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My run for the Dice: Nobleman

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Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
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Joined: 07/26/2008

Early this past November I read the Hippodice thread. I got excited and decided that I wanted to try and have a submission ready for next November. The following game is what I have so far.

We have started to build it up and will begin to play test it soon.

At the end of the write-up I have some thoughts and questions. I think in time I can work them out but I would love to hear any input any one would like to provide. Any other thoughts are also very welcome.

Thanks in advance for your time.
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Nobleman
By Dwight Sullivan and Mark Galvez
With historical help from Anna Sullivan
Last updated: 12/14/05

Setting:
It’s the mid-sixteenth century England. You are the head of an old and noble English family. Queen Elizabeth I is recently on the throne. The State is shaky at best and many powers throughout Europe, including you, believe that there are opportunities to be had.

In this game you will grow your family’s empire, earn the queens favor, bear witness to scandalous behavior, and donate to the church to gain influence, all in an effort to insure your family’s rightful place in history.

Overview:
You will play the head of one of four families: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. The winner is the player with best family name at the end of the game.

Parts:
1 church coffers board. The board has an area to donate pounds to the church per family. It also has a central area where players will put money from when they purchase churches.

Land Tiles
• 24 Clearings.This is where players can put their castles, palaces, and churches.
• 64 Forest. Forest help to fill out the estates giving the player victory points.
• 12 Lakes. Lakes give a player more votes.
• 24 Farms. Farms give the player money.

These are also known as Manors.
12 Castles.
6 Palaces.

12 Churches

12 Sheep

4 family shields: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. These will conceal your family’s private holdings such as your pounds, victory points, scandal cards and more. These shields have a summary of the game play and the actions you can do. It will also a have history of the family you are.

Title signs hang on the shields and give extra abilities.
4 Barron signs
3 Count signs
2 Duke signs
1 Earl sign

1 Queen’s crown. The player with this is the current player with the Queens favor.

1 Magistrate Marker. This will indicate whose turn it is currently.

100s of pounds.

100s of victory points.

Deck of Scandal Cards. These will have flavor text with tidbits of history of the time.

24 Red Scandal beads.

Set up:
Place the church coffers in the center. Place the twelve churches on the spaces around the center coffer. 2 player game: Remove every other church.

Give each player a family screen. The screen is placed near you such that other players can not see behind it. 2 player game: players should choose families that are across from each other.

Give each player one clearing tile and one Castle to go on it.

Each player will now build their initial estate. Mix all the tiles face down and then in a pile turn 4 face-up per player. Choose on person to go first and in turn each player will choose one tile, from the face up tiles, and add it to their estate. Give the Magistrate Marker to the last player to place a tile. All players should have 5 tile estates.

From the remaining land tiles, turn 6 tiles face-up. These will seed the auctions and give some insight to what tiles will be available.

Each player gets 20 pounds to start. They are placed behind the screen. Place the remaining pounds near the board. This forms the bank.

Put the Queens crown and every thing else near the bank.

Game Play Summary:
The game play happens in rounds. Each round has three phases:
1. Pounds. Players get money.
2. Magistrate. Players take their turn being the Magistrate controlling the auction and actions.
3. Taxes. Players pay taxes for the castles and palaces they have.
This repeats until the game is over.

PHASE ONE – Pounds
Each player gets six pounds for each castle and ten pounds for each palace. If you are the Barron you get 1 more pound per castle or Palace (Manor).

Also you get pounds for farms if the farms are in groups of three or more. If the entire group is on the interior of your estate, meaning none are on the edge, you then get 3 pounds per farm tile and 5 pounds for a sheep. If one or more farms tiles are on the edge then the group scores two pounds per farm and two pounds per sheep. If you are the Barron then you get one more pound per farm or sheep.

PHASE TWO – Magistrate
Each player in turn will be the Magistrate. As the Magistrate you will start an Auction and then be the first to take an Action. All other players will also take one action in turn clockwise from the Magistrate. Then the Magistrate Marker passes to the left. When each player has been the Magistrate the phase ends. The last person will be the first person next round. When the magistrate marker moves to you and you have the queens favor you get 1 Victory Point from the bank.

Auction:
The Magistrate makes sure there are 6 face-up tiles. Then he places next to them 1 castle, 1 sheep, and the deck of scandal cards. These are all the items for this auction.

During the auction each player will get one chance to either buy an item or pass. The Magistrate selects one item and the starting price. He pays that price, takes the item, and immediately places it where it goes. The next player has to select a price that is at least one more pound for an item or pass. This continues until all players have taken an item or passed.

If you bought a land tile (Clearing, Forest, Lake, or Farm) you have to add it to your estates. The land tile has to “connect” with any other land tile of your estate.

If you bought a Castle it goes on any clearing land tile you already have. You can not place a castle next to another castle or palace.

If you bought a sheep you can place the sheep on any group of farms that doesn’t already have a sheep. You can have only one sheep per group of farms.

If you bought a scandal card you can look at the top three cards and choose one. If you have influence over the church (have more money donated than in the center coffers) you can look at the top 5 cards. Take one card. All remaining cards are put on the bottom of the scandal deck in any order. Only one scandal card can be bought per auction. When someone buys one mark the deck with a scandal bead. Scandal cards can be concealed behind the players screen and played as directed by that card.

Action:
During the action phase ALL players in turn starting with the Magistrate take ONE action:
• Upgrade a Castle to a Palace and get the queens favor.
• Buy a church
• Donate money to the church
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Buy a random Tile.
• Play a Tile from behind your screen.
• Take one pound from the bank
• Call for a vote to have a scoring round, Change the titles, or end the game.

Upgrade Castle to a Palace:
A player can spend 5 pounds and replace a castle with a Palace if there are Palaces left. The castle returns to the bank to be bought in an auction. You instantly receive the Queens Crown showing you have the Queen's Favor.

Buy a Church:
A player can buy a church if there is one left to buy. You take the next church in order, pay in pounds the amount under the church, and place the church on any open clearing of your estate. The money goes into the central coffers.

Donate money to the church:
You can put as much money as you want into the coffers that has your family name. If you have more money in your coffers than in the central coffers you have influence over the church.

    Influence over the church: You can look at 5 scandal cards instead of 3 when you are buying a scandal card.
    (I want Influence over the church to do be more powerful)
Play a scandal card: You can play a scandal card that requires playing during your action. Any time you play a scandal card you have to put a scandal bead near one of your Manors.

Buy a random Tile:
You can buy a random land tile and then store it behind your screen. Tiles cost 3 pounds.

Play a tile from behind your screen:
You can play a tile from behind your screen.

Take one pound from the bank:
You can take one pound from the bank.

Call for a vote:
You can call for a vote. There are 3 issues you can vote for: you can call a vote to change some or all of player’s tiles; you can call for a vote to have a scoring round; you can call for a vote to end the game.

    Change Titles: You purpose to the other players some new arrangement of titles that players would have. IE: player one is a Barron, player 2 is a Count, and player 3 will be an Earl. Once all understand the purposed new arrangement all players add up their votes and cast them. If the vote passes then the players will have the new arrangement of titles. There are four titles; Barron, Count, Duke, and Earl. • The Barron gives more money during the Pounds phase. You get 1 more pound per castle or Palace (Manor) and one more per sheep.
    • The Count gives ?
    • The Duke gives ?
    • The Earl gives ?
    (I feel none of these should give votes because you then making it easier to keep the title you have or control the titles)

Scoring round: You purpose their will be a scoring round. If the vote passes a scoring round happens then play continues. (Not sure about this)

End the game: You purpose that everyone does one last scoring round and then end the game. If the vote passes a scoring round happens then players add up all their victory points to see who wins. The game ends. (Not sure about this) When adding up your votes; you get one vote if you have the queen’s favor, you get one for each castle, one for each lake, and two for each palace, your title may also give one or more votes. You can also discard any scandal card you have for one vote each returning them to the scandal deck.

PHASE THREE – Taxes
Each player starting with the current Magistrate pays taxes to the bank. You have to pay 3 pounds for each Castle and 6 for each Palace.

If you can not pay your taxes you must return land and or manors to the bank. You have to return one land for each pound, 1 castle for each 3 pounds, or 1 palace for each 6 pounds owed. You can not take land, castles, or palaces from the center of your estate. You have to take from the edge.

Game End:
Each player does a scoring round then adds up their total score.

