In remote times, King Gradion had the magnificent city of Ys erected for his daughter Dahut. Gargantuan sea-walls protected the city from the violent waves. Dahut decided to make Ys the most powerful place in Brittany; thus, she dispatched dragons to seize merchant ships loaded with jewels which sailed on the open sea...


Components

  • 1 board
  • 4 screens
  • 56 cylinders / brokers
  • 24 Character cards
  • 5 markers
  • 24 Ship cards
  • 145 gems (cubes)
  • 6 Order cards
  • 1 board of 56 stickers
  • Rulebook

The Board



  • 1 The city of Ys.
  • 2 Neighborhood.
  • 3 Port area.
  • 4 Commercial area.
  • 5 Palace area.
  • 6 Port.
  • 7 'Character cards places.
  • 8 Neighborhood number.
  • 9 Marketplace.
  • 10 Gems quotation scale.
  • 11 Starting point for the quotations.
  • 12 Throne room.
  • 13 Turn counter.
  • 14 Score track.
  • 15 Starting point for the score.

Object of the Game

The players embody merchant-princes of Ys. By skillfully using their network of brokers, they speculate on the purchase of precious stones, thus amassing gold (represented by victory points).

At the end of the game, the winner is the player who has accumulated the most gold.


Setup

  • The board is placed at the center of the table. The turn marker is placed on the first square of the turn counter (13), and the ship cards are placed face down on the side of the board.

  • Each player picks a color and takes a screen as well as 11 brokers (thus leaving three brokers of value 2 in the box) and the score marker (the valueless pawn) which suits their choice.

    They place the marker near the starting point of the score track (15) which will allow them to count victory points. A player shuffles the four 'Order' cards (the cards with numbers ranging from 1 to 4) and randomly distributes one to each player. Players place their card face up in front of their screen.

  • Shuffle the 15 yellow-edged 'Character' cards. Deal three cards face down on each of the four places on the board (7). Put the remaining cards back in the box without looking at them. The four blue-edged 'Character' cards are placed near the board.

  • Put one colored gem on each starting square of the quotation table (11).


Principles of the Game

Each player's team is composed of 11 brokers, each with a value ranging from 0 to 4. These numbers represent the efficiency of the brokers. Thus, a broker with a 0 value is incompetent (but not useless, as we shall see), whereas a broker with a 4 value is a cunning negociator...

At the beginning of each turn, ships filled with gems land in the city's ports. In order to obtain gems, make the market prices rise and be able to draw cards, the players must get majorities on the board by placing brokers (whose values are added up) in carefully chosen places.

Brokers can be displayed either face up or face down, so you can try to bluff your opponents.



The board is composed of two different parts where you can place your brokers, the City and the Market.

The City Of Ys:

The city is divided in four neighborhoods. In order to win the gems brought by the ships, you must be in one of the top three places in a neighborhood (your rank is calculated by adding up your broker points). Furthermore, each neighborhood is composed of three areas with specific characteristics. When you put a broker in a neighborhood to get gems, you can be granted interesting bonuses depending on the area the broker is in.

  • Port area : On the hazy docks, brokers can find real treasures. A player who obtains the majority in the port area by adding up the values of their brokers wins a very rare black gem. Those special stones which are exclusively sold there (illicitly, most of the time !) can yield huge amounts of gold at the end of the game.

  • Commercial area : In the shops of the commercial area, you can make good bargains. Brokers make a lot of profits there. A player who obtains a majority in this area by adding up the values of their brokers instantaneously earns a small amount of gold.

  • Palace area : Mysterious and influential people live in the city's palaces. A player who obtains a majority in the palace area by adding up the values of their brokers immediately wins a 'Character' card, and will consequently be able to use this character and take advantage of it.

The Market

The price of gems is determined at the market. A player places a broker at the same time on a line and a column. At the end of each turn, according to the brokers placed in the columns, you determine the fluctuations in the price of each type of gem. The lines allow you to get gems.


Players can get gems of six colors : blue, green, yellow, red, black and white. In the freight of ships, you can sometimes find white gems. They are magical, and only take on a definitive color once they have been won by a player. In other words, a player who wins a white gem chooses immediately a gem of their choice among the colors available in the bank (blue, red, yellow and green).

At the end of the game, the quotation of each stone on the market and the number of stones owned by the players enable to distribute gold (i.e. victory points) and determine who is the winner. Black gems have no quotation but bring in a fixed amount of gold. The wealthiest player wins the game.



Game Play

A game is divided in four turns. Each turn is divided in four phases.


Phase 1 - Setup

Characters

Reveal the top card of each of the four decks. Players take a look at them. To get these cards, the players will need the majority in the corresponding palace area (see example on the right). The powers of the cards and the way to use them are explained at the end of the rule booklet.

