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Hello everyone!

This is my first post and my first attempt to create a game! It's a cardgame for 3-4 players which takes about 30 minutes to play. Its main elements are direct competition, bluffing and dealing with (hopefully just the right amount of) uncertainty. And of course luck! A game set at a baroque court can't do without luck! So I guess it's a bit poker-esque. I hope that it is also good as a game, i.e. that it manages to create fun for more than a few rounds, after the fluff has lost its "magic".

As of yet, I have not been able to translate my prototype-rules into English. I hope I can spare some time soon. Since I have put quite a lot of historical/flavour-terms into it (and even some quotes), it might take me longer.

Short flavour description: The players take on the roles of courtiers at a magnificent court during the Galant Epoque (ca. 1700 A.D.). As courtiers, they compete against each other for influence, splendour and favours. In order to be successfull, they have to pull strings and weave nets of "friendship" (in modern terms: alliances) with opportune patrons and clients, they need to hide their true miens behind their masks, scheme against other courtiers and control their most gracious prince. Dissimulatio - that is: the high art of feinting!

Description of the game (a very "rough" one for now):

Spoiler (click to reveal)
"Friends" cards: 3 suits, each containing cards with values from 1-3, 3s are rarer than 1s; Friends are used to win "prince-cards" and thus score points; they can also be used to "whisper" into the prince's ear (only 2s and 3s)
"Black" cards: 1 suit, containing cards with values from 1-3, 3s are rarer than 1s; Black cards are used to start and defend against intrigues; they can also be used to "whisper" (only 2s and 3s)
"Prince/court"-cards: correspond with the 3 suits of the friends, 3 prince-cards for each suit
Each player needs a whisper-marker (one side: "delay", the other "hold")

Friends and black cards are mixed together and build one pile; Prince-cards are seperate.

The Game

Each player has a hand of 5 cards. He needs to keep 3 of his 5 cards unveiled at all time (called "mask"; for women, "fan" would be appropriate ,) ). The other two cards are kept secretly on his hand (called "intention").

One prince-card is active at any time, the next prince-card from the prince-card pile is unveiled but not active yet (players can plan ahead).

A player can take one of the following actions on his turn:

1. Play the active prince-card: All players reveal cards from their mask and intention that match the suite of the prince-card. The player who scores most points with his cards/friends wins the card. The player who has won the most prince cards once they run out has won the game.

2. Dissimulate: Draw a card from the pile to your intention, then discard a card.

3. Change the prince card: Discard the active prince card and activate the next one.

4. Intrigue: short version: if you beat another player with black cards, you can call a suit of friends and the player has to discard all his cards of that suite. If you fail, however, you loose not only a turn, but also a card (chosen by the "victim" of your intrigue).

Players are allowed to modify their setup (mask/intention) at the end of each of their turns and every time a new prince-card is activated.

WHISPERING: Whenever a new prince-card is activated, players may (simultaneously?) assign a card in their mask (of any suit, but it needs to be a 2 or 3) to either hold the prince-card (making it more difficult to "change" the prince-card) or to delay the card (making it more difficult to "play" the prince card). If you want to play/change a prince-card that is "held" or "delayed", you first need to break the hold/delay by discarding a card of at least equal value of the holding/delaying card (2 or 3). Hold and Delay-tasks only last 2 full rounds, then they are destroyed (together with the card that has been assigned to the task). Cards who are actively whispering do not contribute their value when a prince-card is played. Neither can they start an intrigue. If a hold/delay is broken, then the cards that were whispering stay in the game.

So ideally, players get enough information on their opponents (mask, delay and hold-tasks) to evaluate them and make up hypotheses about their plan, while at the same time, they ultimately lack the final information (so they also have no incentive to think and ponder for ages), which opens room for a lot of feinting and bluffing. At least that's the idea...

Here is the link to the download of the current version of the rules (in german):

The courtiers depicted on the card-samples are all taken from the Recueil des modes de la cour de France (1680s?).
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