Scoring Round:
When it is your turn to score you can take up to 3 tiles from behind your screen and add it to your estates. Then you can do your Ring Scoring.

Ring scoring:
You score each Manor (Castle or Palace) one at a time. A ring is a complete set of tiles surrounding the Manor that makes a square and doesn’t contain another manor.

The first ring equals 1 VP plus 1 VP per church in the ring. The second ring is worth 2 VPs plus 1 VP per church. The third ring is worth 3 VPs plus 1 VP per church and so on.

Note - a church can score for more than one manor.

You stop scoring rings for a manor when you run out of complete rings or you come to another Manor.

Add up all the scores for each manor and this is your total Ring score. Take victory points from the bank equal to your ring score and add it to your other victory points. Also take from the bank any victory points you may receive for your title.

Winner:
Add up all your victory points. Add to it any Victory points you may have from scandal cards. This is your total victory points.

The winner is the player with the most victory points.

Glossary:

Influence over the church –
You have influence over the church any time you have more money in your family coffers than the church has in the center coffers. You can add money to your coffers during your turn donating money to the church.

If you have Influence over the church you can look at 5 scandal cards instead of 3 when purchasing one during the auction.

Queen’s Favor – You have the queen’s favor if you have the crown next to your screen. The Crown begins the game in center and no one has it. You get the crown when you upgrade a castle to a palace. Only player can have the queen’s favor at a time.

If you have the queen’s favor you receive one victory point each time you are you are the Magistrate. You also get one extra vote when you have the queen’s favor.

FAQ
Churches:
• A church can score for more than one manor during a scoring round.

Auction:
• When each new auction begins there should be 6 land tiles.
• Lands tiles and sheep have to immediately be placed once purchased. Scandal cards should go behind your screen.

Castles:
• You can not place a castle next to another castle or palace.

Questions I have:
1. What should the titles give?
o I think it is fine that they give extra money, victory points, or other stuff but it would be neat if they were part o some new game all to there own.
o They should not give extra votes because it would make it easy be broken.

2. What should influence over the church give?
o Like Titles I think it would be better if this gave something new but for now extra scandal card choices might be worthwhile.

3. What should queen’s favor give?
o I think it should give a vote and victory points but would not be opposed to it giving more or doing more.
o Not sure upgrading a palace is the best but it has good qualities. It will not be that often yet anyone can do it.

4. What should scandal beads take?
o No idea here. They could cost more taxes maybe.

5. What should the scandal cards do?
o As a plan B they will trump the rules and allow players to stop other from doing actions.
o Plan A ideally would be part of this sub game that doesn’t exist yet. Titles, church influences and scandal cards would be part of it.

6. Should votes just be for changing titles?
o If so then what how should decide scoring rounds and the end of the game?
o I personal wish voting was only about titles and something better controlled the flow of the game from scoring round to scoring round to end of the game.
o Although I do love the freshness of putting these big decisions in the hands of the player. I just think it needs to be a bit more structured forcing a scoring round if not decided ahead of time.

[/][/]
Gogolski
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Joined: 07/28/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

This sounds very good! (...or at least very promissing!) I agree that the title-thing should be some kind of sub-game. A struggle for powers for the family (= different player-powers.)

As I began writing this post, I had the need to introduce an extra phase to the game to make some of my ideas work. I don't know if it is what you are looking for, but it might help you on your way. (The extra phase is an action-phase that fits between the magistrate-phase and the tax-phase. In this phase, every player takes two actions. See further below...)

I'll just try to answer the questions...

Quote:
1. What should the titles give?
o I think it is fine that they give extra money, victory points, or other stuff but it would be neat if they were part o some new game all to there own.
o They should not give extra votes because it would make it easy be broken.
If you want the titles to be part of a subgame, then I think they should also determine the order of play.
As it stands now, each player in turn is the magistrate and does the auction-thing folowed by an action. (Did I get this right?) The last player would benefit greatly to upgrade a castle to a palace, as he will be the next to be magistrate and receive an extra VP and an extra vote (if his action is a voting round).

=> You could have one title (the earl for example) determine the playing order to eliminate this and have other tactics. At the beginning of a round, he hands out a token to each family, with the number of their playing order.
This calls for more distinction between game and subgame however. You could make every player decide one or two actions after everybody has been the magistrate. (Let's call it the action-phase...) Maybe you could split up the actions:
1] actions to take when you are the magistrate:
• Upgrade a Castle to a Palace and get the queens favor.
• Buy a church
• Donate money to the church
• Buy a random Tile.
• Take one pound from the bank
2] actions to take after everybody has been the magistrate (before taxes)
• Buy a church
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Play a Tile from behind your screen.
• Take one pound from the bank
• Call for a vote to have a scoring round, Change the titles, or end the game.

Other title-powers:
=> Take one extra scandal card (three if you have "influence ove the church") from the scandal deck to choose from when buying a scandal. When you discard the cards that you did not choose, you may put cards on top of the deck, as well as under the deck.

=> Execute scandal cards for less scandal-beads (or less VP): [I will elaborate later about having to pay VP's to put a scandal-card in a family...]

=> Maybe one of the titles can not buy or play scandal-cards.

Quote:
2. What should influence over the church give?
o Like Titles I think it would be better if this gave something new but for now extra scandal card choices might be worthwhile.
I think this is fine. With the actions devided like I proposed, you can only donate if you are the magistrate, but you can buy churches both when you are the magistrate and in the action-phase after the magistrate-phase. This is to make sure that players donate huge amounts of money to make sure they still have'll have "Influence over the church" after the action round and cripples them a bit if they want to buy something.

Also, "Influence over the church" give you an advantage when buying scandal cards. Maybe you can not play scandal cards as long as you have "Influence over the church".

Quote:
3. What should queen’s favor give?
o I think it should give a vote and victory points but would not be opposed to it giving more or doing more.
o Not sure upgrading a palace is the best but it has good qualities. It will not be that often yet anyone can do it.
I think this is fine too, but maybe it could be more than one vote. Something like one vote plus one extra vote for every palace you have. (...or one extra vote for every two manors you have. This makes building castles more interesting after all palaces are depleted) It would spice it up and make it realy worthwhile to have the queen's favor...

Also, you get extra votes, so you may not be the one that calls for a redistribution of the titles.

Quote:
4. What should scandal beads take?
o No idea here. They could cost more taxes maybe.
I supose that scandal cards put other families in disgrace, sometimes so you can have an advantage. (What else could they be??) Maybe every scandal played costs you a number of VP's at the end of the game.
As the scandal beads are placed near a manor (on a tile, I supose), there is a limited number of scandals you can play. (One bead for each castle or palace, and some scandals may have a price of more than one scandal bead.) I like this very much. Scandals should realy alter the game or the player powers but they should realy be costly to the one playing them too, I think. (substract 10 or 20 VP for every scandal bead on your board at the end of the game or something...)

Quote:
5. What should the scandal cards do?
o As a plan B they will trump the rules and allow players to stop other from doing actions.
o Plan A ideally would be part of this sub game that doesn’t exist yet. Titles, church influences and scandal cards would be part of it.
Just a couple of ideas (Note: "the scandaled family" is the family against which a scandal card is played.):
=> Bribery: Every round the scandaled family pays X pounds to stiffle the news of their bastard heir. If they refuse to do so, they will skip a complete round (except for taxes, héhéhé...) first and have minus two votes till the end of the game. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 20VP = place two scandal beads)
=> Murder for money: The scandaled family has assassinated a son in law and a new mariage for their doughter is arranged giving that family 30 pounds. That family can no longer be the baron during this game. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 20VP = place two scandal beads)
=> Broke: The scandaled family has gone bankrupt. Next round, they skip the pound-phase and the magistate-phase. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 10VP = place one scandal bead)
=> Blahblah...
Another thought for scandals is that some scandals are played against a family, and they stick with that family for the duration of the scandal. Other scandal-cards could be played against a title, so that the card is discarded if the title of the scandaled family changes. A family with such a card would be glad to propose a change of title, but voting would be strongly influenced by some families wanting certain scandal cards to stay in play...

