In 1878, the Royal Museum of Berlin commissioned excavations in Pergamon - a site in present-day Turkey. The city experienced its heyday around 200 AC (we are using the Latin abbreviation AC = ante Christum Natum, instead of the more conventional BC) when it was the most important port in the Ancient Roman province of Asia.
Object of the Game
As archeologists your goal is to get as much research funding as possible in order to finance excavations in Pergamon.
You unearth pieces of antique vases, jugs, bracelets and golden masks. Depending on the depth of your excavations, you can find remains from the first five centuries AC. By piecing together matching finds, you build collections that can be exhibited at the Pergamon Museum.
The player who exhibits the most valuable collections and gains the most recognition by the museum's visitors (in the form of admission tickets) wins the game.
- 1 game board
- 4 player figures
- 12 circular markers for collections (4 sets of I, II, III each)
- 12 angular markers for collections (4 sets of I, II, III each)
- 60 square tiles finds
- 24 research funds cards (3x 1-8 coins each)
- 36 admission tickets (12 of 1, 2 and 5 victory points each)
- 1 tomb raider (for 2-player game)
- 4 reminder cards (for exhibiting collections)
1. Place the game board in the center of the table. In the top margin you can see the 13 research funds spaces. On the left there is the excavation site with 5 galleries (levels). In each gallery there can be a maximum of 4 finds laid out next to each other.
In the center of the board there is the calendar which shows the 12 game turns. On the right you can find the Pergamon museum with the exhibition plan (spaces 1-24).
2. Shuffle the 24 research funds cards and place them as a drawing pile face-down next to the game board.
3. Shuffle the 60 finds and place them in face-down piles of 5 tiles each onto the 12 spaces of the calendar.
4. Place the coins as a stock next to the game board. Stack the victory points (admission tickets) on the empty spaces beneath the calendar.
5. Each player chooses a color and takes their player figure as well as 3 circular and 3 angular markers for the collections. Furthermore, each player gets a reminder card which shows important steps during the exhibition that are easy to forget. The oldest player becomes the first player.
6. The tomb raider is only needed in a 2-player game.
The game lasts 12 turns. Each turn consists of the following phases:
- Laying out finds
- Distributing research funds
- Excavating, exhibiting, storing finds
- Evaluations (only in turns 5, 7, 9, and 12)
1. Laying out finds
During this phase, the first player places new finds on the excavation site.
Take the first stack of 5 finds from the calendar and turn the tiles face-up. Sort these finds by their age, from the youngest to the oldest: the large figure (1-5) in the lower right corner of the finds shows the century AC.
If there are several finds from the same century, sort them by the two-digit figure on the left.
Lay out the 5 tiles, one below the other, face-up on the galleries of the excavation site. Place the youngest find on gallery I, the second youngest on gallery II, and so on.
If, during the game, a gallery already holds 4 finds, place no additional tile on it. In that event, only draw as many tiles from the current stack as there is room on the galleries. Return the remaining finds to the box (without looking at them), they are no longer needed.
Example: You draw finds from the ages 1, 2, 4, 4, and 4. Place the find with the figure 1 on gallery I, the find with the figure 2 on gallery II. The three tiles with the figure 4 follow in their order 14, 36, and 85.
2. Distributing Research Funds
During this phase, you receive new research funds.
Draw 2 research funds cards from the drawing pile and place them face-down next to the game board.
The back of each card shows whether it distributes 1-4 coins (money bag) or 5-8 coins (chest), and the sum of both cards will come into play. This way, you can estimate if there will be rather more or less research funds available for the current turn.
Starting with the first player and then in clockwise turn order place your player figures on a research space of your choice. On each space there may only be one player figure sitting at the same time. Where you place your player figure indicates how much research funding you want and also which galleries you can excavate in phase 3.
Now, turn the two cards face-up and lay out the corresponding number of coins next to the game board.
Example: The two cards show 7 and 4 coins, so 11 coins are laid out.
The player who is positioned furthest to the right on the research funds spaces takes as many coins as are indicated on their space. In order from right to left, the remaining players take as many coins as are indicated on the spaces they occupy, as long as the laid out coins suffice.
The last player may always pocket all remaining research funds. Sometimes these may turn out to be less than hoped for, and sometimes the player gets even more. If you risk too much, you might get nothing at all.
3. Excavating, Exhibiting, Storing Finds
During this phase, you excavate finds one after the other and have to either present them at the museum or store them.
The player who is positioned furthest to the right on the research funds spaces begins. Then the other players follow in order of their player figures from right to left. They first finish all actions they wish to carry out, then it is the next player's turn.
A) Excavating Finds
As a first action you may excavate all finds in one gallery. Which gallery you may choose for your excavation is indicated on the space your player figure occupies.
You have to pay money for your excavation. Excavating in gallery I costs 1 coin, in gallery II the costs rise to 2 coins, and so on. The costs are independent of the number of finds you excavate.
Lay out the newly excavated finds face-up in front of yourself. If you already own finds from previous turns, simply add the new ones to those.
Example: You choose gallery III and pay 3 coins. You take the two finds and lay them out in front of yourself.
B) Exhibiting Finds
Now you may exhibit one or more collections at the museum. To assemble a collection, you have to piece together several matching finds to form complete objects from their halves (masks, bracelets, jugs, or vases). The older these objects are, the more valuable your collection.
A find from the 5th century AC is worth 5 points, one from the 4th century AC 4 points, and so on. As long as you have not exhibited your finds at the museum you may rearrange them at will. Once your collection is exhibited at the museum, however, it can no longer be adjusted or extended.
When exhibiting your collection you may increase its value by "polishing" it. For each 1 coin you pay to the stock the value of your collection rises by 1 point. You may increase the value of your collection by a maximum of 3 points. However, during the final turn you may polish a new collection as much as you like.
In order to exhibit a collection at the museum, place an angular marker (I, II or III) in front of the finds you pieced together and place the corresponding circular marker at the Pergamon museum on the exhibition space that corresponds to the value of your collection. If your collection is worth more than 24 points, place the circular marker on the "24" space.
Immediately Receive 1 Victory Point For Each Newly Exhibited Collection.
On each space of the exhibition plan there may only be 1 marker sitting at the same time. When a new collection is exhibited at the museum, the interest in all existing exhibitions of the same or a lower value decreases. Move each marker that has the same or lower value than the new collection one space down.
The reminder card shows what you have to do when exhibiting a collection.
If a player has to move one of their markers from space 1 out of the museum, that marker is returned to him. He has to break up the respective collection and return the finds to the box.
Example: Your collections consist of the 3 finds bracelet (5th cent)., vase (3. cent)., mask (4th cent)., and is worth 12 points accordingly. You place your marker on space 12 of the museum. (If you "polish" your collection first and pay 2 coins to the stock, the value rises to 14).
There are already 3 collections on spaces 9, 12, and 16. The two markers on spaces 9 and 12 are moved to spaces 8 and 11 respectively.
If you already have three collections at the museum (all of your 3 angular markers are placed at collections and the 3 circular markers are placed on the exhibition plan) and you wish to exhibit a further collection at the museum, you may break up any of your exhibited collections (take the circular marker from the museum and return the respective finds to the box). You may use the now free markers to exhibit a new collection.
C) Storing Finds
At the end of your turn you have to store those of your finds which you do not want to or are not able to exhibit yet. You may store up to 3 finds for free. For each additional 3 finds in your possession you have to pay 1 coin in storage fees.
If you have no money left or do not wish to pay the storage fees, you may also discard any of your finds and return them to the box. You do not have to pay storage fees for those finds.
As indicated on the calendar, an evaluation at which you receive victory points for your exhibited collections takes place after turns 5, 7, 9, and 12 each.
You receive as many victory points as is indicated by the spaces your circular markers are placed at on the exhibition plan. For each collection you thus receive 1 to a maximum of 6 victory points. You receive victory points in the form of admission tickets which you may keep secret from the other players.
As indicated on the calendar, at each evaluation an additional prize is awarded for a particularly valuable exhibit. At the first evaluation (turn 5) the player owning the oldest vase receives 2 victory points. To count, vases have to be currently exhibited at the museum, of course!
Example: During the evaluation at the end of turn 5, the player with the oldest exhibited vase scores 2 points.
At the second, third, and fourth evaluation the player owning the oldest exhibited jug (turn 7), the oldest mask (turn 9) or bracelet (turn 12) receives 2 victory points respectively. To determine the age of a find, the entire date is taken into account (the century figure on the left and the two-digit figure on the right).
Example: This mask dates back to the year 463 AC.
After each evaluation the museum's visitors lose interest in the old exhibitions, so all markers on the exhibition plan are moved down by several spaces. In turn 5 it is 3 spaces, in turn 7 it is 4 spaces, and in turn 9 it is 5 spaces.
As a reminder, arrows on the calendar indicate the number of spaces. (Remember to break up collections that move out of the museum).
A new turn
This ends the current turn. Return the two research funds cards to the box and take your player figures from the research funds spaces. The player who is positioned furthest to the left on the research funds spaces becomes the new first player.
You lay out the new finds in phase 1 and are the first to choose a new research funds space in phase 2. The re-maining players choose their spaces afterwards in clockwise turn order.
End of the Game
The game ends after turn 12. After you have received the victory points for your collections and the oldest bracelet has been awarded, there is a special bonus at the end.
The player who owns the oldest exhibit at the museum receives 3 victory points. The second and third oldest current exhibits at the museum are awarded 2 and 1 victory points respectively.
The player with the most victory points managed to draw the most attention to their collections and wins the game. In the case of a tie, the player whose current exhibit includes the oldest find wins.
Tips from the designers
Applying for research funds
A player who only applies for a small amount of research funds (1 or 2 coins) can be relatively sure to receive that money, have an early turn and, thus, a large range of finds to choose from. Players who apply for large amounts of money (5 or 6 coins) take their turns later.
There is also a danger of the laid out research funds not sufficing and the last players receiving either no money at all or less than they applied for.
If there are very few or only relatively low-value finds (from the 1st or 2nd century) on the excavation site, it may be worth it to save the received research funds for later turns.
Employing research funds
The players should try to gain as much research money as possible and put it to clever use. You need money to finance excavations, to store finds and to polish collections. Too much polishing, however, may leave you with too little money to finance profitable excavations.