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.
- 1 Game Board, a map of mediaeval Europe
- 1 Calendar, a scale showing the current time of year
- 1 Nobility Table, showing how far players have got in the race towards Nobility and a Title.
- (Adelslaufbahn) 6 Goods storage cards. Each with four spaces, one showing the family warehouse and three showing trading representatives.
- 1 Tall red wooden cylinder, used to mark the current month on the Calendar
- 18 Wooden figures in six different colours representing the players' Trading Reps
- 6 Cylindrical playing pieces, to mark the players' positions on the Nobility Table
- 6 Small wooden houses, to mark the players' home bases
- 24 round wooden markers, Deal Markers.
- 48 small wooden cubes to mark rights of way. 2 dice
- 1 Salesman Figure, to show the Starting Player for that Round
- 1 set of cards: including 6 cards with an overview of the rules (Spielablauf), and some advertising cards for other games
- 1 set of wares, Bars of Metal, Bales of Cloth (wooden rolls) and Sacks of Spices (wooden cloves)
- 1 set of money (20,100,200,500,1000 Fl.)
- 1 set of debt notes (500 Fl.)
- 1 set of trading sheets, (these should be copied so as to ensure an adequate supply no matter how often the game is played)
- 1 Newspaper of the Middle Ages
- Players will also require a pencil or pen each to note trades
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.
- THE TRADING GAME
- 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.
- THE NOBILITY GAME
- 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 COUNTRY ESTATE GAME
- 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
- THE FULL GAME
- 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.
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.
THE TRADING GAME
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.
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.
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:
- 24 Demand cards (Nachfragen)
- 11 Offer cards (Angebote)
- 6 Chance cards (Ereignisse)
- 2 Market cards (Messe)
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
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.
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.
- nothing to move 1 space
- 20 Fl. to move 2 spaces
- 60 Fl. if they move 3 spaces.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- Urgent Trades (Eilauftrage)
- Demands (Nachfrage)
- Markets (Messe)
- Offers (Angebote)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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 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
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:
- Per bale of Cloth; 500 Fl.
- Per sack of Spices; 800 Fl.
- Per bar of Metal; 1100 Fl.
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
- 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 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
The first action on Payday is the payment of interest on debt notes.
This occurs before the player pays their TRs.
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).
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).
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)
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.
- Dice roll 6 or less, 2 wares stolen
- Dice roll 7-9, 1 ware stolen
- 10 or more, No wares stolen
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.
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
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
- Ken Tidwell