Quote:
6. Should votes just be for changing titles?
o If so then what how should decide scoring rounds and the end of the game?
o I personal wish voting was only about titles and something better controlled the flow of the game from scoring round to scoring round to end of the game.
o Although I do love the freshness of putting these big decisions in the hands of the player. I just think it needs to be a bit more structured forcing a scoring round if not decided ahead of time.
I don't think that the end of a game should be voted for. Maybe the game ends after the round in which the last manor is build. You can still predict a little if the end is near or not...
As for scoring rounds: I'd say every player can (not must!) decide one scoring-round. Have this as an action to be taken in the action-phase. I don't think voting has a place here. With this mechanic, you don't realy know how much scoring rounds there will be or when. There could even be two scoring-rounds in one round. I kind of like that too.

About the proposed action-phase:
=> Every player decides his two actions secretly at the same time. (Use an action dial as in 'Maharadja' or 'El grande') Players reveal and execute their chosen actions when it's their turn (determined by the player who has the determine-order-of-play-title.

About voting:
Every round, only one player can call for a vote to change titles. If another player has chosen the same action in the same round, that player has one less action.
To vote:
=> Players first vote for "the baron" title. You take a number of your votes (zero up to all of your votes) and the name of one family (another family or your own) that gets these votes for "the baron". Players simultaniously reveal their votes. The player with the most votes is the baron. (I case of a tie, the player with less scandal-beads on his estates wins, in case of a tie, both players bid for being the baron. (In case nobody used a vote, the player with least scandal beads is the baron, etc...)
=> Players then vote for "the count" title. Same procedure, only you may have less votes if you casted votes for the baron-title. Also, one family can not be voted on, as they are the baron. In case of a tie, same procedure...
=> Players then vote for the duke (and thus automaticly for the earl too). Rince and repeat, you know the drill by now.
NOTE: You are voting, so it is obvious that you may bribe other families. You can call out that you will pay 5 pounds for every vote to be count that goes your way. You can pay ahead or after voting and of course, players have the option to skip their part of the deal, and make an enemy...

Well, just ideas... Your game idea made for an inspiring read! Just ask if you don't understand some of the ideas...

Cheese!

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
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Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Gogolski,

WOW... I guess I should be careful what I ask for.

It will take me a bit to read and think about your post before I can make a good reply so I just wanted to say thank you now and that I will reply soon.

You did more analyzing in a few minutes than I did in a few days. Thanks.

Cheese!

Deviant
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

I have been AWOL for a long time, I know. Now that I'm on break I will be able to contribute more fully to the BGDF.

Thoughts:

1. "Influence over the Church" seems a little weak. Perhaps it could give you some other power? Like immunity from scandal (the Church acting in your defense), cheaper churches, or some such thing.

2. It strikes me that once the palace tiles are depleted the last player to upgrade will perpetually have the Queen's favor. There should be another way to gain her favor, or to steal it from another player. Through scandal, perhaps? Or by finishing a "ring" around one of your palaces?

3. Each scandal bead could cost you 3 pounds per round, as a sort of "corruption tax". Over the course of the game these scandals culd become expensive. One of the titles would erase these beads from your family. Not the scandals, necessarily.

4. If a family goes bankrupt (runs out of pounds) what will be the result? Are they eliminated, or can they sell off their assets for quick cash? If their financial situation is hopeless, can they take a loan for a VP penalty? One VP per pound, say?

5. Who would vote to end the game knowing that they will not win? There will always be players who count every point and know exactly how many VP every player has.

There are many good ideas in your model, Xaquery! The devil's in the details. With a little more fleshing out and balancing, I think this is the sort of game I would like to buy!

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Gogolski, I finaly have time to respond.

Gogolski wrote:
This sounds very good! (...or at least very promissing!)

Thanks. I think it has promise too.

Quote:

Quote:
1. What should the titles give?
o I think it is fine that they give extra money, victory points, or other stuff but it would be neat if they were part o some new game all to there own.
o They should not give extra votes because it would make it easy be broken.
If you want the titles to be part of a subgame, then I think they should also determine the order of play.
As it stands now, each player in turn is the magistrate and does the auction-thing folowed by an action. (Did I get this right?) The last player would benefit greatly to upgrade a castle to a palace, as he will be the next to be magistrate and receive an extra VP and an extra vote (if his action is a voting round).

I dont think you have this quite right. Upgrading to a palace gives the Queen's Favor and has nothing to do with turn order. More on this below.

Quote:

=> You could have one title (the earl for example) determine the playing order to eliminate this and have other tactics. At the beginning of a round, he hands out a token to each family, with the number of their playing order.

I love this idea but it presumes that he earl is always in play. yesterday the titles were not in play until they were voted on. but this could change. Maybe there are exactly 1 of each title and each player always has a title.

Quote:

This calls for more distinction between game and subgame however. You could make every player decide one or two actions after everybody has been the magistrate. (Let's call it the action-phase...) Maybe you could split up the actions:
1] actions to take when you are the magistrate:
• Upgrade a Castle to a Palace and get the queens favor.
• Buy a church
• Donate money to the church
• Buy a random Tile.
• Take one pound from the bank
2] actions to take after everybody has been the magistrate (before taxes)
• Buy a church
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Play a Tile from behind your screen.
• Take one pound from the bank
• Call for a vote to have a scoring round, Change the titles, or end the game.

I dont understand how having another Action phase creates a sub-game.

I will try and explain how it worked yesterday. During the Magistrate phase everyone is the magistrate once. Each time the magistrate marker moves the new magistrate starts an auction round and then ALL players take one action.

So the ratio is one chance to improve your estate then one action. When this is done once for each player the phase ends. is this what you thought?

Quote:

Other title-powers:
=> Take one extra scandal card (three if you have "influence ove the church") from the scandal deck to choose from when buying a scandal. When you discard the cards that you did not choose, you may put cards on top of the deck, as well as under the deck.

=> Execute scandal cards for less scandal-beads (or less VP): [I will elaborate later about having to pay VP's to put a scandal-card in a family...]

=> Maybe one of the titles can not buy or play scandal-cards.

These are good ideas.

Quote:

Quote:
2. What should influence over the church give?
o Like Titles I think it would be better if this gave something new but for now extra scandal card choices might be worthwhile.
I think this is fine. With the actions devided like I proposed, you can only donate if you are the magistrate, but you can buy churches both when you are the magistrate and in the action-phase after the magistrate-phase. This is to make sure that players donate huge amounts of money to make sure they still have'll have "Influence over the church" after the action round and cripples them a bit if they want to buy something.

I like this part of your idea. I want them to do exactly that. To think about how much to donate.

Quote:

Also, "Influence over the church" give you an advantage when buying scandal cards. Maybe you can not play scandal cards as long as you have "Influence over the church".

I think it would feel bad to be able to get more powerful cards and then not be able to play them.

Quote:

Quote:
3. What should queen’s favor give?
o I think it should give a vote and victory points but would not be opposed to it giving more or doing more.
o Not sure upgrading a palace is the best but it has good qualities. It will not be that often yet anyone can do it.
I think this is fine too, but maybe it could be more than one vote. Something like one vote plus one extra vote for every palace you have. (...or one extra vote for every two manors you have. This makes building castles more interesting after all palaces are depleted) It would spice it up and make it realy worthwhile to have the queen's favor...

Also, you get extra votes, so you may not be the one that calls for a redistribution of the titles.

I love the idea of adding more votes as a function of palaces. Anytime I can add more detail for free I will probably take it.

Quote:

Just a couple of ideas (Note: "the scandaled family" is the family against which a scandal card is played.):
=> Bribery: Every round the scandaled family pays X pounds to stiffle the news of their bastard heir. If they refuse to do so, they will skip a complete round (except for taxes, héhéhé...) first and have minus two votes till the end of the game. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 20VP = place two scandal beads)
=> Murder for money: The scandaled family has assassinated a son in law and a new mariage for their doughter is arranged giving that family 30 pounds. That family can no longer be the baron during this game. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 20VP = place two scandal beads)
=> Broke: The scandaled family has gone bankrupt. Next round, they skip the pound-phase and the magistate-phase. (played as an action in the action-phase. cost: 10VP = place one scandal bead)
=> Blahblah...
Another thought for scandals is that some scandals are played against a family, and they stick with that family for the duration of the scandal. Other scandal-cards could be played against a title, so that the card is discarded if the title of the scandaled family changes. A family with such a card would be glad to propose a change of title, but voting would be strongly influenced by some families wanting certain scandal cards to stay in play...

I really like the direction you are going with the strength of the scandal cards. very powerful and very limited and or costly.

