Ensure that the squires you are backing rise to prominence in the land.
2 - 6 players, ages 8+.
26 Personality Cards, representing the squires of the realm.
78 Event Cards, representing events, actions and occurrences in the realm.
Split the Personality Cards and Event Cards into two separate decks, and shuffle both well.
Deal three Event Cards to each player. Each player should look at the letters in the bottom right hand corner of their Event Cards. If they have any duplicated letters, they should return these duplicates to the dealer, and be dealt further cards to build a set of three distinct letters. These three letters determine the squires you will be backing throughout the game (note that each squire's name begins with a different letter of the alphabet).
Keep these three cards secret from the other players, if they discover the squires you are backing, it is unlikely they will be long for this Earth.
Now shuffle the Event Cards again, and deal three further cards to each player. These cards form the initial hand for each player.
Finally, deal out 10 Personality cards, to produce a starting Kingdom, with a King and three castles. After dealing out the starting hands, play begins with the youngest player, and then moves clockwise.
Each turn consists of three phases:
- Draw - Draw Event Cards to bring your hand size to 4. If the Event Card deck is exhausted, shuffle the discard pile to form a new draw deck.
- Play - Play a card (you don't have to play if you do not wish to). When you play a card, you should follow the instructions on it. If it is a Castle Attribute card (it has a number in the top right hand corner) then see Building Castles.
- Discard - If your hand consists of more than 3 cards, discard cards until you are only holding 3 cards.
Many cards can cause the death of one of the titled men of the realm. If this occurs, then the men holding lower ranks will be promoted. When a man dies, discard his card, and use a separate discard pile for Personality and Event Cards.
If the King dies, promote the Lord of the largest castle to King (see Determining Castle Level), promote the Seneschal to Lord, and the Master at Arms to Seneschal. Fill the Master at Arms position with the top card from the deck of Personality Cards. If a lower ranked man dies then follow the promotion path from an appropriate point.
E.g. if a Seneschal dies, promote the Master at Arms, and deal a new Personality Card to fill the vacant Master at Arms position.
Each castle can have three attributes, Domain, Defences and Prestige. Each attribute can be at one of three levels. These levels are denoted in the top right hand corner of Castle Attribute Cards. You can play any higher level attribute card over any lower level card. You cannot play lower level attribute cards to cover higher level attribute cards.
E.g. If a Castle has no Defence cards played on it, you could play a level 1, 2 or 3 Defence card on that castle. If the same castle had a Level 2 Prestige card present, then you could only play a level 3 Prestige card on top. When playing Castle Attribute Cards, play Domain cards in the space below the castle Lord, Prestige cards below the Seneschal, and Defence cards below the Master at Arms. If overlaying a higher level Castle Attribute Card, arrange the cards so that the level numbers of the lower level cards are visible.
The level of a castle is equal to the sum of the level of its attributes. If determining the highest level castle, and there is a draw, then the leftmost of the tied castles has highest level.
The game ends when there are no more Personality Cards available to fill the position of a dead man. Play continues to the end of the round, to allow all players an equal number of turns, and then scoring occurs.
If your squires hold positions of power, then you will score points based on the position they hold:
|King||12 points||+2 per castle of level 6 or more.|
|Lord||6 points||+3 if Lord of largest castle.|
|Seneschal||4 points||+2 if Seneschal of most prestigious castle.|
|Master at Arms||2 points||+1 if Master at Arms of best defended castle.|
The winner is the player with the most points.
There are several interesting variants that present themselves almost immediately, that either increase or decrease the amount of randomness available to the game.
The first is to alter the method of selection of your Squires. You can decide to use a different randomised selection method to pick your Squires, and record the selection on paper. This has the advantage of not reducing the pool of available cards, which allows for more varied gaming, and even more players to be added (up to a recommended maximum of 8). You could also decide to allow non-randomised Squire selection, simply allowing players to pick which Squires they will support, and recording this decision on a piece of paper. Deliberate selection should lead to a more tactical game.
Secondly, you could change the order that the Personality cards will be dealt out to fill the positions of power. Instead of shuffling the Personality cards before play, you could choose to order them (alphabetically being the most obvious ordering), so that all players will know which squire will be next to fill the open ranks. Again, this will produce a more tactical (and probably longer) game.
Finally, you could choose to not select Squires at the beginning of the game at all. Instead, each player will score points based on the letters of the cards they hold in their hand at the end of the game (scoring multiple times for duplicate cards, if desired, decide before the game begins). Again, this will alter the game, allowing more cards to enter play, and more players to play if they so wish.
|Card Title||Card Text||Quantity|
|Peaceful Death||The King dies in his sleep.||4|
|Accidental Death||Kill any man during a hunting accident.||6|
|Assassination||Kill the King and promote the Lord of your choice.||3|
|Barbarians!||Kill the Master-at-arms of a Castle and discard its top Defence card.||3|
|Plague||Kill any two men of one Castle and discard the top Domain card.||3|
|Lucky Escape||Save any man from death.||4|
|Financial Scandal||Kill a Seneshal and discard his Castle's top Prestige card.||3|
|Unlucky Fall||Kill any Lord as he fall down the stairs of his Castle.||3|
|Vanishings||Kill all men in one Castle, as they vanish without trace one night.||2|
|Domain - 1||Village||3|
|Domain - 2||Town||2|
|Domain - 3||City||2|
|Prestige - 1||Known||3|
|Prestige - 2||Recognised||2|
|Prestige - 3||Famed||2|
|Defence - 1||Keep||3|
|Defence - 2||Walls||2|
|Defence - 3||Towers||2|
|Protracted Siege||Remove all Domain levels from a Castle.||1|
|Weak Administration||Remove all Prestige levels from a Castle.||1|
|Time of Peace||Remove all Defence levels from a Castle||1|
|Incompetent Lord||Remove the top levels of each attribute from a Castle.||1|
|Timely Repairs||Recover any discarded level card and play it on a Castle.||3|
|Not That Bad||Prevent the discard of any level card.||3|
|State of Disrepair||Remove the top level of any attribute card from a Castle.||2|
|Lazy Defence||Remove the top level Defence card from a Castle.||2|
|Shrinking Domain||Remove the top level Domain card from a Castle.||2|
|Losing Influence||Remove the top level Prestige card from a Castle.||2|
|Sudden Changes||Draw two cards, and play them immediately.||2|
|Unexpected Loss||Pick a player, they disacrd a card at random.||2|
|Targeted Theft||Take a card at random from a player. Then play another card.||2|
|Recycle||Swap this card for a card from the discard pile||2|