• 5 palaces in 5 colors:
  • 10 scientists
  • 10 doctors
  • 10 priests
  • 10 clerks
  • Play money
  • The island.
  • Instructions


You begin the game with a palace (encompassing 4 areas) and 8 scholars in your color. You send your scholars to foreign palaces and try to place them in high- salary positions.

In order to successfully apply for positions at other palaces (and try to ensure a high income), you must convince the palace owner of your scholar's excellent qualities.

Competition for each position is fierce, and even a hired scholar can be replaced. Everything is allowed-a little bribe under the table, promises, threats, persuasiveness, and flattery-and every promise can be broken.

You make money in 2 ways during the game. You collect wages from all of your scholars employed in other players' palaces. You also make money from the bribes that you collect every time someone applies for a position in your palace.

Object of the Game

The player with the most money-collected by whatever means possible-after 5 rounds wins the game!


Take the palace of your color and place it face-up in front of you. Place the 1,000-ducat card to the left, the 6,000-card to the right of the first card, the 10,000-ducat card further right, and finally the 3,000-ducat card on the far right.

The Blue Palace

Take the 8 scholars of your color and place them to the side or underneath your palace cards.

The 8 Blue Scholars

Place the island in the middle of the table.

You receive 32,000 ducats (2 of each type of bill) as your starting capital. Keep your available cash secret from the other players. You can make a change at any time.

32,000 Ducats

After everyone receives their starting money, place the remaining money in the middle of the table. This is the bank.

Example of the game set-up for 4 persons:

In the example, the players sit (clockwise) in the sequence: red, yellow, green, and blue. We use this seat sequence below for future examples.

The Palaces and Conflicts

Before we discuss the actual game rules, we need to explain several important game concepts. Conflicts arise when several players want to fill in a position in a certain area, or when a scholar is sent to fill an empty position in another palace.

You will find more complete explanations for these conflicts and the conflict- resolution sequence on page 6.

You must take in foreign scholars who apply for work at your palace. Place the applicants who arrive at your palace above your palace cards. If you accept an applicant, place him on the palace card corresponding to the salary you have chosen for him (or set by a previous scholar of the same type).

Banish the applicants you refuse or fire immediately to the island in the middle of the table, where they remain placed (unused) until the end of the game.

Only 1 scholar may occupy each of the 4 salary areas of your palace. When you fill a position at your palace, you must choose from all of the applicants. Your decision will be based primarily on the bribes and other promises offered by the applicants' owners.

Very important: Only 1 scholar from each occupation (scientist, doctor, clerk, priest) may be employed at a given palace at any given moment!

The owner of the green palace has already distributed the 3,000-area to the red priest.

If hired, the blue scientist who is applying at the green palace must be placed in one of the 3 remaining areas.

The green player can choose any of the 3 remaining areas for the blue scientist-either the 1,000-area, the 6,000-area, or the 10,000-area.

An INTERNAL CONFLICT occurs when 1 or more applicants of the same occupation arrive at a palace where a scholar of that occupation is already employed.

Once you establish an occupation in 1 of your palace areas, then that occupation remains assigned to that area in your palace until the end of the game. Once assigned, a scholar may never leave his area.

If another scholar with the same occupation applies, a conflict occurs and you must decide whether or not to kick out the old scholar in the area and replace him with the new applicant. In either case, you banish the losing scholar to the island.

A yellow scientist applies for a position at the red palace.

Since there is already a scientist (green) in the 10,000-area, an internal conflict occurs.

The red palace owner must decide whether he keeps the green scientist in the 10,000-area, or whether he replaces the green scientist with the yellow scientist in the same salary area.

The red palace owner immediately banishes the rejected scientist to the island. The choice is entirely up to the red palace owner!

If several persons of the same occupation apply at your palace, and you have not yet employed a scholar of that type, you have an EXTERNAL CONFLICT.

You must choose only 1 of the applicants for the position; you banish all rejected scholars to the island.

As palace owner, the decision is always completely in your hands.

External conflict: There can only be one priest!

3 priests (yellow, red, green) apply for a place at the blue palace. The palace owner must banish 2 applicants to the island and take in the selected priest at 1 of the 3 remaining salary levels.

The palace owner must decide which applicant is hired, and which 2 are banished to the island.

Game Play

Randomly determine which player will begin. The person who is taking his turn is the active player. The active player must complete 3 steps on his turn:

  1. Collect salaries.
  2. Consider applications, resolve conflicts, and take in scholars.
  3. Send 2 of your scholars out to apply at other palaces.

When the active player accomplishes all 3 steps, the player to the left (clockwise) becomes the new active player and executes the 3 steps of his turn.

Once each player has taken a turn, 1 round of the game is complete. A game consists of 5 such rounds, followed by a final salary round and the end of the game.

1. Collect Salaries

It's now your turn. You collect salary (the area amount) for each scholar you have working in another player's palace. Draw this salary from the bank, not from the other players' treasuries.

Yellow is the active player. One of his yellow scientists is currently employed in the 10,000-area of the red palace.

His second scientist is in the green 3,000-area, and he also has a doctor in the green 6,000- area. Yellow receives a total salary of19,000 ducats from the bank.

First-round note: No one will have any scholars employed during the first round, so there will be no salaries paid during your first turn.

2. Consider Applications, Resolve Conflicts, Take in Scholars

You must consider applications from-and resolve conflicts between-all of the applicants that apply at your palace.

When hiring scholars, you must consider applications from, and resolve conflicts between, all applicants in the following sequence:

First, you must take in all applicants with uncontested applications (i.e., those who are applying for an unfilled occupation in your palace and have no competition, so there is no conflict). Second, you must resolve all external conflicts. Finally, you must resolve all internal conflicts.

