This is the Future

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Lords of Scotland: Quick and fun card game, confusing rules

I’m always on the hunt for new card or board games, which makes going to the local board game shop an immersive experience.  Recently, my husband and I checked out Guardian Games in Portland, and that place always amazes me.

We checked out a few of the card games and found one that looked intriguing: Lords of Scotland, by Z-Man Games.  Looking it up on, we found that it had decent ratings and the places was more than decent: $10.  Purchasing it and finding an open table near some rowdy D&Ders, we set down to read the rules.

The rules are confusing.  It’s one of those very wordy instruction booklets, filled with words such as “clan” to represent card (took us about 10 minutes to realize this) and a “rules clarification” on the bottom which seems to contradict rules above.  However, after playing this game about three times, we have finally decrypted the rules and found that it’s a fantastic 2 player game.  Lords of Scotland is 2-5 players, but without the alternate rules, 3 player and above becomes pretty boring.

Let me explain: in the game there are 8 different colors of cards that do special powers.  Now these powers can only be activated if it’s the lowest number of any card played by any player.  So if someone whips out a 1 on their first turn, no one else gets to use their powers, and the game becomes “who can put down the highest numbered cards for points” which simplifies the game too much.  The alternate rules suggest that the power can be activated if it’s the lowest in that color, so people are able to use their powers more easily, and the game then becomes more interactive.

We’ve played with 2,3, and 4, and 2 player is so far the most strategic.  As I am always on the lookout for good 2 player games, Lords of Scotland is a winner, once you figure out the rules.