Fugger, Welser, Medici

A trading game with a mediaeval background for 2-6 Traders (best with 3-5). The game lasts from 2 - 8 hours, depending on which variant of the game you play.

This game is set in the period when the Middle Ages were ending and Modern Times beginning, the time when, in the steps of Marco Polo, trade with Asia blossomed. Traders developed a new prominence, no longer was a noble birthright essential, now business success and ability counted towards one's position in Society. Players take on roles in this period of "early Capitalism", and, as second generation traders with a little capital behind them, must attempt to found a Business Dynasty. Each player has up to three trade representatives (TRs), who travel Europe in search of deals. As well as the obvious dangers of Robbery, Storms, road conditions and the complexities of mediaeval law, players have to contend against their opponents if they are to take best advantage of the market. Historical events such as the discovery of America, the Turkish Blockade of the Mediterranean and the crowning of the Holy Roman Emperor, also play a small part in the development of the game. Trading takes place in three different commodities, representing the many different wares that really were traded at this time. Metals, stand for precious metals such as gold from America, copper, and mercury from Spain, as well as the base metals such as iron smelted in the German Erzgebirge. Cloth, mostly represent wool from England and silk from China. Cloth was not just used for clothing but also in such areas as shipping (sails) and building, (canopies, awnings) Spices, represent both spices from Asia and America and other exotic wares.


Objectives in the Game, including variants

Fugger, Welser, Medici is a many-sided trading game, set firmly in a historical milieu. To make it easier to learn, as well as enabling the game to be played over a shorter time period, the game has been divided into several variants, each of which builds on the preceding rules to produce successively more complex and longer games. The playing times given are for a game with 4 or 5 players.

Each player plays a trader who must organise their Trading Representatives so as to maximise their profits. The richest player at the end of the game wins. The game lasts about three hours. The Trading game is especially recommended for players playing the game for the first time.

Here, the winner is not the richest player, but the player who first satisfies certain financial conditions, and so is elevated to the Nobility. The game lasts for 2-4 hours. The conversion of the Trading game into the Noble game is described below. The luck factor in this game is somewhat higher than in the other variants.

The winner here is not just the first player to become a Noble, but the first Noble to so organise their cash as to be able to purchase a Country Estate. In this variant the social career of a player is as important as their financial success. The Country Estate Game lasts for 5-6 hours, rule differences from the Noble game are described below.

The Full game is an extension of the Country Estate game. In this variant the game continues until a second Country Estate has been bought. The richer of the two Country Estate owners then wins. Choosing the right moment to buy the first Country Estate thus becomes a crucial decision, making it easy to stumble just before an otherwise certain win. The game lasts up to 8 hours. The differences between the Full Game and The Country Estate game are described at the end of these rules.

Tip 1

We have included some tips on playing the game at various relevant places through these rules. These tips are not essential to understanding the Rules, but we recommend that you read them as well, since they emphasise some minor points that, if missed, may ruin the play of the game first time round.


These are the rules for the Trading Game. They also form the basis of the rules for the other variants.


The Game Board and the Calendar are opened out in the middle of the table, the tall red wooden cylinder is placed on the Calendar where marked "Start Zeit" in early July (Juli). Each player chooses a colour and takes a small wooden house piece, the 3 trading rep figures and a goods storage card in that colour. The money is divided into it's various denominations and laid out to form the Bank. The currency is the Gulder, (also known as florins hence the abbreviation Fl.). Each player receives 9000 Fl. as starting capital. Each player also receives 1 metal bar, 1 spice marker and 2 bales of cloth. They should place all of these on the Warehouse (Lager) space on their Goods Storage card. Every player should have a trading sheet. Players who read German may also find it useful to take a "Spielablauf" card from the pack, this gives a short overview of the game. The remaining "Spielablauf" cards can be laid to one side as can the spare cards and those advertising other Doris and Frank games. The following material is not needed in the Trading game and can be returned to the box. The Nobility Table and the markers for it, the right of way markers and the debt notes.

Home Base

The players all roll a die. The player who rolls the highest number takes the salesman figure to show that they are the Starting Player for the first turn. Beginning with the Starting Player and proceeding clockwise, each player chooses their Home Base which may be Augsburg, Florenz or N|rnberg. More than one player may choose the same home base. The player places their small wooden house on the chosen town to mark it as their Home Base, and also places two of their Trading-Rep figures (TRs) on the chosen town. The TRs placed should be the figure with a ball on top (The Son of the House) and the figure with a pointed top, ( An employee who will later need to be paid.) The third TR is left on it's space on the goods storage card, ready to be introduced into the game at a later point. (Historically N|rnberg (Nuremburg) was never the home town of a great trading dynasty such as the Welser and Fugger families in Augsburg or the Medicis in Florenz (Florence). Trade in N|rnberg was shared between a number of less important families. However, the game works better with three starting towns, and anyway the company making this game is based in Middle Franconia, not far from N|rnberg).


