Tumult Royale is a game by Klaus Teuber and Benjamin Teuber, published by THAMES & KOSMOS. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of greedy narcissistic royals who just have to erect statues of themselves all over the country side. Of course, their loyal subjects have just about had enough of this type of mess and have called for an uprising, a revolution if you will. The royal players will be trying to put up statues everywhere by robbing commodities from their subjects. However if the royals take too much, a tumult ensues and the greediest royal will be punished. The player that can find the right balance and keep their people happy while erecting more statues than the other players, will be crowned the winner.
To begin, each player chooses a color and receives 25 statues and a castle board in their chosen color. The castle board is placed in front of the player and the statues are placed inside the die cut track at the bottom. Players also receive a mercy card, placing it beside their castle board with the “people show no mercy” side up. Players are given a set number of supporters based upon the number of players in the game. These are placed to the side of the player’s castle board. A set amount of commodity tiles are placed face down into the center of the play area, based on the number of players. The remaining supporters are placed beside the face down commodities. A set amount of nobility cards, based on the number of players, are shuffled under the table. A stack is then made from the shuffled cards. Players take the top card in turn order and choose either the male or female side. The card is then placed between the towers of the player’s castle board. The frame is assembled in a certain way based on the number of players. It is placed on the other side of the commodities. The region tiles are shuffled and a certain number are drawn. Half of the region tiles are placed face up and the other half are placed face down inside the frame as shown in the rulebook. The highest ranking player receives the hourglass timer and the tumult spinner. Players take the statue above the number “1” in their castle board and place it on an unoccupied pasture field beginning with the lowest ranking player and working backwards in rank. Play now begins.
The game is played over several rounds. Each round consists of 7 phases; gauge the people’s sentiment, collect taxes, resolve potential tumults, place statues, redistribute ranks, crown the new king and receive the people’s mercy. The first phase is to gauge the people’s sentiment. To do this, the king player spins the tumult spinner. Whatever number that the arrow stops on is the number of commodities of each type that must remain after the collect taxes phase is completed.
The second phase is the collect taxes phase. In this phase each player takes 3 commodity tiles of their choosing from the facedown commodities pool without looking at them. These are placed in a face down stack beside the region tiles frame. Players will then consider which commodities they wish to rob and how many. Once all players have indicated to the king player that they are ready, he will then flip the hourglass and say, “Collect Taxes!” As long as their is time left in the hourglass, players are allowed to view commodity tiles, one at a time but must keep 1 hand under the table at all times. Once the tile has been viewed they can either return it face down or place it face down onto their castle board. This continues until time runs out and a player shouts, “Stop”. Commodity tiles on the table and on player’s castle boards are revealed. This leads to the next phase.
This phase is to resolve potential tumults. In this phase, players check to see if any tumults take place. This is done by counting up the number of commodities remaining in the center of the table for each commodity. If the number left is equal or greater than the number on the tumult spinner from earlier, then no tumult takes place. However, if the number is less, the people are not happy and a tumult ensues. In the case of a tumult, players must determine who the greediest player for that particular commodity is. This is done by each player adding up the commodities in question from the tiles they stole in the previous phase. The player with the most commodities in question is considered the greediest. However players are allowed to subtract 1 from the number of commodities if the “people show mercy” is face up on their mercy card. Once the greediest player is determined, that player loses 3 supporters, returning them to the supply. They are then only allowed to keep the lowest value commodity tile of the commodity that was affected by the tumult. The remaining tiles of that commodity are placed face up with the other commodity tiles. This is done for each of the 3 different commodities.
The next phase is to place statues. Beginning with the king and continuing in order of rank, players place from 1-3 statues on an unoccupied field. The amount of statues placed is based on the type of field. Statues must be placed horizontally or vertically adjacent to a field that another of the player’s statues have already been placed. The statues are taken from the left most place on the player’s castle board. The cost is then payed by discarding the required commodities. The player receives supporters for any over paid commodities but are not allowed to use more commodites than what is necessary to pay for the statue. Once all players have had a chance to place a statue, a second round of placement may begin, as long as there is at least 1 player with enough commodities to place another statue. Beginning back with the king a new placement round begins, following the same rules as before. If a player was unable to place a statue because they didn’t have the right commodities and as long as they weren’t the greediest player, they receive 2 supporters as a consolation.
The fifth phase is to redistribute ranks. In this phase, players count up their supporters. The player with the most supporters takes the king/queen card and gives their previous card to the player they took the rank from. This continues with the next highest player taking the duke/duchess card and so on until each player has a rank card. In the case of a tie, the player that had the higher ranking previously receives the higher ranking nobility card.
The next phase is to crown the new king. The player that has the king ranking card begins by returning 5 supporters to the supply. They then take the leftmost statue at the bottom of their castle board and place it on the left most unoccupied space in the royal chronicle. Once the first five spaces have been taken, players place 2 statues to fill the dual spaces in the chronicle. Players then check to see if the end of game condition has been met if it is round 6 or later. If this condition has not been met, then the king player then takes the tumult spinner and the hourglass.
