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Court of the Medici FAQ

FAQ for Court of the Medici

Info taken from FAQs in file area and various forum threads, consolidated into a Wiki page so that people can more easily find all the info in one place and update it.

List of game FAQs

General hints

Hints about the most common confusions:

All cards in play are "at court". They are in the "inner circle" or the "outer court".

The distinction between "inner circle" and "outer court" only really matters for 2 reasons:

1. You cannot play a card into the inner circle by itself: it must be played onto other cards (Alliance or Conspiracy).

2. If some player has no cards in the inner circle, then the game ends.

In particular, note that:

1. You can play a card on top of others anywhere (inner circle or outer court) to make an Alliance.

2. You can use a stack anywhere as a Conspiracy to eliminate another stack anywhere.

There are simply 2 common areas in play, inner circle and outer court. Each player does not have their own private inner circle or outer court. You do not have to physically separate the outer courts like the example card arrangement shows; you can simply have all inner circle cards in one part of the table and all outer court cards in one other part of the table.

No limits are mentioned on the number of cards or stacks in the inner or outer court, and indeed there are no limits.

The End of the Game

This section mentions only one way the game can end (some player has no cards in the inner circle). But in the Empty Deck section, there is a second way the game can end (some player cannot play a card). And in the Rules Clarifications section there is a third way the game can end (both player consecutively "plan for the future" 3 times each).

A Jester in play at the end is worth 1 point for its owner.

Play

Send a Noble to Court

This means playing a card onto the table (not onto another card), so it is in the outer court. You can never play a single card onto the table (not onto another card) in the inner circle.

Alliance

You can play onto a card anywhere (inner or outer court), regardless of whose cards are in it.

Conspire

"Then eliminate one other card or one alliance on the table..." This means simply "Then eliminate one stack (of 1 or more cards)..." You cannot eliminate a single card out of a stack of several cards. You always eliminate the entire stack (which might be just one card).

If you play a card directly onto the table (by itself, not onto other cards) then you cannot eliminate other cards! You have to create a stack to conspire.

You can use a Conspiracy anywhere, to eliminate another equal-valued stack anywhere, with anyone's cards in it.

Using a Conspiracy is optional; you can create an Alliance with value equal to some other stack and choose not to eliminate it.

One might wonder why the rules distinguish the actions "Build an Alliance" and "Conspire" instead of just saying that when you build an alliance, you may optionally eliminate another stack of equal value. The answer seems to be that the special effects of Minister and Lady-in-Waiting don't work if you conspire.

Empty Deck

"Whenever either player cannot play a card, the game ends immediately." There is some debate whether this means "cannot play a card during their turn" or "cannot play a card if we pretend it's their turn". I.e. if I have only 1 playable card left in my hand, and it's my turn, which of these happens?

  • I play it as usual, then you take your turn as usual, then it's my turn again and I can't play, so the game ends.

or

  • I play it as usual, and now because I have no playable cards, the game ends (without you taking a final turn).

There is some unofficial speculation here:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/462390/still-confused-about-game-ending

If you have drawn and revealed your last card, so that you cannot play any noble with a value greater than that noble, what happens if you have a Jester in hand? You can declare it to have any value from 1 to 10, so unless your last card had value 0 (Minister), you can play your Jester (by declaring its value to be some number not greater than your last card), and so the game does not end.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/427141/last-card-jester

Special Cards

Of course the effects of Minister and Lady-in-Waiting are only relevant at the moment you play them. Once they are in play, they function like normal cards.

The Minister and Lady-in-Waiting effects when played are mandatory, not optional.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/474919/some-questions-about-alliance-building

Minister

The Minister rules text says "If the Minister builds an alliance with an existing alliance that contains two (2) or more nobles..."
The Minister card text says "If played to build an alliance with 2 or more nobles..."
The rule text is correct. The Minister's effect is not triggered if it is played onto a single card (i.e. not onto an existing Alliance).

Jester

You can declare the value of all Jesters in play, including your opponent's, including Jesters already played on the table, alone or in Alliances.

If you play a jester from your hand after you have drawn your last card, you may not assign a value to the jester which is higher than the last card that you drew (and revealed). However, a jester that is already at court may still be assigned any value between 1 and 10.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3507353#3507353

Optional Rules

"Lord and Lady" are your pair of value 8 cards.

"If you start the game with a pair of nobles of the same rank"... this means in the inner circle, not in your hand!
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/483290/what-option-optional-rules

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