Quote:

Quote:
6. Should votes just be for changing titles?
o If so then what how should decide scoring rounds and the end of the game?
o I personal wish voting was only about titles and something better controlled the flow of the game from scoring round to scoring round to end of the game.
o Although I do love the freshness of putting these big decisions in the hands of the player. I just think it needs to be a bit more structured forcing a scoring round if not decided ahead of time.
I don't think that the end of a game should be voted for. Maybe the game ends after the round in which the last manor is build. You can still predict a little if the end is near or not...
As for scoring rounds: I'd say every player can (not must!) decide one scoring-round. Have this as an action to be taken in the action-phase. I don't think voting has a place here. With this mechanic, you don't realy know how much scoring rounds there will be or when. There could even be two scoring-rounds in one round. I kind of like that too.

An earlier set of rules involved each player getting sort-of coupons that alloud him once per game to do things like start a scoring round, start an auction ect. I think I could go back to this for the scoring round. Each player gets a scoreing round coupon and can play it as an action.

Then, maybe, the last player to use their scoring coupon ends the game but I dont think I like it.

Quote:

About the proposed action-phase:
=> Every player decides his two actions secretly at the same time. (Use an action dial as in 'Maharadja' or 'El grande') Players reveal and execute their chosen actions when it's their turn (determined by the player who has the determine-order-of-play-title.

About voting:
Every round, only one player can call for a vote to change titles. If another player has chosen the same action in the same round, that player has one less action.
To vote:
=> Players first vote for "the baron" title. You take a number of your votes (zero up to all of your votes) and the name of one family (another family or your own) that gets these votes for "the baron". Players simultaniously reveal their votes. The player with the most votes is the baron. (I case of a tie, the player with less scandal-beads on his estates wins, in case of a tie, both players bid for being the baron. (In case nobody used a vote, the player with least scandal beads is the baron, etc...)
=> Players then vote for "the count" title. Same procedure, only you may have less votes if you casted votes for the baron-title. Also, one family can not be voted on, as they are the baron. In case of a tie, same procedure...
=> Players then vote for the duke (and thus automaticly for the earl too). Rince and repeat, you know the drill by now.
NOTE: You are voting, so it is obvious that you may bribe other families. You can call out that you will pay 5 pounds for every vote to be count that goes your way. You can pay ahead or after voting and of course, players have the option to skip their part of the deal, and make an enemy...

I have to think more about the extra action phase. Not sure what it buys. I do like the bidding for titles. Maybe this is part of SET-UP to determine the intial state of the Titles. This way there is always a Earl and therefore always someone that controls the flow.

And I love the bribing idea. It was not obvious enough for me!

Thanks again for your help. You have already spawned good disscussions between Mark and I at lunch.

Cheese!

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Thanks Deviant for your time. You have some good ideas.

Deviant wrote:

1. "Influence over the Church" seems a little weak. Perhaps it could give you some other power? Like immunity from scandal (the Church acting in your defense), cheaper churches, or some such thing.

maybe it could offer some protection from scandal cards played against you. Like the player has to pay some fee before h can play it. Also if they also have influence then you are not safe.

Deviant wrote:

2. It strikes me that once the palace tiles are depleted the last player to upgrade will perpetually have the Queen's favor. There should be another way to gain her favor, or to steal it from another player. Through scandal, perhaps? Or by finishing a "ring" around one of your palaces?

Good point! I guess I invisioned the game would soon end or would hav ended first. but I do need other ways to steal the favor. This will be tough because it needs to be not too easy to steal.

Deviant wrote:

3. Each scandal bead could cost you 3 pounds per round, as a sort of "corruption tax". Over the course of the game these scandals culd become expensive. One of the titles would erase these beads from your family. Not the scandals, necessarily.

I agree scandal beads will be costly. The curent thought as of lunch today is that you can place the beads on any tile but it nullifies that tile of what ever effcts it has. Once a scoring round comes they are removed.

Deviant wrote:

4. If a family goes bankrupt (runs out of pounds) what will be the result? Are they eliminated, or can they sell off their assets for quick cash? If their financial situation is hopeless, can they take a loan for a VP penalty? One VP per pound, say?

At the begining of each round all players get more money. And as an action inthe middle of a round you can use an action to get money.

Deviant wrote:

5. Who would vote to end the game knowing that they will not win? There will always be players who count every point and know exactly how many VP every player has.

Some scandal cards give Victory Points that are used at the end of the game. But everyone is leaning toward not leting the players vote to end the game.

Deviant wrote:

There are many good ideas in your model, Xaquery! The devil's in the details. With a little more fleshing out and balancing, I think this is the sort of game I would like to buy!

Thanks. I agree completly about the details but its the details that are fun too!

Please send me your money and I will get one over to you! :P

- Dwight

Gogolski
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Joined: 07/28/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Quote:
I dont understand how having another Action phase creates a sub-game.

I will try and explain how it worked yesterday. During the Magistrate phase everyone is the magistrate once. Each time the magistrate marker moves the new magistrate starts an auction round and then ALL players take one action.

So the ratio is one chance to improve your estate then one action. When this is done once for each player the phase ends. is this what you thought?
Well, I did not get it right. I thought that each player was magistrate and started an auction after which he made an action and then it was the next player's turn. This would mean a lot less actions in a round.

Limiting the action-options while being magistrate to spending money (unless you go for one pound) and adding an action round with two actions per player (amongst them the scandal and vote actions) would bring you closer to a subgame as the actions promote the power-struggle (title stuggle).

Quote:
I love this idea but it presumes that he earl is always in play.
I thought all the titles were in play all the time and that calling a vote meant changing the titles.

I think these two misunderstandings will explain some of the ideas/proposals I made.

Off to bed now...

Cheese!

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
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Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

I thought I would update this thread for anyone interested.

From the great help I got here and elsewhere the game evolved a bit.

One major improvement was I figured out what I wanted Influence over the church to do. It is a threshold that allows you to have more action choices. I moved two actions to the must have influence side of the tracks: Voting, and playing scandal cards.

Then we play tested it.

The play testers said it was fun. I think it has some promise but things were clearly wrong.

• The biggest problem was the amount of money paid for the churches made it hard to maintain influence over the church. Therefore we didn’t see much voting or scandal card playing.
• It was too hard to get 3 farms
• It was silly to have a taxes phase followed by get money phase.
• The bidding pool of tiles became stagnate.

So I have made lots of changes. Some are more drastic than others.

Here are highlights of the changes:

- I changed the center board to have a lower church cost. I also just printed on the board how much influence cost on the fly. So now it will be less confusing and more importantly it will be easier to have influence over the church.

- I have added more actions you can do if you have Influence.

- We changed the farm group minimum size from 3 to 2.

- Also we changed the set-up of the tiles increasing what the player’s initial estate size. It was more fun to have larger estates.

- I changed it so that Castles and Farms give money, Lakes and Palaces give Votes and only lakes and Palaces are taxed.

- I did some research and learned that the Title names I had were not quite right and that there were 5 flavors of titles. So we have fixed that and added a title.

- Changed the beginning of the bidding round so that all 6 tiles are new and fresh giving players a better chance of getting the tile they are looking for.

- I removed the Bankrupt Scandal card. It was too direct.

- We want to do more with the land tiles and have them be more flowing. So I have added Masquerade Ball as an action that uses the land tiles. We also added a scandal card called Cathedral where the players add land tiles to build a cathedral.

Please let me know what you think about anything you see or think you see : - >

Thank you for your time.

- Dwight

--------------------------------------------------------
Nobleman
By Dwight Sullivan and Mark Galvez
With historical help from Anna Sullivan
Last updated: 1/22/05

Setting:
It’s the mid-sixteenth century England. You are the head of an old and noble family. Queen Elizabeth I is recently on the throne. The State is shaky at best and many powers throughout Europe, including you, believe that there are opportunities to be had.

Overview:
In this game you will grow your family’s empire, earn the queens favor, bear witness to scandalous behavior, and donate to the church to gain influence, all in an effort to insure your family’s rightful place in history.

You will play the head of one of four families: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. The winner is the player with best family name at the end of the game.

Contents:
1 - Church coffers board. The board has an area to donate pounds to the church per family. It also is the starting place for the churches and shows how much money is needed to have influence.