Along with the Calendar, the pack of cards is the motor that drives this game. Some of the cards are Deal cards, either Demands, (Nachfragen), Offers, (Angebot), or Markets, (Messe). These cards fix the time and place of a deal, as well as details of the deal, such as the type, amount of wares involved and a minimum or maximum price for them. During the game, cards are drawn from the pack and used, once used they are removed from the game. Some cards are marked "Wird wiederverwendet" meaning that they are reused during the game. However in the Trading Game this does not apply, all cards in play are used once and then removed. .N

Only those cards with a 1 in the bottom left hand corner are used in the Trading Game. These should be laid to one side and the other cards returned to the box, they play no part in this version of the game. One card in my set, a Demand (Nachfrage) card for Basel had no number but it should have a number 1 in the bottom left hand circle.

Sorting Cards

The number of cards used in the Trading Game is dependent on the number of players. The cards should be divided into their various types. There are in total:

From these the dealer should sort out: 8 of the Demand cards, and the following number of Offer cards

2 Players
8 cards
3 Players
7 cards
4 Players
6 cards
5 Players
5 cards
6 Players
4 cards

This system of only using some of the available cards ensures that every game of Fugger, Welser and Medici is different, and that the pattern of demand and supply cannot be predicted.

The pack of 8 Demand cards should be well shuffled and two drawn and turned over. These two cards determine what Demand Trades are due at the start of the game. Markers are now placed to show players when and where the Demand on the card will occur. This step is carried out in the same way every time that a new Trade (Demand or Offer), card is drawn. First lay the card face up beneath the Calendar. Then draw three same-coloured markers. Place these with the N for Nachfrage (Demand) upwards. One goes onto the card itself, one on the relevant town on the map and the third on the Calendar to mark the date on which the Demand will occur. The date of the deal is the number of spaces after the "start termin" space on the Calender in Early August; shown in the circle in the top right corner of the card. Let us suppose that one card drawn has the number +2 in this circle. In this case the time marker is placed on the Calendar two turns after the "Start Termin", (Early August), ie in the first September space. If the other card had a +3 on it, then the marker for that card would be placed 3 spaces after the "Start Termin", in the second September space.

All other cards drawn following the first two Demand cards are placed the given number of spaces after the SECOND Trade marker currently on the Calendar (one marked N or A). The diagram at the foot of page 5 shows this clearly.

Offer Cards (Angebot)

Shuffle the Offer cards chosen and draw two of them. Add the remaining Offer cards to the 6 remaining Demand cards. Place the two Offer cards drawn face up beneath the Calendar and use three markers in exactly the same way as for the Demand cards, to show time and place of the Offer. In this case however, the markers are turned with the A for Angebot (Offer) upwards, rather than the N, and the position of the marker on the Calendar is the given number of spaces after the second N marker on the Calendar rather than after the "Start Termin" space. Again this is shown clearly in the diagram at the foot of page 5 where the two cards drawn have +1 and +3 on them and so are placed one and three spaces after the second Trade marker ie in the October and December spaces.

Chance cards (Ereignisse)

The six Chance cards are added to the remaining Demand and Supply cards. This pack is well shuffled and placed face down in the Game Pack (Spielstapel), on the board. Cards from this pack will be drawn through the game as required.

Market Cards (Messe)

The two Market cards are shuffled and one turned face up. The card, town and time of the fair are marked with the three Messe markers. Markets always take place at the beginning of May as shown on the Calendar. The remaining Messe card is removed from the game.

Play of Game

The game is played in rounds, each round consists of three phases:
Whatever Trades are due at this point in time are carried out.
Each player in turn moves their Trade Reps, (TRs).
The Calendar Marker is moved on one space.

Phase 1, Trading, Payday and Chance cards.

If the time marker on the Calendar is on the same space as a Trade Marker, then the relevant Trade, a Demand, an Offer or a Market, takes place. Urgent trades (Eilgeschdfte) may have been carried out before the time marker reaches the relevant space. Every December comes Payday (Zahltag). Turning over new cards can lead to new deals, or to chance events. The various types of Trades are described in the "Relating to Phase 1" section of these rules. In the first turn, and sometimes in later turns, there are no markers in the current calendar space, and so there are no deals to carry out. In this case play proceeds directly to phase 2. Transferring wares. If two of a player's TRs find themselves in the same map space during Phase 1, then they may transfer wares, ie wares may be moved from one TR's space on the goods storage card to the other's. In the same way, when a TR is on the company's home base space, goods may be transferred between the TR and the warehouse (Lager) spaces or vice versa.

Tip 2

In turn 1, before any movement, most players will want to transfer wares from their warehouse to one or more TRs so that the TRs can then set off in search of business. But as we will show next, they shouldn't take too much.

