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Conniving Bastards - A game of Treachery, Deceit, and Power.

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bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010

Here's an idea that has edged its way into my sleepless nights lately.
I would love some feedback.


Conniving Bastards!
As the sun came up over the castle, the flags along the crenellations were flying upside down; an ominous sign to the entire Realm that there had been a death in the royal family. In this case, the King himself had passed under dubious circumstances. He was not an old or sickly king, quite the contrary, but he had one weakness… women. This displeased his Queen as it added insult to the injury that she had been unable to provide him an heir. The King never failed to comment on her barren womb, nor did he fail to prove his manhood at every opportunity. He fathered half a dozen known bastard children across the realm, and as an affront to the Queen, he made sure each was raised as a true Prince or Princess.
The King had no doubt of his Queen’s murderous intentions. In preparation for her inevitable betrayal, he had a unique crown requisitioned, then divided into six pieces. He gave each of these pieces to a trusted leader in the Realm, making them swear that if any of his children could prove their worth and earn at least four parts, they would be given the reconstructed crown…and the right to rule.
Now, there are six heirs with claim to the throne. If none of them can prove themselves within a year, the crown will pass by default to the widowed queen. According to the whispers of the scullery maids, the Queen will stop at nothing to possess the crown, as proven by the sudden demise of the king.
You must take up the role of one of the King’s bastard children and make your claim for the throne. It will require all of your wit and cunning to keep your half-siblings from gathering the pieces of the crown, or losing it all to the Queen. Are you enough of a conniving bastard to take the throne and rule the realm?

Players: 3–6
Time: 2–4 hours
Ages: 13+

• Game Board
• Influence Tokens
• Libraries
• Forts
• Temples
• Guildhouses
• Workshops
• 6 Artifact Tokens
• Archwizard Deck
• Deacon Deck
• Engineer Deck
• General Deck
• Guildmaster Deck
• Heirophant Druid Deck
• Militia, Regular, Soldier, & Elite Tokens
• 18 card Queen’s Hand Deck
• 12 six-sided dice

Place Game Board with military and artifact tokens near board.
Queen’s Hand Deck divided into three 6-card Tiers. Each Tier is shuffled and stacked in order with Tier 3 on bottom and Tier 1 on top. Tier 3 cards are FAR more evil than Tier 1. The “A New Year, A New Queen!” card is placed on the bottom of the deck.
Shuffle decks and place them on the Game Board.

Decks are themed as follows:
• Archwizard – Man’s control over the supernatural. Spell cards ranked by number of Libraries needed to cast them.
• Deacon – Man beseeching Gods to use the supernatural to man’s benefit. Miracle cards require prayer and each player uses his temples to affect the outcome.
• Engineer – Man’s progress to harness the natural world. Cards require Workshops to change the Realm and stay in play.
• General – Military might, both offensive and defensive. Forts are the General’s buildings.
• Guildmaster – Theft, corruption, contracts, trade, information gathering & brokering all happen in the Guildhouses. Cards allow gambling on outcomes and plots that require several turns to come to fruition.
• Heirophant Druid – Augmenting nature, creation, returning to nature. Cards undo the progress of others. Druid cards require the sacrifice of buildings.

One die is placed on each Game Board location to show that location’s current development.
Players take Influence tokens and Buildings of one color to represent their influence and holdings in the Realm.

Players receive 2 Actions on their turn. Do any 2 of the following actions. You may choose to perform the same action twice.
• Construction
Place a building token of desired type in any location.
Only 1 building of each type may be placed in a given location.
No location may have more than 3 buildings.
You may not place a building if all of your building tokens of that type are already in play.
• Development
Increase a location’s Development Score by 1.
No location may have a Development Score above 6.
No single location may be developed more than once per Round.
• Influence
Draw cards from any one VIP deck equal to the number of corresponding buildings you have in play.
Play Cards
Certain game circumstances must be met in order to play a card; each card lists these circumstances.
Place Tokens
Place tokens you collected in previous rounds.

End of Round:
Rounds end after all players have taken a Turn. At the end of each round, do all of the following in order:
1. Queen’s Hand
Flip a Queen’s Hand card; follow the directions. The Queen becomes more desperate for the crown as the game continues.
When the final Queen’s Hand card, “A New Year, A New Queen!” is revealed, she wins the game and all players immediately lose.
2. Collect Influence
Choose 1 building type; collect 1 influence token for each of those buildings you have in play.
3. Return Artifacts
Artifact tokens are returned to their respective VIPs.
4. Bestow Artifacts
The player with the most influence on each VIP earns that VIP’s artifact.
The game ends immediately if a player now holds 4 artifacts.
5. Establish Play Order
Play order for the following turn is established from most influence on all VIPs to least (roll a die to break ties).

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