In the late middle ages, the French city of Troyes was a wealthy, cosmopolitain center of conflict, culture, and trade. It was home to a powerful and eventually sainted pope, a Spanish king, one of Europe’s best architects, and an author whose stories forever shaped Arthurian romance. For several years it stood as the capital of France and was liberated from English control by Joan of Arc herself. Yet while fostering glorious artistic and military achievements, Troyes also experienced the darkest aspects of the dark ages: plague, drought, constant attacks by bands of brigands and marauders, and a great fire that consumed much of the city.
Experience the dramatic life of this city at its peak in Troyes, a board game designed by Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, and Alain Orban. As the leader of an influential Troyenne family, you’ll employ citizens in three different community domains, help build the city’s rising cathedral, and struggle against unfortunate, unpredictable events. The player whose family earns the most fame (victory points) for their efforts on behalf of the city wins the game.
Houses of Fame
In Troyes, your family is inspired by a famous citizen of the city, chosen randomly and kept secret throughout the game. If you can fulfill the goals outlined by that historical character, you’ll be much closer to victory. With Pope Arbain IV as your guide, you’ll earn additional fame for your contributions to building the city’s cathedral. Under the auspices of Thibault II, the Count of Champagne and first king of Navarre, you’ll earn fame according to the number of coins (derniers) you have on hand at the game’s end. If you’re inspired by the achievements of King Henry I of France, you’ll seek to earn fame through combating misfortunes and fending off the city’s enemies.
The public affairs of Troyes are divided into three domains: military (red), religious (white), and civic (yellow). While you may prioritize one of the three domains over another, your citizens must have a presence in all of them if you want to win. At the beginning of the game you’ll send each of your citizens to work at the Palace, the Bisphoric, or at City Hall. You’ll then begin the first round by rolling a number of colored dice matching the number of citizens you have in each domain. If you have three citizens at the Palace, for exmaple, you’ll roll three red dice. The number of dice rolled and the values upon them determine what actions you can take during that round.
It’s an understatement to say that Medieval life was full of hardships. Therefore, before you take any actions in Troyes, you must learn what harmful Events will overshadow that round. There may be a crisis of Heresy that causes all players to lose influence, or a Succession Conflict that expels your family from the Palace. Or it might be War, which you and your fellow players must confront before taking any other actions. In military Events, you roll a number of black dice, representing your enemies. You must then spend your own dice to defeat them. Any color can be used, but red dice are worth twice as much, since they represent the work of your citizens involved in the military. You earn influence for every black die you counter and lose victory points if you are unable to defeat any of the city’s enemies.
You can then send your citizens to work, using as many actions as you want, until all your dice are spent. Your citizens can help construct the cathedral, engage in Agriculture to earn you more derniers, or toil against the non-military Events that have befallen the city, gaining influence and victory points in the process. They can also engage in Activities within the three domains. They can become Distillers, Merchants, Archers, or Mercenaries. They can embark on a religious Pilgrimage or attend Confession. Activity cards offer whoever activates them remarkable benefits, from victory points and derniers to the ability to add value to your dice, or combat Events without spending any dice whatsoever. Activating an Activity card, however, requires you to spend both dice and deniers in addition to placing a citizen upon it. And once a die is spent, it cannot be used again that round.
Wealth and Influence
The economy of Troyes is tight. You not only must spend derniers when activating Activity cards, but your citizens must be paid their salaries. The work force at your disposal is defined by the number and value of your dice, so there will always be actions that you want to take but cannot afford, Activities you want to engage in if only you had the means. That said, you can use derniers (if you have any spare) and your influence to add dice to your pool, increase the value of dice you have rolled, and expand both your family and your options.
When spending dice in an action, you don’t have to use only the dice that you rolled at the start of the round. If you lack the color of die that you need, or your dice don’t have a high enough value, you can purchase dice from other players in exchange for derniers. The more dice you spend on a single action, the more another player’s die will cost. If you have plenty of influence but not many derniers, you can spend one point of influence to reroll a die, or four points of influence to flip that die to its opposite face, turning a “two” into a “five”, or a “one” into a “six.” But influence is most useful in growing your family. For two points, you can add another citizen of Troyes to your pool. On your next action you can send them to work earning derniers or all-important victory points for your family.
Experience the Greatness of Troyes
At the end of six rounds, you and your competitors total up the victory points you have earned. In addition to those you earned through combating Events and performing Activities, you’ll gain victory points for citizens that you have placed on Activity cards that are no longer activated. You’ll also lose points for any levels of the cathedral that you have not helped to construct. Finally, you reveal your secret Character card and see how much fame you have earned for following that Character’s lead. Whether or not you win, you’ll have helped Troyes survive the challenges of the dark ages and achieve greatness.
The rulebook for Troyes and other player resources will appear here soon!
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