Phase 2, Movement

Beginning with the Starting player, each player in clockwise order may move any or all of their TR figures up to 3 spaces. TRs on land must move along the marked roads. Ships may be taken from harbour towns as marked on the map. Each ship on the map is one space. Each TR is moved separately. There is a quick reference table for the movement rules on the board (in German). Each player moves their TRs from 1-3 spaces, or may choose not to move them at all. If a TR moves then it is important to know if they are carrying wares (have wares in their space on the goods storage card) or not. If they are carrying wares they are considered to be driving a wagon, if not then on horse or on foot. A TR with no wares pays only if they move 3 spaces and then only pay 20 fl. They do not have to dice for travelling conditions.

A TR with wares pays:

In addition, TRs carrying wares must roll the two dice each time that they move. A roll of 2 if they move 1 space, 2 or 3 if they move 2 spaces or 2, 3 or 4 on a move of 3 spaces, means that they either break an axle if they are on land or they are hit by a storm at sea.

If the die roll is as above, then the TR may only move one space that turn. If they have already moved two or three spaces then the figure is moved back to one space from where they started the turn. But it gets worse.

On Land, Broken Axle

According to Mediaeval Law, goods left lying around were the property of the landowner. A TR with a broken axle may only keep three of the wares that they are carrying. Any excess wares are claimed by the landowner ie returned to stock in the centre of the table. This law only applies in the Countryside. If at the end of their (shortened) move the TR is in a town then they don't lose any wares. In this respect the spaces Spanien/Portugal, Osten and S|ditalaien count as countryside, not as towns. At Sea, Storm: The TR can hold on to up to three wares. Any excess is washed overboard and lost.


Movement through the town of Kvln (Cologne), or over the marked tollbridges (for example between W¨u;rzburg and Frankfurt), means paying a toll. TRs without wares pay 20 Fl. TRs with wares 40 Fl. In the same way movement at sea costs 20 Fl for an unladen TR or 40 Fl. for a laden TR per ship space.

In the winter months, November, December and January/February the sea is too stormy to be safe. No TRs may set sail during these months. Any TR already at sea is lost along with any wares that they are carrying. If the TR lost is the "Son of the House" (a ball head), they are never replaced.

Tip 3

Rapid movement is sometimes important to reach profitable trades in time. But it leads to high costs and is made at some risk, for example, 4 moves of three spaces each while laden, involves a more than 50% risk of a storm or a broken axle.

Tip 4

To speed up the game it is not necessary to roll a die for TRs who only move one space and either end up in a town or have three wares or less with them. Nothing bad can happen to them! Likewise all tolls payable should be added together and paid in one lump to the Bank at the end of the turn.

Phase 3, The Calendar

  1. Move the marker. The time marker is moved one space further down the Calendar. (Depending on the time of year this will be a whole month, a half month or even two months).
  2. Any Robber cards (see Chance Cards below) which are face up are now returned to the Stock pack, (In the Trading Game, this means that they are removed from the game).
  3. The Salesman figure and with it the Starting Player position are handed on to the next player in a clockwise direction.

Relating to phase 1, Trading, Payday and Chance cards

If during phase 3 of a round, the red cylinder is moved onto a space with a Deal marker on it, or onto the December space, then the following phase 1 will involve the resolution of the trade and/or the Payday. Urgent Trades. Some cards are marked as Urgent Trade (Eilauftrag). These Trades are not necessarily made when the marker is reached, they may be resolved earlier if one or more TR is in the correct place during a phase 1. (If it is a Demand (Nachfrage) then the TR must have at least one saleable ware with them to qualify). Urgent Deals are carried out first in any round, before any other type of trade which may be due. They may not however take place during the round in which the card is drawn. If more than one type of Trade is due in a round, they are carried out in the following order.
  1. Urgent Trades (Eilauftrage)
  2. Demands (Nachfrage)
  3. Markets (Messe)
  4. Offers (Angebote)
  5. Payday (Zahltag)

In normal cases all players can carry out their various business deals simultaneously, however, if there is any dispute, then the player with the salesman figure plays first and other players follow in clockwise order.

Demands (Nachfragen)

These trades involve a customer (ie the card) who buys wares from TRs. Demand Trades occur in a specific site as shown on the card. Only players present at the site may sell their wares. Players are present if one or more of their TRs are in the town shown on the card, or if the Trade card nominates their home base town. In the same way the player may only offer wares for sale that they have in the correct town, ie the goods must be in the correct TRs space on the Goods Storage card. or in the warehouse (Lager) space if the trade is in their home base. Most Trades are for several varieties of goods. Trading is carried out separately for each type of ware, starting with the type at the top of the card and working downwards. To sell goods, players first note secretly on their trading sheet what price they want for their goods. They may not offer more goods than the customer (card) wants, nor naturally may they offer more than they have at the site of trade. They need not offer all the goods they have available. Once all players have noted their prices they must show what they have written. The prices asked must be clearly written so that all other players can understand them. At the bottom of page 8 you can see an example of a trade sheet, labelled Beispiel 3. The player has noted the number of wares asked for on the card (4), the type of ware (Metal, M) the maximum bid price on the card (Hvchstpreis, 1600), the number of wares available at the site of trade (Waren vor Ort, 6), and the prices they are asking, (1540, 1580). Note that where the player is offering more than one of a ware, they may set different prices on each, here they are offering one metal at 1540 and a second at 1580, they have chosen not to offer their third and fourth bar.

