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Subject: AE Games Guild Review rss

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Jeffery Hudson
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As one of the founding member's of the Games Guild of the Adrian Empire (a historical re-enactment group) I'm always on the look out for new, fun, period games to play at Renn Faires and events. I mean, there are always the old standbys of Chess (in all it's many forms and varieties), Tafl, Fox and Geese, Game of the Goose, Morris, etc, but the guild is always looking for more great candidates (in and out of period for that matter. :) ) to be featured at upcoming events. Which leads me to this review of Conspirateurs, a French game from the 17th Century (1605 if accounts are to be believed).

THEME
The Premise is simple...all 40 playing pieces are spies in a great room. The Room is raided and the spies scatter to the safe doors at the edge of the room. There's only one problem. There are 39 doors and 40 spies. Someone is getting caught and it better not be you!

I love the theme of this game. I mean, any game that involves plastic (or wood) death is always a plus in my book :). This is far more 'theme' then I expect from an historical abstract and comes as a real pleasant surprise.

COMPONENTS
Components are easy for this game. You need 20 pieces of each color (40 total) and a 17x17 board played on the lines, like in Go. Mark the 'doors' as shown on the gallery pictures and your in business. Now, don't be fooled by the rules you find elsewhere on the net about the game being played on a 15x15 board, apparently those are wrong. All documentation I found said 15x15, but all pictures I found used a 17x17 board. We played on a 17x17 board and it was perfect.

I used a 3M Bookshelf version of Go for my board. I used a dry marker to mark the exit doors and the 4 corners of the starting area. Play was great and I didn't have to burn my own board (yet). As of yet, there is no PNP version of this game.

Rules
The game has two phases, kinda like Morris. There is the drop phase and the scatter phase.

In the drop phase players take turns placing their pieces in the 9x5 section in the middle of the board. There are 45 places to drop pieces into, so there will be 5 spaces left blank. Once all pieces are dropped play changes to the scatter phase.

In the scatter phase players alternate moves and try to get their pieces to any of the 39 empty doorways at the edge of the board. Pieces move one space at a time in any direction (including diagonal), or may jump over any adjacent piece to an empty space beyond. There are no limit to the amount of times a piece may jump, as long as the jump is legal. Jumping is not compulsory. While not strictly stated in the rules, we added a house rule where once a piece is 'safe' it may not be moved out of safety.

Verdict.

This game has a lot of similarities with Morris and Chinese Checkers. The 'courtesy play' I had with another guild member was an enjoyable education and both of us agreed that we'd invest time and material into making a period board for playing at events. I'd rate this game above Morris but below Tables. It earns a solid 6 on the BBG scale of gaming.
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Ralf Gering
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Can you give the name of the account from 1605? All sources that I know (including French ones) date it to be around 1800.
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Jeffery Hudson
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It was in one of my historical board game books. I'll have to find the source for you again (and if not, correct my review). :) Up until I found that source everything i saw said it was most likely 18th century too.
 
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