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  • 1 Secret Service Board
  • 48 Machine Segment Pieces
  • 6 Machine Sheets
  • 12 Scientist miniatures
  • 1 Central Board
  • 20 Agent Gears
  • 48 Da Vinci Codex Tokens
  • 24 Mission Cards
  • 4 Firepower Markers
  • 30 Mayhem Tokens
  • 85 Part Tokens
  • 1 Monocle of Forgetfulness Token
  • 20 Building Miniatures
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

In Victorian Masterminds, you and your fellow villains are racing to collect the most Mayhem Points! Will you construct your nefarious Machine? Will you capture the great Buildings of Europe? Will you collect brilliant Scientists and Codex Tokens?

Will you complete dangerous Missions in the nations' capitals? Whatever you choose, send your Agents across the world to do your bidding! Just be mindful of the Secret Service: their growing strength will prevent your perfect plans... unless you have some superior Firepower!

Basic Concepts

Central Board

The Central Board depicts the 5 great cities that are the targets of your international intrigue.

In each city section of the Board, there is a space for you to place your Agents 1, as well as a depiction of the City's Spoils 2 your Agents can collect (see pg. 8).

Each city also has 4 Buildings (1 Factory, 1 Furnace, 1 University, and 1 Monument), which your Agents can Capture. Each Building has its own slot 3.

Finally, each city has a space for a faceup Mission Card (4 ), which your Agents can complete

Secret Service Board

This Board represents the Secret Service's current Level of research and strength. Whenever you Capture a Building from the Central Board, the Secret Service is alerted, and its Level is increased by 1, represented by moving the needle 1 space clockwise 5.

There are also spaces for your Firepower Markers 6. Your Firepower is compared against the Secret Service Level when completing certain actions.

Machine Sheet

In your pursuit of villainy, you'll have to construct your own unique and nefarious Machine. These are represented by Machine Sheets, which show a blueprint of all the Machine Segments 1 you'll need to assemble.

Each Segment of your Machine requires a number of Bolts 2 and Copper Plates 3 to be completed. Whenever you gain these resources, take a Parts Token from the reserve and place it immediately on top of the Bolt or Copper Plate slot.

Each segment also has a Segment Icon 4 that is used to fulfill certain Mission Cards.

Each Machine has its own Machine Power, listed in its Engine Room area 5. Your Machine begins the game with a basic Power, but it also has 2 unlockable Bonus Powers.

Your Machine Sheet also contains Cells to hold Scientists 6 and a Library for your Da Vinci Codex Tokens 7.


Prepare the play area as follows:

Then, each player must prepare their individual player areas:

1 Place the Central Board in the middle of the table.

2 Place the 20 Buildings on the indicated slots of the Board.

3 - Place the Secret Service Board next to the Central Board, then set its needle based on the current player count.

4 Place all the Parts Tokens, Da Vinci Codex Tokens, Mayhem Tokens, and Scientist Miniatures near the Central Board, in their own separate pools.

5 Shuffle the 5 Basic Mission Cards, then place 1 faceup in each City, on the Mission Card slot.

6 Shuffle the 19 Advanced Mission Cards, then place them in a facedown deck near the Central Board.

7 Take 1 Machine Sheet (either randomly or by choice) and its 8 associated Machine Segment Pieces.

8 Take 1 Scientist, then place it in the first Cell of your Machine Sheet.

9 Take the 5 Agent Gears of your preferred color and shuffle them. Then, create a facedown Pile of Agents in front of you.

10 Take a Firepower Marker of your preferred color and place it in the level 1 of the Secret Service Board.

And finally:

11 Place the Monocle of Forgetfulness Token near the Central Board.

12 Determine the first player. Whoever has the best evil laugh starts the game!

Game Play

During your turn, you are the Active Player. As the Active Player, take the topmost Agent Gear from your Agent Pile. Look at its Ability, and place it facedown on one of the 5 available city slots on the Central Board (London, Moscow, Washington, Paris and Rome).

If there are already 1 or 2 Agents in that slot, place your Agent facedown on top of the previously placed Agent(s), forming a Stack of Agents.

When an Agent is placed on the Central Board, 2 situations are possible:

  1. The chosen location now has 1 or 2 Agents. Play passes clockwise to the next player.
  2. The chosen location now has 3 Agents. Play is paused as the Active Player proceeds to Resolve a Stack of Agents (see next page).

Note: If the Active Player is unable to place an Agent Gear, they must choose any Stack of Agents with 1 or 2 Agent Gears, as long as that Stack contains one or more of their Agents, and Resolve it.


You can always look at the top Agent in your Pile and return it facedown.

Players may not look at the Agents in a Stack of Agents before it is resolved.

Example: Paris is empty, so Stella decides to place her Agent there. Play passes to Philippe, who places his Agent in London. There was already an Agent there, so Philippe puts his Agent on top of the Stack.

Patricia goes next and decides to follow Stella's lead: she places her Agent in Paris, putting it on top of Stella's Agent.

Vincent weighs his options and decides to see what's happening in Paris; he places his Agent on top of the Stack.