The final phase is to receive the people’s mercy. The player that has the most statues remaining on their castle board, indicating that they have placed the least amount of statues, is allowed to turn their mercy card to the “people show mercy” side.
Once the 7th phase is complete, the next round is prepared. All the commodity tiles, including the ones set aside earlier in the second phase, are returned to the center of the table and mixed up thoroughly. If the king player placed a statue in the third space of the royal chronicle, they are allowed to reveal a number of face down region tiles depending on the number of players. If the king placed a statue in the 5th space, they will then reveal the remaining region tiles.
As mentioned earlier, the game can end after each placement of 2 statues in the 6th phase. Players must subtract the number of statues placed by the player that has placed the fewest from the number of statues placed by the player that has placed the most. If that difference is greater than the number below the statues most recently placed in the royal chronicle, then the game ends. The player that has placed the most statues is the winner. Another way the game can end is after the 2 statues have been placed in the chronicle in the 10th round. Once more the player having placed the most statues is the winner. The game can also end if a player’s 25th statue has been placed. If this is the case the game ends immediately and they are the winner.
Let me being by saying, Kosmos makes some of the best looking games out there. This one is no different. There are lots of great looking pieces included with it. There are 100 little wooden meeples in 4 different colors. These are the statues that you’ll be using to place on the region tiles. They look great and are very sturdy. The commodity tiles, supporter tokens, region tiles, frame pieces, castle boards, nobility cards, mercy cards and tumult spinner are all made of thick cardboard with some really great looking artwork on them. The artistic design is really great on every piece. The nobility cards, tumult spinner, mercy cards and supporters all have this cartoon like feel to them that looks great. The castle boards are really interesting in how they house all of a player’s statues along the bottom of the board so you can always know how many statues you’ve placed with just a glance. I also like that the boards act as a player aid. On one side of the boards is the cost for building statues, while the other side has a summary of the 7 phases of play. The frame pieces fit together nicely and the top section has the different king and queen portraits that make up the royal chronicle. Those pictures are very similar to the cartoon like artwork on the other pieces. I’ll say that with this game, it’s like everything was thought out when producing it. Of course the game has the nice little plastic hourglass for the collecting taxes phases. It has about 20 seconds worth of sand in it, so that gives you an idea of how long you have to do what you need to do during that phase. I can say with all honesty that this a lovely looking game. I like it a lot.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is quite nice. It’s well organized with every aspect of the game covered very well from setup to gameplay. There are some very nice pictures and several examples sprinkled throughout the book. The first page has one of those little helper apps that you scan with your phone that shows how to play the game without reading the rules. That’s what it says anyway, I’ve never understood how to use those things so can’t comment on the authenticity of it. In any event, the rulebook also has some great hints as well as a section of what if questions on the back page that are quite helpful. There’s also a Tax Collection variant included for those players that really like to gamble. A nice little addition to add a bit more spice to the game, for those that like their games on the spicy side. I can say that everything was really easy to read and understand. I had no problems with it and found that everything was explained really well. I have absolutely no complaints with it whatsoever.
9 out of 10
This is a really great game. It’s fairly simple to learn and play but difficult to master. It plays really quickly and can feel a bit silly, especially with one hand under the table while you’re collecting taxes. I really like the aspect of the greediest player being penalized. This leads to some cat calling from the other players. You really have to think fast during that portion of the game cause that timer goes really fast. I mean lightning quick. First couple of times, it was all I could do to get 1 or 2 good tiles onto my board before time was up. Of course, you’ll learn quicker ways of checking tiles as you go along. There is a bit of a luck feel to the game in certain aspects, as you really have no control over what the spinner will land on or if the tiles you check will be what you need or not. It’s split second decision time for the latter. You really have to plan what you’re gonna do each round but a bad flip of the tile or wrong decision can leave you trailing really quickly. I don’t feel like this is one for the younger players. The level of decisions to be made and the commodity tile choosing tends to be a bit too difficult for them. As for the gamers, the luck aspect will either turn them off completely or not bother them. My group tends towards the no problem side of the coin. The first thing this game made me think of before I started playing it was Carcassonne, but once I did, I realized it doesn’t compare with that game at all. For one, this is a much more fun game in my opinion. As I said earlier, this game doesn’t last long and can usually be played in about 45 minutes tops. For me, this game just works. I like every aspect of it and find it to be really entertaining.
9 out of 10
Tumult Royale is a medium weight game of greedy nobles and statue building. The game plays fairly quickly with most sessions lasting no longer than 45 minutes. The artwork is really light and fun. I especially love the design of the castle boards that double as player aids. The gameplay is mildly thematic as the feeling of being a noble and taxing your people does come through. There is a bit of player interaction interspersed throughout the game from building statues and choosing commodity tiles. Each decision you make can possibly affect the other players. Fans of strategy games may find this one uniquely intriguing. It is really fun and has a really charming look and feel to it. I highly recommend it. It’s a game that Napoleon would approve of, at least until the peasants revolt. This is another winner for Kosmos.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out THAMES & KOSMOS at their site.