Spotlight on Games > Translations
English Translation
Thu Mar 19 20:37:33 UTC 2009
2001 game by Uwe Rosenberg/Kosmos

In the game:

The 4 Islands:
Kukusch, Panschar, Tschakkalag and Wontong. On each island are 4 villages, one per player color.

[following goes with the page 4 illustration]

Green Player

Beside each village are places (symbols) for the regional potentates (prince and priest).

[red arrow to] Green player's village

[two red arrows to] Places for power symbols of the prince and priest

163 Card Deck 4 Start cards (back sides contain help text)
Royal Household cards 30 Priester (Priest)
30 Krieger (Warrior)
30 Fürst (Prince)
30 Gelehrter (Scholar)
15 Künstler (Artist)
24 Dalang cards
Tiles having: 16 demon masks in various colors
4 yellow priest chips
4 blue prince chips
4 oval dominance seals
1 "Dalang" figure (the top puppeteer) constructed from five pieces


What's it all about?
You want to rule the island empire? The player having the most points in power symbols (seals and demon masks) becomes the new king.

Where is it played?
Played on 4 islands which are placed at the corners of an imaginary square. But only one island is active at a time – the island containing the Dalang. When the Dalang travels to another island, it becomes the active island.

How are the islands arranged?
The four islands are laid out so that the symbols of the same colors are all displayed in the same direction. For example, if all the green symbols are at the bottom, then the player at the bottom end takes green for a player color. The rest of the players choose corresponding to the other player colors. See illustrations on pages 10 through 12.

What is the function of the islands?
The struggles over the power symbols are carried out there. On each of the four islands are local potentates – a prince and a priest. These potentates are represented by round chips bearing symbols.
On each island there are also four villages, one for each player (in his color). Beside each village are depicted symbolic places for the local potentates. When through card play the prince or the priest moves to a different village, its chip is placed on the place associated with this village.

What is it played with?
Cards. There are various types of cards, each offering different possibilities.
Around each of the four islands are four face down card piles. Only the card piles placed around the active island are used to play. Each player picks up the cards lying next to his own village. When the Dalang changes to another island, the cards are placed back face down again. Now only the cards from the new island may be played.

How is it played?
The start player begins: it is his turn; he is the active player; he decides what is to happen. His opponents are passive players; they must react.
The active player plays out one card. The passive players may only play cards of the same type.
The active player can voluntarily end his turn (the playing of cards); however, he can also continue it.
After, his left hand neighbor becomes the new active player. In any case, the active player's turn ends when he plays an island card which moves the Dalang to a new island and if a scoring occurs there.

What happens when the Dalang changes islands?
The active player can place the Dalang on another island. To do so he must play an island card showing the name of the intended island. If this card is not blocked (by a passive player's play of a card with the same island name) then the Dalang travels to the new island.
All players placed their hand cards as face down piles on the just departed island. All now pick up the card piles from the new island (containing the Dalang). If there is a scoring, the left hand neighbor becomes the new active player. If there is no scoring, it continues to be the active player's turn.

A scoring occurs when the Dalang is placed on an island and the prince and/or the priest are found in the village of the active player.

When does the game end?
The game ends as soon as the last demon mask is distributed. Now each player adds up the values of his masks and seals. The player having the highest total wins the game and is the new ruler of the island empire.

Setting Up the Game

Before the first game you must carefully punch out the tiles.
The Dalang figure is constructed of five pieces (as shown in the illustration on page 7).
Place the tiles to the side.

Establishing the playing area

[for the following you may like to see the illustration on page 10]

Place the four islands as shown on the table. Between each island leave enough space for two card piles.

Rotate each of the 4 islands so that the player colors all point in the same directions. For example, all blues on top, red always to the left, etc. See the illustrations.

Each player uses the color on his side of the table.

Distributing the cards

Extract the four start cards. Place these to the side.

Shuffle the rest of the cards and place them face down. These cards are distributed around the islands as follows:

Begin with any island. In clockwise order deal a card face down to each side. Continue until each side contains 3 face down cards.

Repeat this procedure for the other 3 islands. Then for each player there are 4 card decks to play from. In the illustration [on page 12] the decks belonging to the green player are marked with arrows.

At this point no one may examine his face down card piles.

The rest of the cards are placed as a face down deck in the middle of the table as a draw pile. Later, the played cards will form a discard pile.

With 3 players one side of the islands is not used and there are thus only three card piles.

