You approach the cluster of nobles (and one or two not-so-nobles] that have gathered to hear the herald's proclamation.
"Since the king is old and has no heir, he has declared that the first noble to hold 10 precious gems will succeed him as ruler of this great land".
In a bold outburst, you step into the circle of people. "I will be the next king!" you announce
But the faces of the very nobles that you've oft feasted with don't agree. And so, you find yourself on the edge of a great feudal war.
- 95 playing cards
- 30 gems
Place five gems (of fhe same color) in fronf of each player.
Deal two cards to each player.
Place the remaining cards face down in the center of the table forming the draw pile. When discarding cards, place them face up beside the draw pile.
Sample set-up for 4 Players:
Anatomy of a Card
Play goes clockwise, taking turns... The winner of the last game goes first.
On your tum, draw two cards. Choose to either: ATTACK a rival kingdom, FORTIFY your own, or play a SPECIAL ACTION. If you cannot play a card, or choose not to, you must discard a card of your choice from your hand. Once a card is played and the action is taken, it is placed in the discard pile.
Note: The player that takes the first turn draws only one card, instead of two. This prevents an unfair starting advantage.
When a rival attacks you, you may play a RESPOND card to reduce the number of gems they take from you.
Out Of turn, see HIGHWAYMAN, JESTER.
Note: Once gems have moved (regardless of their final destination), your turn ends.
Note 2: Your gems must be visible to the other players at all times.
You may play as many attack cards (one at a time*) as you choose against ONE other player (until gems have moved).
Some attack cards have this symbol to represent how many gems they can take in an attack. Other attack cards are used at the beginning of an attack to remove fortifications.
Fortified kingdoms are harder for others to attack. On your turn, you may play as many FORTIFY cards as you choose face-up in front of your gems to "fortify" your kingdom. Only one CASTLE and/or ARCHER may be face-up fortifying your gems at any time.
Face-up CASTLES and ARCHERS remain in front of a player's kingdom until they are destroyed.
You may play one SPECIAL ACTION card on your turn instead of attacking or fortifying.
SPECIAL ACTIONS are unstoppable. See specific instructions for each card.
Fortify: Play a CASTLE face-up to fortify your kingdom.
A Kingdom fortified by a CASTLE is impossible to ATTACK without a LADDER, CATAPULT, DRAGON, or NINJA.
Fortify: Play an ARCHER face-up to fortify your kingdom.
Attack: Play an ARCHER at the beginning of an attack to remove a rival fortifying ARCHER so you can continue attacking.
A Kingdom fortified by an ARCHER is impossible to ATTACK without a NINJA or another ARCHER.
Note: ARCHERS have no attack value except to remove a fortifying ARCHER from another kingdom.
Fortify: Play a MINSTREL face-up to fortify your kingdom. Kingdoms fortified by a MINSTREL are impossible to attack. At the beginning of your next turn, you must discard the MINSTREL.
Respond: When someone attacks you, you may play a MINSTREL face-up in front of you Cas a fortification) to end the attackers turn, and keep your kingdom safe until the MINSTREL is discarded at the beginning of your next turn.
Attack: A DRAGON steals two gems and burns (discards) any fortifying CASTLE (if there is one). A DRAGON cannot approach a kingdom fortified by an Archer.
Enemies: EXECUTIONER, PRINCESS.
Attack: Play a CATAPULT at the beginning of an attack to completely destroy and discard a fortifying CASTLE, plus any ARCHER that is paired with the CASTLE (aka standing on the castle walls). You may now attack the unfortified kingdom as normal.
A CATAPULT cannot destroy a fortifying ARCHER that isn't paired with a CASTLE.
Attack: A NINJA steals two gems. He can scale fortifying CASTLE (if there is one), sneak up behind a fortifying ARCHER (if there is one), and kill (discard ) him, without ever being seen.
Note: NINJAS and DRAGONS may attack unfortified kingdoms, although they are most useful against ARCHERS or CASTLES.
Note 2: NINJAS and DRAGONS cannot RESPOND to an ATTACK.
Attack: Use a LADDER at the beginning of an attack to scale a rival's fortifying CASTLE.
This allows ATTACK cards (one at a time) to climb the CASTLE walls to attack. It is discarded at the end of your turn. A LADDER cannot be used on CASTLES with fortifying ARCHERS.
Peasant, Soldier, Knight, King
Attack, Respond: PEASANTS , SOLDIERS , KNIGHTS and KINGS can either attack a rival kingdom or respond to an attack. Their STRENGTH is displayed in the upper right corner of the card (numbered 1-4).
This number indicates either how many gems they can take from another kingdom when attacking, or how many gems they protect when responding.
