The players assume the roles of the royal houses of Lancaster and York, who fought the War of the Roses (both sides sported a Rose on their arms) between 1455 and 1485 for control of the throne of England. Each will try to bring the largest areas under their control.
- 1 playing board
- 52 double-sided markers
- 24 power cards
- 8 Hero cards (4 for each side)
- 1 Crown marker
Object of the Game
The winner of the game is the player with the largest contiguous areas marked with his color of Rose.
Place the board between the players, with one player sitting next to the crown printed at the top of the map. (He'll see the crown and words upside down). This player plays the White Roses (House of York), and the other player plays the Red Roses (House of Lancaster).
Place the powerstones next to the board so each player can reach them.
Shuffle the power cards and deal five to each player. The rest of the power cards are placed face down beside the board as a draw pile.
The players place their five power cards face up in front of them, so that the crown at the top of each card has the same orientation as the crown printed on the board.
Each player receives the four hero cards of his color - place them beside your power cards as illustrated.
Place the crown marker on the center space of the board (marked with a sun symbol).
The Red Rose player begins the game. Thereafter, players alternate turns.
Each turn, the player whose turn it is must choose one of the following three possible actions (explained below, one at a time):
- Play a power card
- Draw a power card
- Play a hero card and power card together
Zugzwang! (There is no concise English phrase for this word. Zugzwang is when a player finds himself in an unfavorable situation and has no decent option. This is a very useful gaming word, though difficult for Americans to pronounce correctly).
If a player cannot take any of the three actions listed above, he must pass his turn. His opponent takes another turn, and will continue to do so until the other player has a legal move.
1. Play a Power card
Play one of your available face-up power cards and move the crown marker the direction and distance shown on the power card. The bright sword shows the correct direction to move the crown marker. In the crown on each card is the Roman number I, II, or III - move the marker the indicated number of spaces exactly.
The following rules govern the movement of the crown marker:
The crown marker must move the full amount shown on the power card. You may not move the crown marker fewer spaces than shown.
The space the crown marker moves to must be empty. That is, there cannot be any powerstone of either player in the space.
You may not play a power card which would move the crown marker off the board.
Before placing the crown marker on its new location, place a powerstone with your color Rose showing on the space. Place the crown marker on top of this powerstone.
Place the power card on a discard pile and do not draw a replacement.
2. Draw a Power Card
Instead of playing a power card, you may draw a power card from the draw pile. You may only choose this option if you have fewer than five cards.
The new card is placed face up, with the crown on the card oriented with the crown on the board, as at the beginning of the game.
When the last card is drawn from the pile, shuffle the discard pile and create a new draw stack with it.
3. Play a Hero Card and Power Card Together
Each player has four hero cards to use once each during the game. If you have used all four hero cards, you may no longer choose this option.
Use of a hero card allows you to move the crown marker to a space containing one of your opponent's powerstones. This power stone is then flipped to your color before placing the crown marker on the space. Thus a hero card is very powerful when played.
Flipping a Powerstone
Use of a hero card allows you to turn over a previously played powerstone of your opponent. This is accomplished by playing a power card into the discard pile, as in option (1), and discarding a hero card [into a separate discard pile - they do not reenter the game once used].
Move the crown marker to the indicated space occupied by your opponent's powerstone. Before you place the crown marker on this space, turn the powerstone over so it now shows your color of Rose.
End of the Game
The game ends in one of two ways:
- When both players have five power cards and neither can take any legal action; or
- When a player places the last powerstone on the board.
In both cases the game ends immediately.
Each player now figures the values of their territories.
A territory consists of one or more spaces containing your powerstones connected across at least one side. Spaces adjacent only diagonally do not count as connected - they must share an edge, not just a comer. Multiply the number of spaces in a territory times itself to get the value for that territory.
Add the points from all areas to get a total score. The winner is the player with the highest point total. In case of a tie, the winner is the player with the largest single area. If still tied, the winner is the player with the most powerstones of his color on the board.
Tip: to make it easier to count points, remove powerstones from territories of the same size for each player. T
hat is, if the Red Rose player has a territory with five powerstones, and the White Rose player has a territory with five powerstones, simply remove those ten powerstones from the board rather than do the math.
The Game with four Players:
Partners sit opposite each other - one team will have to play sideways relative to the board. Be sure to keep your power cards in the same orientation as the board, however - the crown on the north side of the cards. Partners are not allowed to communicate about their moves.
With 4 players, each player gets 3 power cards and 2 hero cards. Power cards are still face up on the table, as in the two-player rules.
However, each player now has a maximum of three power cards. You may not choose action 2 (Draw a power card) if you already have three power cards. Each player has access to only two hero cards - you may not use your partner's hero cards.