Each player can extend his village with other buildings. To do this he needs different goods. Each villager can produce 1 good, either in his own or another village, as long as he is awake.
Having produced the good, the villager goes to sleep and cannot produce anything else. A standing figure indicates that the villager is awake. After the good is produced, the player lays down his figure, as a sign that the villager is asleep. Sleeping villagers can only be awoken with the "night watchman" action.
There are no goods cards or tiles in Helvetia: Goods are produced if and when they are needed. A player will produce a particular good and use it immediately, to build a building for example.
If other players marry into the village, the couple may have children. These become residents who may occupy new buildings. Marrying into other villages is worthwhile in order to able to make use of other players' buildings, and because it is the only way to earn additional coins.
- 1 Game Board
- 72 stickers
- 54 rectangular building tiles
- 24 wooden coins
- 68 delivery cubes
- 64 Wooden Villagers
- 6 rectangular special victory points tiles
- 5 rectangular "Village Center" tiles
- 1 starting player token
Object of the Game
The aim of the game is to have 20 or more points at the end of a round when victory points are checked. Victory points (VPs) are earned mainly for "delivering" goods to the market, but also by the fulfillment of specific goals coming from some buildings, and - temporarily - by the possession of character tiles.
Victory points are not cumulative in Helvetia. The scoring track is just an indicator of the current game score - because the points earned from the character tiles and the starting player token only count for as long as you own the tiles, your actual victory point score can go down as well as up.
Helvetia is played in rounds. In each round, players take turns anti-clockwise to place in turn one or more of their coins. This goes on until only ONE (1) player has coins left.
This player does not get any more turns, but will be the starting player for the next round.
At the end of each round, there is a short interim period to adjust - among others things - the victory points, and to check whether the game is over. If the game is not over, a new round starts.
The engine of the game revolves around the 5 characters:
The general flow of a game turn begins with the active player selecting one of the 5 characters with which he wants to execute one or more actions. For every action that he wants that character to execute, he puts one of his coins on the character's space.
If a player wants to put more than one coin on the space of one character, he must first decide how many coins he wants to use, and only then perform the actions.
Important: The player must take his turn using ONLY ONE (1) character and that person may perform as many actions as the player has "paid" with coins.
If on a player's turn that player has already spent all of his coins (in previous turns), he must pass and can take no further actions in the current round of the game. A player cannot pass as long as he still has coins.
A player may only place coins on a character if he uses their action. It is not allowed to place more coins on a character than you can perform actions.
Production and Production Chains
Goods in Helvetia come in two types:
Simple goods are produced directly.
If only 1 good is visible then it is a simple good that can be produced directly.
On the grain yard, the good "grain" can be produced directly.
Complex goods are produced by production chains.
It takes more steps to produce a complex good. If next to the good in the right corner another, smaller good is pictured, then the players must additionally produce this good as a prerequisite to allow the production of the complex good from this building.
In the cow shed, the grain that was produced in the grain yard can be used to produce the "cow" good. The grain however is gone, eaten by the cow.
A production chain can exist of up to three goods.
To produce a good, a player needs to have his own villager awake and in the appropriate building. It doesn't matter whether the villager is located in their own village or in another player's village.
After the resident has produced the good, he goes to sleep, and can no longer produce further goods. If a complex good is to be produced, you must also have an awake villager in a building that produces the good required as a prerequisite to produce the complex good.
Characters and Actions in Detail
The Builder makes it possible to build new buildings. If a player wants to build one building, he chooses the Builder and puts one of his coins on his space.
Then he takes the required building from the face up buildings and pays the costs by producing the required goods (see above, "Production and Production chains").
The cost to build a building is indicated on the top left of the building tile.
There are 3 different types of buildings. A list and explanation of each type of building is given in the Annex under "Buildings".
If a player wishes to build more than one building, he must place the required number of coins on the Builder space. A player may build as many buildings as his coins and goods allow.
However, each player can only build each building once!
If a player wants a building built but cannot produce all the commodities needed to build it, he may buy the goods shown on the Builder space (wood, clay or stone) by paying one additional coin per good to the Builder. Coins paid in this way are also placed on the builder space.
To build a building entirely by paying coins in this way is allowed, and you can purchase a single good several times over if necessary.
