Muscat: Rules

Boardgame for 3–5 persons from the age of 12 years up
Author:
Christiane Knepel Graphics: Antje Graf
www.sternspieler.de

Die Sternspieler: Christiane Knepel, Nordring 61, D-24558 Henstedt-Ulzburg GERMANY
 

In Muscat, a little town in the Near East, snake-charmers, elephant trainers, fire-eaters and pipers show their tricks on the marketplaces of the different districts of the town. But the

pressure of competition is very strong among the artists. They all have the same goal: to belong to the royal house -hold of the sultan one day. But the way up to the palace of Muscat is hard. Each artist career in Muscat starts on one of the five marketplaces of the poorest district. Who is successful in the cycle of power, will show his tricks in the richer districts soon. But only very few artists have access to the palace of Muscat one day...

Aim of the game:
To promote lots of own artists which means to get lots of points.
 

Material:
1 board
16 tokens in each colour (
Piper, Snake charmer , Elephant trainer,  Fire eater)
5 short rules
 

The cycle of power

The relationship among the artists:

There are 4 different types of artists: snake-charmers, elephant trainers, fire eaters and pipers. Each artist type threatens one of the other artist types and is threatened by another artist type:

The piper threatens the snake-charmer:  “I can hypnotize your snake with my pipe music and ou will not be able to show your tricks“.

The snake-charmer threatens the elephant trainer: “My snake can paralyse your elephant with one single bite and your show will not take place“.

The elephant trainer threatens the fire eater: “With a trunk full of water my elephant can extinguish your fire and you are a Nobody on the marketplace“.

The fire-eater threatens the piper: “with one single flame I could burn your pipe and you can’t impress anybody by your music any more“.

This cycle of power becomes obvious by the clockwise position of the fields on the board and by the orange arrows on the tokens.

If this cycle of power is interrupted because only three artists come together, one of the artists is the strongest, because he is able to threaten one of the others. Another of the three artists is the weakest, because he is threatened, but cannot threaten anybody.

Before you start the game:
Put the board in the middle of the table. If 5 players participate, you need all 5 market places on each level.

If only 4 players participate, only 4 market places are used on each level. The closed market places will be covered by tokens of a colour which is not in use.

If only 3 players participate, only 3 market places are used on each level, the left and the

right column are closed in this case.

Every player gets one of the short rules, shuffles the tokens of his colour and places them face down in a pile. One token will be placed face up beside the pile. Every time the player is using a new token, he has the possibility to choose the face up token or one face down token from the pile. If he decides for the face up token, he will turn another token over when he has finished his move.

Start position:
One start player is selected. It will be played clockwise. Each player takes one token of his pile and puts it on one empty market place of the first level on the corresponding field (a fire eater can only be placed on the field of a fire eater etc.), so that every market place of the first level is provided with one token.
 

Game course:
Clockwise each player has the following possibilities:

to bring a new token into action on a marketplace of the first level or

to activate the cycle of power or

to activate a never-do-well

to bring a new token into action

The player puts his face up token or a face down token of the pile on any marketplace of the first level on the corresponding field (fire eater on field of fire-eater etc.). It doesn’t matter if there are tokens of the own or a rival colour on this marketplace. On one marketplace not more than three different artists can appear, at no time there will be all four artists.

To activate the cycle of power

When 3 artists are placed on one marketplace, the player can activate the cycle of power. If he decides to do so, he is not allowed to bring a new token into action. To activate the cycle of power is a separate action: Now the strongest and the second strongest artist are promoted to the next level, the weakest artist will go down to the street below this level. He can enter again this level or he can be activated as never-do-well in one of the oncoming rounds of the game. The strongest artist is the one starting the cycle of power: It is the token starting the circle clockwise seen from the empty field. This artist threatens one of the other artists, but nobody threatens him.

Example: On a marketplace of the first level you can find a snake-charmer, an elephant trainer and a fire-eater. The snake-charmer is the strongest artist: He threatens the elephant trainer, but nobody threatens the snake-charmer as the piper is missing. The snake-charmer climbs up to the next level. The elephant trainer is the second strongest artist and climbs up as well. He is threatened by the snake-charmer, but he threatens the fire-eater. The fire-eater has to go down to the street below and becomes a never-do-well because he is the weakest artist. The elephant trainer threatens him, but he can’t threaten anybody as the piper is missing.

When the two strong artists climb up to the next level, first the player of the strongest artist chooses a marketplace on the next level where the corresponding field is still empty and places his artist there. Afterwards the second strongest artist climbs up. He cannot enter the same marketplace and must choose another one on this level. On which marketplace the token appears, is always decided by the owner of the token. New tokens are always brought into action in the lowest level. They are climbing up, when 3 artists are present and one player activates the cycle of power. Step by step the marketplaces of the higher levels are filled up this way. Here, the cycle of power can be activated the same way when 3 artists are present

on one marketplace. The artists can only climb up one level at the moment. To overcome more levels in one step is only possible in the case of a career jump which represents a special action in this game. As already mentioned: Who activates the cycle of power is not allowed to bring a new token into action. His move is finished.

