Game created by Eurogames, published by Jeux Descartes. Authors : Dominique Ehrhard, Duccio Vitale.

For 2 to 6 players, from 12 years.

Strategy and conquest in Italy of the Renaissance.

In the time of Renaissance, Italy was divided in many States, sometimes allied, sometimes opponents. The most famous are the Duchy of Milan and the Republics of Venice, Genoa and Florence.

It is at that time that appear the Condottieri, those mercenary armies chiefs who offer their services to the most powerful cities. Fearsome strategists and highly skill men-at-arms, Condottieri will not content with hiring their know-how and their troops for a long time. They will shape the political map of Italy with intrigues, alliances, battles and sieges. The more daring from them founded new dynasties like Francesco Sforza, who seized the Duchy of Milan and Giovanni Medicis who transforms Florence in his kingdom.

With CONDOTTIERE, you are about to live again this incredible age, where everything seems possible for a handful of decided men. In the game, each player represents a Condottiere who starts the Conquest of the most famous cities of Italy. But take care, you are not alone! You have to take into account the ambitions of other Condottieri. The strength of your army will certainly not be sufficient : you will have to be diplomatic in order to have a chance to win!

Contents :

The box of Condottiere is composed of :

Aim of the game.

The aim of the game is to seize cities (indicated by a red circle on the map) and to gather them in order to create the strongest kingdom of Italy.

The victory conditions depend on the number of players :

Preparation of the game.

The game board is put in the centre of the table. Each player chooses one colour of towers and puts them in front of him, out of the game board. Those pawns will be used during the game to show the cities conquered.

The youngest player is chosen to be the Condottier on the first turn. He places the statue of Condottiere in front of him. Then he shuffles the cards and gives 10 to each player (to him too).

The Condottiere chooses a city, the first battle will take place there. The game may start.

Cards Signification.

Mercenary Cards
they have a special badge. Their value goes from 1 to 10. In a battle the strength of an army is equal to the sum of the values of the different mercenary cards that a player has put in front of him. Those values may be modified by special card which follow.

Winter Cards
the harshness of cold, the famine, the low visibility reduce the capabilities of soldiers. All the mercenary cards which have been or will be put by players during the battle - included the cards from the player who put the winter card - are only valued one point. Example : a player with a total of 36 points with 7 Mercenary cards (2 cards of 10, 1 of 5, 2 of 4 and 3 of 1) will see his army reduced to 7 points if a Winter card is played during the battle.

Drum Cards
they reinforce the morale of troops. The value of Mercenary cards from the player which he has or will put during the battle are multiplied by two. To play more then one Drum card is useless : the value of the army remains the double of the starting value. The effects of this card are only applied to the Mercenary cards of the player who put it. If a Winter card is played during the same battle, each Mercenary card from the player having put the Drum card is valued two points.Example : a player has a total of 21 points with 3 Mercenary cards. His army will value 42 points if he plays a Drum card. In the case where a Winter card is played during the same battle, his army will be 6 points value (3x2).

Scarecrow Card
those are decoys to lure the ennemy! When a player puts an Scarecrow card, he may bring back in his hand of cards a Mercenary card already played (by him or others) during the same battle. It is never possible to exchange a Scarecrow card against an Heroine card or an other special card.

Heroine Cards
this card is valued 10 points and is added to the Mercenary cards to determine the value of an army. This card is not affected by a Winter or Drum card. It cannot be replaced by a Scarecrow card. A player may put three such cards in his army, no more.

Surrender Cards
when a player puts this card, he immediately stops the battle because the city surrenders. The city is conquered by the player owning the most powerful army at the exact moment when the Surrender card is put. The cards played by all the players are removed and one proceeds to the next battle.

In the case where the city was owned by an other player who has not yet put any cards (see Course of a battle/Case of a city belonging to an other player) he cannot put any card because the city surrenders.

Bishop Cards
when a player puts this card, the city is saved thanks to the intervention of the Church. The battle immediately ends without any winner. If the city was already owned by a player, she remains in his ownership whatever the value of his army at the moment when the Bishop card is played.

The cards played by all the players are removed and one proceeds to the next battle.

Course of the Game.

A game of CONDOTTIERE takes place in many rounds (turns) Each round is composed of a set of battles for the conquest of the biggest Italian cities. Battles are solved with the help of cards that players lay down on the table one by one in front of them. A round ends when at the end of a battle, there is only one player to have cards in his hand. He gives back his remaining cards which are shuffled with the others. Each player receives 10 new cards plus 2 supplementary cards for each owned city. A new round begins and so on until a player wins.

Course of a battle.

The place of each new battle is chosen by the Condottiere, the player owning the statue of the Condottiere. He plays first during a battle, the other players play after in clockwise order.

During a battle each player may :

It is important not to forget that if a player is alone to play (to put card), he may add as many cards as he wishes as long as he does not say "I pass".

No player is forced to participate to a battle. Even the Condottiere may choose to pass at the beginning of the battle.

Case of a city belonging to an other player. If the chosen city belongs to a player, he has an important advantage during the battle : he may pass his turn as many time as he wishes without losing his right to participate later in the battle. But when he has put his first card, he must respect the normal rule : if he passes again, he cannot put any more card before the next battle. This special power of the defender of a city enables him to put cards after that all the other players have passed their turn. But, take care! He cannot play after that a Surrender card has been put.

End of the battle. The battle continues until all the players have said "I pass" or a Surrender card has been played. The battle is considered has ended and one counts up the forces in presence. To do that points of Mercenary cards are added for each player, in taking into account modifications due to special cards (see Card significations).

The player with the strongest army conquers the city. He puts a tower of his colour on the red spot corresponding to the seized city, after possibly have removed the pawn which was already there if the city belonged to an other player. The winner receives the statue of the Condottiere.

If a Bishop card is played the battle is immediately ended but the forces in presence are not counted.

In the case of a Bishop card or if two players (or more) are tie, or if no player participate to the battle, the conquest of the city is a failure. The statue of the Condottiere remains in the ownership of the player who got it at the beginning of the battle. If the city was already in the ownership of a player, he not only keeps the control of the city but he also receives the statue of the Condottiere. After all, is he not the winner ?

At the end of each battle, all the cards put by players, who won or not the battle, are removed. They cannot be used before the next round.

The player owning the statue of the Condottiere chooses the city where the next battle will take place. He may choose any city of the map, belonging or not to a player. He may also choose again the city where the last battle took place.

Who controls the Condottiere ?

At the beginning of the game, it is the youngest player who receives the Condottiere 'statue. After that the winner of each battle will receive it.

If there is no winner and the city belonged to nobody, the player owning the Condottiere before the battle, keeps it. If there is no winner but the city belonged to a player, he receives the statue.

It is always the Condottiere who chooses the city where the next battle will take place.

A player without cards.

When a player has no more cards in hand, he stops playing until the end of the round in progress. The other players continue without him. However, if he wins the battle during which he played his last card, he receives the Condottiere 'statue normally.

To discards cards.

At the end of a battle, a player may discard all the cards he still has if he has no more Mercenary cards in his hand. To discard is never an obligation. As long as a player has Mercenary cards, he is not allowed to discard.

End of a round.

A round ends when after a battle, there is only one player to have cards. He gives back his cards to the player owning the Condottiere 'statue, who gathers the 96 cards of the deck and shuffles them. After he gives 10 cards to each player plus 2 supplementary cards for each city controlled. Example : a player controlling Parma, Venezia and Siena receives 16 cards.

The Condottiere chooses the place of the next battle and a new round begins.

End of a game.

In a game with 4, 5 or 6 players, the game ends as soon as at the end of a battle a player controls 4 cities in adjacent regions. This number becomes 5 for a game with 3 players and 6 for 2 players.

Have fun!

Translation 31 December 1994 C.Soubeyrand.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell