Review – Trieste
A Simultaneous Action Selection, Hand Management card game.
Year Published: 2013
Designer: Matthew Ma
Publisher: Victory Point Games
Game Time: ~25 mins
Set-up Time: ~1 min
Mechanic: Simultaneous Action Selection, Hand Management, Variable Player Powers
How to win: Complete your Factions victory condition first.
Three players take on the roles of Thief, Merchant, or City Watch. Each role has its own unique deck and victory conditions. Turns are played out simultaneously, with each player selecting an action without knowing those chosen by opponents.
The City Watch player levies taxes on the Merchant and patrols the streets for the Thief, looking to fill the city’s jail with ne’er-do-wells. Players in the role of the Merchant are out to cut deals and line their coffers in a quest for untold riches. As the Thief, that player is attempting to pilfer coins from the Merchant, while earning infamy and the respect of the secretive Foxtail Gang.
Give 2 Copper cards to each player then shuffle the rest of the treasure cards into a pile.
Each player chooses a faction deck, shuffles it, draws 2 cards and adds them to their hand with their 2 Copper cards.
Game play is played over 5 phases with the turn order always City Watch, Merchant, Thief… So that’s Blue, Green, Red… I remember it as ‘CMT’ for County Music Television… hey whatever works! 🙂
Each round starts with the Draw Phase.. In order, each player draws 2 cards. This could be 2 cards from the treasure deck, 2 cards from their faction deck, or 1 card from each deck but you can look at the first before drawing the second.
The treasure deck is reshuffled when empty but if a player’s deck is depleted, that player can no longer draw cards from their deck…
Then the Play Phase… In order, each player places a card from their hand face-down or says they are not playing a card this turn. (Never seen that happen but you never know) Character or Action cards may be played for their printed effect.
Copper (1) or Silver (2) treasure cards may be played to draw more treasure cards equal to the value of the treasure played.
Now the Payment Phase… In order, each player reveals their face-down card and pay the cost of the card by discarding treasure cards which are of at least equal value to the cost shown in the upper left of the played card.
Discarded treasure cards are placed in the Treasure discard pile, not in the players own discard pile and you don’t get any change. If you can’t pay for the card you have to prove it by showing your hand to all players and ignoring it’s effect.
Now these cards take effect…
Again in order, players resolve the effect of their chosen cards, then they are discarded.
Revealed Thieves that are captured by a City Watch card are placed in the captured pile next to the Law & Order victory condition, and any effects are negated.
If a Thief Character is successfully played the Thief player gains Infamy equal to the level of that Thief character. This occurs for characters only, not Thief action cards.
Revealed Copper and Silver treasure cards go to the treasure discard pile, and that player draws a number of treasure cards equal to the discarded treasure’s value.
In the End Phase you immediately check to see if you have met your faction’s Victory Condition and if you did you win!
But, if the game didn’t end, play continues with each player able to pay the cost of any level 1, 2 or 3 character cards in their discard pile to return those cards to their hand.
You check in the end phase in order to see if you’ve fulfilled your victory condition because if two players both meet their Victory Conditions in the same turn, the player that goes first in order wins the game. Advantage City Watch.
So that’s the basics, what about the Hero cards?
Once each player has a faction they can choose a Hero card in secret and they are kept secret until revealed during the game. Players may reveal their Hero card at the beginning of any phase before they take their action and once a Hero has been revealed, it stays revealed unless an effect flips it face-down once more. Hero cards are unaffected by all cards unless they specifically state they interact with Hero cards.
I mentioned in the End Phase you immediately check to see someone has met their faction’s Victory Condition if so the game ends.
The City Watch will win the game when they have captured a total of 7 Thief cards.
The Merchant wins the game when they have treasure in hand equal to the total level of all currently captured Thieves, plus 11.
The Thief wins the game when they have 9 Infamy.
So for this you need 3 players and 3 players only which is usually possible in my experience. However, each player needs to play their part…
Thieves MUST try and activate their Thieves to win and steal from the Merchant to prevent them winning.
The Merchant MUST try and earn money while taxing the City Watch to slow them down. BUT! They can’t slow them down too much as they still need them to capture Thieves to prevent the Thieves from winning.
The City Watch MUST capture Thieves to prevent the Thief player from winning AND to make it harder for the Merchant to win.
It’s a 3 legged stool and if you kick one leg away the whole thing collapses and one player will win easily.
Fortunately it’s easy to play… It’s difficult for one player to play so bad that this happens. The usual way I’ve seen it work out this way is when the Merchant continually plays/draws treasure cards to race to their total…
Try it it won’t work!
With 3 decent players the game balances well and once you know what you’re doing you can play 3 games, once as each faction, in an hour.
A very fun and well balanced game.
I give it 7/10