In the last turn, all the yellow-edged cards are exhausted. At this point, the four blue-edged 'character' cards are put into play. There is a white gem on each. The players who obtain the majority in the four palaces will take these cards and exchange them immediately with a blue, red, green or yellow gem taken from the bank.


Example : the cards drawn from this deck
are alloted to the player who has the majority
in the corresponding palace.

Ships

Draw the top four 'Ship' cards from the deck. Place them in each of the four ports, following the order indicated on the board 8. These cards indicate which colors are available in each neighborhood for this turn.

Every 'Ship' card features two small gems and a larger one. Two stones of this color are available in the neighborhood. The players will consequently be able to win four gems.

Note: White gems are never available twice on a card.


Example : in this neighborhood, the players
who have placed the highest bets
can share two blue gems, one white gem
and one red gem between them.

Market

Draw a fifth 'Ship' card and take the three colors shown on the card from the bank. Place the corresponding gems on squares 1, 2 and 3 of the market.

If there is a white gem on the card, place it on line 1. The order of the other gems is of no importance. The size of the gems on the card is of no importance either.

Now, you can discard the 'Ship' card.


Example : the card features a white gem.
You have put one on line 1. The other two stones
are placed on lines 2 and 3.


Phase 2 - Turn Order

Time To Bet...

The players must now bet to determine the order of play for this turn. Indeed, players do not necessarily play clockwise. Each player must choose their order in the game. A player« pays » their bet with two of their brokers, which will consequently be unavailable for the rest of the turn. Thus, someone who places a very high bet will play first, but will have to do without their best brokers !



Example: this is the first turn. During the setup, the players were randomly assigned the order cards shown above.

Stake: The players secretly choose two brokers. When everyone is ready, they place them simultaneously before their screen. Each player adds up the value of their two brokers. The player with the highest total wins.



Example (continued) : The players take two brokers and reveal them simultaneously. Blue's total is 1 (1+0). Orange's is 5 (4+1). Purple's is 6 (4+2) and Yellow's is 5 (3+2).

Purple, who has the highest total, makes the first choice and decides to take the fourth place (to watch his opponents). Orange and Yellow are tied, but Orange gets the upper hand since the value on his 'Order' card is lower (as you can see above.

Orange has card 2, whereas Yellow has card 4). Orange chooses the first place, then Yellow chooses the third place. There is only one place left for Blue : the second one.

Solving a draw: Draws can be solved thanks to the players' 'Order' cards. The player who owns the card with the lowest value chooses first.

The winner of the auction chooses and announces his/her order of play (first, second, third or fourth). The other players, following the order determined through the auction (and thanks to the 'order' cards, in case of draw), choose their order of play.

Finally, the 'Order' cards assignation is updated. The player who has chosen the first place takes card 1, and so on...

The two brokers used in the auction remain in front of the screen. They cannot be used during this turn.

The Best Place ?

Most of the time, when players win the auction, they decide to play in fourth place. Thus, they have the opportunity to watch their opponents and give the final blow. However, the fourth place also means you have a poor 'Order' card in case of draw...

This is a very good place, but it will not secure an easy victory !



Example (end) : now, it is time to update the player's 'Order' cards. Orange has decided to start and takes card 1. Blue takes 2. Yellow takes 3. and Purple takes 4.

During the next phase ('placing the brokers'), the players will follow this order.


Phase 3 - Placing The Brokers

Following the determined order, the players place two brokers in turn. One of them must be placed face up (the figure on top), while the other one must be face down (the figure underneath).



Note: at the beginning of the game, the players must decide if they have the right to check the number on their own hidden broker (which we advise you to do in your first games).



Example : during his turn. Purple places a broker face up in the lower left hand corner of the market, and a pawn face down in the city. In turn. Orange wants to put a pawn in the market, but cannot place it on a square of line 0. or in the lower left hand corner since Purple already occupies it.

The brokers may be placed either in the market or in the city (both in the city, both in the market or one in each place).

In the market, there may be only one broker per area, and they may not be placed on one of the four squares of line 0 (these squares are only used in 5- player games). However, in the city, the number of brokers per area is unlimited.

Market bonuses : As soon as a broker is placed on the market it generates a gold coin through speculation. The player who placed the broker immediately wins one victory point on the score track. If the pawn must be removed afterwards (because of a card effect), the point remains.

Each player plays four times according to the order determined in the previous phase (player 1, then 2, 3 and 4, then player 1 again, and so on). Consequently, at the end of this phase, each player will have placed eight brokers on the board (four of them face down, four of them face up).

Now, each player has one broker left. It must be placed in front of the screen with the other two pawns. These three brokers will be used to solve a tied score in the fourth phase.