Selling Order

The client (the card!) always chooses to buy the wares at the cheapest cost. If two or more wares are offered at the same price, then the client buys from the first TR to have arrived at the site of sale.

To show the order of arrival, the first TR to arrive is placed on the N marker in the town. Later arrivals form a queue behind this TR. If further TRs from the same player arrive, they join their colleagues, The first arrival in any colour bags a place in the queue for the whole company. Only if all a player's TRs leave the site does that company lose it's place.

Tip 5

One could for example, quickly send a TR without any wares to grab a good place in the queue. A second TR with the relevant wares could then follow behind more slowly and safely, so as to get to the site in time for the deal. Once the second TR had reached the town, and joined his colleague at the head of the queue, the first TR could set off for another destination.

If the Trade takes place in a player's home base town, they automatically take first place in the queue. If more than one player has the same town as their home base then they must roll a die before each individual type of ware is sold or bought to establish position in the queue for that Trade.

Maximum Prices

The price on the card (Hvchstpreis) is the maximum price that the customer is prepared to pay. Players demanding higher prices than that are ignored.

Closing the Deal

The successful player takes the wares sold from the correct TRs space on the Goods Storage card and returns them to Stock in the centre of the table, they then take the agreed price from the Bank.


The card is for a Demand of 4 bars of metal with a maximum price of 1600. Three players have sent TRs to the town, in order of arrival; Anne, Beate and Conny. Anne has just one bar to sell, she writes down 1580 on her sheet. Beate has four bars available, chooses however only to offer 2, one at 1540 and one at 1580. Conny too offers two bars, one at 1540 and one at 1580. The first bar is sold by Beate since she has made an offer at a lower price than Anne, she arrived before Conny and so has a higher place in the queue. She sells one bar for 1540, The second bar sold is Conny's at 1540, the third is Anne's at 1580, all the remaining bars were offered at the same price and she is first in the queue. The fourth and last sold is Beate's. Conny's second bar remains unsold. As shown in the diagram, players should ring the successful bids on their trading sheet, it gives a good guide to prices later in the game.

Tip 6

We sometimes find it helpful to add more information on the trading sheet, the value of successful bids for example, and the number of players represented at a deal. This information can often be useful for later trades.

Tip 7

The average prices of Demand and Offer Trades are as follows 800 Fl. per bale of cloth, 1300 Fl. per sack of spices, 1600 Fl. per bar of metal. The trading margins are quite narrow, badly calculated prices may lead to losses, some of our test players found it useful to write down transport costs paid for each ware so as to calculate how best to bid.

Tip 8

If the card allows trades in several types of ware then it is better to sort out all the trades and then pay out the total sum, it is far quicker.

Trade Completed

Once the Trade has been completed, the card is discarded, returned to the box (see Following the Deal in the Trading Game for a couple of exceptions to this rule). Market cards (Messe) are not discarded, the Market takes place every year at the start of May. Once the pile of cards has been used, the Trading Game continues until the last Demand card has been used. At this point the Trading Game is over, even if there are still Offer cards on the table.

Once a card has been discarded, another card is drawn from the pile as long as one is available. There must always be 4 Deal cards available face up on the table (not counting the Market card). The markers for the newly drawn trade should be placed as per the instructions earlier except that the timing for the new trade is taken not from the "Start Termin" space but from the second Deal marker (not counting the Messe marker). presently on the calender. Since the pile contains Chance cards, as well as Trade cards it may be necessary to draw several cards before the number of Trade cards on the table is returned to 4.

Chance Cards

If the card drawn is a chance card (Ereignisse), the instructions on it must be carried out immediately. There are several types of Ereignisse card. Once carried out the chance card is discarded. For alternative variants see Chance Cards under the Trading Game.

Offer Cards (Angebote)

These cards allow the players to buy wares from a client (the card). If the card shows more than one type of ware, the trades are carried out seperately, one after the other. To purchase wares the player must be present in the person of one or more of their TRs or the trade must be taking place in their home base town. Naturally enough the TRs do not need to be carrying wares with them to the trade, nor do they need to carry cash with them. It is taken as read that the company can transfer the money once the trade has been carried out. There were systems available even as early as the Middle Ages for credit using banker's drafts and the like.

Each player represented, secretly notes on their trading sheet what they bid for each individual item on sale. They can set a seperate price for each item. The bids should be written out as with the Demand Trades. Once all players have made their bids, they must show them.

Individual items for sale are auctioned seperately. The client chooses who they sell to. Naturally the client (card) will choose the highest bids first. If two bids are identical then the TR who arrived first makes the purchase. If a player bids less than the minimum price given on the card (Mindestgebot) then the bid is ignored. Players who have bid successfully pay the bid price immediately to the Bank. The wares purchased are placed on the Goods Storage card, in the space for the TR or TRs present at the trade. If the trade takes place in the player's home base town then the goods are placed in their warehouse space (Lager).

Example 5

The card offers 4 bales of cloth, with a minimum price of 600Fl per bale. The order of arrival was Anne, Beate, and then Conny. Anne bids 760Fl, she only wants one bale. Conny bids 800Fl for a first bale 760 for a second and 740 for a third. Beate bids 760 Fl. 760 Fl. and 740 Fl. Conny gets the first bale for 800Fl. since that was the highest bid. The next bale goes to Anne for 760 Fl. since she is first in the queue. The third and fourth bales go to Beate for 760 Fl. Anne only wanted one bale and Conny is behind Beate in the queue.

If a player hasn't enough cash to pay for their bids and can't raise enough through forced sales (see Forced Sales below) then the players go back through the trades one by one until a point is reached where the erring player could pay for what they had bought. The trades are then recalculated, ignoring the bankrupt player's bids. The player who made the error must pay 300 Fl. as a fine.

Once the Offer Trade is completed, a new card is drawn to replace it as with a Demand Deal.


Every December TRs may be taken on and/or fired, they are payed and taxes are due. This order is maintained through every Payday (see the Payday section of the Noblility Game for additional notes). Taking on TRs. As long as a player has less than three active TRs, (or less than two if the "Son of the House" has been lost at sea), then they may take on more TRs. The TR starts work in the home base of the company. At first they have no wares. Firing TRs. Once the taking on of TRs has been completed, TRs may be fired. If the TR fired has wares in their space on the Goods Storage Card then they are lost. It's a good idea therefore to remove any wares from the TR either by recalling him to the home base and returning the wares to the warehouse or by transferring them to another TR (the two figures must be on the same space on the map). Paying TRs. All TRs, including those newly taken on, must be payed. the wages are shown on the Goods storage card, the "Son of the House" comes free, the first TR costs 100 Fl. and the second 400 Fl. Taxes. Players have to play taxes to the bank. The amount of tax payable is dependent on the home base town. Players with a home base in N|rnberg or Augsburg pay 300 Fl. per year, players in Florence pay 400 Fl. A player who has insufficient cash to pay their TRs or taxes must make forced sales of their wares (see also Forced Sales)

Markets (Messen)

Markets are dealt with as a combination of Demand and Purchase Trades. The Demands on the card are resolved first, and then the Purchases. Once the Trades have been carried out, the card is not removed but stays on the table ready for the next Market at the same time next year.

The following possibilities are available to all players at all times during the game.

General Rules About Trading

Forced Sales

If a player is unable to play their debts (in the various situations detailed earlier), then they must sell the wares held by their TRs or in their warehouse. Players may also choose to make forced sales during their movement phase, before moving their TRs. These sales may take place wherever the TR is on the map. Forced sale prices are:

Tip 9

A player would normally only make a forced sale to pay debts, to take advantage of an especially favourable Purchase opportunity or to buy a Country Estate in the more advanced versions of the game.

Sales Between Players

Players may trade wares between them at any time during the game. Amounts of wares and prices are completely open to negotiation. The only proviso is that wares so traded may not change location during the trade. This means that such a trade must be between two TRs on the same space on the board or with a TR in the home base of the other company. Goods may be freely transferred between a player's TRs as long as they are on the same space on the board or between a TR in the Home base town and the company's warehouse. TRs may only transfer wares before or after movement. They may not drop goods off while moving. Players who share a home base may transfer goods between their warehouses at any time. Tip 10: Clever trading can benefit both players, and should be considered throughout the game. Any slight discrepancies can easily be corrected with a small payment from one player to the other. Tip 11: If a player wants to leave the game before it ends, it is better if they put all their wares up for auction. This allows the other players to play on relatively unhindered. Since any players wishing to buy these goods must have a TR in the place of sale then a round or two's notice of the auction should be given. Player's may choose to set the forced sale prices as minimum bids.

Ending and Winning the Trading Game

As soon as all the cards have been drawn and the last Demand trade has been completed the game is over. Any remaining Purchase cards are ignored. The richest player wins, counting cash plus all wares held by the company reckoned at forced sale prices.

