"The Dealers" - for 2-4 Players
By Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich
Translating / Editing by Anthony M. Rubbo
1 Wooden Courier
3 Wooden Wagons
54 Wooden Goods
Red Cylinder - Cloth - Tuche
Brown Cylinder - Wine - Wein
White Cylinder - Salt - Salz
Green Box - Foodstuff - Nahrung
Black Box - Iron - Eisen
Purple Box - Silk - Seide
8 Gray Wooden Markers
4 Punch-sheets containing the following:
10 Gray "Credit" Cards
15 Green "Influence" Cards
8 Red "Special Ability" Cards
4 Price Wheels with 8 Directional Arrows
8 Coat-of-Arms tiles in 4 colors
16 Movement tiles in 4 colors
1 Reference Table
Money markers in 100, 500, and 1000 Guilder denominations
1 Label Sheet
4 Cloth Bags
4 Screws for Price Wheels
1 Rules Sheet
1 Contents / Assembly Sheet
1 FAQ Booklet
Each player is a dealer trying to achieve high social standing among his fellow dealers. At the end of the game, the dealer with the highest status of all is the winner.
1. The game is played in rounds, comprised of 6 phases each. Before the first round, players must first "Set Up Shop."
2. In general, each phase begins with the Starting Player, and others follow in clockwise order. The youngest player is the first Starting Player, and receives the reference table. At the end of each round, the reference table passes to the left, designating the new Starting Player for the next round.
3. In Phases 2 and 4 of each round, all players act simultaneously.
Before the First Game
Carefully punch out the pieces from the cardboard sheets. Assemble the 4 Price Wheels and affix the decals to the Courier and Wagons, as shown on the Assembly Sheet.
Setting Up Shop
Refer to the picture on the fold-out instructions for a view of the prepared game.
Place the 3 Wagons in the cities of Paris, Köln, and Genua (the numbers on the Wagons do not matter here). Also, place a gray cube on the "0" space of the bonus tracks of these cities (these are the tracks numbered 0 to 500). For the other three cities, place a gray cube on the "200" space.
Place the Courier 2 spaces away from any one city that does not have a Wagon.
Place one of each type of good (colored boxes and cylinders) onto the bottom space of the Price Track. This track is numbered "100" to "400" on the left, signifying a good's current buying price, and numbered "600" to "1000" on the right, signifying a good's current selling price.
Place the green "Influence" cards (face-down) and the gray "Kredit" cards (face-up) beside the gameboard. Form a bank to the side of the table where money and goods will be kept. Change in guilders may be made from the bank at any time. Each player receives a starting 5,000 guilders from the bank, and a sack to keep the money hidden throughout the game.
Each player chooses a color (Coat-of-Arms). Players take the 2 Coat-of-Arms tiles and the Price wheel corresponding to their color. Players place one of their tiles onto the "Krämer" space of the Status track, and keeps one in front of themselves to show what color they are. Players receive a set of 4 movement tiles (each player receives a 1, 2, 3, and 4) corresponding to their color; these should be placed number-side up in front of the players.
The Starting player places one of the large gray cylinders onto the first column of the reference table, reading "Aktionphase 1." During the game, the Starting player will move the cylinder across the track as the phases are completed. The other large gray cylinder is placed at the bottom of the Wagon Arrival track on the board (with circles numbered 0-8).
Each player now acquires two red Special Ability cards; these are used during the game to perform special actions.
Option for quick / beginner setup:
- Combine the 8 cards in the following 4 pairs:
- Express Courier + Warehouse Sales (Express-Kurier + Lagerverkauf)
- Large Office + Driver (Großes Kontor + Wagnerei)
- Great Driver + Courier (Große Wagnerei + Kurier)
- Favorable Purchasing + Office (Günstiger Einkauf + Kontor)
- Turn the 4 pairs facedown and place them in a random order. Each player temporiarily removes their Coat-of-Arms tile from the scoring track and places it into a common pool with the other players' tiles. The Starting player now blindly draws from this pool and places one tile on top of each of the facedown pairs of cards. All players now retrieve their Coat-of-Arms and receive the corresponding set of Special Ability cards. Any cards not taken (if there are less than 4 players) are not used in the game.
- Each player now pays 1,000 guilders to the bank for the purchase of these cards (leaving a starting capital of 4,000).
