In the mid-sixteenth century England Queen Elizabeth I rules without an heir. This leaves room for some maneuvering. Powers throughout, including you, believe that a family with great presence, wealth, and nobility might find itself in the right place at the right time.
In Noblemen, you are members of the British aristocracy. You will try to achieve influence and prestige for your family. You will grow your family's estate, earn the queen's favor, bear witness to scandalous behavior, gain influence with the church, bribe royalty, and leverage your political weight during masquerade balls; all in an effort to ensure your family's rightful place in history. After three decades, the player with the most victory points will be declared the winner.
This is a game of several races all going on at the same time. Players race the clock; you will never know exactly how many turns are remaining before the scoring round. Players will race each other – to build cheaper buildings, to be the first to build a folly, to have more prestige and therefore gain a higher noble title, and more. On your turn you can play one scandal card (if you choose) in addition to taking one action from the following possibilities:
- Grow Estate – Play lands from behind your screen
- Build Structure – Buy and play a building on a meadow
- Bribe Royalty – Buy bribe tickets you can redeem later
- Collect Taxes – Get money
- Acquire Lands – Get more land from the bag of random lands
- Donate to the Church – Redeem lands for victory points
- Leisure Time – Get one victory point
On most of your turns, you will build your estate by playing land tiles or building structures. There are three commodities to concentrate on: lands, wealth, and prestige. Each commodity will help on your path to victory. It is for you to decide each turn which is the most needed for you to win the game.