Liberté covers the French Revolution from 1789 and the meeting of the
Estates General to the Directory and Bonapart’s coup d’etat in 1799.
The game is played in four turns. In each turn there will be a variable number
of rounds, followed by an election to see which faction becomes the government.
There are three factions, the Radicals, (red), the Moderates,
(blue), and the Royalists, (white). The most common action is for a
player to play a Personality card to place faction blocks on the board. He shows
that he controls these blocks by placing one of his tokens on the stack.
The cards are divided into two sets, the 'A' deck and the 'B' deck. The first
deck tends to favour the Moderates and Royalists, with the Radicals gaining
strength when the second deck comes into effect.
The election is triggered when all of one type of faction block has been
exhausted. The faction blocks will determine which faction forms the next
government. Players are attempting to score points by having the most influence
in the government and opposition. Points can also be picked up in later turns
for being the general in charge at a victorious battle, and for winning
elections in specific provinces.
Normally the player with the most victory points will win. However, there are
two sudden-death end game conditions that may alter the outcome. The first is
the radical landslide, triggered by an overwhelming electoral victory by the red
faction, and the second is the Royalist counter-revolution, triggered by
Royalist control of a certain number of key provinces. In both cases victory is
determined by a different set of criteria, in which accrued victory points do
not count. The player who is ahead on points must be aware that one mistake
could lead to defeat at the hands of the Jacobins or the Royalists.
At first you may find yourself a little confused over what you need to do to
win. However, by the end of the first game you will have a much better idea of
what strategies to employ in the next game.
Liberté is for 3 to 6 players will normally take between 90 and 120
minutes to play.
110 cards, (sets A and B)
Faction blocks, (24 white, 28 blue, and 30 red)
Player control tokens, (6 colours, 20 per player)
Turn and Election markers, (2 black, 1 red, 1 white, and 1 blue marker)
Player Aid Cards, (English, French, and German)
Starting the Game
Each player should select a set of control tokens. Each player will need to
place one token on the zero space of the Victory Points track. Whenever a player
gains victory points he should move his token along the track to record the
total he has won so far. Place the Turn marker on the first space of the Turn
Track. Shuffle the ‘A’ deck of cards and deal out seven to each player.
Shuffle the ‘B’ deck and place it under the remains of ‘A’ deck. Then
place the deck by the side of the map and turn over the top three cards to form
Place the faction blocks by the side of the map, in stacks according to their
colour. Take two of each colour, six blocks in all, and place them on the second
space of the Turn Track. These blocks will be added to the available stock at
the start of the second turn. Place the red, white, and blue Election markers on
the zero space of the Election track.
Please examine the Player Aid card to gainfurther information concerning the
Playing the Game
The turn sequence is as follows:
Determine the order of play.
New cards, (not in the first turn).
Action phase – players complete a variable number of action rounds.
Resolve battle, (not in the first turn).
Resolve the election and score victory points.
Each phase should be completed by all players before proceeding to the next
1. Determine Order of Play
In the first turn the order of player is determined randomly. One player should
place one control token from each player in his hand and draw one blindly to
determine the first player. The order of play will then go clockwise from the
first player. Each player should place one of his control tokens on the Order of
Play track to show when he will take his turn.
In the second and subsequent turns the order of player starts with the player
with the most victory points, then the player with the next highest VPs, and so
on, ending with the player with the least VPs. In the case of a tie decide
randomly which player will take precedence. Once again tokens should be placed
on the Order of Play track to show the present order of play.
At the start of the second turn add the six faction blocks on the Turn Track to
2. New Cards
Ignore this phase in the first turn.
Players pick up any cards they have on their personal display, (this term will
be explained below), and place them back in their hand, (there is no upper hand
limit). Then, in play order, each player discards as many cards as he wishes on
to the discard pile. If, after players have had the opportunity to discard
cards, a player has less than seven cards then they refill their hand to seven
cards. Cards may be taken from those on display by the deck or from the deck
itself. Any cards taken from the display are replaced immediately with a card
from the deck.
As soon as the deck is exhausted shuffle the discard pile to make a fresh deck
During the game cards will either be discarded to the discard pile or placed
back in the box, (due to decapitation). Any cards placed back in the box never
re-enter the game. Cards on the discard pile may end up being re-shuffled, thus
re-entering the game.
3. Action Phase
In play order each player carries out ONE of the following actions. Once each
player has completed an action a second action round is carried out, then a
third, and so on, until one set of faction blocks is exhausted. Actions are:
Play a card.
Take a card.
A. Play a Card
The active player may play one Personality or Club card from his hand. The card
will always allow the player to place faction blocks. In addition, some cards
are marked with a cannon, which means they can be used to place one control
token in the Battle Box INSTEAD of placing faction blocks. Some cards are also
marked with a figure, which means they are a 'Sans Culotte' leader. This is
explained in detail below.