Once players are familiar with the game, they may want to use the Auction method of distributing the Special Abilities:
- All 8 cards are laid face-up. The Starting player chooses one that he would like to have. If no other players are interested, he pays the price listed at the bottom of the card, and places the card in front of him. Otherwise players go in clockwise order, raising the price by (exactly) 100 each bid, until all but one have fallen out of the bidding. Once a player passes during the bid, he may not rejoin the bid for that card. The winner of the auction pays his bid to the bank and receives the Special Ability card for use during the game.
- The Starting player then chooses the second card to be auctioned, in the same manner as the first.
- This continues until each player has two cards. Once a player receives his two
cards, he may not participate in the bidding for others. Once the Starting player
receives his two cards, the player to the left now chooses the next card to be auctioned
(if he has two cards, the player to his left chooses, etc.). When there are fewer
than 4 players, the cards not chosen for auction are removed from the game.
Phase 1: Purchasing Goods
Favorable Purchasing (Günstiger Einkauf) Special Ability may be used in this phase.
In clockwise order, beginning with the Starting player, each player purchases 0-3 goods from those available in the supply at the side of the board. The cost of each good is listed on the Price table under the column labeled "Einkaufspreise" on the left, next to the good that is desired for purchase. The total cost is paid to the Bank, and the player takes his chosen goods. At the beginning of the game, all goods are at the bottom of the track, signifying a "100" buying price.
A player purchasing goods then places these goods into one or more of his warehouses in the 6 cities (marked by his Coat-of-Arms on the playing board). Restriction - each city displays 3 icons representing the goods that are produced in that city; a purchased good may only be placed in the warehouses of cities where the particular good is produced.
- When purchasing goods, you may choose several different types of goods to buy, they
need not all be the same.
- If there are currently no goods left of the type you wish to buy, then they are unavailable for purchase. Once these goods are sold and returned to the supply, they will then be available again for purchase.
Note: In the first round of the game, this Phase is completed twice in succession before continuing on to Phase 2. Players go around in player order once purchasing 0-3 goods, and then go around a second time purchasing another 0-3 goods.
Special Ability: Favorable Purchasing (Günstiger Einkauf)
- The player with this Special Ability card always pays only 100 Guilders total
for the whole lot of goods purchased. For example, at the start of the game, this
player may purchase 2 Salt and 1 Cloth for 100 total, instead of the 300 that it would
cost the other players.
Phase 2: Bidding for Wagons and Loading Goods
Empty Wagons currently in cities are auctioned and then loaded with goods. First the Wagon marked "1" is auctioned and loaded, then "2", then "3", skipping over Wagons that are not in cities.
Players are auctioning for the right to be "Loading Master" for each of the Wagons. When a Wagon is auctioned, each player draws the amount of money they wish to bid from their bag, and holds it in a closed fist. Players are not required to bid for a wagon (they would hold nothing in their fist). When all players are ready, the bids are revealed and the highest bidder becomes "Loading Master" for the auctioned wagon. The Loading Master pays his bid to the bank, while the other players return their bids to their bags. If players tie, the first player in the tie in Player Order (beginning with the Starting player and going clockwise) is the winner. If all players bid zero, the Starting player becomes the Loading Master.
Players may be Loading Masters of more than one Wagon at the same time.
The Loading Master places 0-3 goods of the same type into the slot of the Wagon corresponding to his Coat-of-Arms. If other players wish to load their goods onto the Wagon, they must now first go through the Loading Master. All goods must come from the warehouses of the city where the current Wagon is being loaded.
The Loading Master can charge fees to the other players for loading onto the Wagon. The Loading Master can negotiate fees with each player separately until either they settle on a price (the player pays the Loading Master the money, and is allowed to place goods on the wagon), or there is no agreement (the player pays nothing, and loads nothing onto the Wagon). For example, one can offer the following: "As the Loading Master, I will allow you to place one of your goods on the Wagon for 300 guilders, or two for 500." Different fees may be charged to different players.
If the Loading Master allows one or more of the other players to load their goods, they may place only up to 2 goods on the Wagon each. These goods may be of different types, however they must not match the type of good placed by the Loading Master.
A player remains Loading Master until the Wagon leaves the city. If the Wagon remains in the city until the next turn, he may add more goods of the same type to the Wagon free of charge (no closed auction occurs), and may continue negotiating with other players if they wish to load their goods. The normal restrictions still apply (no more than a total of 3 of the Loading Master's goods on the Wagon, which must all be of the same type; no more than a total of 2 goods for each of the other players; players' goods may not match those of the Loading Master). In this case, if the Loading Master initially did not place any goods into the Wagon, he is now restricted to load a type of good that the other players did not already load.