Determine the Start Player

Now shuffle the 4 start cards face down and deal one to each player.

The cards are numbered 1 to 4. The player receiving the "1" card reveals it – he is the active player on the first turn and begins the game.

With 3 players one start card is omitted. If the "1" is not in play, the player having card "2" is the active player.

The start player takes a prince symbol (blue chip) and places it on his side of the named island – Panschar [if it was card 1].

The start player then takes a priest symbol (yellow chip) and places it on his side of the named island – Kukusch [if it was card 1].

Thus the start player has two power symbols in his villages at the start of the game.

Then the other players examine their [start] cards. Each places 2 symbol chips on the indicated islands – in each case on their sides of the islands –. Thus each player must place a prince and a priest symbol in two different villages.

With 3 players there is only 1 power symbol on two of the islands. The two remaining symbols of these islands are placed aside and will first arrive on the islands in the course of play.

The start cards also determine on which island the Dalang starts. It is always decided by the start card of the player to the right of the start player. [At the very bottom of this player's start card, on the tan side, find the name of one of the four islands. This is the island where the Dalang begins.] The Dalang figure is placed on [the center of] this island.

The Dalang is on Panschar Island. Thus it is the start island. The priest is in the green player's village and the prince in the yellow player's village.
[see it on page 14]

Now the demon masks are grouped according to their values and the 4 seals placed within reach.

Playing the Game

The active player decides what happens in his turn. He plays a card as often as desired. The passive players can only react: either to pass or to play an identical card. However, it is possible to force the active player's turn to end.
When the active player's turn ends, the player to the left becomes the active player, after which cards are drawn and now he may play a card.

The Active Player Begins
The first active player is the start player.

Course of a Turn:

1. Draw cards
In turn the players take extra cards. The active player begins and the passive players follow, in clockwise order.

If the draw pile is exhausted, the discard pile (which arises during play) is shuffled to form a new draw pile.

2. The active player's turn

In his turn the active player can:

a) Play a card as often as desired. As long as cards are plays, he remains the active player. If he no longer can or wishes to play cards, his turn ends immediately and the opponent to the left becomes the active player.

b) He can refuse to play a card at all. Then his turn ends immediately and the opponent to the left becomes the active player.

c) The active player's turn can be forcibly ended by the passive players. See below under Royal Household cards.

The active player's turn always ends when a location change following by a scoring occurs.

Playing Cards

What happens in a game turn depends on the type of card played by the active player – which means, played to the discard pile.

Royal Household cards
Royal Household cards show the characters who attend a ruler: Krieger (Warrior), Gelehrter (Scholar) Künstler (Artist), Priester (Priest) and Fürst (Prince). The abilities of the individual figures are indicated on the cards.

Krieger (Warrior)

If the active player plays a warrior card, he challenges the opponents. The passive players must react in clockwise order:



Ending the active player's turn:
To force the active player's turn to end, a passive player (who has been challenged) must play 1 warrior card to defend against the challenge. If he then plays a second warrior card, he thus ends the active player's turn.

Gelehrter (Scholar)

If the active player plays a Scholar card, he gains the right to either place cards on his own piles or take cards from them.

The passive players follow in clockwise order.

Ending the active player's turn:
To force the active player's turn to end, a passive player must first play 1 scholar card in order to participate in card exchange. If he then plays a second scholar card, he ends the active player's turn.

Künstler (Artist)

If the active player plays a Artist card, he gains the right to swap hand cards.

The passive players follow in clockwise order.

Ending the active player's turn:
To force the active player's turn to end, a passive player must play 1 scholar card to enable the card swap. If he then plays a second scholar card, he thus ends the active player's turn. Important: The first artist card, which a player uses to earn the right to make a swap, does not count for the forthcoming swap!

Example: Blue plays an artist card to the discard pile. Then he places 2 more cards on the discard pile and drawrs 2 new cards from the draw pile.

Ending the active player's turn:
The active player's turn can be forced to end by playing 2 artist cards. See Scholar [above]. Also, when the active player's turn has been forced to end, other players who have not yet had a chance to respond, may still play an artist.

Priester (Priest)

If the active player plays a Priest card, he gains the right to reveal more Priest cards with the goal of bringing the Priest symbol (chip) into his village.

The passive players follow in clockwise order.

Resolving the event:

After the event has been resolved, it is still the turn of the active player.