Note: You can only buy the 3 goods shown and this is possible only when taking the Builder action.
Example: Yellow wants to build a butchers. He needs 2 brick and 1 stone.
He has awake villagers both in the stone quarry and the clay quarry. So, he is only missing a second brick.
Since he does not have a villager on a clay quarry in another village, he has to buy the second brick from the Builder. Therefore, he places 2 coins on the Builder space: 1 coin to activate the Building action and 1 coin to buy the missing brick.
New buildings will be placed on any empty plots around the village. Once the player has placed a new building, he must immediately check whether there is a villager in his Village Center.
The villager then moves immediately into the new building. After that, the player may build another building, if he has placed additional coins on the Builder. He may use the newly-built building immediately if applicable.
If later in the game the Village Center is completely surrounded by buildings, then a second "ring" will begin around the Village Center.
The first and second players to completely surround their Village Center with buildings receive 4 and 2 victory points.
To get these victory points, all buildings (except the VP buildings) must be occupied by villagers.
The Trader delivers goods to the Market in the next big town. Each player can deliver each of the goods to the Market once in the game using the Trader.
If a player delivers a good in this way, he places one of his delivery cubes on the corresponding space of the Market. Each delivery cube that is placed on the Market is worth 1 victory point.
If a player is the first to deliver a complex good to the Market, he receives the corresponding good tile, worth 1 or 2 victory points.
Red places 2 coins on the Trader and delivers 2 goods to the Market.
He delivers 1 timber and 1 ale and places a delivery cube on each of them. Since he was the first to deliver the good "ale", he also takes the corresponding good tile.
Note: To be able to deliver complex goods, the player does NOT necessarily have to have already delivered the prerequisite goods to the Market.
The arrangement and ordering of the Market is only for the purpose of allocating the production chains and has nothing to do with the delivery.
Reminder: A player may NOT buy goods when taking the Trader action in order to deliver them to the Market.
Special Victory Points During Delivery
In addition to the above-mentioned victory points, VPs can also be gained on the Market with one of 4 possible indicated bonuses.
The first player to fill a complete row on the Market with goods receives the corresponding Special VP tiles.
Blue is the frst to have completed the production chain in the middle (ore - iron - cowbell). He receives the corresponding special VP tile.
The Night Watchman action is the only possible way to wake up sleeping villagers.
For every coin that a player places on the Night Watchman space, he may wake up a complete quarter in ANY one selected village.
All of the villagers, both of the active player and of the other players, are woken up and the figures stood up again.
Important: The buildings on the left and right side of the Village Center are considered to be part of two quarters and the villagers in these buildings are awoken when the Night Watchman activates either of these two quarters.
Red places 1 coin on the Night Watchman and awakes 1 quarter. He chooses the upper left quarter.
He awakes his female brickworker and the male woodcutter, since the woodcutter belongs partially to the upper left quarter.
The yellow male brickworker is woken as well. The red-blue mason-couple is already awake and therefore not effected.
The red-white couple in the goat yard is sleeping, but the goat yard is not in the quarter chosen by Red, so this couple remains asleep.
The Priest action may be chosen to allow one of a player's own, unattached villagers to marry in another village.
A villager is considered to be unattached when it does NOT occupy a building.
In this way only villagers that are either in the School or in the Village Center can be married.
If a player wishes to marry an unattached villager, he takes this villager from his Village Center or School and places him:
- in ANOTHER PLAYER'S village AND
- in a building, in which contains only 1 villager of the OPPOSITE sex.
White has an unattached, young man in the School and an unattached, jobless woman in the Village Center. White places 2 coins on the Priest to marry both.
If in the other player's village there are any coins in the Village Center, the player who has taken the Priest action, and placed one of his villagers into this village to be married, may then take 1 of these coins.
If it is a coin of his own color, it may be used to take further actions, even in the same round - but not in this turn. If it is a coin of another color, it is placed into the active player's Village Center. If during a wedding more than one coin is available in the other player's Village, the active player may choose which coin he takes as the dowry.
White has placed his villagers next to their new partners. He also takes the red and the white coin from Blue's Village Center. He may use the white coin in his next turn, the red coin is placed in his Village Center.
The Midwife action allows players to bring new villagers into play. For every coin that a player places in the midwife space, one couple in the active player's OWN village can have 1 child (i.e. a new villager figure).
