Published by: Cool Mini or Not
# of Players: 2 to 4
Sleeve Size: Currently none that fit correctly
Queen's Necklace brings simple components that get the job done. The art for the character cards is cartoonish but also has a little sophistication to go well with the theme of the game. I am not the biggest fan of this art but I think that it fits the game nicely. I think any other type of art would have felt off with how the game plays. The cards are close to the Dixit or tarot size card but do not fit any sleeve size correctly. The insert in the box works great at keeping the components together and undamaged. Player markers are colored glass beads while the cost markers are clear plastic circles. The cost markers do work nicely at showing the current price value of each card.
The goal in Queen's Necklace is to be the jeweler who scores the most victory points. Victory points are obtained by selling jewels when a merchant card is drawn from the deck. Each jewel is made up of gem cards of the same type as well as some modifier cards. The merchant will only buy one jewel of each gem type and he decides this by which jewels have the most gems in them. There are four types of gems that you can make your jewels out of. Ruby, Emerald, and Diamond cards display up to three of that type gem on them while Amber cards only display a single gem.
A player's turn consists of first playing any character influence cards. These cards can alter the price of cards in the market or allow you to steal or see another player's cards. After you are done playing cards you have to purchase at least one card from the market and may purchase more if you have the available funds. You have 10 pounds to spend each turn on the five cards that displayed in the market. Any pounds left over will not carry over to the next turn. Each card's price is displayed on the right side of the card. When a card is put on the market it will start at it's highest value and after each turn it will decrease in value by one spot on the card. After the buying phase you will move onto the devaluation phase which has you lowering the price of each card by one spot and replacing any empty spots in the market. Play then moves on to the next player.
Once everyone has placed all their stacks you will reveal all the cards in each jewel. Before deciding whose jewels got sold you must first figure out the rarity of each gem. This is determined by how many gems total of each type were used to make the jewels. The quantity that is lowest gets the 1st rarity marker and so on till all four gems have a rarity marker. Once this is done you will figure out what four jewels (could be less if no one plays one of the gem types) the merchant buys. He decides this solely on the quantity of gems in that piece of jewelry. So if player A has 5 diamonds, player B has 2 diamonds and player C has 1 diamond then player A sells his jewel to the merchant. The merchant rewards you with victory points based on fashion and rarity. Once the four jewels have been sold you will continue from were play had stopped. After the third merchant card has been played and resolved the game is over. The player with the most victory points wins and becomes a noble in the King's Court. Sometimes its good to be trendy.
Queen's Necklace is a reprint of the 2003 game of the same name by Days of Wonder. I never played the 2003 version so I can not compare the two. Queen's Necklace is a solidly executed game that some will absolutely love and some will find it to be only okay. I am closer to the side that sees it as okay. I did like the devaluation of cards each turn and how that forces you to really think about your opponents. I did not care for the art and theme. The game executes the mix of set collection, bluffing and betting mechanics very well. Some of the character cards can be confusing at first but the rule book explanation does help at correcting any confusion you may have. If the theme sounds interesting or you are looking for a game that does the mentioned mechanics very solidly then I would recommend this game to you. Otherwise I say give a play or two before deciding to buy it. While I enjoyed playing it, I feel it just did not make me feel like I wanted to play it again afterwards. I will however be giving it to a friend who did really enjoy and will play it again when someone else wants to play it. In summary Queen's Necklace was not my favorite but others will love it and the game is soundly designed.
+ Very smooth and well executed mechanics
+ The insert does a great job at holding the components
+ Cards going down in price each turn
+ Executes the theme of trendy market and selling
- The art and theme may deter some
- Hard to teach to new people (easier to just play a practice round than explain rules)
- A lot of luck is involved with cards that are drawn and played
- No current card sleeves fit the cards