Fürst (Prince)

If the active player plays a Prince card, he gains the right to reveal more Prince cards with the goal of bringing the Prince symbol (chip) into his village.

It is resolved as described above under Priest.

Yellow is the active player, Wontong the active island. Yellow would like to bring the prince (currently in the Blue village) into his village. Thus he plays a prince card (to the discard pile). Yellow still has 2 prince cards in hand, which he now reveals.
Green has no prince; he passes. Red shows 3 prince cards and then Blue shows 4 prince cards. Thus Blue wins and the prince chip stays in Blue's village.
All players take back their revealed prince cards. Yellow remains the active player and continues the game.

With 3 players:
In playings for three at first there is an island without a priest symbol and an island without a prince symbol. These chips first arrive on the islands after priest cards or prince cards resp. have been revealed.

Two Power symbols in one village

If it happens that after resolution of an event revealing priest or prince cards, that both power symbols (priest and prince chips) are in the same village, the owner of this village receives the dominance seal of this island. [The image on the seal matches that of the island.] The player receives the oval seal which counts for 3 victory points.

The player can lose the seal, however. If another player succeeds in bringing both power symbols in his village, this player takes the seal and with it the 3 victory points.
The dominance seal can only first be lost if another player has both power symbols in his village. It is possible that a player still possess the seal, but retains neither of the power symbols in his village. Two other players each possess 1 power symbol.

Dalang Cards

A second group of cards form the Dalang cards.

These cards depict the Dalang and each include the names of 2 different islands. With the help of the Dalang cards the Dalang can be moved – to another island – and thereby cause a scoring. Each card shows two different goal islands: it doesn't matter whether the name used is the first or the second on the card.
If the active player plays a Dalang card, he wants to move play to another island. Each Dalang card shows 2 island names. The player must choose one of them as the goal.

a) Active player plays a Dalang card

b) Now the passive players take turns (in clockwise order)

In agreement with the location change

Prevent the location change

When all passive players have had a chance it is again the back to the active player. c)Location change is prevented
If the location change has been prevented, the active player can play another Dalang card, or another of his choice.

An example:
Wontong is the active island and the Blue player is the active player. Blue would like to move the Dalang to Kukusch since he has the prince in his village there and in the scoring will earn a demon mask.
Thus Blue plays the "Kukusch" Dalang card. The Yellow player would prefer to stay on Wontong so he also plays a Kukusch card. Since the location change has already been prevented, Green and Red do not need to play Dalang cards.
It is Blue's turn again, but is out of Dalang cards.
Blue gives up his turn. He declares that he has no more cards to play. Thus his turn ends and his left hand neighbor now becomes the active player.

d) Location change occurs
If the location change is not prevented, the Dalang is placed on the new island and all players must immediately switch to the new island.

An example:
Panschar is the active island and Red is the active player. Red would like to move the Dalang to Tschakkalag, since there he has both the priest and the prince in his village and he alone will receive a demon mask.
Red plays a Tschakkalag card. Blue has no island card. Yellow would like to prevent the location change and plays a Tschakkalag card. Green does not need to play Dalang card.
It is again Red's turn and plays a new Tschakkalag card. Yellow, however, has no more Tschakkalags; he must pass. The other opponents also pass.
Red accomplishes the location change. He places the Dalang on the Tschakkalag island; it causes a scoring. See next section.

e) Scoring after location change

After a location change if the active player has at least one power symbol (prince or priest chip) in his village, a scoring follows.

Continuation of the example:
Red has the prince and the priest in his village. Therefore there is a scoring. He takes the lowest still available diamond mask (value 4) and places it before himself.
All players place their hand cards around the island of Panschar and take up their card piles from the island of Tschakkalag.
Red has only 3 cards in his pile and so doesn't need to discard any. Blue must discard the top 2 of his 6 cards. Yellow has no cards in the first place and must continue with an empty hand. Green has exactly 4 cards and therefore does not discard anything.
With the scoring Red's turn as active player has ended. Blue is the new active player and continues the game at Tschakkalag; next he draws 2 new cards from the draw pile and opponents each draw 1.

End of the Game

The game ends when the last demon mask is taken, thus, after a scoring. If for the last scoring there is only one demon mask remaining, it is always taken by the active player. The second player with a power symbol in his village goes empty handed.
All players count the values of their demon masks and 3 points for each dominance seal. The player having the highest total wins the game and becomes ruler of the islands. In case of a tie, the player who caused the game to end wins. If there is still a tie, there are multiple winners.