Thursday, November 10, 2005


Marquis fell way under my radar in my quest for game rules to read, partly because it just came out, and partly because it's not available at any major retailer. It's published by LudoArt, designed by Martin Götz and Czarné, and supports 2-4 players.

Each player shuffles a personal deck of the same 11 characters, and draws 4 as a starting hand. The rules are a little convoluted, but in "proper" order, on your turn you:
  • Purchase diamonds using the previous character on your pile.
  • Play a new character on top of your pile.
  • Collect money from the bank and other characters as described by the card.
  • Pay money to other characters that are the same as yours.
  • Execute your character's special power.
In some sense it has a Citadels feeling to it. The characters interact is various ways, affecting your choices. However, since there may be more than one of the same character in play, there are more options. The interaction is very compelling. When a character is assassinated, it is placed face down under your pile, so the previous character is now on top and behaves as if you had played it on your last turn. There's also a Veto card in your deck which can be played to cancel another character's actions against you.

I was getting excited to acquire this game while reading the rules. However, there are lots of little things that spoil the elegance of this game for me:
  • Fiddly mechanism with the Clairvoyant.
  • Reverse direction with the Cardsharper. There are too many direction-sensitive things in the rules to make this mechanism clean.
  • Being able to use the Prosecutor from your hand.
  • Many other unanswered character interactions that the rules simply do not cover--like so many other games with many-to-many interactions.
Overall, the concept has a lot of promise. The game might be salvageable with a few tweaks and clarifications.


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