The player chooses ONE villager figure (yes, this game has perfect birth control) and places it tipped over onto one of his parents in a building.
Important: Each couple can only have 1 child per turn. It is possible to choose the Midwife several times in a round, so a couple may have more than one child in a round.
End of the Round
The round ends, when only 1 player has coins left. This player immediately receives the starting player token and plays first from now on. The control of the starting player token is also worth 1 VP. Note: It is possible that this player will not have had a turn of his own during the round!
The following steps are now carried out:
1. Awarding Character Tiles
There is a character tile - Builder, Trader, Night Watchman, Priest and Midwife - associated to each of the characters. At the beginning of the game, these tiles are on the corresponding fields of the characters.
A check is now made for each of the 5 character action spaces, to see if one player has placed the most coins on a given space. If this is so, he receives the corresponding tile.
If no single player has more coins than any other on the space - either because no coins have been placed there, or because there is a tie in the number of coins placed - the character tile remains where it is - either on the action space or in front of the player who had it in the previous round.
(A tile, once won by a player, is never replaced on the action space).
The Builder tile goes to Yellow since Yellow has more coins on the Builder than any other player.
The Trader tile goes to Red for the same reason. The Night Watchman tile remains where it is at the moment, since no player has placed a coin here this round.
The Priest tile goes to White since he is the only one that has placed coins here. The Midwife remains where is at the moment, since both Red and Blue have placed the same number of coins here.
Control of a character tile has two results:
Possession is worth 1 victory point (which will be lost again if the character tile is later passed to another player).
A player possessing a character tile may, in his turn, use it to make 1 additional action per round with the corresponding character.
If a player controls a character tile, he has a regular action using coins with any character he chooses and may use the character tile for 1 additional action with the corresponding character.
This may also be an additional action with the character the player chose for his regular action.
Example: The player chooses the Trader and places 2 coins on the Trader to deliver 2 goods to the Market. Then he uses the character tile of the Priest under his control (received during the previous round) and marries a villager into another village.
A player may only use 1 character tile in each turn.
A player, who has no coins left, does not have a turn. Therefore he cannot use any remaining character tiles.
Additional rules to use character tiles:
The additional action can be made before or after the regular action. A single action must be completed before another action is started.
If a character tile is used and the same character is chosen with the regular action, however, both actions are combined.
Special case: Normally, you do not use coins if using a character tile. If you use the character tile Builder for 1 building action, you may use coins to buy goods from the Builder.
2. Returning Coins to the Owners
All coins in action spaces are returned to their owners.
3. Children back from School
All villagers which are in the School are moved back into the village.
At this time, the children which did not already get married are considered to be fully grown and will now become a full part of the village community. If there are free buildings in the village then the new villagers are placed directly in them.
If there are more new buildings than villagers, the player may choose in which buildings he places his newly-arrived men and women. Any villagers for whom there are no free buildings are placed in the Village Center. From there, they can be married or occupy new buildings in the next round.
In this phase the turn order can be important. When necessary, this phase is played out in turn order, with the new starting player beginning.
4. Children go to School
Now all children that have been brought into play by the midwife during this round are placed in School. From there, they can either be married in the next round or join the village community at the end of the next round.
5. Checking Victory Points
Each player counts his victory points on the basis of the current situation. This will give an overview of where each player stands in terms of his victory points.
Summary of the possible victory points:
1 VP for control of the starting player token
1 VP for each delivery cube in the Market
1 or 2 VP for each good tile
1 VP for each character tile
3 VP for each VP building
1 or 2 or 4 VP for being the first to completely fill an area of the Market
4 or 2 VP for completing the village
If one player has 20 or more VPs at this point, the next steps of the round are not completed and the game ends.
6. New Buildings
Five new buildings are turned over from the '2' deck of tiles and placed next to any unbuilt buildings tiles from the previous rounds. If the '2' deck is finished, then the tiles are drawn from the '3' pile.
A new round then begins.
End of the Game
The game ends when, after checking every player's victory points, one player has 20 or more VPs. This player wins. If more than one player has 20 victory points, the player with the most VPs wins.
If there is a tie, then the number of awake villagers of the tied players is counted in all villages. The player with the most awake villagers wins. If there is still a tie, then the tied players share the victory.