a trading game

Game invented by Reiner Knizia.
Published by ?.
Copyright 1995, Reiner Knizia.
Translated by ? (via Merfyn Lewis).

For 3 - 6 players.

Aim of the Game

Attempt to buy the most valuable wares. The player with the most valuable wares in their warehouse at the end of a round receives the highest proceeds. Trade monopolies bring additional rewards. After 3 rounds the richest player wins.



Each player receives the six counters in one color.

The board is placed in the middle of the table. In the center of the board are five trade accounts, one for each of the different wares. Each account comprises eight spaces. On the bottom space of each account all the players place one of their counters. The two top spaces of the accounts are incsribed with monopoly prizes (10 and 20).

Round the edge of the board is the wealth scale, labeled 0 - 99. This shows the actual wealth of the players. If the wealth of a player rises above 100 then only the least significant digits are shown (that is, the scale wraps round at the top but not at the bottom - no borrowing!). At the beginning of the game each player's wealth marker is placed on the space labelled 40 (if there are 3 or 4 players) or 30 (if there are 5 or 6 players). This is the player's starting capital.

The 36 ware cards represent wares from the five accounts with values from 0 - 5. In addition, there is a neutral ware card with a value of 10. This card belongs to no account. Shuffle the ware cards well.

The number of cards used depends on the number of players:

These are placed face down in a deck next to the board. The remaining cards are, for this game round, placed face down out of the game.

Decide who will start. The player with the lowest wealth starts the second and third game rounds.

The First Game Round

Play proceeds clockwise. On his turn a player first turns up a ware card from the face down deck and places it face up next to the deck for all to see. If he wants a player can turn over a second and a third card, and place them face up.

The cards turned over can now be acquired by any player. All the cards that were turned over must be actioned together. It is not possible to auction just part of them.

The player to the left of the player who turned over the cards makes a bid or passes. In order, all the other players have a turn to make a higher bid or pass. The player who turned over the card(s) is the last to bid or pass.

The bidding only lasts one round. The player with the highest bid receives the cards that were turned over and places them face up in front of himself. The player pays the bid price - his marker is moved down the wealth scale the corresponding number of spaces.

No player's wealth can ever fall below zero.

Play now passes to the left and that player turns over and auctions cards.

Special Case: if everyone passes, the turned over cards are discarded and belong to no player.

Restricted Warehouse Capacity

No player can buy more than five cards in a game round. Once bought, wares cannot be returned.

Players may not purchase a set of cards that would cause them to exceed the five card limit and may not take part in the bidding for such a set of cards. A player may turn over more cards than he himself can buy but he must take care that there is at least one player that can bid for the cards. Once a player's warehouse is full (ie they have five cards), they can no longer turn over cards in this round.

Example: Player A has two cards and it is his turn. He turns over three cards. Player B already has three cards and player C has four. Both must pass. Player D only has two cards in his warehouse and bids 7 florins for the cards. Player A passes. Player D takes the cards.

If someone were to turn over three cards again, player A, as the sole possible purchaser, could obtain them for one florin.

End of the Game Round

If all the players but one have filled their warehouses the this last player takes enough cards to fill his warehouse from the deck without paying for them. When everybody's warehouse is full, the first round ends.

The round also ends when the card deck is exhausted. This happens even if some of the players have not yet filled their warehouses. You are allowed to count the number of cards remaining in the deck so that you can plan ahead.

Scoring the First Round

All players should total the values of their ware cards by adding the numbers on the cards. The player with the most valuable warehouse full of goods receives the highest proceeds. The player with the lowest value gets nothing. The following table shows the amount each player receives - note that proceeds are dependent on the number of players.

Number of Player     3       4       5       6
1st place           30      30      30      30
2nd place           15      20      20      20
3rd place           --      10      10      10
4th place           --      --       5      10
5th place           --      --      --       5
6th place           --      --      --      --

In the case of a tie, if more than one player has an equally valuable warehouse, then the corresponding proceeds are added together and divided amongst the players involved. Always round down. Each player's marker is advanced along the wealth scale to indicate their proceeds.

Example for Five Players

Player A acquires Fabric 5, Color 5, Metal 3, Metal 0, and the Neutral 10 in the course of a round. The other players acquired the following: player B = 20 (2nd place), player C = 16 (3rd place), player D = 16 (4th place), player E = 14 (5th place).

        Card Value       Proceeds   
    A       23              30
    B       20              20
    C       16               7
    D       16               7
    E       14               0

C and D divide the fourth and fifth place proceeds (10 + 5 = 15; 15 / 2 = 7.5; rounded down this is 7 each).

The next step is to determine the monopoly positions of the players. These are scored in the individual accounts. The accounts are scored on after the other. Each player moves his counter up the account table by the same number of spaces as the number of ware cards of that type he possesses. The value of the ware cards are not considered.

Notice that the neutral 10 is not counted in this score.

The player who is in the highest position in an account is awarded 10 florins. The player in the second highest position receives 5 florins. In case of a tie, the awards are added together and then divided amonst the players involved, once again, rounding down.

Example: see the illustration on page 4. Player A receives 10 florins. Players B, C, and D must divide 5 florins and receive one each.

When all five accounts have been moved in this way and the counters on the wealth scale have been moved accordingly, the next game round begins.

The Second and Third Game Rounds

All 36 ware cards are placed together, shuffled well, and the correct number for the number of players (see the table from the description of the first round) are placed face down in a deck next to the board.

The player with the least wealth begins. In the case of a tie, decide between the players involved.

When determining the awards for individual accounts, the counters are advanced from their previous positions. The counters cannot move beyond the highest space. If a counter reaches the 10 or 20 spaces then that player is awarded an additional monopoly prize (either 10 or 20, depending upon the space).

Example: see illustration on page 5. Player A receives 30 florins (10 + a prize of 20). Player B gets nothing. Players D and C receive 12 florins each (5 divided by 2 + a prize of 10 florins).

End of the Game

After the third round has been scored, the game ends. The player with the most wealth wins.


One need not always possess the most valuable warehouse to win the game. By gaining monopolies you can acquire great wealth over three rounds.

Through deciding how many cards to turn over each time, high card values can be bought cheap.

As a beginner one should not bid too high - bid high only for high cards in accounts which will bring you a monopoly. Naturally, all this changes if the cards are in short supply.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell