Number of Players: 2
Equipment: 1 standard deck of cards
The Aim of the Game: To Crush your King under the weight of government before your opponent.
Jokers may be kept in the deck or removed depending on weather or not you want to play it as a wild card – See the Whore’s for Hire section for rules regarding this. I would suggest keeping them in as a it makes the game a bit more interesting.
- Split all four kings from the deck and lay them out on the table.
- Shuffle the deck and deal five cards to each player.
- Then place the rest of the deck to one side with space for a discard pile.
- The player who didn’t deal then goes first.
Marrying into Royalty:
- The first player then discards one card (Note: you discard face up) and picks up one card repeatedly until he finds a Queen; if he already starts with a Queen then he just players her, rather than discarding till he finds one. This process may take a while, but finding a good woman is at least a 1 in 52 kind of job. Also consider whilst you’re doing this which cards you are discarding and which cards you’re keeping.
- Now place your Queen on the King of the same suit to claim that as the King (and whole suit).
- That set is then moved towards the player who has claimed it, but not out of hands reach of the other player.
- The player then picks up to re-fill his hand to five and the second player starts to discard and pick up until they have also claimed a King with their Queen.
- The two other Kings are now assassinated and moved to the side. They do not come back into play.
Turn of play:
Each player on their turn now can do three things in this order:
- Building up their Government.
- Inserting a Spy.
- Firing and Hiring.
Building up the Government:
A player takes a card that they have in their hand and places it onto their Royal Pile (also know as Government or Stack). The card must be of the same suit and the next card down. (e.g. if the stack already sits at King, Queen and Jack and your stack is Diamond’s you can only place the Ten of Diamonds next.) If you don’t have the next relevant card this section of the turn is missed. Only one member of Government can be played each turn, they cannot be played in runs.
This section is also where spies can be removed; see Discovering a Spy.
If there are already spies in you Government they can be played onto as if they were the correct version of that card, because until the spy is discovered the Government believes they are the correct member.
Inserting a Spy:
Cards that belong to the suit’s of the two assassinated Kings are mercenary spies that can be played into the other persons Government (Stack). They must be the next card their Government needs e.g. if they have the stack King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Nine of Hearts and Diamonds was the suit in play for the other player you could use the 8 of Clubs or 8 of Spades as a spy in their ranks. Spy’s must be placed at 90 degrees to the rest of the stack to make them clear.
Once a spy is placed it forces the other player to give up one card in their hand to you. This card must be of your suit if they have it, if not it can be any card of their choice.
After giving you a card the other player DOES NOT pick up another card to re-fill their hand to 5 until THEIR next Firing and Hiring stage.
Only one spy may be placed per turn.
For every turn a spy is still in active play you receive one card from the other persons hand at the Inserting a Spy phase until it is removed. So if you have two spies already in their deck and are placing a third they would have to give you three cards from their hand.
Spies can be played onto other spies e.g. if they have a stack that goes from King down to Seven but the six is a spy and they haven’t discovered this spy by the time it gets around to your Inserting a spy phase you may then place a spy 5 onto it and both count as active spies that must each be removed by their correct card.
Spies DO NOT have to be played, you may keep them to play in a later turn, but keep in mind once they play the card of that level the spy is effectively a useless card that’s only good for giving to the other player when their spies make you give up a card.
Firing and Hiring:
Finally you may fire up to one member of staff from your hand and place them on the discard pile next to the deck and hire enough staff to refill your hand to five by picking up cards from the deck. (Your hand may be depleted due to giving up cards due to enemy spies.)
Note: Once the draw card pile is empty the discard pile is shuffled and flipped to become the new draw pile.
This concludes your turn and the other player now does the same three phases.
Whore’s for Hire:
The Queens of the suits of the assassinated kings become whores for hire. This means they may be played as spies anywhere into the other players Government, so are wild cards. The same applies for Jokers if they’ve been kept in the deck. So think carefully about Queens and Jokers as it might pay to keep them until late in the game when you really need to stop the other player.
Discovering a Spy:
A Spy may only be discovered and removed by the member of the Government they are impersonating e.g. if there’s a Jack of Clubs as a spy in a government of Diamonds it can only be removed by replacing it with the Jack of Diamonds. A spy is discovered and removed in the Building up the Government phase; once they player has the card necessary to remove the spy they play that card and use it to replace the Spy. The Spy is then placed with the assassinated Kings, never to be brought back into play as they have been executed.
Winning the Game:
The winner is the first person to complete their Government and successfully Crush their King under the full weight of a full Spy-less Government. Wining is only achieved when there are no spies present in the players Government and their Ace is placed on their Stack.
The game requires honesty as you have to surrender any cards that you may have of the other persons when they place a spy and not hoard them and claim you have none. Remember: liars, like spies, will be executed.