn places one castle and one knight of the fourth unchosen color. The same distance rule applies to the castles of this color.
• The game starts with action cards from A. The action pile is shuffled as in the basic game, except that the cards from A are added to the top of the pile.
• Otherwise, the preparations are the same as the basic game.

Special rules for 2 players
Löwenherz makes a good game for 2 players with just the few small rules changes listed below:
• The game is played with 3 colors.
• Each player chooses a color. A third color is chosen to be the neutral prince.
• Taking turns with the youngest player starting, each player places 4 castles and 4 knights in his color using the variable construction rules.
• Again taking turns, Each player then places 2 castles and 2 knights of the neutral color.
• Placement rules remain unchanged. Castles of the same color, including neutral, must be at least 6 spaces apart.
• The first player always lays 2 decision cards.


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