You are each rival contenders to rule the nation. The people of the land have been growing adept in exploiting its natural resources, but they lack direction. Settlements are forming with dedicated industries, consuming large amounts of resources but yielding far more. Councillors and nobles are watching with interest, ready to lay their allegiance with those who guide the nation's industrialisation. With wise constructions and cunning trades, you can be the one to win the loyalty of the people!
Aim of the game
The aim of the game is to gather for yourself a council of at least four councillors, including at least one noble. At the moment a player has at least four councillor cards in front of him including at least one noble (with stars in the corners), that player wins!
The game has the following pieces:
4 board segments, each a 4x4 grid of terrain squares. These are assembled randomly to form the 8x8 board. Each square is either forest, mountain, plains, or water.
Different coloured pawns, one each for 4 players.
A number of cubes in 7 colors, representing the resources available:
Food (green) is most commonly available.
Wood (brown) and stone (grey) are the next most basic resources.
Marble (yellow) and coal (black) are rarer.
Iron (red) is more valuable again.
Gems (blue) are the most valuable and rare resource.
Note that whenever you see a white cube symbol, this represents any one cube.
Three decks of cards, showing the resources acquired from the three different terrain types. Each card has two or three resource cubes on it, which may be the same or different.
A number of building tiles. These are being constantly tweaked: the images below may be slightly out of date, but give you the general idea.
A number of Councillor and Noble cards. These grant special abilities to just the player who owns them. They are also necessary to win.
Randomly order and orient the four board segments, to form an 8x8 grid.
Shuffle the three separate resource decks and put them face down at the side of the board. Leave space by each deck for a discard pile for that deck.
Set the resource cubes by the side of the board. Each player takes one food cube.
Lay out the building tiles face-up at the side of the board.
Randomly determine the starting player. Players will take turns in clockwise order.
Shuffle the deck of councillor cards and deal out three to each player. Each player looks at the three cards, chooses one of them, and returns the other two to a face-down pile beside the board. Then each player reveals the councillor card that they start with.
Shuffle the deck of councillor cards again, and deal out two, to be placed face-up beside the board. Shuffle the deck of noble cards, and deal out two to be placed face-up beside the board. Place the rest of each deck face-down beside the board.
In reverse turn order, from last player backwards around to first player, players roll a die, and place the building with that number on any space of the corresponding terrain type.
In reverse turn order, from last player backwards around to first player, players place their pawn on any non-Water space. This may be one of the buildings, or an unimproved space.
A turn has two parts: first movement, then action.
On your turn, you move up to two spaces, orthogonally or diagonally. You must move at least one space. You may not, by any means, ever end your turn on the space you started it. (The one exception to this is if you are completely unable to move at all.) Before, during or after these two moves, you may also move onto any number of road spaces, orthogonally or diagonally. You may not move onto or through an unimproved water space, with the one exception of when you're about to build a water building on that water space. You may not move onto or through a space with another player's pawn on it.
Then you may take an action. Possible actions are:
Use the unimproved space you're standing on, if you're standing on an unimproved space (one without a building) with a cube symbol on it.
Use the building you're standing on, if you're standing on a building.
Build a building, if you're standing on an unimproved space.
Pay the costs to the bank for any one building that can be built in the unimproved space you're standing on. The terrain type must match (forest buildings can only be built in unimproved forest, etc).
Put that building from the side of the board onto the space you're standing on.
You may then use that building once immediately when you build it.
Note that "using" a road consists of continuing your turn, with further movement and then another action. If you build a road, you then get to move an extra space and take another action. You can potentially build several roads in your turn to travel a long way across the obard, and then build or use one non-road building. Bridges (on water) and the Grand Highway (a flag building on plains) count as roads.
Players may trade resources and/or cards amongst themselves at any time. Nobody is forced to make a trade (apart from when the Law Court or Barrister is being used).
Councillors and Nobles
You start with one Councillor, and you need four (including at least one Noble) to win. When you build a building marked with a flag, you take one of the white (non-Noble) Councillor cards that are face-up beside the board. Then you turn up a new Councillor card from the deck and place it beside the board. When you build a building marked with a starred flag, you take any of the Councillor cards face-up beside the board - either one of the Nobles (marked with stars) or one of the other Councillors. Then you turn up a new card from the corresponding deck, so that there are always two Councillor cards and two Noble cards beside the board.
Remember you also get to use the effect of the building you just built, although the buildings with starred flags have no effect.
If the Councillor has an ability marked "When you take this card", you may use that effect either before or after the effect of the building you just built.
When someone uses the Politician, they take a Councillor or Noble card from an opponent. If the card they take has a "When you take this card" ability, the new owner get that effect immediately. Otherwise, the new owner gets the effect at the time it would normally apply.