If the card is used to place faction blocks then the number and colour of blocks
that can be placed is shown in the upper left hand corner of the card, (which
will show between one and three blocks, either red, white or blue). If the
player is using a Personality card then these blocks can be placed in any
province that matches the background colour of the card. If a player is placing
more than one block then he can stack them or place them in separate provinces,
as long as he sticks to the rules below.
The background colour of Club cards does not indicate where the faction block
can be placed, instead the block, (always one), can be placed in any province.
Faction blocks come in three colours, red for radicals, blue for moderates, and
white for Royalists.
When placing blocks the main rule is to think of the number three, as follows:
The maximum height for a single stack is three faction blocks.
A province can only contain a maximum of three separate stacks of faction
blocks,(a stack may consist of one block).
A player can only control one stack of blocks in a province.
All the faction blocks in a single stack must be the same colour.
All the blocks in a stack belong to one player. A player can never add to
another player's stack.
When a player places a faction block or a stack of blocks in a province then he
also places one of his control tokens on top to show that he controls that
particular stack. A player may always add blocks to one of his previously placed
stacks, as long as he does not break the rules stated above. A player cannot
move or remove faction blocks, except through the use of Special cards,
(explained below). A player may not be able to place all of the faction blocks
on the card, due to there being not enough such blocks left, in which case he
places as many as he can.
After the player has played the card he can either discard it or place it on his
Personal Display, i.e. face up in front of him. A player can have up to four
cards in his Personal Display. He cannot voluntarily remove any cards from his
display, except through the use of Special cards. He may have one additional
card in his display if that card is marked with the 'Sans Culotte' symbol. Cards
in a Personal Display may be used during the Election Phase to break ties. Any
cards left on display will go back into the player's hand, which allows a player
to recycle powerful cards.
If there is a cannon symbol on the card then the player may choose to place one
of his control tokens in the Battle Box INSTEAD of placing faction blocks,
(remember that there will only be a battle in the second and subsequent turns,
so don't go placing tokens in the box in the first turn). Whatever the value of
the card only one control token can be placed in the box. The card can still be
placed on the player's Personal Display. There is no limit to the number of
tokens that can be placed in the Battle Box.
B. Take a Card
If a player has less than nine cards then he can take one card, either one of
the three cards on display by the deck, or from the deck itself. Any card taken
from the display is replaced immediately. If a player has nine or more cards
then he can still take a card but before doing so he must discard two cards from
his hand. A player can have more than nine cards in his hand, (this will only
occur at the start of a new turn when he picks up cards from his Personal
In the unlikely event that a player does not wish to perform an action then he
may simply choose to pass. This does not stop him performing an action when the
order of play returns to him in the next round of actions.
The End of the Action Phase
The Action Phase will end when the stock of all of one colour of faction blocks
is exhausted, (i.e. on the map). However, play still continues until the last
player has completed his action, which means that all players will have the same
number of actions
4. Resolve Battle
In the second and subsequent turns there will be a battle. The player who leads
the Revolutionary army in this battle will gain victory points. The player who
has the most control tokens in the Battle Box AND has at least one General card
in his Personal Display will lead the army and win the VPs. A General card is
distinguished by its silhouette, (see the Player Aid Card). Directly underneath
the present turn space is a box with the name of a battle in it. The number in
the box is the number of VPs earned by the victorious player.
Note that a player with a General on display may win the VPs even if he has less
tokens in the box than another player but that other player does not have a
General card on display.
If there is a tie for the number of tokens in the box then in play order each
player may advance one General card from his Personal Display. The player who
advances the highest value General, (i.e. card with the most blocks on it), wins
the VPs. Any advanced cards are discarded.
If there is still a tie then nobody leads the battle and the battle is lost. If
this happens then take a white faction block and place it in the box with the
named battle that was just fought. If there is no white block available then
remember to place one after the election has been resolved and blocks have
A lost battle counts as a controlled counter-revolutionary province when
determining a sudden-death victory, (explained in more detail later on).
All control tokens are removed from the Battle Box and returned to their
respective owners. If a player won the battle and there was no tie-break
situation then he does not have to lose any General card, they stay on his
5. The Election and Victory Points
The new government is now elected. Remove all player tokens from the Government
Box. Place the three coloured Election markers on the zero space of the Election
Track. Place a black marker on the first space of the Region Track.
Each region consists of a number of provinces, which are numbered to show the
order in which they are to be resolved. Resolve the election in each province in
a region, as indicated, then advance the black marker and resolve the next
region, and so on, until all six regions have been resolved.
