Gameday First Play – Histrio
“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”
~ Seán O’Casey
It’s that special time of year when the entire kingdom gathers at court for the Munificent Theatrical Festival. Acting troupes from all over the land will come together to perform plays of lighthearted comedy or soul-wrenching tragedy. Will their performance win the favour of the king or will his fickle mood spell a flop?
You travel to locations to collect actors to put on a show that matches the King’s mood and earn the most money (Called Ecus) over two seasons to win the game.
Technically, this is my second game but we played a major rule wrong so I thought I’d better play it again before writing about it.
The 8 locations are in a row and each has a card placed under them at random. The players all have a set of cards numbered 1-8 and they pick one secretly, reveal at the same time and place their Caravel next to the board at the location they picked.
You resolve the locations in numerical order if and if one player has a Caravel there they take the cards on that city. Some of these give you Ecus, some are Acrobats you put in front of you for ‘once per season’ abilities.
Most are Actors which you add to your Troupe, they are valued 1-5 and each level of actor has its own ability.
5 costs you 1 Ecu to add to your troupe, 4 has no effect, 3 lets you put a Manager on stage which then gives you 1 Ecu per manager currently on the stage. 2 lets you steal an Ecu from another player and 1 let’s you take back your location cards and Caravels.
This is the only way to get your cards back except for when you only have 1 card left in your hand at the end of a round, you get every back then.
After you take cards you can discard an actor you just took to influence the Kings mood. Discard a 4 Comedy actor and move the counter 5 in that direction for example.
If this cause the mood to change between comedy and tragedy, you rotate the stage, clearing it of Managers.
If 2 or more players go to the same location the cards are removed and no one gets them. But, before discarding them, the Kings Favour is altered by the difference in the amount of Comedy/Tragedy on any actors in that pile of cards.
I say pile because after everyone has taken their cards and resolved them, the Caravels are moved onto the board and a new card is placed in each city. This means some cities will have multiple cards.
The players that went to the same location don’t lose out completely, they each gain a ‘Secret Request’ card which can be used for end game scoring.
When there isn’t enough cards to fill a row the Season ends and you score.
You get 1 Ecu for each actor you have that matches the Kings current mood. You get 3 Ecus (5 in Season 2) if your total of actors matching the Kings mood exceeds the total of those that don’t. You also get 3 (5 in Season 2) Ecus again if that difference is the highest between all players.
You do this for 2 Seasons, at the end of Season 2 you score again but include the 2 ‘Secret Request’ scoring cards that come with a cash. You only play one Secret Request each season despite probably getting quite a few. Most Ecus wins.
Overall the game is fun, you want to try and hit a side of the Comedy/Tragedy line hard. Go all out for one and win the bonus for having the best play. But, if you have +8 Comedy and the King fancies a bit of Tragedy there goes your end of round scoring…
It’s difficult to alter the Mood of the King AND take cards… The cards you take you need to discard to alter his mood so unless you get a stack with 2-3 of the same type which is rare, you can’t do both at once.
Also, if 2-3 cards of the same type are in a stack, multiple players will probably go for it and everyone loses then.
Very fun, looking forward to playing it more.