Let’s talk about the name of this game, it’s great. Love the wordplay. I never played the original but I hope it was called Sleeping Queens 1: For the Ages (or the Money)… I know much like Rocky I, it wasn’t called Sleeping Queens 1 when it came out, but Gamewright should go back and have some fun with the original’s name.
As I have never played Sleeping Queens 1, I have no comparison, but Sleeping Queens 2 is a Family card game that involves making Math equations, so everyone gets excited!
In Sleeping Queens 2: The Rescue, the rulebook states that the Queens are awake and have journeyed back to their castles to resume their normal royal lives… which makes me assume the Queens were sleeping in part one (That and the game was called Sleeping Queens). Well in this sequel the Queens are trying to rescue the Kings that have landed in some perilous predicaments. To rescue the Kings, the Queens will need to find a Rescue Companion with the same symbol in the forest.
How do you find the Rescue Companions? Wait for it… by creating a math equation with the number cards that you draw into your realm. Yay! The first player to rescue a certain number of Kings, based on player count, wins.
How it works is as follows:
The draw and discard piles are surrounded by the 10 face-down Rescue Companions who are surrounded by the 10 themed Kings. In the draw pile, there are 6 types of cards: 12 Queens, 6 Wild Gnomes, 5 Sleeping Willows, 4 Spell Books, and 40 number cards 1-10. The Queens have one of three symbols on them that match the three on the Rescue Companions. Each player starts with a knight with a special power.
On a player’s turn they:
- Roll the die which has four options, 1/2/3/Red Dragon. If you roll a number you draw that many cards. If you roll the Red Dragon, the knights move one player to the left, you may wake one Sleeping Queen, and then you roll the die again
- Play, in any order, all Instant Action cards that you draw. These include Wild Gnomes, which randomly give you a bonus based on a die roll. Switch Witches, which allow you to swap any card in your realm or a Rescue Companion for a card in another player’s realm or their Rescue Companion. And Sleeping Willows, which cause the active player’s Queens to fall asleep, if they have no Queens to fall asleep, then the first player to the left of the active player with at least one Queen has their Queens fall asleep and turns these cards face down.
- Place Number cards, Spell Books, and Queens that you draw face-up in your realm.
- Take one or more of the following actions:
- Make a math equation with at least three of your cards and then discard the used number cards and draw a facedown Rescue Companion. (Is everyone jumping out of their seats? Math!!!)
- Play a pair of number cards and wake up all of your sleeping Queens
- Play a Spell Book and look through the discard pile for a number card
- Rescue a King by discarding a Queen and a symbol matching Rescue Companion
- Discard down to the max hand limit of 5 cards.
Initially, the rules can overwhelm you, but play one round and it will make sense. Or have one person guide a play-through for the first round or two and everyone will understand. This game involves a lot of luck, there is really no strategy involved in this game—from the random starting knight who gives you a superpower to the dice roll that determines how many random cards you draw or forces the knights to switch players.
I don’t mind games have luck as a component, but there needs to be some strategy and the only strategy in this game is when you get a Switch Witch determining what card to steal, but this is mostly straightforward. You are forced to play the Instant Action cards that you randomly draw and they either help or hurt you and your opponents, or you can randomly draw a Queen and place it in your realm hoping you will also receive by chance cards that make an equation so you can randomly select a Rescue Companion and hope it matches your queen.
For kids figuring out if the cards make a math equation can take some time, but for adults, this should be rather easy and done quickly as the numbers only go up to 10. Now despite the complete lack of strategy or maybe because of it, my newly minted 9-year-old son asked to play this game multiple times in a row.
Sleeping Queens 2: The Rescue is a luck-based family game that, once people understand all of the cards, plays pretty quickly, but does require that all players can perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of numbers 1-10. When math is part of the game and not just used to determine the final score, for me the game falls into the educational games, which makes it excellent for families with kids learning math and for math classes. It does not mean it will graduate to a game that will make it onto my table ever again, that is unless my nine-year-old begs to play and I use it as leverage to force him to play a game I like for which he is indifferent.
Final Score: 2.5 Stars – As an educational game for children learning math this game works for 1-2 years and should be part of all math classes and school libraries. As a game to play outside of a school/learning setting, the game fails to offer any strategy to entice an adult or older child to want to play,
• The Art is all well done, the Kings are all quirky and cute, the gnome, the witch, and the sleeping willow are adorable.
• It is a much more fun way for children to learn base 10 math equations than just flash cards.
• The lack of strategy evens the playing field for kids.
• Luck, luck, luck.
• The Kings are random designs that have no impact on the gameplay.