Phase 3: Wagon and Courier Movement
Driver (Wagnerei), Great Driver (Große Wagnerei), Courier (Kurier), and Express Courier (Express Kurier) Special Abilities may be used in this phase.
Players can move Wagons only through the use of their Movement tiles and the Driver / Great Driver special abilities.
All players have 4 Movement tiles, numbered 1 to 4. The Starting Player begins by choosing a face-up movement tile, flipping it over, and moving one Wagon the number of spaces shown by the selected tile. After the Starting player is finished his movement for the turn (including possible Courier movement, see below), the player to his left selects one of his own tiles and begins movement.
After every four full rounds of play (going through each of the 6 game phases 4 times), all movement tiles will have been turned face-down. At this point all tiles are flipped back face-up again, and are all available for use as in the beginning of the game.
Notes on Movement:
- You are not limited to move only Wagons that contain your purchased goods; you may
also move those that do not carry any of your goods (including Wagons that are completely
- Wagons may only move forward.
- Wagons may travel either path when they reach a fork in the road.
- You are never restricted in which of your face-up movement tiles you may use.
- Once a movement tile is chosen, however, you must move a Wagon that you are able to move with the movement tile.
- A Wagon may pass by another Wagon, counting the location of the passed Wagon as a space of movement as normal.
- A Wagon may never end its move on the same location as another Wagon; this applies to Wagons in cities as well.
- A Wagon may not be moved any further if it has already reached a city during the turn.
You may not move a Wagon less than the number on the chosen movement tile, with the
- Wagons need not reach cities by exact count; extra movement points are thus ignored.
- If a Wagon would occupy the same location as another Wagon at the end of its move, it instead stops one space before its destination.
At times, you will find you are restricted in which wagons you can move. For example: You choose Movement tile "1", and two of the three wagons are facing each other. Since you cannot move either of these wagons with this tile, you are forced to move the third wagon. If this third wagon was just brought into a city, however, then you would not be allowed to move any wagon, forfeiting the movement point.
In summation, the movement of a wagon goes as follows:
a) choose any of your face-up movement tiles
b) choose a wagon and wagon route that would allow movement of at least one space, given the chosen movement tile (if not possible, movement point(s) are forfeited)
c) move the wagon as many spaces as possible along the chosen route
Special Abilities: Driver (Wagnerei) and Great Driver (Große Wagnerei)
-The player holding the Driver (Wagnerei) ability has one extra movement point for use during this phase. The point may either be used to add one to the number of your movement tile, or to move a different Wagon.
-The player holding the Great Driver (Große Wagnerei) has two extra movement points to use in this fashion. The two points may be split up and used for different Wagons if the player so desires.
- The movement points used toward a single Wagon may not be broken up during the phase - you must use all of the points devoted to a particular Wagon in one full move.
- It is not required to use these extra movement points. Players can choose to not use any, or to use just one of the two in the case of the Great Driver (Große Wagnerei).
Special Abilities: Courier (Kurier) and Express Courier (Express Kurier)
The Courier allows players to receive Influence cards, which give special advantages when used during the game. Whenever a player is awarded an Influence card (through means described below), he takes the face-down stack of cards, looks through them, selects one to take, places it face-down in front of him, and returns the rest of the stack face-down to the side of the gameboard. The chosen card is then available for use by the player. Players may use as many Influence cards as they wish during a round. After an Influence card is used, it is set aside out of the game.
- Only the players holding the Courier Special Abilities may move the Courier.
- The player with the Courier (Kurier) ability may move the Courier one space, forward or backward.
- The player with the Express Courier (Express Kurier) ability may move the Courier two spaces, either forward or backward (but not both on the same turn).
- The Courier may never enter a city.
- The Courier may move through spaces occupied by Wagons, and may end its movement on a space occupied by a Wagon.
- If the Courier ends its move on a space occupied by a Wagon, the player moving the Courier is awarded a green Influence card. A card is not awarded if the Courier simply passes through a Wagon; it must end its movement on the Wagon's space for a card to be awarded.
- A green Influence card is also awarded if a player moves a Wagon that ends its movement on the Courier's space. Any player may be awarded a card in this fashion, it is not limited to those holding the Courier special abilities. A card is not awarded if a Wagon simply passes through the Courier; it must end its movement on the Courier's space.
- Remember, the movement points devoted toward a single Wagon may not be broken up during the phase - you must use all of the points in one full move. The rule also applies to Courier movement. Besides this restriction, a player with the Courier or Express Courier ability may choose to move the Courier at any point during his turn of the phase.