Career jump:
During the game it may happen that the fitting fields on the next level already are occupied on all marketplaces or that it is not possible to put the token there because already 3 other artists occupy the marketplace. If this already happens on the first level when the player brings a new token into action, the artist has to wait as never-do-well in the street below the first level. Does it happen from the second level onwards, that an artist (climbing up due to the cycle of power) does not find an empty field, the artist is allowed to do a career jump. He misses out the occupied level and climbs up to the next following level. Should it happen that the artist does not find here an empty field either, he will miss out this level as well and takes the next. Even the palace-level could be reached by a career jump.
 

Example: A snake-charmer climbs up from level 2to level 3, but here all snake-charmer-fields are occupied. He then takes the next unoccupied field on level 4.

The palace is reached

Only a few artists will reach the palace of Muscat. The cycle of power is activated on the 4th level, representing the richest district, in the same way as before. The two strongest artists climb up to the palace and are placed there in no particular order. The weakest artist goes down to the street below as never-do-well. The artists who have reached the palace, are safe. They will stay here until the end of the game.

To activate a never-do-well

The artists waiting in the streets swear vengeance. A never-do-well has the following possibilities:
A. Re-employment
B. Change of place
C. Expulsion
D. Transformation
 

When this action has been completed, no further actions can be done. The players turn is over and the next player continues the game.

A. Re-employment

The never-do-well can be placed again on a marketplace of the according level if a fitting field is empty. The cycle of power is not activated by this action. It is comparable to a new token brought into action. The cycle of power is activated automatically by the 3 following never-do-well-actions:

B. Change of place

The player is allowed to remove any of his own tokens from one marketplace and to transfer it to another marketplace of the same level under the condition, that he unites 3 artists on the new marketplace. The cycle of power is activated automatically afterwards.

Example: The snake-charmer of player „grey“ is the only artist on the marketplace. On another marketplace of the same level an elephant trainer and a fire-eater are placed. This means a good opportunity for player “grey“. He transfers his snake charmer to this marketplace. Now, 3 artists are present here, the snake-charmer of player “grey“ is the strongest one. The cycle of power is activated.

Afterwards, the player removes any own never-do-well from any street (it has not to be the street directly below this level). After this successful vengeance, he goes out of the game and will not come in again.

C. Expulsion

The player is allowed to exchange an own token against a rival token on the same level if it is the same artist type. A piper can only be exchanged against another piper.

Example: Here, player „Red“ is wicked to player “Blue“. The fire-eater of player “Red“ on the marketplace on the left is in a very bad position. He is Never-do-well the weakest artist and will go down to the street as soon as one of the other players will activate the cycle of power. On the marketplace on the right the fire-eater of player “blue“ is still in a lucky position. He is in the strongest position. Player “Red“ exchanges the two fire-eaters, so that now the fire eater of player “blue“ is in the weakest position and the fire-eater of player “Red“ is in the strongest position on the other marketplace. The cycle of power is activated automatically.

Only for one of the market places the cycle of power is activated at the moment. If there are 3 artists on both marketplaces, the player chooses one marketplace for the cycle of power. After this action as well, the player removes any own never-do-well from any street. This token goes out of the game.

D. Transformation

The strongest vengeance a never-do-well can take, is the transformation. If there are 3 artists on one marketplace and the artist of the player taking his turn is in the weakest position, the player can remove his weak artist and replace it by the artist type whose field has been empty. The artist type who will do the replacement has to be available as never-do-well in one of the streets (only tokens of the own colour can be taken).

Example: The snake-charmer of player “Red“is in a bad position. As soon as one of the other players activates the cycle of power, he will go down to the street below as never-do-well. The field of the elephant trainer is empty. Player “Red“ has good luck: In one of the streets, one of his elephant trainers is waiting as never-do-well for his vengeance. Player “Red“ removes his snake-charmer from the marketplace and replaces him by his elephant trainer coming out of the street.

Now a new situation occurs on this marketplace: The elephant trainer of player “Red“ is now in the strongest position. The piper, who has been the second strongest artist before, is now the weakest artist. The removed red snake-charmer goes out of the game. The cycle of power is activated automatically with the new combination of artists.

These special actions are only possible if a never-do-well is available in one of the streets. For the special actions “Change of place“ and “expulsion“, it does not matter which artist type takes the function of the never-do-well. For the “Transformation“ it has to be the artist type which is needed for the empty field.

End of the game:
When 3 players participate: As soon as six tokens have reached the palace, the current round
will still be finished. Afterwards the game is over.

When 4 or 5 players participate: As soon as eight tokens have reached the palace, the current round will still be finished. Afterwards the game is over.

Players, whose turn it is in the last round, can try to move up further tokens to the palace.

The game ends immediately, if a player cannot bring a new token into action any more and if he cannot re-employ a never-do-well from the street either.  

Winner:
Each token counts so many points as shown on the scale on the right. The tokens waiting as never-do-well in the streets count negative points, because the sultan does not appreciate people hanging around in the streets.
 

The player with the highest number of points is the winner of the game. If two players have the same result, the one who has more tokens on the board is the winner.

Example: This is the final position of the artists of player “Blue“:
- three reached the palace 3 x 10 points
- two reached the 4th level 2 x 8 points
- one on level 3 6 points
- one on level 2 4 points
-one on level 1
+ 2 points
58 points

The points of the never-do-wells in the streets are deducted:
- one token in street 1 1 point
- one token in street 3 3 points
54 points
Player “Blue“ gets 54 points.
 

 

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