Example: All players have placed eight brokers on the board. Their last broker will be placed with the two pawns used in the previous phase.



Phase 4 - Counting Up

Now, it is time to count the points on the different parts of the board; first in the city, then in the market.

Counting points in the city : The value of the brokers hidden in neighborhood 1 is revealed. The player with the highest total may choose two gems from the bank, among the four gems proposed in the corresponding port. The player with the second highest total takes one of the two remaining stones, and the third player takes the last gem (if there are only one or two players in the neighborhood, the bank keeps whatever gems are left). Players place the gems they have won in front of their screen (so they can be seen). After having counted points in the neighborhood, the focus shifts to each of the specific areas :

  • Port area : The player with the best total in this area wins a black gem which must be placed before the player's screen. If no broker was placed in this area, the gem is discarded.

  • Commercial area : The player with the best total in this area immediately wins three golden coins, and the player's marker moves three squares ahead on the score track.

  • Palace area : The player with the best total in this area seizes the neighborhood card that was flipped over at the beginning of phase 1. If no broker was placed in this area, the card is discarded.

Draws : In order to settle a draw between players, use the three brokers in front of your screen. The player with the highest total wins. If there is a draw and players have the same total, use the 'order' cards. The player with the lowest card value wins.

The account is over for neighborhood 1. Players get their brokers back and place them behind their screen. Now, go through the same counting process for neighborhoods 2, 3 and 4. Then, it is time to count the points in the market.

Counting points in the market: First reveal the hidden value of all face down brokers.

For each line (1,2 and 3), each player adds up their brokers. The winner for each line takes the corresponding gem. Draws are settled in the same way as they are in the city (by adding up the brokers placed in front of your screen, then by using 'order' cards if need be).

For each column, add up the brokers. The gem whose column has the highest total moves up two steps on the quotation table. The gem with the second highest total moves up one step. The gem with the third highest total goes down one step, and the last gem goes down two steps.

Draws are settled as follows : look which column has the most pawns in it (e.g. a column with three brokers has the edge on a column with only two brokers). Still not enough ? Then, the player with the highest total before their screen chooses (again, draws are settled as in the city, using 'Order' cards if necessary).



Highest bidder on the market: The player with the highest total of brokers in the market must now change the quotation of one of the stones. The player chooses a gem and makes its quotation either move up or go down one step. If several players have the same broker value in the market, draws are settled as they are in the city.

Finally, players get all their remaining brokers back (i.e. those which are on the market and in front of their screen) and putthem behind their screen.

Brokers with a '0'value : A'0' broker placed alone in an area of the city or on a line at the market allows its controlling player to win the area/line. A column with a '0' broker is stronger than a column with no broker.

End Of Turn

The cards used in the port are set aside; the turn marker moves ahead one square, and the next turn begins.


End of the Game

Once the last turn is over, players compare the number of gems of each color (blue, green, yellow and red) they own. They check the quotation scale, which will allow them to determine their number of victory points thanks to the table below.

Gem 1Gem 2Gem 3Gem 4
Pts for the 1st24201612
Pts for the 2nd1815129
Pts for the 3rd121086
Pts for the 4th6543

So, the player with the largest number of the highest stone on the quotation scale wins 24 victory points. The player with the second largest number of the same gem wins 18 victory points. The third player wins 12 points, and the last player wins 6 points. If a player has no gem, he scores nothing. Proceed in the same way for each color.

Gems with equal values : If several gems are on a par on the quotation scale, the leftmost column gets the upper hand. So, when on a par, blue gems beat green ones, which beat yellow gems, which beat red ones.

Example : Blue gems and red gems are at the top of the scale (followed by yellow gems, then by the green ones). Blue gems, whose column is on the left, come first. The player with the largest number of blue gems wins 24 points (the second biggest owner of blue gems wins 18 points, the third wins 12 points, and the last wins 6 points). The player with the largest number of red gems wins 20 points (15 for the second player, 10 for the third, 5 for the last). Yellow gems yield 16, 12, 8 and 4 points, and green gems yield 12, 9, 6 and 3 points.

Tied players : If several players are tied, they all win the number of points corresponding to the lowest place they occupy.

Example : Blue gems have the highest quotation. Player A has six gems, B and C both have five gems and D owns three gems. A wins 24 points, B and C both win 12 points (i.e. the number of points for the third place). D wins 6 points.

Then, players add up their black stones and win the amount of victory points determined by the table below (a player with more than seven black gems scores 24 points).

Black gems1234567+
Victory points14812162024

The player who has the most victory points once both colored gems and black gems have been counted wins the game. In case of draw, the number of gems collected by a player is decisive: the player with the largest number of colored and black gems wins.


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