Note: For the very first active player, during the first round there will be no applicants, so he will skip the second step of his turn.

First, you must accept all uncontested applications at your palace.

You must take in all applicants for occupations with neither an external nor an internal conflict. Beginning with the player on your left and proceeding clockwise, discuss their applicants' specific salary requests.

This is an open, public discussion. You should discuss any future promises, threats, and influences in front of all the players. Finally, the applicant must publicly offer you an immediate cash bribe (of no less than 1,000 ducats).

Note: Each applicant must offer his potential employer a cash bribe during each negotiation. The minimum bribe is 1,000 ducats. It must be offered (and given) in addition to any other promises or offers made. Once a player has handed the active player his bribe, his applicant may not offer any further bribes.

After you have negotiated with and received bribes from each of the unchallenged applicants, you must decide where to assign them. You then hire them as scholars in the designated position and at your appointed salary.

Note: You have to take into account all threats, negotiations, promises, and bribes when placing applicants, but you do NOT have to honor any agreement. Similarly, no agreement is binding on other players for any actions that you take with their applicants.

You are yellow and it's your turn. You've previously accepted an applicant in the 6,000- area, Looking at the 4 new applicants this turn, only the blue clerk is making an uncontested application.

Blue says: "I'll give you 5,000 ducats, and you put my clerk in the 10,000 area, OK?! During the next round, I also promise to hire one of your people into my 10,000-area. Just send someone over!"

You answer: "If you pay me 8,000, then we're in business!" Blue nods agreement and announces that he is paying 8,000 ducats to yellow. You smile slyly.

You then puts the blue clerk in the 1,000-area instead of the promised 10,000- area! Blue swears bitter revenge. (Note that you could not refuse to hire blue's clerk, as you had not yet hired a clerk).

After resolving all uncontested applications and placing all the applicants with no conflict, resolve all external conflicts in the same way.

Beginning to your left, you negotiate with all players who have sent applicants to your palace that are involved in an external conflict. Each applicant must negotiate with, and eventually bribe, you. Then you decide which applicant involved in each external conflict you want to hire. You immediately banish all the losing applicants to the island.

(Finally, you resolve all of the internal conflicts between applicants using the same process.

For internal conflicts, begin your negotiations with the player who owns the currently-employed scholar affected by the conflict. Then proceed clockwise from your left and negotiate with all of the other involved players.

Once you conclude negotiations and receive your bribes, you decide, using any criteria that you desire, whether to keep the old scholar in the area or hire a new applicant.

When you face several different internal conflicts, handle each one individually, starting with the smallest salary and working up. (This may mean that you negotiate with other players several different times. An example on page 10 illustrates this scenario).

You are yellow and it's your turn. The blue and the green priests are in the middle of an internal conflict

Green would like to remain in the 6,000-area, but figures his scholar is about to take a permanent island vacation.

He pays you the minimum bribe of1,000 ducats. Now blue smells his chance to cheaply snatch the 6,000-area and offers you a bribe of4,000 ducats. You feel that the salary is worth a bit more and demand 8,000 ducats

Blue is not ready to double his commitment and leaves his bribe at 4,000 ducats, which he hands over to you, Unimpressed, you introduce the Blue priest to island life. Blue is deeply insulted and vows eternal enmity.

Note: It is possible to face all 3 types of applicants on a turn, or no applicants at all. Simply follow the order described above (no conflict, external conflict, internal conflict in order of salary), as needed.

3. Send 2 of your scholars out to apply at other palaces

You must send any 2 of your scholars, who are still beside your palace, out to apply at foreign palaces. Place these applicants in front of the palace(s) of your choice.

Your applicants can be 2 of the same type of scholar, or different scholars; both can be sent to a single palace, or each can apply at different palaces.

Note: A scholar can never find employment in the palace of bis own color.

End of the Game

The 5 rounds (and the end of the game) play out as follows:

  • During the first round, only steps 2 (resolve applicants) and 3 (send out scholars) take place.

  • In the second to fourth rounds, all steps of a turn take place.

  • During the fifth round, only steps 1 and 2 occur, since all scholars have already been sent out. At the end of the fifth round, there are no more applicants. All of the scholars are either working in palaces or banished to the island!

  • Finally, all players receive 1 final salary payment from the bank for all of their scholars employed in palaces.

The game now ends. The winner is the player with the most ducats.

Tips & Tactics

  • Special Rule: If you are broke, you may only offer the minimum bribe of 1,000 ducats. The bank pays your bribe.

  • Be Careful: If you assign scholars the 2 lowest salaries in your palace, the other players may take advantage of the situation to pay a small bribe for a lucrative salary.

  • In order to hang onto a 10,000-area salary until the end of the game, try to cut a deal with another player to trade 10,000-area salaries. Remember the Intrigue Golden Rule: As long as I keep my post, you keep yours.

  • As you send your scholars out (and accept scholars in your palace), keep an eye on which scholars remain.

    If you have doctors applying at your palace, and no more doctors are in the game, try to extract additional bribes, since no one will be able to replace them.

    Also pay attention for opportunities to move your scholars against occupants of high salaries that may be in weak bargaining positions.

  • Take every opportunity to deflect the conversations and negotiations of other players. Ask, threaten, implore, flatter, and swear. Everything is allowed; but don't forget that the goal is cold, hard cash.

    There's no arrangement that cannot be broken. But, remember that trustworthiness and loyalty are often necessary to ensure some predictable income flow.

  • Don't forget, as you backstab (or are backstabbed): it is only a game! After the game is over, offer your hand in friendship to your opponents, no matter how much blood and dirt got on them during the game!

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