Now that there are 3 Agents in a city, Vincent - as the Active Player - must pause the game to resolve the Stack!

Resolving a Stack of Agents

After you place the third Agent in a city, pause the game to resolve that city. As the Active Player, take the Monocle of Forgetfulness Token: this serves as a reminder of where the game will continue after the resolution.

Then, as the Active Player, take the entire Stack of Agents and turn it faceup. The first Agent that was placed is now the Agent at the top of the faceup Stack.

From top to bottom, follow these steps for each Agent, in the order of the Agent's owner's choice, until the Stack of Agents is resolved:

  1. The owner of the Agent receives the city's listed Spoils;
  2. The owner of the Agent attempts to perform their Agent's Ability.

After performing these steps, the owner of the Agent places the Agent faceup next to their Machine Sheet, forming a Discard Area.

Once the 3 Agents have been resolved, the game resumes. If you have the Monocle of Forgetfulness Token, return it next to the Central Board and play passes clockwise.

Exception: When playing Victorian Masterminds with 2 players, cities are resolved after the second Agent is placed in a Stack (as opposed to the third Agent).

City's Spoils


Gain 1 Copper Plate.

To represent this, take a Parts Token from the reserve and immediately place it on your Machine Sheet, covering a Copper Plate slot.


Gain 1 Firepower.

Move your Firepower Marker on the Secret Service Board up 1 space.


Gain 1 Bolt.

To represent this, take a Parts Token from the reserve and immediately place it on your Machine Sheet, covering a Bolt slot.


Gain 1 Da Vinci Codex Token.

Place it in an available Library slot, according to your current Codex Level.


Gain 1 Scientist.

Immediately place it on an available Cell on your Machine Sheet. If you have no available Cells or there are no available Scientists, you don't gain a new Scientist.


When you gain 1 Bolt or 1 Copper Plate, take a Parts Token and immediately place it on your Machine Sheet in one of the available corresponding slots. Once placed, these Parts can no longer be moved.

When you gather all elements of a Machine Segment, complete it by returning the Parts Tokens to the general pool and placing the corresponding Segment Piece in its slot.

You have now gained a Bonus!

Agent Abilities

All players have the same set of 5 different Agent Gears. The Agent's front side shows an illustrative image and an icon that refers to the Agent's Ability. The back side only indicates your player color. Keep your Agent Gears in a facedown Agent Pile near your Machine Sheet.

Managing your Agent Pile & Discard Area

When you Resolve a Stack of Agents, place your activated Agents faceup next to your Machine Sheet. This constitutes your Agent Discard Area.

When you place the last Agent in your Agent Pile into a city, you must immediately shuffle the Agents in your Discard Area to form a new Agent Pile.

Warning: If you place your last Agent as the third Agent in a city, that Stack of Agents must be resolved before you shuffle your Discard Area into a new Agent Pile!

Number 2

This Agent collects their city's Spoils a second time.

Example: Philippe resolves his Number 2 in London! The city's Spoils are 1 Copper Plate but, because his Number 2 doubles a city's Spoils, Philippe takes 2 Parts Tokens from the reserve!

He immediately places them on 2 Copper Plate slots on his Machine Sheet, then places his Number 2 faceup in his Discard Area.


This Agent attempts to complete their city's Mission.

If you have the Prerequisites listed on the Mission Card (see below), take it and place it in front of you. After the Stack of Agents is resolved, add a new Card from the Mission deck to the Mission Card slot on the Central Board.

Each Mission Card has a Prerequisite 1 and a Reward 2. When using your Henchman's Ability while Resolving a Stack of Agents, check the Mission Card on the active city.

If you have fulfilled the Mission Card's Prerequisite, you may claim it and place it next to your Machine Sheet.

Example: While Resolving a Stack of Agents in Paris, Patricia's Henchman appears. Paris' current Mission card requires the player to have already Captured a Building.

Patricia has a University in front of her, having captured it on an earlier turn, so her Henchman fulfills the Prerequisite.

She claims the Mission Card from Paris and receives its Reward! In this case, the Mission Card will be worth 2 Mayhem Points at the end of the game.


This Agent prevents the Agent directly beneath them in the Stack of Agents from using their Ability. However, the latter still gains the city's Spoils.

Important: Your Saboteur never sabotages your own Agent.

Example: As the first player to Resolve the Stack of Agents in Rome, Vincent activates his Saboteur!

The city allows him to take 1 Da Vinci Codex Token. After taking the city's Spoils, Vincent then sabotages the next Agent (the Agent directly beneath his Saboteur in the order of resolution).

As the next Agent is also a Saboteur, that Agent's Ability is cancelled (but they still receive their Da Vinci Codex Token as the city's Spoils!). As a result, the third and final Agent can apply its Ability normally.


This Agent attempts to Capture a Building from their city, provided you have sufficient Firepower.

Example: Stella resolves her Gunner in Washington!

She takes 1 Parts Token from the reserve and places it over a Bolt slot on her Machine Sheet. Then, she compares her Firepower (7) to the current Secret Service Level (5). Since her Firepower is higher than the Secret Service Level, she can Capture 1 of the Buildings present in Washington.