The Nobility Game

The Nobility Game is not just about about money. The winner will be the first person who, by bribing noble clients, can gain a title and so become Noble. Where not otherwise stated all the rules from the Trading Game apply, with the following additions.


All preparations for the Trading Game apply here too. In addition the Nobility Table and player markers are placed near the board. The small coloured cubes will be needed to mark free passage areas as will the debt notes. The players' markers are placed on the relevant start spaces on the Nobility table, i.e. players with a home base in Florenz start one space further along the Table than players with a German home base.

Preparation of the Cards

The Nobility Game uses all the cards marked with a 1 or a 2 in their bottom left corner. The cards are divided into two piles: the Game Pack (Spielstapel, marked on the table on side 13 as S), and the Stock pack (Vorrat, marked as V), with the remainder being discarded. The first action is to divide the cards into types as in the Trading Game. The cards are divided into normal Demand cards (Nachfrage), Demand From Noble Client cards (Nachfrage Adel), Offer cards (Angebote), Chance cards (Ereignisse), and Market cards (Messe). These are then divided further as per the table on side 13, depending on the number of players.

For example, with 4 players: the 17 Demand from Noble cards would be split 8 in the game pack (S), and 8 in the stock pack (V), with one card discarded. From the 20 normal Demand cards, 3 would go into the game pack and none into stock. The 20 Offer trade cards would be split: 7 Game pack, 5 Stock and 8 discarded, and the 14 Chance cards, 13 Game pack and 1 Stock. The 5 Market cards are well shuffled and one drawn. The other 4 are not required further. Once the two packs have been prepared they are placed on the appropriate spaces on the board: Game Pack (Spielstapel) and Stock Pack (Vorrat).

The Game pack should be well shuffled and two Demand cards (Noble or Normal), drawn from it, (just deal out until two Demand cards come up). These two cards are used to fix time, place and wares for the first two Demand Trade as in the Trading Game. Likewise two Offer cards should be drawn. The time marker for these Offers is set as before (time marker placed the same number of spaces after the second Demand marker as is shown on the card). Now the Game pack is reshuffled and returned to the board. The Stock pack doesn't need shuffling at this point since it is going to have more cards added to it before it is used. The Market card drawn is placed face down under the calender and marked as in the Trading Game.

Demands from Noble Clients (Nachfrage, Adlige Kunde)

In general these are handled exactly as per normal Demands. The TRs sell wares using secret offer prices, with ties split by order of arrival at the site of trade. Once all wares have been traded however, each player who has made a trade may choose to give up 500 Fl. or 1000 Fl. of the payment from the client. In effect they charge the Nobleman less in return for help in climbing the social ladder towards Nobility. In return for this the player gets one roll of the two dice, (no matter whether they have donated 500 Fl. or 1000). The result of the dice roll is checked in the column above the present position of the player's marker on the Nobility Table. There are 4 possible results, each of which brings an advance up the Nobility Table and may also bring additional benefits.
Ehre (Honour)
The player receives nothing but honour from the nobleman. This allows their marker to move three spaces up the track towards Nobility.
Seegeleit (Sea Passage)
One of the small wooden cubes in the player's colour may be placed on any of the four sea areas around the board. This allows free passage in that sea, ie the player does not need to pay the normal costs of 40Fl. per ship when laden or 20 Fl. per ship when unladen. In addition the player may move their marker 2 spaces along the track.

Freies Geleit (Free Passage)
The player places one of the small wooden cubes in their colour in whichever land region they choose. Their marker moves one space along the track. Free passage in a region brings 4 advantages. a) Bridge tolls, the player does not have to pay any tolls in that region for crossing a bridge symbol. The town toll in Kvln, (Cologne) must however still be payed. b) Broken Axles, If the player's waggon breaks it's axle due to a poor dice roll the player's cart is set back to one space from it's departure point but the player does not lose any wares. c) Robbers. the player has a better chance of fighting off robbers (caused by the actions of some chance cards), in a region where they have free passage. d) Rights of way: If a TR belonging to another player moves into or through a region where they have no marker in their colour, but someone else, does then they must pay a right of way fee of 100Fl. to the other player. If several players each have a right of way marker in the area, then the player paying the fee must decide which of them to pay, the fee may not be split or haggled over in any way. (This rule caused our historical advisor to break out in worry lines. But we rationalise it by pointing out that many businessmen were also financial advisors to the local nobility and as such were unlikely to make things easy for their rivals). 4) Schuldscheine, (Debt notes). This is the fourth possible result of a dice roll on the Nobility Table. If the player has given up 500 Fl. of the agreed price they take one, if 1000 Fl. two, debt notes. This is the only result where it pays to have given up 1000 Fl. rather than 500. For each debt note taken, the player may move their marker 2 spaces along the track. Each debt note pays 200 Fl. interest every Payday in December and has a forced sale value of 300 Fl.