120 - Land Tiles
• 28 Clearings. This is where players can put their castles, palaces, and churches.
• 40 Forest. Forest help to fill out the estates giving the player victory points.
• 22 Lakes. Lakes give a player more votes.
• 30 Farms. Farms give the player money.

12 - Castles. These are also known as Manors.
6 - Palaces. These are also known as Manors.
12 - Churches
12 – Sheep

4 - Family shields: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. These will conceal your family’s private holdings such as your pounds, victory points, scandal cards and land tiles. These shields have a summary of the game play and the actions you can do. It also a has history of the family you are.

4 - Title signs; 1 Baron, 1 Count, 1 Duke, and 1 Earl. These hang on the shields and give extra abilities.

1 - Queen’s crown. The player with this is the current player with the
Queens favor.

1 - Magistrate Marker. This will indicate whose turn it is currently.

100s - Pounds.

100s - Victory points. These represent your family name.

1 - Deck of Scandal Cards. These will have flavor text with tidbits of history of the time. (See GLOSARY: For details)

24 - Red Scandal beads.

Set up:
Place the church coffers in the center. Place the twelve churches on the spaces around the center coffer. 2 player game: Remove every other church. 3 player game: remove every 3rd church.

Give each player a family screen. The screen is placed near you such that other players can not see behind it.

Give each player one of each type of land tile; clearing, forest, lake, and farm. They can arrange these anyway they want as long as they all connect. Also give them one Castle to go on the clearing.

Mix all the tiles face down and give each player 7 tiles at random to put behind their screens.

Turn 6 tiles face-up and place them near the coffers board. These will seed the bidding rounds giving some insight to what tiles will be available first.

Each player will now build their initial estate. Choose one person to go first and in turn each player will choose one tile from behind their screen and add it to their estate. Give the Magistrate Marker to the last player to place a tile. All players should have 8 tile estates.

Each player gets 12 pounds to start. They are placed behind the screen. Place the remaining pounds near the board. This forms the bank.

Put the Queens crown and every thing else near the bank.

Game Play Summary:
The game play happens in five phases that repeat:
1. Book-keeping - The Magistrate takes care of any special rules.
2. Pounds - The Magistrate gets money.
3. Bidding round - The Magistrate begins a round of purchasing items.
4. Action round - The Magistrate starts an action round.
5. Taxes - The Magistrate pays taxes then moves the Magistrate marker to the player on their left. If the last church was bought in a half there is a scoring round.

The game ends after the second scoring round. The player with the most Victory Points wins. If there is a tie the one with the most money breaks the tie.

PHASE ONE – Book- Keeping
In this phase the player has to do anything the Magistrate needs to do every time they are the Magistrate.

If you have the Queens Favor you get one victory point.

If there is a Cathedral in play you can play land tiles on it.

If you have a blackmail card played against you, you have to pay 2 pounds on it.

If you have influence over the church you may take one pound from each blackmail card in play that has money on it.

PHASE TWO – Pounds
The Magistrate gets three pounds for each castle. If you are the Baron you get 1 more pound per castle.

Also you get pounds for farms if the farms are in groups of two or more. The group scores two pounds per farm and 2 pounds for a sheep. If you are the Baron then you get one more pound per farm or sheep.

PHASE THREE – Bidding round
The Magistrate places 6 new face-up tiles. The old tiles are placed in a discard pile. Then he places next to them 1 castle, 1 sheep, and the deck of scandal cards. These are all the items to be auctioned.

During the bidding each player will get one chance to either buy an item or pass. The Magistrate selects one item and the starting price. He pays that price, takes the item, and immediately places it where it goes. The next player has to select a price that is at least one more pound for an item or pass. This continues until all players have taken an item or passed.

If you bought a land tile (Clearing, Forest, Lake, or Farm) you have to add it to your estate. The land tile has to “connect” with any other land tile of your estate.

If you bought a Castle it goes on any clearing land tile you already have. You can not place a castle next to another castle or palace.

If you bought a sheep you can place the sheep on any group of farms that doesn’t already have a sheep. You can have only one sheep per group of farms.

If you bought a scandal card you can look at the top three cards and take one card. All remaining cards are put on the bottom of the scandal deck in any order. Only one scandal card can be bought per auction. Place a scandal bead on the deck to mark that it was used this round. Scandal cards can be concealed behind the players screen.

PHASE FOUR - Action round
During the action round ALL players in turn starting with the Magistrate take ONE action. If you have influence over the church you get additional choices of actions:
• Upgrade a Castle to a Palace and get the queens favor.
• Buy a church
• Donate money to the church
• Buy a random tile for two pounds.
• Play a Tile from behind your screen.
• Take two pounds from the bank

These actions can also be taken by a player with Influence over the church:
• Buy 2 random tiles for four pounds
• Play 2 tiles from behind your screen.
• Buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.
• Throw a Masquerade ball.
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Call for a vote to have to change the titles.

Upgrade Castle to a Palace:
A player can spend 5 pounds and replace a castle with a Palace if there are Palaces left. The castle returns to the bank to be bought in an auction. You instantly receive the Queens Crown showing you have the Queen’s Favor.

Buy a Church:
A player can buy a church if there is one left to buy. You take the next church in order, pay in pounds the amount under the church to the bank, and place the church on any open clearing of your estate.

Buy a random tile:
You can buy a random land tile and then store it behind your screen. You can but two tiles if you have Influence over the church. Tiles cost 2 pounds each.

Play a tile from behind your screen:
You can play a tile from behind your screen. You can play 2 tiles if you have influence over the church.

Take two pounds from the bank:
You can take two pounds from the bank.

Donate money to the church:
You can put as much money as you want into the coffers that has your family name.

If you have more money in your coffers than the number of pounds below the next church to be bought then you have influence over the church and have additional options when choosing which action to do.

These actions can only be taken by a player with Influence over the church:

Buy a Victory Point for 5 pounds:
You can buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.

Throw a Masquerade ball:
Each player puts zero or one land tile in their closed fist and holds it out until all players have done the same.
All players then reveal what they have in their hand. Players with zero tiles have opted not to play.
• If you are the only player to play you get 2 victory points from the bank and you can keep your land tile.
• If there is only one player to play a lake he gets all the land tiles played and 2 victory points.
• If no one played a lake then everyone that played gets 1 victory point and all the playied tiles go to the disguarded tiles.
• If everyone played a lake then no one wins and all lake tiles are put with the discarded tiles.

Play a scandal card:
You can play a scandal card that requires playing during your action. Any time you play a scandal card you have to put a scandal bead near one of your Manors. You can only play a scandal card if you have a manor without a bead.

Call for a vote:
You can call for a vote to change some or all of player’s titles.

To change titles you can first discuss with the other players what they might be amenable to. When ready you purpose to the other players some new arrangement of titles that players would have. IE: player 1 is a Baron, player 2 is a Viscount, and player 3 will be an Earl. Once all understand the purposed new arrangement all players add up their votes and cast them. If the vote passes then the players will have the new arrangement of titles.

There are five titles; Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron:
• The Duke pays one less during bidding round when buying an item.
• The Marquess allows you to take 2 actions per turn when you are the Magistrate.
• The Earl gets 3 extra Victory points during a Scoring round.
• The Viscount allows you to play scandal cards without playing a scandal bead. He also allows you to look at 5 scandal cards instead of 3 when buying one.
• The Baron gives more money during the Pounds phase. You get 1 more pound per castle, farm, and sheep.

When adding up your votes; you get one vote if you have the queen’s favor, one for each lake and two for each palace in play. You can also discard any scandal card you have for one vote each returning them to the bottom of the scandal deck. You can also discard three lakes from behind your screen for one vote.

PHASE FIVE – Taxes
The Magistrate pays taxes to the bank. You have to pay 5 pounds for each Palace and 1 pound for each lake..

You have to pay taxes from monies you have behind the screen or monies you have donated to the church or victory points where 1 victory point is worth 2 pounds.

If the last church of the first row was purchased during this Magistrate then all players do a scoring round. If the very last church was bought during this Magistrate then all players do a scoring round and the game ends.

Scoring Round:
During a scoring round you can take up to 3 tiles from behind your screen and add it to your estates. Then you can do your Ring Scoring. Then remove all your scandal beads from your manors forfeiting one Victory point per bead.

Ring scoring:
You score each Manor (Castle or Palace) one at a time. A ring is a complete set of tiles surrounding the Manor that makes a square and doesn’t contain another manor.

