The sun is going down and dusk is slowly descending upon Baghdad's silhouette.
The shadows in the alleyways are getting longer and becoming darker.
The Bazaar slowly empties and the honorable citizens of this desert metropolis make their way home.
This is the time when Ahmed and his men go about their business. They have planned a big mission for this night. They want to steal no less than 4 treasures from the palaces to leave no-one in any doubt that: There is only one thief of Baghdad!
- 1 gameboard
- 102 palace cards
- 8 cards of female dancers
- 24 treasure troves
- 48 thieves
- 24 Guards
Object of the Game
Each player can move his/her thieves and guards using palace cards. You can, of course, collect the thieves as quickly as possible at the treasure troves whilst you should try to place the guards in front of the other thieves.
The player who succeeds in being the first person to steal the required number of treasure troves, completes and wins the game.
The gameboard is placed in the middle of the table.
6 even stacks are formed with the treasure troves.
A treasure trove labeled with the number 7 is placed at the bottom of each stack. A treasure trove with 6 thieves is placed upon it, then one with 5 thieves and a treasure trove is placed upon it, which is labeled with 4 thieves.
This kind of stack is placed on the colored terrace in each palace following this.
A black, neutral guard is placed on a guard's square in front of each palace.
The palace cards are shuffled and placed as a hidden stack next to the gameboard. The dancers' cards are placed facing upwards next to the gameboard.
The oldest player is the starting player, the others follow in a clockwise direction.
Depending on the number of players
If there are two players each player receives:
- All the thieves (12) in the color of his/her choice and
- 4 guards of the same color;
- the starting player receives 6 palace cards from the stack, the second player receives 7 cards.
If there are three players, each player receives:
- All the thieves in the color of his/her choice and
- 3 guards of the same color;
- the starting player receives 6 palace cards, the second player receives 7 cards and the third player receives 8 cards.
If there are four players, each player receives:
- All the thieves in the color of his/her choice and
- 2 guards of the same color;
- the starting player receives 6 palace cards, the second player receives 7 cards, the third player receives 8 cards and the fourth player receives 9 cards.
Now each player in turn places a guard of their own color on a free guard's square of their own choice. This is repeated until all the players' guards have been placed on the board.
Each player sets up their own stock of treasure with his/her thieves and places his/her cards in their hands.
Notice: A maximum number of 4 guards may be placed in front of a palace.
The players try to employ or move their thieves and guards by playing their palace cards that they can rob the treasure troves from the palaces as quickly as possible.
However, the troves are heavy and require a certain number of thieves. The treasure trove can only be robbed once there are enough thieves in the palace.
Actions Using Palace Cards
It is possible to carry out the following actions by playing suitable palace cards:
- Place (smuggle in) a thief from your stock of cards into a palace.
- Moving your own guard.
- Moving your own guard and taking your own thief with you at the same time.
- Moving a neutral guard.
Palace cards that have been played form a joint discard pile.
Place your own thief from your stock into a palace
[costs 1 Card Per External Guard].
You need to play 1 card of the respective palace for each external guard (guard of a fellow player or a neutral guard) standing there in order to move 1 thief from your own stock into a palace.
In this case, at least 1 of your own guards and 1 external guard must be standing in front of the palace.
Notice: As many thieves as you like can stay in a palace.
Moving your Own Guard
[costs 1 Card].
Players who want to send one guard from one palace to the next one must play 1 card. This card must either display the palace that the guard has been standing in front of up to now or display the palace to which the guard is to be sent. In addition, at least 1 guard's square must be unoccupied there.
Moving your own guard and taking your own thief with you at the same time
[costs 1 Card].
Your own guard who is sent to another palace can take his own thief with him. Taking the thief with him does not use up any additional palace cards. Of course, the thief must have entered the same palace.
The thief is placed inside the palace's inner courtyard.
Notice: You may not take external thieves with you
Moving a Neutral Guard
[costs 2 cards]
Players who want to send a neutral guard from one palace to the next one must play 2 cards:
One card must display the palace in front of which the guard has been standing up to now and the other card must display the palace to which the guard is sent. In addition at least 1 guard's square must be unoccupied there.
Notice: Guards of other players may not be moved.
Combining any Number of Actions
In principle, the player whose turn it is may carry out as many actions as he/she likes and can pay for them with the corresponding palace cards. He/she may also play the same action several times. They can freely select the sequence of actions.
Exception: A player may only carry out a maximum total of 3 actions with thieves within one move.
Rob the Treasure Troves
The top treasure trove in the palace respectively indicates how many own thieves a player requires.
As soon as a player succeeds in smuggling the number of thieves necessary to steal a treasure trove into a palace he/she will take the corresponding treasure trove from the palace and place it openly in front of him/her- self with the reverse side facing upwards.
The thieves who are involved are placed back in the player's own stock and are immediately available once again.
Example: The player who wants this treasure trove requires 5 thieves.
Taking Replacement Cards
You take 3 cards from the hidden stack and place them in your hands after you have completed your actions.
If the stack has been used up the palace cards are shuffled and made available as a new hidden stack.
If you have not carried out any actions when it is your turn you take4 cards, one of the cards may be a dancer. The dancer (joker) can be used like any palace card when you have another turn.
Dancers that have been played are not placed on the discard pile but are put back with the open dancers' cards.
Notice: If the stack with the dancers has been used then you take a card from the hidden stack.
End of the Game
The player who is the first in the game to rob:
- 6 treasure troves, ... in a game with 2 players
- 5 treasure troves, ...a game with 3 players
- 4 treasure troves, ... a game with 4 players,
immediately ends the game.
He/she has won the game and can now bear the title of THE »Thief of Baghdad«.
Other Game Variants
People who prefer a more tactical version of the game can play the following variant:
Each player not only places his/her guard in his own color prior to the start of the game but also 2 neutral guards. Each player decides him/herself the sequence in which their own and neutral guards are positioned.
In addition, no neutral guards are placed on the board.