An election in a province will normally return just one vote – which will move
one of the election markers up one space on the election track. The only
exception is Paris, which is explained in more detail below.
The highest single stack on a province returns one vote for the faction that
matches the colour of the stack, either red, white, or blue. The player who
controls the stack takes one faction block from that stack and retains it until
the end of the election. All remaining faction blocks remain in the province.
The election marker of the winning faction is advanced one space along the
Election Track. Note that two stacks of the same colour faction are not added
together – it is the highest stack that wins.
As there is a stacking limit of three faction blocks so ties will be a regular
event. In the case of a tie each tied player, in play order, may advance one
Personality or Club card from his Personal Display that has blocks on it that
match the colour of the faction that he controls in the contested province, (the
background colour on the card is of no relevance). The player who advances the
highest value card, (as shown by the number of blocks on card), wins the
election in the province. A player does not have to advance a card. If there is
a winner then he takes one faction block from his stack and a vote is registered
for that faction on the election track. If the tie is not broken then no vote is
registered. Whatever the result, after the election in the province has been
resolved, ALL faction blocks in that province are removed and returned to the
stock. The purpose behind this rule is to make sure there is an adequate
recycling of faction blocks. Any cards used to break a tie are discarded.
The Paris province is an exception to the standard election rules. The winner of
the election takes all of his faction blocks and retains them, instead of taking
the normal one block. Each faction block in the winning stack counts as a vote
on the Election Track, which means the election marker could be moved up to
three spaces. If there is a tie then this is resolved as above, by advancing
cards. However, if after the first cards are advanced there is still a tie then
players repeat the process, advancing a second and possibly third card until the
tie is broken or all players exhaust their supply of eligible cards. If no
player wishes to advance a card then the election is tied, with no faction
gaining any votes. As in a regular province all faction blocks in the province
are returned to the stock after the election has been resolved. Any cards used
to break a tie are discarded.
VICTORY POINT PROVINCES
There are four provinces that contain a circle marked 1VP or 2VPs. In the third
and fourth turns the player who wins the vote in these provinces, (i.e. takes a
faction block from his stack), will also gain VPs as indicated in the province.
If nobody wins the election in such a province then no VPs are claimed.
EXAMPLE 1: The election sequence reaches Picardy, where there is a stack of
three red faction blocks controlled by Rob, two blues controlled by Richard, and
another two blues controlled by Simon. The red stack wins the election in the
province, despite the fact that there is a total of four blue faction blocks.
Rob takes one of the red faction blocks from his stack and keeps it in front of
him. The red election marker is moved up one space along the Election Track.
EXAMPLE 2: The election sequence reaches Paris. Richard has three red faction
blocks, Simon also has three red blocks. Rob has one white block. There is a
tie, which means cards may be used. Richard goes before Simon in the turn order.
He decides to advance Murat, who is a 'red' personality. Simon decides not to
advance a card. Richard wins and takes all three of his faction blocks and
retains them in front of his position. The red election marker is moved up three
spaces on the Election Track. As there was a tie all remaining faction blocks,
including the white block, are removed from the province and returned to the
THE NEW GOVERNMENT
The election ends when each province has been resolved. The faction that
receives the most votes, i.e. its marker is furthest along the Election Track,
will form the next government.
If there is a tie on the track then players may advance cards from their
personal display, as if breaking a tie in a province. After all players have had
the opportunity to advance a card the tied faction that has the highest total of
points, (shown by blocks on the cards), advanced in its favour wins the election
and forms the next government. If there is still a tie then repeat the process
until the tie is broken, (in the same way that a tie in Paris would be broken).
All advanced cards are discarded. If the tie is still not broken and players
cannot advance any more cards, or choose not to, then the radicals take
precedence over the moderates, who in turn take precedence over the Royalists.
Leave the election markers on the track to show which is the present government.
If there was a tie then move the two non-government markers back by one space.
Players now claim victory points. During the election phase players will have
taken faction blocks from the map, as they won elections in provinces. The
player who holds the most faction blocks of the same colour as the new
government wins 5VPs. The player who holds the second highest number of blocks
in the government wins 2VPs. The player who holds the highest number of blocks
in the faction that came second to the government, (i.e. the opposition), wins
EXAMPLE: The radicals, (red), won the election, the moderates, (blue), gained
the second highest number of votes, becoming the opposition. The player with the
most red faction blocks wins 5VPs. The player with the second highest number of
red blocks wins 2VPs. The player with the most blue faction blocks wins 3VPs.