Following the Deal

Some trade cards are marked "wird wiederverwendet". These cards are not discarded once played, instead they are added to the Stock pack. Likewise any Trade card which doesn't lead to a Trade, either because there are no TRs present at the time and place of the deal, or they have no wares with them, is added to the Stock pack and reused later. Cards for successful Trades which do not have " wird wiederverwendet" on them are removed from the game. As soon as the starting pack has been used up, the stock pile is well shuffled and put face down on the Game pack ("Spielstapel") space on the board.

Chance Cards

Chance cards are marked, "One Use Only", or "Return to the Stock Pack". Chance cards which give players debt notes, (Schuldscheine) or free passage (Freies Geleit) bring with them the same movement along the Nobility Table as the corresponding dice roll would.


The first action on Payday is the payment of interest on debt notes. This occurs before the player pays their TRs.

General Trading

Debt notes may be sold at any time, they have a sale value of 300 Fl. They may also be traded between players for a mutually agreed price. This trade does not affect a player's position on the Nobility Table.

Ending and Winning the Nobility Game

As soon as a player's marker reaches the shield at the end of the Nobility Table, the player becomes a member of the Nobility and the game ends. The current trade must however be played out fully. If this results in more than one player achieving Nobility in the same round then the richest, (calculated as in the Trading Game), wins.

The Country Estate Game

The Country Estate Game uses all the rules from the Nobility Game. Only the preparations for the game and the game end are different. The winner is now the first player to gain a title and purchase a Country Estate (Landsitz).

Card Preparation

This game uses all the cards, (ie those marked 1,2 and 3 in the bottom left corner). They are split into types and then divided between a Game pack and a Stock Pack as shown in the table on page 17. In this table the number marked S go in the Game pack (Spielstapel) and the number marked V in the Stock Pack (Vorrat). For example, with 4 players, the Demand from Noble cards (Nachfragen Adlige) are split 8 to the Game pack and 7 to the Stock pack with 4 from the total of 19 discarded. The normal Demand cards (Nachfrage), go 4 in the Game pack and 7 in Stock, the Offer cards (Angebote); 7 Game, 8 Stock and the Chance cards (Ereignisse); 15 Game pack and 2 in Stock. All of the 6 Country Estate, (Landsitz), cards are added to the Stock Pack. Finally one of the 6 Market cards is drawn and used, the other 5 are discarded.

Ending and Winning the Country Estate Game

Once a player has achieved Nobility by getting to the end of the Nobility Table, the game goes on until one of the players buys a Country Estate (Landsitz). The player who manages this wins the game. Tip 12. Players trying to buy a Country Estate are best advised to raise all cash possible, ie by selling all their wares at forced sale prices. Country Estate cards are treated in the same way as Offer cards (Angebote). If there is more than one deal due in the same turn, then the sale of the Country Estate comes after any Market, but before any Offer or Payday trading. Only players who have achieved Nobility by getting their marker to the end of the Nobility Table may bid for the Country Estate. The Country Estate card, when drawn, is given a time marker exactly as if it were an Offer card. But the Country Estate card does not count as one of the 4 Deal cards on show at all times. If a Country Estate card is drawn, then, once it has had markers attached to it, a further card (or cards) is drawn until there are 4 Deal cards on display. These Deal cards have their time markers placed in the normal way, the given number of turns after the second Deal card on display, not counting Market or Contry Estate cards. If a Country Estate card attracts no bids then it is returned to the Stock pack. Tip 13. In this game one cannot go flat out fior a Title without thinking further ahead. Country Estates are very expensive, and opponents who trade more cleverly may outbid the player who has sacrificed profit for a rapid rise to Nobility. All the Country Estate cards start off in the Stock pack, so it will be some time before they start coming through, better to keep trading until the time is right. Otherwise you may well end up as a member of the impoverished Nobility!

The Full Game

In this version of the game the rules are the same as for the Country Estate game. Only the game end is slightly different: Game End. The game ends when the second Country Estate is purchased. Winner, Of the two players who have bought a Country Estate, the one who has most money wins. Cash in hand, the value of wares at forced sale prices and the minimum bid price (Mindestgebotpreis), for the Country Estate are reckoned together to give the total wealth. Priviliges: The player who buys the first Country Estate is unlikely to have any cash left over for further trading. To compensate they have a few extra rights: Any debt notes which they still hold pay 300 Fl. interest each Payday rather than 200 Fl. They do not pay taxes on Payday, instead they collect the taxes paid by other players. At the start of July (Juli) they receive rents from their tenants. the amount received is shown on the Country Esate card (Verpachtung).

Tip 14

Time works in favour of the first player to buy an Estate. On the other hand they have probably had to pay all their cash to get hold of the Estate in the first place. So the timing and size of a bid for an estate need to be carefully considered.