This Agent activates your Machine Power and, if unlocked, the Machine Bonus Powers.

Example: Vincent resolves his Engineer in Moscow!

He increases his Firepower by 1. Then, activates his Machine's Power. He's playing with C.L.A.W.S, the Steam Mole, and can, therefore, place his next Agent under another Agent alone in any city on the Central Board.

At this point in the game, he has not yet built the Segments of his Machine that would unlock his Bonuses for his Machine Power.

Capturing a Building

When your Gunner is resolved, you may attempt to capture 1 of the Buildings in that city.

First, check your Firepower. If it is less than the current Secret Service Level, nothing happens.

Then, if your Firepower is equal to or greater than the current Secret Service Level, you can choose 1 of the remaining Buildings in that city and place it next to your Machine Sheet. When you Capture the Building, collect the Spoil listed next to the Building slot. In the end of the game, each Building is worth 2 Mayhem Points.

Finally, increase the Secret Service Level by 1. (Notice that a subsequent Gunner in the same Stack of Agents may then not be able to Capture a Building if none remain or if they no longer have enough Firepower!)


There are 4 types of Buildings present in each city: Factories, Furnaces, Universities, and Monuments. Each city's Monument has a different miniature (Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, White House, Colosseum and Saint Basil's Cathedral), but their function is identical.

When you Capture a Building, place it in front of you: each captured Building is worth 2 Mayhem Points at the end of the game.

Additionally, each Building grants Spoils when you capture it, depending on the Building type:

Da Vinci Codex

All Da Vinci Codex Tokens have 2 sides (values 1 and 2) that count as Mayhem Points at the end of the game.

At the beginning of the game, you may only collect Da Vinci Codex Tokens of value 1. If you construct the Codex Segment of your Machine, it allows you to collect Codex Tokens of value 2.

Each Machine can only hold a maximum of 10 Da Vinci Codex Tokens. Whenever you receive a Da Vinci Codex Token, you must immediately place it on an available slot; if you receive a Token and don't have any more empty slots, discard it. Return the discarded Da Vinci Codex Token to the general pool.

Special Action

When you collect your fifth Da Vinci Codex Token, you gain a new Ability for the rest of the game: rather than taking the top Agent from your Pile during your turn, you may look at your entire Agent Pile and take the Agent of your choice.

Note: When you unlock the Da Vinci Codex power, your used Agents are still discarded as normal


Most Machine Sheets initially have 2 unlocked Cell spaces that can each accommodate 1 Scientist.

You can unlock up to 2 additional Cells by constructing specific Segments of your Machine. Therefore, each player may hold up to 4 Scientists.

During your turn, you may discard 1 or more Scientists to perform a Special Action. Return the discarded Scientists to the general pool.

Special Actions


(Use 1 scientist before playing an Agent):

Instead of playing the Agent available at the top of your Agent Pile, you may use a faceup Agent from your Discard Area.

Extra Turn

(Use 2 scientists after playing an Agent):

After playing an Agent (and Resolving a Stack of Agents, if need be), you may play another Agent from your Agent Pile. (Essentially, take another turn!)


(Use 3 scientists after playing an Agent):

After playing an Agent (and Resolving a Stack of Agents, if need be), you may Capture a Building anywhere on the Board, ignoring

Firepower and the Secret Service Level. Place the Building next to your Machine Sheet and take the corresponding Building' Spoils. Then, increase the Secret Service Level by 1.

Note: You may use more than one Scientist Special Action in a single turn (eg. you may use "Extra Turn" and "Recycle " in the same turn).

End of the Game

If, during a player's turn, any player finishes building their Machine, or the Secret Service Level reaches the last space (12) of its track, the final round is triggered.

That player finishes their turn, and then all players (including the player whose turn triggered the final round) will take 1 additional turn. Then the game ends.

Then, any Agent Gears remaining on the Board are resolved in the following order: London ► Moscow ► Paris ► Rome ► Washington.

After the remaining Agents have been resolved, calculate your Mayhem Points by adding the following items:

  • Any Mayhem Points present on completed Segment Pieces on your Machine;
  • 2 Mayhem points per Building you've captured;
  • 2, 3, or 4 Mayhem Points per Mission Card you've completed, according to the Card's Reward;
  • 2 Mayhem Points per Mayhem Token;
  • 1 or 2 Mayhem Points per Da Vinci Codex Token.

The player with the most Mayhem Points is the most brilliant and dastardly mastermind of them all, and they win the game!

If, however, there is a tie, the player with the most completed Segments on their Machine wins the game. If there is still a tie, the tied players share the Victory.

Example: In turn order, all players just finished their last round. Now, they must resolve all the Stack of Agents that are still on the Board.

In London, the players must turn the Stack of Agents faceup and resolve it normally. Then, they move on to Moscow, Paris, Rome and finally Washington.

Now that all Stacks of Agents have been resolved in the Board, players will calculate their Mayhem Points according to their Machines, Buildings, Mission Cards, Mayhem Tokens, and Da Vinci Codex Tokens.

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