In each of these cases a tie is broken by the tied players having the option to
advance a card from their display which has the same colour blocks on it as the
faction that they are competing for points with. The player who advances the
highest value card wins the VPs. All advanced cards are discarded. If there is
still a tie then players may advance a second card, in the same way they would
break a tie in Paris. If there is still a tie and no player has any more cards
to advance, or chooses not to, then each tied player shares the VPs. A tie for
first place in government gives each tied player 3VPs, (player or players in
second place do not score VPs as normal). A tie for second place in the
government gives each tied player 1VP. If there is a tie for first place in the
opposition then each tied player gains 2VPs.
If there was a tie for first place in government which is then broken then the
player who lost the tie-breaker still gains the VPs for second place.
Each player who took at least one faction block of the same colour as the new
government has a presence in that government. To show this they should place one
of their control tokens in the Government Box at the top of the Election Track.
Having a presence in the government is a prerequisite to using Purge and Terror
All faction blocks held by the players should be returned to the common stock.
Faction blocks on the map remain there.
Now move the Turn marker on one space and start a new turn.
In addition to playing a Personality or Club card a player can play one Special
card, (these have a cream background). A player can choose to a player a Special
card on its own but he cannot play two Special cards in one round if he does not
play a Personality/Club card. He may play the Special card before or after he
plays a Personality/Club card. The effect of the Special card is resolved
immediately. Special cards are discarded after they have been played.
PURGE: You must have a presence in government to play this card. You may discard
one face up card that is part of a player's personal display, including your
own. The card is placed on the discard pile.
GUILLOTINE: You may remove any Personality card, (not a Club card), which is
face up on a player's Personal Display. The personality is 'dead' and should be
placed back in the box.
EMIGRATION: You may remove any one Royalist Personality card, (one marked with
white blocks), that is part of a player's Personal Display and place it on the
TERROR: You can only play this card if the present government is radical, (red),
and you have a presence in that government. You remove one complete stack of
faction blocks from any province that also contains one or more red faction
blocks. The removed blocks are placed back in the stock. You may choose to
remove the red blocks that allowed the action to be taken in that province,
(i.e. radicals can guillotine themselves). You may then 'guillotine' one
Personality or Club card, which means selecting any card on a player's Personal
Display and placing in the dead box.
BREAD SHORTAGE: You may remove one faction block of the same colour as the
present government from one province. In the first turn any faction block can be
RELIGIOUS PROBLEMS: You may remove one red or blue faction block from a
Ending the Game
The game can end due to one of the following three conditions:
END OF FOUR TURNS: The game always ends after four turns. The player with the
most victory points is the winner. In the case of a tied the tied player with
the most Personality/Club card points on display wins. If there is still a tie
then the players remain tied.
ROYALIST COUNTER-REVOLUTION: A successful Royalist counter-revolution will occur
immediately if seven or more provinces marked CR are controlled by white faction
blocks. It is up to the players to spot this condition and if it is missed then
it cannot be claimed retrospectively. A CR province is regarded as being
controlled if there is a single white stack that is higher than any other single
stack in the province. Note that if there are two or more white stacks of the
same height then the province is not controlled by any stack, and so does not
count towards the counter-revolutionary conditions. Every battle for which no
player claimed points is regarded as a lost battle and counts as a single
controlled province, which reduces the number of provinces that need to be
controlled on the map.
A counter-revolution can only occur in the third and fourth turns. If a
successful counter-revolution does occur then the winner is determined by
players adding together the number of white points they have – which means
adding together the number of white faction blocks they control on the map to
the number of white blocks on cards they own, both on display and in hand. The
player with the most such points wins the game. VPs count for nothing. In the
case of a tie the tied player with the most white points on cards, (both in hand
and on display), takes precedence. If there is still a tie then it remains
RADICAL LANDSLIDE: If at the end of an election the radical red faction gained
17 votes or more, i.e. they go off the end of the Election Track, then the game
ends with a radical landslide. The winner of the game is determined by players
adding together the number of red points they have – which means adding
together the number of faction blocks they hold and control on the map to the
number of red blocks on cards they have on display and in hand. The player with
the most such points wins the game. VPs count for nothing. A landslide may occur
in any turn. If there is a tie then the player with the most red points on
cards, (both on display and in hand), takes precedence. If the tie is still
unbroken then the players remain tied.
Liberté was designed by Martin Wallace.
All artwork by Peter Dennis
Graphical layout by Ian Legge
Rules proofread by as many people as possible.
Playtested by Simon Bracegirdle, Rob Mulholland, Richard Spilsbury, Matthew
Ellis, Eddie Richards, Geoff Brown, Geoff Brown, Martin Burroughs, James
Hamilton, Chris Boote, members of the Man of War games club. The designer would
also like to thank the many people who have played the game and offered comments
at various conventions. The designer would also like to thank the organisers of
those conventions, in particularly Baycon, Stabcon, and Ramsdencon.
Thanks to Nuala O'Rourke. Tim Cockitt, and Audrey Bown.