The first ring equals 2 VP plus 2 VP per church in the ring. The second ring is worth 3 VPs plus 3 VP per church. The third ring is worth 4 VPs plus 4 VP per church and so on.

Note - a church can score for more than one manor.

You stop scoring rings for a manor when you run out of complete rings or you come to another Manor.

Add up all the scores for each manor and this is your total Ring score. Take victory points from the bank equal to your ring score and add it to your other victory points.

Game End:
Each player does a scoring round then adds up all their victory points. Add to it any Victory points you may have from scandal cards. This is your total victory points.

The winner is the player with the most victory points.

Glossary:

Influence over the church –
You have influence over the church any time you have more money in your family coffers than the church has in the center coffers. You can add money to your coffers during your turn donating money to the church.

If you have Influence over the church you can take extra actions that you can’t take without it. The actions are:
• Buy 2 random tiles for four pounds
• Play 2 tiles from behind your screen.
• Buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.
• Throw a Masquerade ball.
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Call for a vote to have to change the titles.

Queen’s Favor –
You have the queen’s favor if you have the crown next to your screen. The Crown begins the game in center and no one has it. You get the crown when you upgrade a castle to a palace. You can also get the Queen’s Favor when from a scandal card. Only player can have the Queen’s Favor at a time.

If you have the Queen’s Favor you receive one victory point each time you are you are the Magistrate. You also get one extra vote.

Scandal Cards –
These are scandal cards:
• BLACKMAIL – The card is played against another player. Each time that player is Magistrate they have to pay 2 pounds to the card. The card goes away when a half is over. If any player has Influence over the church they can collect 1 pound from the card each time they are Magistrate.
• TREACHERY – The player gives 1 scandal bead to another player. Place the bead on an empty Manor.
• NO NAME 1 – Cards that take the Queen’s favor for the player.
• NO NAME 2 – Cards that give Victory Points at the end of the game.
• NO NAME 3 – Cards that give goals that then give things if the goals are completed. You play the card anytime you want as an action.
o If you have the most churches collect 1 Victory Point per 2 churches rounded down.
o If you have the most lakes collect 1 Victory Point per 2 lakes rounded down.
o If you have the most farm groups collect 1 Victory Point per 2 farm groups rounded down.
• WAR with SPAIN, SCOTLAND, or FRANCE: War cards replace old War cards. While a War card is in play each player has to put a victory point on it each time they want to do certain actions. When the war card has X Victory points on it, it will go away. The three actions are: play a scandal card, call for a vote, and upgrade castle to palace.
• CATHEDRAL – This card goes into play near the board. Put 2 random land tiles on it from the bank. Players can play up to 3 land tiles when they are the Magistrate. When there are 10 Land tiles on the card the Cathedral is finished and returns to the bottom of the deck. The last player to add tiles gets 3 victory points from the bank. Each player to that adds tiles gets 1 pound from the bank per land tile already on it each.

FAQ
Churches:
• A church can score for more than one manor during a scoring round.
• Churches can not be placed next to or diagonal to another church.

Auction round:
• When each new auction begins there should be 6 new land tiles. The old tiles are put in a discard pile and reshuffled if needed.
• Once purchased lands tiles, castles, and sheep have to immediately be placed. Scandal cards should go behind your screen.

Castles:
• You can not place a castle next to or diagonal to another castle or palace.

Lakes:
• Lakes can not go next to or diagonal to another lake.

Questions I have:
1 - I still wish I had something brilliant to do with the titles.
2 - Queen's Favor needs to be more I think but I think this will be more apparent with more testing.

Caparica
Caparica's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

This game is becoming good! I will try to contribute a little.
Using play tests you are doing a good job of fine tuning and balancing the game, this is important, to adjust the values and quantities of the components of the game.
But it is also important to try more radical variations, like dropping one or two phases and trying a simpler version of the game. Maybe try a variation without the church.
This is usually harder to do, because we became attached to the design and it is hard to change.

Paulo Junior
www.2concept.com

markmist
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

This game sounds promising - it looks like you put a lot of work into your prototype.

However, shouldn't this thread go in the game design workshop and not in the forums? It seems like people either don't know about the workshop or have stopped using it.

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

caparica wrote:
This game is becoming good!

Thanks.
caparica wrote:

But it is also important to try more radical variations, like dropping one or two phases and trying a simpler version of the game. Maybe try a variation without the church. This is usually harder to do, because we became attached to the design and it is hard to change.

I agree it is difficult sometimes but I am not afraid to drop any part of a game that would make the game better. Is there a reason you think loosing the church would be good?

In the early forms of the game there was no church. The game needed more than just playing tiles and I knew that the church had great influence in the setting and therefore it should play some part in the game.

Thanks for your input.

- Dwight

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

markmist wrote:
This game sounds promising - it looks like you put a lot of work into your prototype.

Thanks

markmist wrote:
However, shouldn't this thread go in the game design workshop and not in the forums? It seems like people either don't know about the workshop or have stopped using it.

Firstly I have no problem moving the thread to anywhere if needed.

Here are my thoughts for not using the Work Shop:
1 - I think that this game is long and involved and is not the best fit for the Work Shop. I didn’t want to require people to commit to learning it.
2 - I want input from anyone and thats is important, but this is also a public log of the games progress on its path to being ready in November. I thought it might be interesting for some.

It is also a great exercise for me. Each time I get it ready to post here I learn about 10 errors or things I could explain better. When I gather the wording to explain the game to you folk I realize more better what I have or what I want (game design wise) by doing the exercise and therefore it can spawn topics in game design. I guess I could then just start new threads here.

One could argue that it belongs in the Play testing area of the forum. I could see that. When I started the thread it was just a bunch of ideas now that its more maybe it should move.

- Dwight

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

I have play tested myself a bit and with Mark. So here is another update.

The game is playing much better now. It was actualy fun. Somethings were not perfect but we have made some adjustments for next time.

The game played long but we were playing two families each and doing alot of talking about the rules. I will worry more about that later.

Here are Highlights of changes some of which are not played yet:

- The biggest improvement was that I removed buying churches from the Influence-over-the-Church equation. Now it is simpler and better. The player(s) that have donated the lowest do not have influence. All the rest do. This worked pretty well in the four player game. It creates interesting stretigic choices of when to donate and how much.

- Plantations (which was Nando's term) are four farms that make a square. If you place four farms in a square you create a plantation. Each farm now gives 1 pound but a plantation gives 5.

- The set-up changed a bit for the better. Everyone gets two of each tile and 3 random ones. So all start from a fairly even playfield. Then they build their estates anyway they want.

- Voting changed. I made vote cards that are given out and spent when you want to vote. Also you only purpose what title you will be instead of for all players.

- I lowered some of the pound values. You get less and you pay less.

- The game plays fairly dry, which is good, but maybe its too dry so we are adding to the bidding round. If you buy a face-up tile you now also get a random face-down tile. This will allow you to have more tiles. So we added more tile spending rules.

- You can turn in 3 farms from behind your screen for 5 pounds.

- you can turn in 3 lakes from behind your screen for 1 vote card.

- You can turn in any three tiles from behind your screen to get any one of your choice.

If you want to know or discuss the reasoning for any of the above please let me know.

I have rewritten all the rules reflecting all the changes below. I am sure this time it will be the final draft :-P

Please let me know of any thoughts you may have. Thank you for your time.

- Dwight

-----------------------------------------------
Nobleman
By Dwight Sullivan and Mark Galvez
With historical help from Anna Sullivan
Last updated: 2/12/05

Setting:
It’s the mid-sixteenth century England. You are the head of an old and noble family. Queen Elizabeth I is recently on the throne. The State is shaky at best and many powers throughout Europe, including you, believe that there are opportunities to be had.

Overview:
In this game you will grow your family’s empire, earn the queens favor, bear witness to scandalous behavior, donate to the church to gain influence, and push around your political weight, all in an effort to insure your family’s rightful place in history.

You will play the head of one of four families: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. The winner is the player with best family name at the end of the game.

Contents:

1 - Church coffers board. The board has one area to donate to the church per family. It also is the starting place for the churches and shows the cost of each church. When the last church in each row is gone there is a scoring round.

120 - Land Tiles
• 28 Clearings. This is where players can put their castles, palaces, and churches.• 40 Forest. Forest help to fill out the estates giving the player victory points.
• 22 Lakes. Lakes give a player more votes.
• 30 Farms. Farms give the player money.

