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Muscat
A struggle for power in the Arabian Night by Christiane KnepelGame Info

 
In the oriental city Muscat are groups of street performers struggling for space in front of the best audiences. Snake charmers, Fire eaters, Flute players and Elephant trainers all have the same dream - to be invited into the palace and perform for the magnificant Sultan!
 
But there is a long way from the lowly life in the streets in the outskirts of Muscat, through the wealthy quarters in the center of the city before this dream will even have a remote chance of succes.

Muscat game board  Each player has 16 counters, 4 each of the 4 types of street performers. These are drawn randomly from a personal pile whenever the player needs one, and this is the only time luck enters this game. The board shows 4 Streets, and all tokens enter the board at the lowest street-level. Above each of the 4 Streets is a City Quarter, each divided into 5 Market Squares, and each Square has a space for each of the 4 types of street performers.
The Sultan's Palace is at the top of the social ladder, and the goal is to have all your counters at the highest possible levels when the game ends.

Each counter has the color of the player, the symbol of a street performer and two half arrows which when combined with other performers clearly indicates the relational strength between the types: the Snake charmer beats the Elephant trainer who beats the Fire eater who beats the Flute player who beats the Snake charmer...   a Market Square

The game begins with each player placing one randomly drawn counter in each their own Market Square at the lowest Quarter. The number of Market Squares per level is always equal to the number of players. The game is played in classic turn order with each player performing one of three main options:

1) Draw a new counter and place it at a vacant Market Square in the lowest level. The counter must be placed on a space of the corresponding type and there can never be more than 3 counters in each Market Square.
 
2) Enforce the "circle of power" in a Market Square: That would be any square containing 3 counters. Looking at the arrows will the two top counters be moved up to any vacant space at the next level by their respective owners. This may even include Career Jumps: if there is no vacant spaces on the next level(s) are the counter automatically placed at the next higher level. The counter at the end of the arrow is a "Ne'er-do-well" who ends up in the Street below.

3) Activate a Ne'er-do-well. A counter in a Street may be moved using one of four options:
 
A) Reinstatement. The counter may be placed in a vacant space in any of the Market Squares in the Quarter immediately above.
  Player Aid Tablet (back/front)
The following 3 actions will automatically release the "circle of power" and can thus only be performed if the Market Place ends up with having 3 counters.
 
B) Relocation. The player may move one of his counters from one Market Square to a vacant space in another Square at the same level. Require the removal of a Ne'er-do-well from any Street on the board. This counter is taken out of the game.
 
C) Expulsion. The player may have one of his counters switch place with a counter of the same type belonging to another player at the same level. Require the removal of a Ne'er-do-well from any Street on the board. This counter is taken out of the game.
 
D) Transformation. The player may remove his counter from a fully occupied Market Square (containing 3 counters). The counter must be in the weakest position and it must be exchanged with the type missing in the same Market Square, and that type of counter must be available as a Ne'er-do-well in one of the Streets on the board.
 
The game continues until a number of counters have reached the top level, the Sultan's Palace. With 4 or 5 players is that number 8 counters; in a 3-player game will the game end when 6 counters has reached the top.

Counter types  The winner will be the player who score the most points: Each level has a number in the "keyhole" on the right side of the board. The higher the level the higher the number, ranging from +2 at the lowest level to +10 for the Palace. Being on the Streets is no good and these carry negative scores. Being seen in the street at the lowest level (at the city gate) is not as degrading and will only cost a single point, but being seen in the fasionable streets in the center of Muscat will deduct 4 points for each Ne'er-do-well'er.

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© Mik Svellov 1997-2004editor@brettboard.dk11. mar 2002