Example - a player with the Courier (Kurier) ability and the Driver (Wagnerei) ability may do the following: move Wagon "1" to the Courier's space (gaining a card), then move the Courier one space to meet Wagon "2" (gaining a second card), and then finally move Wagon "2" away using the Driver (Wagnerei) ability.
The player would NOT be able to do the following: move Wagon "1" to the Courier's space, move the Courier to the space occupied by Wagon "2", and then move Wagon "1" a second time.
Phase 4: Price Modification, Warehouse Selling
Office (Kontor), Large Office (Großes Kontor), and Warehouse Selling (Lagerverkauf) Special Abilities may be used in this phase.
During this phase, players simultaneously choose which goods will change price. Players have the ability to change from 0 to 2 goods by secretly setting the arrows of their Price Wheel to point to the goods desired to be changed. Arrows may be set to the same good, or 2 different goods. Also, one or both of the arrows may be set to the Coat-of-Arms to show that you wish to affect the price of only one or none of the goods.
After all players have set their arrows on their price wheels, they are simultaneously revealed, and the corresponding changes are made on the Price Track:
- For each symbol shown of a particular good, the matching token on the track is moved up
one price level.
- If a token has reached the top of the track (400/1000) and must continue moving, it wraps around to the bottom of the track (100/600).
Player 1 chooses: Iron, Coat of Arms
Player 2 chooses: Iron, Iron
Player 3 chooses: Silk, Iron
Player 4 chooses: Coat-of-Arms, Coat-of-Arms
Silk began the round with a selling price of 900 - it is moved up one level to 1000. Iron began the round with a selling price of 800 - it is moved 4 levels, wrapping around the track and ending on 700. Note Player 4 chose not to change any prices, and Player 1 chose to change only one.
Special Abilities: Office (Kontor) and Large Office (Großes Kontor)
After the Price Wheels have been revealed and prices are adjusted, these special abilities may be used.
- Players with these abilities may move one token one level up or one level down
on the price track.
- The Player with the Large Office (Großes Kontor) has the added ability of being able to wrap a token from the bottom to the top of the track (from selling price of 600 to 1000), or from the top to the bottom (from selling price of 1000 to 600). The regular Office ability does not allow either of these.
- If these abilities are held by two different players, the player that is first in Player Order makes his change first.
Special Ability: Warehouse Selling (Lagerverkauf)
After all price changes are made (including those from the Office (Kontor) cards), this ability may be used. This ability allows a player to sell up to 3 goods (of one or more types) directly from one of his warehouses to the bank. The player receives the current buying price for these goods, and places the goods back in the main supply.
Phase 5: Selling Delivered Goods
The first action taken during this phase is to adjust the Wagon Arrival chart. Move the Gray cylinder up the track one space for each Wagon that arrived in a city this round. For example: Wagon "2" and Wagon "3" were moved into Paris and Genf earlier this round. Since two Wagons have arrived at cities, the gray cylinder is moved up two spaces on the Wagon Arrival chart.
Next, all goods on Wagons that have arrived in cities this round are sold. Players receive from the bank the selling price for each good sold. Also, a bonus is given when a good is delivered to a city where the good is not produced (where there is no picture of the good in the city). The amount of the bonus is shown on the city's Bonus track, and is given for each good sold in that city that meets this qualification.
After a Wagon's goods are sold, the Wagon is turned around to face the outward paths, and all sold goods are returned to the main supply.
At the end of this phase, the bonus markers are altered for each city. If there is a Wagon currently in the city, the marker of the city's Bonus track is moved to (or remains at) zero. If there is no Wagon in the city, the bonus is raised (the marker is moved one space to the right). The bonus chart is limited to 500 - once this is reached, the marker stays at 500 until a Wagon arrives in the city.
Phase 6: Upkeep and Raising of Social Status
Players must pay an upkeep cost to maintain their social status. The amount of payment is listed on the Status track; each player pays the amount corresponding to their current status (as shown by the Coat-of-Arms tiles). If a player is not able to pay the full upkeep cost, he reveals his money to all players, drops down to the Status level bearing the greatest upkeep cost that he can pay, and pays that cost to the Bank.
After upkeep costs are paid by all, players may purchase higher Social Status. In turn order, each player decides to purchase 0, 1, or 2 levels of Status. The price for each Status level is listed on the Wagon Arrival chart, beside the current position of the gray cylinder. For each Status level purchased, a player moves his Coat-of-Arms one level higher on the Status track.
Credit: A player may choose to take a gray Credit (Kredit) card immediately after descending on the Status track (for not being able to pay upkeep costs).