Enemies: TRAITOR, HIGHWAYMAN, EXECUTIONER, ETC.
Note: You can ATTACK or RESPOND with only one card at a time (see Playing a Revolt for exception).
Note 2: If someone attacks you with a KNIGHT but you only have 1 gem left, they only get your 1 gem. The KNIGHT'S excess STRENGTH is "wasted".
Playing a Revolt: You may play as many PEASANTS as you want at the same time (either as ATTACK or RESPOND). Seven PEASANTS played together would attack for seven gems. RESPOND cards still work... Example: A TRAITOR could make the seven PEASANTS suddenly attack you back.
Example: It's your turn. You attack a rival with your SOLDIER . They respond with their own SOLDIER , and both SOLDIERS are discarded. Because no gems moved, you may choose to end your turn or continue attacking.
Next, you attack with your KNIGHT . Your opponent decides to respond with his KING . Even though the KING is more powerful than the KNIGHT, his extra strength is wasted (because he was used to RESPOND) and both the KNIGHT and KING are discarded.
You decide to attack again, this time with a KNIGHT . Your opponent plays his last respond card - a PEASANT . Because your KNIGHT was stronger ( minus ), they must give you 2 gems. Gems have moved and your turn is over.
The player to your left noticed you are close to winning. To your horror, she attacks you with her KING .
Having no RESPOND cards left, you must surrender 4 of your precious gems.
Respond: Any time gems are moving from an ATTACK (no matter how many), you may throw down your highwayman to steal the gems, even if they were just stolen from you.
The highwayman is the only card that can be played out of turn (A JESTER that is played as a highwayman can also be played out of turn).
A highwayman cannot steal from a NINJA or DRAGON.
Respond: Play a PRINCESS to "steal the heart" of an attacking KNIGHT, or "tame" an attacking DRAGON.
Example: If a rival attacks you with a DRAGON or KNIGHT.
You may respond with your PRINCESS, and add their ATTACK card to your own hand to use later.
The PRINCESS is discarded. Because no gems have moved, your rival may continue attacking you.
Respond: Play an EXECUTIONER to discard any ATTACK card played against you (except for a LADDER or CATAPULT) and end the attacker's turn immediately (even though no gems have moved!
Example: A rival destroys your CASTLE with a CATAPULT, and then plays a KING to take 4 gems. You play your EXECUTIONER to kill th^r KING and end their turn, but your CASTLE is already destroyed.
Example 2: A rival's DRAGON attacks you. Your EXECUTIONER kills him before your CASTLE and gems are affected.
Respond: Play a TRAITOR to turn an ATTACK card back against its own kingdom, bypassing any fortifications.
Enemies: none, see "enemies" of the traitored card.
Example: A rival attacks you with a KNIGHT, and you respond with a TRAITOR. This makes the KNIGHT immediately attack your rival back, even though they have a fortifying ARCHER.
They respond to the traitorous KNIGHT's attack with their SOLDIER and they must give you one gem. Because gems moved, their turn is over and they may not continue to attack you.
Note 1: You can play another traitor on an already traitored card. Think of them as double agents.
Note2: You can't traitor a NINJA or DRAGON.
JESTERS are wildcards that can represent any card you choose. You must announce what card he is representing when you play him. Your strategizing makes the JESTER the most valuable card in the deck.
Enemies: See "Enemies" of card that JESTER represents.
Example: Let's say you have eight gems and only need two more to win the game. One of your rivals uses a KNIGHT to capture 3 gems from another rival. You throw down your JESTER, announcing that he is a HIGHWAYMAN, stealing the 3 gems and claiming the victory.
Only another HIGHWAYMAN played at this time could prevent you from winning the game...
Note: If you play a JESTER as a DRAGON or KNIGHT and it is stolen by a rival's PRINCESS, they may use it to represent any card they choose later...
Note 2: The JESTER is not found in the enemies section of any card, but he can be played against any card, representing one of their specific enemies.
If the draw pile runs out before anyone wins the game, reshuffle the deck and continue. Each time the deck is reshuffled, the number of gems needed to win is reduced by 1. After the first reshuffle, 9 gems are needed to win. Second reshuffle, 6 gems are needed.
If a player for more than one] already has the number of gems needed to win when the deck is reshuffled, they haven't won until they have taken another gem ( or lost and gained them back].
If you run out of gems, you are not eliminated . Being poor will decrease attacks against you allowing you to rebuild an army and try to make a come back.
If you run out of cards, you must wait till your next turn to draw two more. Be careful because having few or no cards leaves you vulnerable to attacks.
End of the Game
The first player to own 10 gems wins the game, becoming ruler of all the other kingdoms.