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Dueling Nobles

Game design by Jesse Carlucci

1 deck of playing cards (Jokers are unused), 2 or more six-sided dice, 12 Defeat markers (red), 24 Gold markers (gold).

To play a card face-up in front of yourself is to bring that card to arms. You win the game if, at the beginning of your turn,
your opponent has no Nobles in arms. Nobles receive Defeat markers when they lose battles and retire from the field if they
lose repeatedly. Gold gotten via Politics and Battles deposits directly into your personal battle chest to be spent as you wish.

1. Divide the cards into two face-down draw decks: Nobles (face cards) and Support (everything else). Shuffle each deck.
2. Deal six cards from both decks to each player (12 cards). Players should keep Support card values hidden.
3. Each player reviews the cards in hand, then brings three Nobles to arms and discards the other three.
4. Reconstitute the draw decks during play as necessary by shuffling the discards.

Play the game in alternating turns, completing all four phases each turn. Actions are optional and available once per turn.

1. Political Phase
Taxes Receive 1 Gold.
Betrayal Receive 3 Gold, discard 3 Support cards all having the same suit.
Noblesse Oblige Receive 1 Gold, receive 1 Defeat for one of your Kings who is currently in arms.

2. Reinforcement Phase
Pay 1 Gold to draw 1 Support card (up to 3 Gold/Support, pay all Gold before drawing).
Pay 5 Gold to draw 1 Noble card and bring the Noble to arms (not available if all 12 Nobles are in arms).

3. Command Phase
Agents Use the ability of your Minister, Counselor, General, or Spy.
Note: Several Agents can be used in a turn, but each Agent may be used only once per game.
Discard one Support card with the appropriate suit to use the indicated ability.
Minister (Heart: ) Remove 1 Defeat from any one of your Nobles in arms.
Counselor (Diamond: ) Draw 3 Support cards (available only if you have fewer Nobles in arms than your opponent).
General (Club: ) Take any Support card from the discard pile.
Spy (Spade: ) Look at your opponent's Support cards in hand.

Knights Assign and reassign your Knights.

Support cards valued 2 and 3 can be used as Knights and assigned to Nobles as a permanent force boost (one Knight per Noble). During this action, you
can reassign Knights already in arms, bring an additional Knight to arms, or both. A Knight remains in arms until his current Noble retires from the field.

4. Battle Phase
Declare and resolve a battle.
1. Advance (Attacker Only) Announce attacking and defending Nobles.
2. Feint (Defender Only) Pay 2 Gold to reassign defense to a different Noble, if desired.
3. Battle Determine force totals (see below) and compare: greater force wins (evenly matched forces both lose).
4. Assess Take 1 Gold from supply as spoils in a victory. Take 1 Defeat to your Noble in a loss.
5. Disband Discard all Support cards. Discard Nobles (and their Knights) whose defeats exceed their commitment.

Noble Characteristics [Noble, Force, Commitment, Ability]

King Force 13 2 Defeats Command receives an extra die and uses the sum of both
Queen Force 12 1 Defeat Intrigue receives +3 bonus for each other Noble in arms
Prince Force 11 1 Defeat Valor receives up to 2 Support cards

Force Calculation
Notes on Step 4: Both parts are optional. The attacker plays both parts, then the defender likewise. An Ace defeats the enemy in a rout regardless of any
other consideration. Two Aces are not more effective than a single Ace. As with other ties, if both forces rout, both forces lose.

1. Noble Force (11, 12, 13) +

2a. Knight Bonus (0, 2, 3) +
2b. Intrigue Bonus (Queen only) (0, 3, 6, 9,...) +
3a. Die Roll (1-6) +
3b. Command Bonus (King Only) (1-6) +
4a. Support (A-10) +
4b. Valor Bonus (Prince Only) (A-10) +
5. Fealty Bonus (+2 per Knight and Support card matching the Noble suit)

Prince: jack
Gold: resources
In arms: in the courtyard
Knight: +2 or +3 permanent strength booster

Turn Order
Political Phase: Generate Resources (including the King's non-combat ability)
Reinforcement Phase: Spend Resources
Command Phase: Beginning of Turn Actions (except the King's non-combat ability)
Combat Phase: Announce a Duel and Resolve a Duel

Taxes: earn one resource per turn during Generate Resources
Betrayal: earn three resource for discarding three cards of the same suit during Generate Resources
Noblesse Oblige: earn one resource by taking a wound to a King during Beginning of Turn Actions
Agents: use a special suit ability during Beginning of Turn Actions
Knights: play or switch permanent strength boosters during Beginning of Turn Actions

Special Suit Abilities

Minister: Heart suit ability; remove 1 wound
Counselor: Diamond suit ability; draw three number cards
General: Club suit ability; reclaim a number card from the discard pile
Spy: Spade suit ability; look at the opponent's hand

Noble Abilities
Command: King's Combat ability; use the sum of 2 dice
Intrigue: Queen's Combat ability; add a +3 bonus for each other noble in the courtyard
Valor: Prince's Combat ability; add up to 2 number cards

Combat Related
Force: strength
Support: number cards A-10
Feint: the option of the defender to pay 2 resources to reassign the noble participating in combat
Rout: critical hit effect of an ace (number) card
Fealty: the +2 strength bonus awarded when number cards are the same suit as their assigned noble


The scope of the theme (via revised terminology) has been expanded to give the player the idea that Nobles are not physically
fighting, but lending support, armies, monies, etc.. In this scope, Nobles do not die, they retire due to war fatigue (losses). For
example, when a King has to grant special favors to support his military project on your behalf, his tolerance for loss goes
down (see Noblesse Oblige in the Political Phase). This also avoids the thematic problem of multiple Kings and Queens.

Support and Noble cards are dealt together so that Support cards can inform the initial selection of Nobles.

Turn Order
Except for the King's non-combat ability, the Beginning of Turn Actions section is now later in the turn as the Command
Phase. This change puts the Gold transaction phases closer together (phase 1 is income, phase 2 is expense). Also, the special
card dispositions (phase 3) are made after new cards are acquired the wisdom of this is debatable.

These rules state that all actions are optional and available once per turn. The only action that should be mandatory is Taxes,
but it's common sense to take the action anyway.

This document is Rewritten_Dueling_Nobles_3.pdf (Oct 10, 2008)

and is based on a document created by EndersGame (