- Along with the card, the player takes 2,000 guilders from the bank (this is the only
type of loan allowed from the bank).
- A player may have more than one Credit card, however only one may be obtained each turn.
- Loans may be paid back at any time during the game by paying 2,500 guilders per card to the bank and returning the cards to the stack.
- Players with one or more Credit cards may not raise their position on the Status track!
- Players still holding one or more Credit cards at the end of the game automatically finish in last place, regardless of their position on the Status track.
The game ends after 8 Wagon arrivals for a 4-player game, 7 Wagon arrivals for a 3-player game, or 6 Wagon arrivals for a 2-player game, as shown by the Wagon Arrival chart.
When this is triggered (during Phase 5), the round is completed in its entirety, and the game will be over following the end of Phase 6. In this last round, it is possible for more Wagons to arrive than the that number that triggers game end. If this occurs:
- All extra wagons still sell off their goods as normal.
- The gray cylinder continues to climb the Wagon Arrival track (regardless of the number of players), with a limit of "8".
When the game is over, the winner is the player with the highest level of status on the Status track. Ties are broken by the amount of money left over in the money sacks. Unsold goods, Influence cards, and Special Ability cards have no effect on final standings.
If all players agree, negotiation can be permitted throughout the game (makes for a longer game). All types of dealing are allowed, with the following restrictions:
- The basic rules of the game may be not broken by the deals made
- All talks must be made public
- All agreements must be upheld
- Other players may interject during the talks between two players
- "I will move Wagon '3' into Paris if you move it down this route first."
- "I won't bid on Wagon '2' if you let my goods on for free if you become Loading Master."
- "I will buy an Influence card from you for 800 Guilders."
- "Pay me 600 Guilders or I will use my 'Large Office' ('Großes Kontor') ability to drop the selling price of Salt from 1000 to 600 guilders each."
Variable Starting Positions
You may choose the 3 cities where the Wagons will begin. The chosen cities may be next to each other, if desired.
If you and your fellow players would like a less competitive game:
- Remove the three Broken Axle (Achsenbruch) Influence cards from the game.
- Fix the load price that is given to the Loading Master (it is not negotiated; players can freely decide to load 0, 1, or 2 goods onto the Wagon): 1 good costs 200 Guilders, 2 goods cost 400 Guilders.
Quick Description of Special Abilities
- "Favorable Purchasing"
- used during Phase 1, to purchase goods for 100 guilders total
Wagnerei / Große Wagnerei
- "Driver" / "Great Driver"
- used during Phase 3, to allow 1 / 2 extra movement points
Kurier / Express-Kurier
- "Courier" / "Express Courier"
- used during Phase 3, to move the Courier 1 / 2 spaces
Kontor / Großes Kontor
- "Office" / "Large Office"
- used during Phase 4, to further modify prices (up or down 1 level / allows wrapping between top and bottom)
- "Warehouse Selling"
- used during Phase 4, to sell up to 3 goods directly from one warehouse for their current buying price
In the deck of green Influence cards, there are three each of the following 5 types of cards:
- "Broken Axle"
- played at the start of Phase 3, before the Starting Player moves a Wagon
This card stops a Wagon from moving for all or part of a turn. Place this card atop a Wagon of your choice. There it remains until the start of your turn of the Phase, when you can choose to either let it stay until the end of the round, or remove the card and end its effect. It may be played on any Wagon, regardless of its position on the board. More than one Wagon may be blocked in this way, by the same or by different players, and one Wagon may have multiple cards played upon it. Players must devote their movement points to the movable Wagons; even if all three Wagons are broken, players must still flip over a movement tile on their turn.
- "Free Loading"
- played when a Wagon is being loaded with goods
This card allows you to place your goods on a Wagon for free; the Loading Master must accept the goods onto the Wagon. Normal rules apply for loading (no more than 2 goods total, goods may be of different types, however must not match the type of good placed by the Loading Master).
- "Special Sale"
- played at the end of Phase 4
This card allows you to sell one good directly from a Warehouse for 800 Guilders. You receive the money from the bank, and the good is returned to the main supply.
- "Social Climbing"
- played during Phase 6
This card allows you to purchase one level of Status for 1200 Guilders, regardless of the current listed price. If a second level of Status is purchased, the regular listed price is paid (unless you use two of these cards in one turn).
Verkauf mit Bonus
- "Sale with Bonus"
- played during Phase 5 as goods are sold
When this card is played, choose a Wagon that arrived in a city this turn. You receive the listed bonus for all of your goods sold from that Wagon that normally would not receive a bonus (that is, if the good is pictured in the city).
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