Chance Cards (Ereignis)

Rduber/Piraten (Robbers/Pirates)

Robbers and/or pirates are at work in the named land regions/sea regions. Any TR in a named area or passing through it in the next round is attacked once. Roll two dice, the die roll gives the following results. Free passage, shown by a marker in the player's colour in the region adds 2 points to the dice roll. In addition the robbers are open to bribery, players may purchase extra points on the dice at 100Fl. per point. They must pay this before they make the dice roll. The affected player chooses which wares they lose. This card remains face up on the table for one round and is then returned to the Stock pack.

Schwarzes Scharf (Black Sheep)

There was always someone that no one would trade with. The player who finally keeps this card is always last in the queue at any Deal, no matter when they arrive. Additionally they move one space backwards on the Nobility Table unless there is no space to move to, or they are already Noble. The Starting player for the round (with the Salesman figure) gets the card first. They can choose to keep it or to pass it on to the player of their choice with 20 Fl. attached. The next player must either keep the card or double the stake by adding another 20Fl. and passing it to another player. The card continues to be passed on, with each player doubling the stake, (the third player paying 40Fl. the fourth 80 etc.) until someone decides to keep the card along with the money. In the two player game the card may not be passed back and forth, the first player must keep it or pass it with 20 Fl. in which case the second player keeps it.

Hochkonjunktur (Boom Economy) The increase in trade leads to a boom. A fifth Deal card is drawn as a one off, it is timed from the second of the Deal markers currently on the Calendar. The next Deal card to come up is not replaced, so returning the number of Deals on the table to 4. This card is returned to the Stock pack. If there are already 5 Deal cards on the table then this card is not used.

Lotterie (Lottery)

The first Lotteries have been invented. Starting with the player with the Salesman figure and moving clockwise, players get the chance to buy a number or numbers on a 6 die for 100Fl. per number. This carries on until either all 6 numbers have been sold or no one wants to buy any more. Then a die is rolled and the player whose number comes up receives a debt note and moves 2 spaces up the Nobility Table. This card is returned to the Stock pack.

Heeres Kosten (Army Costs)

The Emperor needs money to buy weapons for his army. One less Debt Note than there are players are auctioned individually, using secret bids. Each player writes down their bid for the note and all are revealed simultaneously. The highest bid gets the debt note, if two players bid equal amounts then the note goes to the player lower down the Nobility Table. If they are still equal then they dice for it. Minimum bid 500 Fl. On political grounds, no player may receive more than 2 debt notes. The card is returned to the Stock pack.


In the late Middle Ages the mathematical trickery and teaching of Adam Riese became better known. The owner of this card may use this card once. When selling goods to a Noble the card allows them to give up 600 Fl. of the contract price but the Noble will believe that it was 1000Fl. and so the player receives 2 debt notes at reduced cost. Once used the card is discarded. When first turned over the card is auctioned using a secret bid method, minimum bid 20Fl. If two bids are equal the card goes to the player lower on the Nobility Table if still equal then the players dice for it.

Entdeckung Americas (America Discovered)

The discovery of America. The first wares from the New World arrive in Portugal/Spain. The card is used as if it were a normal Purchase card, in addition, every player who buys goods there may place a free passage marker in the region of their choice. Once used the card is discarded.

Kaiser Krvnung (Coronation of an Emperor)

The new Emperor needs cash. Half as many Debt notes as there are players, (rounded down), are auctioned individually, using secret bids. Each player writes down their bid for the note and all are revealed simultaneously. The highest bid gets the debt note, if two players bid equal amounts then the note goes to the player lower down the Nobility Table. If they are still equal then they dice for it. Minimum bid 500 Fl. On political grounds, no player may receive more than 2 debt notes. The card is discarded after use.

Fuggerei und Kunst mdzen (Lavish Entertaining and Art Patronage)

The rich families choose to display their wealth, either by laying on lavish entertainment as did the Fuggers, or by patronising Artists. Free passage in Kurrhein is up for auction, minimum bid 20 Fl. all players may bid. If two players bid equal amounts then the note goes to the player lower down the Nobility Table. If they are still equal then they dice for it. All cash bid is paid to the Bank, even that bid by players who lost. The card is then discarded.

Korruption (Corruption)

The time of the first Diplomats and the publishing of Machiavelli's teachings, was one when corruption bloomed. A move of one space up the Nobility Table is auctioned using secret bids. Additionally the player getting the card keeps it and need not pay any Taxes during the rest of the game. Minimum Bid. 20Fl. All can bid, the highest wins. If there are two or more bids of equal value then the next lowest bid gets the move. All cash bid is paid to the Bank, even that bid by players who lost.

Blockade of the Mediterranean

The Turkish fleet blockades the sea routes to Asia. The next Purchase in Venedig (Venice), or Suditalien (South Italy), is returned immediately to Stock along with this card.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell