- 3-4 players
- 45-60 minutes
- Ages 10+
In this strategy game, players struggle to gain control of the most important city-states in ancient Sumeria. Each turn, players use their traders to manipulate the importance of one of the city-states. Each time a city-state gains power, another loses power. The aim is to gain control of the pre-eminent city-states during the scoring rounds at the end of each dynasty. Players have to time their movements carefully, as a citystate can quickly lose favour.
Game board featuring eight city-states, each with a city, three towns and three villages, all connected by trade routes.
A start player marker (large natural pawn)
A turn marker (large white pawn)
36 influence counters
- 9 economic
- 9 military
- 9 political
- 9 religious
56 trader markers (14 in each of the four player colours)
8 city-state tiles
Each player receives trader markers of one colour:
- 14 each in a three-player game
- 10 each in a four-player game
The rest are placed in the box and will not be used during the game.
Place the eight city-state tiles in a random order along the bottom of the board. Their position will determine their relative importance throughout the course of the game. The first three spaces from the left are the citystates that are currently in ascendancy (those which will score at the end of the round). The three city-states in ascendancy usually change as players take their turns.
Place all the influence counters in the bag and draw six at random to be placed on the spaces along the bottom of the board, above the three ascendant city-state tiles, as shown in the diagram below.
The turn marker is placed in the first space of the turn track (marked 1) on the board.
Choose a start player at random and give them the start player marker.
Beginning with the start player, players add one of their traders to a city, town or village on the board. Each settlement can only have a single trader on it.
Cities are more important than towns, which are more important than villages (as explained later). It is good to have traders spread across the board and in those city-states which are in ascendancy in particular.
This is repeated until each player has added:
- eight traders in a three-player game
- five traders in a four-player game
Players keep their remaining traders in front of them.
The game consists of six rounds. During each round the players (beginning with the start player) will each have three turns.
On your turn you must perform one of the following three actions:
- Add one of your traders to the board, or
- Move one of your traders on the board, or
- Remove one of your traders from the board.