During the Renaissance, Italy was divided into numerous independent city-states, sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile. The best known of these were Genoa, Florence, the Duchy of Milan, and the Republics of Venice.
This is the era in which the Condottieri appear: leaders of mercenary armies who offered their ser- vices to the most powerful cities. Formidable strat- egists and highly skilled soldiers, the Condottieri were not content to just hire out their command and their troops; they reshaped the political map of Italy with their intrigues, alliances, battles, and sieges. The most daring among them founded new dynasties: Francesco Sforza took possession of the Duchy of Milan, and Giovanni de Medici made Florence his kingdom.
In Condottiere, you relive this incredible age, when anything seemed possible for a handful of determined men. In this game, you represent a Condottiere trying to conquer the most famous cities in Italy. But be careful, you are not alone! You must take into account the ambitions of the other Condottieri. The strength of your army alone will not suffice: You must use diplomacy if you want a chance at victory.
Object of the Game
The goal of Condottiere is to conquer city- states, unite them, and create the most powerful kingdom in Italy.
The first player to control a certain number of regions wins the game. A player can win more quickly if he controls adjacent regions. Regions are adjacent if they share a common border.
In a game with 4, 5, or 6 players, the first player to control 5 total regions or 3 adjacent regions wins the game. In a game with 2 or 3 players, the first player to control 6 total regions or 4 adjacent regions wins the game.
- 1 game board representing a map of Renaissance Italy. The game board is divided into 17 regions, each of which is marked by its dominant city.
- 110 cards, which are used to resolve battles between the Condottieri.
- 1 Condottiere token. The player with this token chooses the region in which the next battle will be fought.
- 1 Favor of the Pope token. Any region with this token is said to "have the favor of the Pope" and may not be attacked.
- 36 control markers in 6 different colors. These are used to mark which regions have been conquered by the players.
- This rulebook.
A game of Condottiere is played over many game rounds. During each game round, one or more battles will be fought. When all but one player has played all their last card, new cards will be drawn and a new game round will begin.
At the beginning of each battle, the player with the Condottiere token must place it in a region of his choosing. This region will be the site of a battle between the players.
Important: The Condottiere token may not be placed on a region that has the favor of the Pope or on a region that has already been conquered by another player.
During each battle, players take turns placing cards faceup on the table in front of them, forming their battle lines. A player's battle line shows the forces he will take into battle. Once all players are done placing cards, the battle is concluded, and the player with the highest total strength in his battle line con- quers the contested region. Then a new region is chosen, and another battle is fought.
Starting The Game
Place the game board on the center of the table.
Each player chooses a color and places his con- trol markers in front of him. These pieces will mark the regions conquered during the game.
The youngest player takes the Condottiere token, placing it in front of him. He then shuffles the deck and deals 10 cards facedown to each player (includ- ing himself). Finally, he places the Condottiere token in a region of his choice. This is the site of the first battle.
The first game round can now begin with its first battle.
Starting A Battle
The player who placed the Condottiere token always takes the first turn in the battle, then the other players follow in clockwise order.
On a player's turn, he must either play a card or pass.
Play a Card
If you choose to play a card, place one card faceup in front of you, next to any of the other cards you have played during this battle. These cards form your battle line. A player's total strength is the sum of the strength values of all of the cards in his battle line, taking into account any modifications caused by special cards. You may play any type of card as the first card in your battle line, even a special card.
After you play a card, announce the total strength of your battle line.
Note that players are never required to play a card in a battle. That is, a player can choose pass on any of his turns. Even the player who placed the Condottiere token can decide to pass his turn at the beginning of a battle.
If you choose to pass, simply announce "I pass". You may not play any more cards until the next battle. (If your turn comes around again during this battle, you are simply skipped). However, a player who has passed may still win the current battle, if he has the strongest battle line at the end of the battle.
Note that the other players may continue playing cards after other players have passed. Even after all but one of the players have passed, the player who has not passed may continue playing cards, one at a time, until he chooses to pass.
Concluding A Battle
Players continue taking turns, choosing to either play a card or pass, until either all the players have passed or one player plays a "Surrender" card. Then the battle is concluded, following the steps below.
1. Compare Strength
All players announce the total strength of their battle lines. The player with the strongest battle line conquers the region. He then places one of his control markers on the conquered region and places the Condottiere token in front of him. Exception: If a player's battle line contains the most Courtesan cards, that player receives the Condottiere token instead of the player that actu- ally won the battle.
If two or more players are tied for the most total strength, no control marker is placed on the board, and the Condottiere token is passed to the player to the left of the person who last controlled it.
2. Choose The New Battle
The player who has the Condottiere token now chooses the region where the next battle will be fought. He can choose any region on the game board, as long as it does not contain a control marker or the Favor of the Pope token. He can even choose a region where an unsuccessful (tied) battle was just fought.
3. Discard Battle Lines
All the cards in each player's battle line are discard- ed. This is not optional.
4. Discard Cards From Hand
If a player has no Mercenary cards in his hand, he may choose to discard all the cards in his hand. Discarding is not required, but is instead just an option for players with no Mercenary cards. If a player has one or more Mercenary cards in his hand, he may not discard his hand.
End of a Round
A round ends when, after the "Discard Cards from Hand" step of a battle's resolution, only one player (or no player) has cards remaining in his hand. If one player has cards left in his hand, he may keep up to two of them, but must discard the rest. Then the player controlling the Condottiere token shuffles all the remaining cards (including all discards).
The player with the Condottiere token deals each player, including himself, enough cards so that each player has 10 cards in his hand. Then, the player with the Condottiere token deals each player 1 additional card for each region the player controls.
Example: A player with no cards in his hand who controls Parma, Venezia, and Siena would receive 13 cards.
If a player has no cards
During a battle, when a player has no cards in his hand, his only option is to pass. He will not be able to participate in battles until next round. The other players continue resolving battles without him. If a player wins a battle in which he plays his last card, he still receives the Condottiere token and chooses the site of the next battle, even though he cannot participate in that battle.
Click here for a detailed overview of all cards of Condottiere.
Deals Between Players
At any time during the game, players can make deals and discuss strategies with each other. They are allowed to show each other their cards, but they may not exchange cards. Furthermore, players are not required to abide by any agreements that they make.
End of the Game
In a game with 4, 5, or 6 players, the game ends as soon as, at the end of the "Compare Strength" step of a battle's resolution, a player controls 5 total regions or 3 adjacent regions. In a game with 2 or 3 players, the victory condition is 6 total regions or 4 adjacent regions.
If, after a battle is concluded, all the available regions on the board have been conquered without the above victory conditions being met, the player that controls the most regions wins. (This may happen when all regions except one have been captured, and the uncaptured region has the favor of the Pope).
If two or more players are tied for the most regions, a final battle is fought. Only the tied players participate in this battle. First, all players discard their hands. The player with the Condottiere token shuffles all 110 cards and deals each tied player 10 cards, plus 1 card for each region that player controls.
In this final battle, the player with Condottiere token goes first. If the player with the Condottiere token is not among the tied players, then the tied player closest to the left of the player with the Condottiere token goes first.
The player who wins this final battle wins the game. If this final battle also ends in a tie, then the tied players share the victory.