Amidst craggy mountains, the first silhouettes of a monumental castle arise. A line of traders twists its way to the gate; and the hustle and bustle attracts bricklayers, stonemasons and workers in the hope of getting wages and victuals.
The area is crammed with market booths; the magnificent castle is being enlarged around them.
- 1 gameboard
- 4 summary cards
- 23 building tiles
- 28 helpers
- 4 victory markers
- 83 Resource Pieces:
- 4 card sets of 8 character cards
- 6 winter cards
- 1 starting player marker
- 65 Game Coins (taler)
Object of the Game
You are builders who always need sufficient resources and money. To this end, you have character cards at your disposal whose way of use determines the order of play anew each round.
You constantly have to be careful that your opponents don't benefit from your actions more than you do.
This game holds the builders in its spell from beginning to end and culminates in an exciting final scoring every time. The player who has the most victory points in the end deserves the protection of the castle and wins the game.
Place the gameboard in the middle of the table so that the summer side is showing. For the winter variant, use the winter side of the gameboard, the rules of the summer game and the winter cards (S. 8)).
In the two- and four-player game, put one taler on each of the first 12 spaces designating rounds. In the three-player game, put one taler on each of the 15 round spaces.
Put one sand pile, wooden beam, stone block, silver bar, and clay slab on the defense tower. The "Defense Tower" in this game refers to the tower currently being built above the carts.
Place all the building tiles on the gameboard over their matching pictures on the board.
Each player chooses a color and takes:
A victory point marker that he puts on the starting space of the victory point bar.
6 helpers of his color. In the two-player game, both players get 7 helpers each.
A card set in the player's color (see card backs). Each card set consists of 8 character cards: one each of a messenger, trader, bricklayer, and stonemason; 3 workers and 1 master builder.
A summary card.
3 talers, 1 sand pile and 1 wooden beam, which he puts in his play area (the space in front of him on the table).
The remaining resources form the general stock. Distribute them, sorted, onto the 4 carts and the rider at the bottom of the gameboard.
Each cart transports the kind that is depicted next to it. The rider carries silver bars in his saddlebags.
Put the remaining talers as general stock (the "bank") face up next to the gameboard.
The game plays for 12 or 15 rounds. Each round consists of the following phases:
The starting player takes the starting player marker and the taler from the highest round space on the gameboard. The players choose the starting player for the first round using any method they prefer.
Each player selects one of his character cards and lays it face down in his play area.
All players flip over their played cards at the same time.
When a player turns over a worker card, he equips it with resources.
The players execute the cards in a fixed card order. The card order is shown on the summary cards. When the last card is executed, the next round starts by changing the starting player.
After the last round, the game ends with the final scoring (victory points for the helpers).
1. Selecting Character Cards
Every round, each player plays one card from his hand face down in his play area. In a two-player game, each player plays two cards each round. The summary cards show the functions and advantages of each character card.
The back of these rules provide an additional overview: here it shows directly which cards give what resources, talers, or immediate victory points.
A player may not play the master builder in the first round! (see "Master Builder" page 6)
Sometimes the bank has more, sometimes less, and sometimes no talers at all. This can be the decisive factor for using the messenger or bricklayer - because if there is little or nothing in the bank, the players also get little or nothing!
2. Equipping Worker Cards
When a player has played a worker, he takes the 3 resource pieces depicted on the card from the general stock (carts and riders) and places them on the card. The presence of helpers there is irrelevant.
There are 3 different worker cards:
- one worker gets 2 wooden beams and 1 silver bar;
- another one gets 2 sand piles and 1 clay slab;
- a third one gets 1 stone block and any 2 pieces: sand piles, clay slabs and/or wooden beams.
3. Executing Character Cards
Now players execute the played cards in the order indicated below. The detailed description of each character card and the sections "Erecting Buildings" and "Using Helpers" begin on page 6. The order is:
- Master Builder
4. The function of the starting player
If more than one player has played the same card, the order of execution starts with the starting player and moves clockwise around the table.
But: the order from the messenger to the master builder as mentioned above always has priority and always remains unchanged!
5. Playing and getting back character cards
Every played card remains lying face up the player's play area until the player plays the master builder. It is best to lay out the played cards in an overlapping fashion so that everybody can see which cards have already been played.
With the master builder (page 6), the player takes all cards he has played back into his hand.
6. Changing the Starting Player
As soon as the last card in a round has been executed, the starting player passes the starting player marker clockwise to the next player, who also gets the taler from the next (highest) round space.
Players take talers from the round space bar on the gameboard from right to left so that they can see at any time how many rounds are still left. Since the players may have a different number of cards in their hands during the game, the round spaces make it clear how many rounds are left.
7. The Last Round
The game ends after 12 rounds (for 2 or 4 players) or after 15 rounds (for 3 players). In rare cases, it may occur that a player erects the last building in a game before 12 or 15 rounds have been completed. In this case, the current round is the last round.
8. Final Scoring
First, players remove all helpers from the carts; these helpers don't score any victory points.
The remaining helpers on the board are scored in order according to the list of buildings (page 7). To keep things clear, it is better to lay down each helper after scoring him, but to leave him in place!
End of the Game
The player to earn the most points on the victory point bar after the final scoring wins the game.
When a player reaches the end of the victory point bar (90 points) and gets more victory points, he starts again at space 1 of and adds 90 to his score.
In case of a tie, the player who has the most talers among those tied for first wins. Talers that were turned into victory points do not count.
If there is still a tie, the player who has the highest value of unused resources in his personal stock wins among the tying players. Resources that were turned into victory points do not count.