12 – Castles.
6 – Palaces.
12 – Churches.
12 – Sheep.

4 - Family shields: Howard, Seymour, Dudley, and Grey. These will conceal your family’s private holdings such as your pounds, victory points, scandal cards and land tiles. These shields have a summary of the game play and the actions you can do. It also has history of the family you are on the outside.

5 - Title signs; 1 Duke, 1 Marquess, 1 Earl, 1 Viscount, and 1 Baron. These hang on the shields and give extra abilities and or victory points.

1 - Queen’s crown. The player with this is the current player with the
Queens favor.

1 - Magistrate Marker. This will indicate whose turn it is currently.

100s - Pounds.

100s - Victory points. These represent your family name.

1 - Deck of 25 Scandal cards. These will have flavor text with tidbits of history of the time. (See glossary for details)

24 - Vote cards. These are worth one vote each and the player spends them to change titles.

24 - Red Scandal beads.

Set up:
Place the church coffers board in the center. Place the twelve churches on the spaces in the center of the board. 2 player game: Remove the 1st and every other church in each row. There will be 6 churches total. 3 player game: remove the 1st and 3rd church in each row. There will be 8 churches total.

Give each player a family screen of the family they are near on the coffers board. The screen is placed near you such that other players can not see behind it.

Give each player two of each type of land tile; clearing, forest, lake, and farm. They have to place one clearing in front of their screen and the rest behind it. Give all players one Castle to go on their clearing.

Mix all the tiles face down and give each player 3 tiles at random adding them to the tiles behind their screen.

From the random tiles turn 6 tiles face-up and place them near the coffers board. These will seed the 1st bidding round giving some insight to what tiles will be available. Place with these 1 sheep, 1 castle, 1 vote card, and the deck of scandal cards. This is all for the initial bidding round.

Each player will now build their initial estate. Choose one person to go first and in turn each player will choose one tile from behind their screen and add it to their estate. This continues until each player goes 5 times. The initial estate will be 6 tiles and 1 castle. If a player plays a lake they get a vote card right then.

Give the Magistrate Marker to the last player to place a tile. This is placed in front and near her screen.

Each player gets 10 pounds to start. They are placed behind the screen. Place the remaining pounds near the board. This forms the bank.

Put the Queens crown and every thing else near the bank.

Game Play Summary:
The game play happens in five phases that repeat:
1. Pounds - The Magistrate gets pounds (money).
2. Book-keeping - The Magistrate takes care of any special rules.
3. Bidding round - The Magistrate begins a round of purchasing items.
4. Action round - The Magistrate starts an action round.
5. Taxes - The Magistrate pays taxes then moves the Magistrate marker to the player on their left. If the last church was bought in a row there is a scoring round.

After the first scoring round remove all scandal beads. Then remove all monies from the coffers board.

Also all players count the number of their palaces and double it then add the number of their lakes. This is the total number of vote cards they should have now.

The game ends after the second scoring round. The player with the most Victory Points wins. If there is a tie the one with the most pounds breaks the tie.

PHASE ONE – Pounds
The Magistrate gets pounds for each castle, sheep, plantation, or farm. He gets 2 for each castle, 3 for each sheep, 5 for each plantation, and 1 for each farm that is not part of a plantation.

Plantations are four farms in a square.


Plantation

PHASE TWO – Book- Keeping
In this phase the new Magistrate takes care of any needed details:
• If you have the Queens Favor you get two victory points.
• If there is a Cathedral in play you can play land tiles on it.
• If you have influence over the church you may take one pound from each blackmail card in play that has money on it. You can not take money from a blackmail card played against you.
• If you have a blackmail card played against you, you have to pay 2 pounds on it.

PHASE THREE – Bidding round
The Magistrate places 6 new face-up tiles. The old tiles are placed in a discard pile. Then he places next to them 1 castle, 1 sheep, 1 vote card, and the deck of scandal cards. These are all the items to be auctioned.

During the bidding each player will get one chance to either buy an item or pass. The Magistrate selects one item and the starting price. He pays that price, takes the item, and immediately places it where it goes. The next player has to select a price that is at least one more pound for an item or pass. This continues until all players have taken an item or passed.

Any player at any time can exchange 3 farms from behind your screen for 5 pounds from the bank.

If you bought a Castle it goes on any clearing land tile you already have. Castles can not be placed next to or diagonal to another castle or palace.

If you bought a sheep you can place the sheep on any Plantation that doesn’t already have a sheep. You can have only one sheep per plantation.

If you bought a scandal card you can look at the top three cards and take one card. All remaining cards are put on the bottom of the scandal deck in any order. Only one scandal card can be bought per auction. Place a scandal bead on the deck to mark that it was used this round. Scandal cards can be concealed behind the players screen.

If you bought a vote card place it behind your screen.

If you bought a land tile (Clearing, Forest, Lake, or Farm) you can add it to your estate OR you can put it behind your screen. Then you get 1 random tile from the bank to put it behind your screen.

How to play a land tile:
When playing a land tile you have to place it squarely next to any other tile in your estate and you have to use the following 3 rules:
• Anytime you put a lake tile in play you immediately get a vote card.
• Lakes can not be placed next to or diagonal to another lake.
• Farms can not be placed next to or diagonal to a plantation.

Example:
You can not place a farm in A, or D
You can not place a Lake in C, D, or E
You can not place a Castle or church in B

PHASE FOUR – Action round
During the action round ALL players in turn starting with the Magistrate take ONE action. If you have influence over the church you get additional choices of actions. Here are the actions you can do with or with out influence over the church:
• Upgrade a Castle to a Palace and get the queens favor for three pounds.
• Buy a church.
• Donate money to the church.
• Buy a random tile for two pounds.
• Play a Tile from behind your screen.
• Trade any three tiles for any one tile from the bank.
• Take three pounds from the bank.

Additional action choices for players with Influence over the church:
• Buy 2 random tiles for four pounds.
• Play 2 tiles from behind your screen.
• Buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Call for a vote to change your title.

Upgrade Castle to a Palace:
A player can spend 3 pounds and replace a castle with a Palace if there are Palaces left. The castle returns to the bank to be bought in an auction. You instantly receive the Queens Crown showing you have the Queen’s Favor. You also get two vote cards. Any scandal beads that were on the tile are removed.

Buy a Church:
You take the next church in order top row first then second row, pay in pounds the amount under the church to the bank, and place the church on any open clearing of your estate.

Buy a random tile:
You can buy a random land tile and then store it behind your screen. You can buy two tiles if you have Influence over the church. Tiles cost 2 pounds each.

Play a tile from behind your screen:
You can play a tile from behind your screen. You can play 2 tiles if you have influence over the church.

Take three pounds from the bank:
You can take three pounds from the bank.

Trade any three tiles for any one tile:
You can take any three tiles from behind your screen place them in the discard pile then search for and take the tile you want from the current discards or from the random tiles if needed and put it behind your screen.

Donate money to the church:
You can put as much money as you want into the coffers that has your family name. You add money to get influence over the church and to remove influence from others.

The player(s) with the lowest amount donated to the church do not have influence. All others do have Influence over the church.

These actions can only be taken by a player with Influence over the church:
Buy a Victory Point for 5 pounds:
You can buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.

Play a scandal card:
You can play a scandal card that requires playing during your action. Any time you play a scandal card you have to put a scandal bead near one of your Manors. You can only play a scandal card if you have a manor without a bead. All scandal cards are removed from the game after they are used.

Call for a vote:
You can call for a vote to change your title.

To change titles you decide which new title you want to be and declare it to others. This may mean you are taking one from another player. Then you place one vote out near the board. All players can now vote for or against your change when ever they want and as much as they want. If the votes “for” the change are equal to or greater than the “against” then the title change happens.

There are five titles; Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron:
• The Duke +5 Victory Points during scoring round.
• The Marquess Take 2 actions when you are the Magistrate. +3 Victory Points during scoring round.
• The Earl Pay one less during bidding round when buying an item. +2 Victory Point during scoring round.
• The Viscount Play scandal cards without playing a scandal bead. +1 Victory Point during scoring round.
• The Baron Plus 3 pounds per plantation.

