Before The First Game
Gently remove the cardboard tiles from their sheets. Attach the 'child' stickers on the underside of each villager figure.
Place the game board in the center of the table.
Sort out the building tiles according to the number on the back of each tile.
The building tiles with a '1' should be sorted according to building type and placed face up next to the game board.
The tiles with '2' on the back should be placed face down and mixed, and then placed as a stack face down near the game board. Mix and stack the tiles with a '3' on the back in the same way.
The tiles with letters on the back are openly displayed and distributed to the players (see "Distribution of starting buildings").
The 5 character tiles and the 10 goods tiles are placed on the appropriate spaces on the board. The 6 special victory tiles are placed next to the game board.
Each player takes all the components of their chosen color: 16 villagers, 6 coins, and 17 delivery cubes and places them in front of him.
Each player places one of his cubes on the 0 space of the victory point track.
In addition, each player receives one "Village Center" tile. The letters on the back are only needed if playing the "Easy First-Time Play" rules. Any "Village Center" tiles left over should be put back in the box, as they are no longer needed in this game.
Distribution of starting buildings
If playing with 4 persons, use all 15 starting buildings (with a letter on the back). If playing with 3 persons, remove one of each type. You will then have 10 starting buildings available, 2 of each type. Leftover tiles are put back in the box.
A starting player is chosen and receives the starting player token.
The start player chooses 1 of the starting buildings, the other players follow in clockwise order. Once all players have chosen 1 building, the player to the right of the starting player (the one who took the last building), chooses a second building, the other players follow in anti-clockwise order.
The third taking round is started by the starting player again, in clockwise order. Each player may chose a single building type only once during setup. Once all players have chosen 3 buildings, the remaining starting buildings are put back in the box.
Each player now arranges his 3 buildings around his Village Center (see next page Construction of your village).
If you want to play against Swiss tradition, you can - of course - play in clockwise order. If you decide to do so, the distribution of the starting buildings should be done in reverse order. So, beginning with the starting player, first round anti-clockwise and so on.
Special case: It is possible that the last player to take his 3rd building can only choose a building that he has already taken. In that case, this player takes 1 building already chosen by another player, so that he has 3 different building types.
The player from whom the building was taken, then chooses a new building from the remaining ones.
In all cases, the player that took the last building becomes the starting player for the first round and receives the starting player token.
Easy First-time Play
If you play Helvetia for the first time, we recommend using a simplified distribution of the starting buildings. On the back of each Village Center tile there are letters.
Each player receives one Village Center randomly and takes the starting buildings with the corresponding letter.
Put the remaining starting buildings and Village Centers back in the box. Choose a starting player randomly.
More Simplified First-time Play
If you want to play a faster, learning game, remove the 5 character tiles. Put them back in the box and ignore all rules that concern these tiles.
Apart from that, there is only one other change in the rules: because there are no character tiles, there are less victory points available, and therefore the game ends if one player reaches 18 instead of 20 victory points
In later games, if you want to distribute the starting buildings via the Village Centers for a faster game start, we recommend to use the character tiles and to play to 20 victory points.
Construction of your Village
Each player starts with his Village Center and 3 buildings.
A building is always placed adjacent to the Village Center tile, so that the building is located in exactly one quarter of the village center tile (above, below in the corner) or in 2 quarters (on the left or right side) of the Village Center tile.
The three buildings that the player receives at the beginning of the game, can be placed anywhere provided they obey the above placement rules. (It is recommended however, to place them all in one quarter of the village).
Each player takes 3 women and 3 men from his supply of villagers. The villagers are placed in couples as follows:
1st pair: On any two of that player's buildings.
2nd pair: 1 villager on the remaining building tile and 1 villager on the "School" field of the playing board.
3rd pair: 1 villager is "married" by being placed in the village of the neighboring player to his left, in a building containing a villager of the opposite sex. The remaining villager is put on his own Village Center.
Initially, all players place their first pair; then all players place their second pair; then all players place their third pair. Because the building on which a man or woman is placed can be important, the three rounds of placement are played in game turn order (anti-clockwise).
All villagers are awake at the beginning of the game, and so the figures stand upright.
The other villagers remain as stock in front of the players.
Each player now takes 2 of its 6 coins and gives 1 each to the two players to his right. These players place the coins thus obtained as a "dowry" on their Village Center. Each player should then have 4 coins left, plus 1 coin each on his Village Center from the two players to his left.