You can get vote-cards during a vote from other places too:
• You can add scandal cards to either “for” or “Against” pile for 1 vote each.
• You can discard 3 lakes from behind your shield for one vote card.
• You can discard the Queens favor for 2 vote cards.

Remember any player at any time can exchange 3 farms from behind your screen for 5 pounds from the bank.

PHASE FIVE – Taxes
The Magistrate pays taxes to the bank. You have to pay 1 pound for each Palace and 1 pound for each lake.

You have to pay taxes from monies you have behind the screen. If you do not have enough then you can use any other objects you have behind your screen one for one pound each to pay the taxes. If you have nothing behind your screen then you don’t have to pay the remainder of your taxes.

If the last church of the first row was purchased during this Magistrate then all players do a scoring round. If the very last church was bought during this Magistrate then all players do a scoring round and the game ends.

Scoring Round:
During a scoring round you can take up to 3 tiles from behind your screen and add it to your estates. Then you can do your Ring Scoring. Then remove all your scandal beads from your estate forfeiting one Victory Point per bead.

Ring scoring:
You score each castle or palace one at a time. A ring is a complete set of tiles surrounding the castle or palace that makes a square and doesn’t contain another castle or palace.

The first ring equals 2 VP plus 1 VP per church in the ring. The second ring is worth 4 VPs plus 1 VP per church. The third ring is worth 6 VPs plus 1 VP per church and so on.

Note - a church can score for more than one Castle or Palace.

You stop scoring rings when you run out of complete rings or you come to another castle or palace.

Add up all the scores for each manor and this is your total Ring score. Take victory points from the bank equal to your ring score and add it to your other victory points.

Game End
Each player does a scoring round then adds up all their victory points. Add to it any Victory points you may have from scandal cards. This is your total victory points. The winner is the player with the most victory points.

Ties are broken by the player with the most pounds.

Glossary:
Influence over the church
The player(s) with the lowest amount currently donated to the church do not have influence. All others do have Influence over the church. You can add money to your coffers during an action round with the donating money to the church action.

Example: Bob has 5 pounds in his coffers, Mary has 3, Sam has 3, and Drake has zero. Everyone but Drake would have influence. On his turn Drake adds 6 pounds to his coffers. Now Mary and Sam are tied for the lowest and would no longer have influence. Drake and Bob would have influence.

If you have Influence over the church you can take extra actions that you can’t take without it. They are:
• Buy 2 random tiles for four pounds
• Play 2 tiles from behind your screen.
• Buy 1 victory point for 5 pounds.
• Play a scandal card. Leaving a red scandal bead near a Castle or Palace.
• Call for a vote to have to change the titles.

Queen’s Favor
You have the queen’s favor if you have the crown next to your screen. The Crown begins the game in center and no one has it. You get the crown when you upgrade a castle to a palace. You can also get the Queen’s Favor when from a scandal card. Only player can have the Queen’s Favor at a time.

If you have the Queen’s Favor you receive one victory point each time you are you are the Magistrate. You also get one extra vote.

Scandal Cards
These are 25 scandal cards:
• 3 – BLACKMAIL – The card is played against another player. Each time that player is Magistrate they have to pay 2 pounds to the card. The card goes away during a scoring round. If any other player has Influence over the church they can collect 1 pound from the card each time they are Magistrate.
• 4 – TREACHERY – The player gives 1 scandal bead to another player and not one to himself. Place the bead on an empty Castle or Palace.
• 3 – AUDIENCE WITH THE QUEEN – Take the Queen’s favor Crown and place it next to your screen.
• 6 – ADULTERY – Cards that give Victory Points at the end of the game.
• 4 – NO NAME 3 – Cards that give victory points when played. You can play the card anytime you want as an action.
o If you have the most lakes collect 1 Victory Point per lake.
o If you have the most plantations collect 1 Victory Point per 2 farm groups rounded down.
• 3 – WAR with SPAIN, SCOTLAND, or FRANCE – A War cards replace War cards that are in play. While a War card is in play each player has to put a victory point on it each time they want to do certain actions. When the war card has 3 Victory points on it, it will go away. The three actions are: ‘Play a scandal card’, ‘Call for a vote’, and ‘Upgrade castle to palace’.
• 2 – CATHEDRAL – This card goes into play near the board. Put 2 random land tiles on it from the bank. The player of the card gets 1 victory point. Players can play up to 2 land tiles when they are the Magistrate during Book-keeping. When there are 10 Land tiles on the card the Cathedral is finished and returns to the bottom of the deck. The last player to add tiles gets 3 victory points from the bank. Each player to that adds tiles gets 1 pound from the bank per land tile already on it each.

FAQ
Churches:
• A church can score for more than one castle or palace during a scoring round.
• Churches can not be placed next to or diagonal to another church.

Bidding round:
• When each new bidding round begins there should be 6 new land tiles. The old tiles are put in a discard pile and reshuffled if needed.
• Once purchased castles, and sheep have to immediately be placed. Scandal and vote cards should go behind your screen. Land tiles can placed right away or put behind the screen.

Castles:
• Castles can not be placed next to or diagonal to another castle.

Lakes:
• Anytime you play a lake you get a vote card. Even during set-up or scoring round.
• Lakes can not go next to or diagonal to another lake.

Farms:
• You can not place a farm next to or diagonally adjacent to a Plantation.
• Any player at any time can exchange 3 farms from behind your screen for 5 pounds from the bank.

Questions I have:
1. Palace needs to give more?
2. I still want there to be a Masquerade Ball in concept. Maybe I should change the name of “Call for a Vote” to “Masquerade Ball”? I plan on changing it to something anyone someone since there shouldn’t be “voting” in a feudal era game.
3. Should Taxes go away? The question really is should the game simulate only fun things like getting money and buying stuff or should it have down sides too?

Cutting room floor:
These are rules and ideas that are not in the game that once were or still might be:

-----------
(this was an action)
Throw a Masquerade ball:
Each player puts zero or one land tile in their closed fist and holds it out until all players have done the same.
All players then reveal what they have in their hand. Players with zero tiles have opted not to play.
• If you are the only player to play you get 2 victory points from the bank and you can keep your land tile.
• If there is only one player to play a lake he gets all the land tiles played and 2 victory points.
• If no one played a lake then everyone that played gets 1 victory point and all the playied tiles go to the disguarded tiles.
If everyone played a lake then no one wins and all lake tiles are put with the discarded tiles.

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(This was a scandal Card)
• BANKRUPT – The player scandalized gives all their money to the bank.

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There could be a Title that elviates taxes.

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Maybe there should be 10 churches instead of 12.

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Side Note, This is my 100th Post. YAY! I really appreciate all those that work to make this site. Thank you. It is an excellent community and resource.

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

More play testing:

Many of the new rules are good but as I feared making the tiles more fluid vastly decreased the players interest in other things to buy.

So here are the new rules we will try:

You will get a random tile with any bidding round purchase instead of just with a tile purchase. This will keep the tiles flowing and remove the emphasis from buying tiles.

We are adding 'Buy a scandal card' to the list of actions.

I may also reduce or eliminate the scandal cards that just give VPs at the end of the game. The idea was that since they exist they force players to buy a scandal card or two before their opponents take them all but deciding when to do it creates the dilemma, which is good. The problem comes in that through the course of the game you don’t buy very many cards and if all you buy are cards that just give you points then you are never playing cards as actions during the game. I think if I can get players to have the time to play cards the game will be more fun.

The game ended just under 2 hours, with a scores of 29, 26, 25. Still a little long but so far all the scoring has seem pretty balanced.

Thanks for reading, please let me know if you have any comments.

- Dwight

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Very visually appealing! Are those peices made out of clay?

Xaqery
Xaqery's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
My run for the Dice: Nobleman

Ska_baron wrote:
Very visually appealing! Are those pieces made out of clay?

Thanks.

I am not a sculptor and working on these gave me new respect for sculptors.

I first made Sculpey positive molds then I made a RTV rubber negative mold.

Then I made 55 plastic resin pieces.

Then my sons help me paint them. I still need to do some more painting. They turned out ok for prototypes. It was a neat process and fun. It has made the play testing more fun and visually stimulating.

I learned about this from a friend and wanted to play around with it my self but needed something to make. So I thought what the heck Ill make game pieces. If the game doesn’t work out then it was all a learning experience I guess.

- Dwight

PS – I do not recommend the Original Sculpey that I used. It is too soft. They have better products I am told that I will use next time.

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