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A post as a scholar at the court of a nobleman is good for the reputation -- and extremely lucrative as well. And it's completely filled with intrigue. The players stop at nothing, using arrangements, bribery, threats and payoffs as necessary to realize their goal and rake in the most money. The court isn't as noble as it seemed at first...
This game is pure negotiation.
Take bribes. Promise deals.
Then keep the money and backstab everyone.
This games has the most screwage for the buck of any game I've ever played.
If your group doesn't like backstabbing and broken promises, run, don't walk away from this game. But if you like screwage as much as I do BUY IT NOW.
Some games allow for some vicious play where one player can really harm or even eliminate another players strategies or chance at victory. Then there are games that have very little strategy, they are just plain ol' vicious. They are almost like their own little subgenre: backstabbing games. The three I've played are Nicht Die Bohne!, Rette Sich Wer Kann, and this little game, Intrige. You either like or hate these kinds of games. If you enjoy chances to K.O. each other, and don't carry a grudge very easily, then you may enjoy this, but take it personally and it could sour your whole game night.
Play is not too complicated as players have little mats in front of them depicting an estate that has five paying positions up for grabs. Players also have 10 disks representing relatives looking for work, 2 each in five different professions. All players are doing on their turn: collecting money for any of their relatives currently in salaried positions at other players' manors, taking two of their own relatives and sending them to other players' estates, and then trying to get jobs for their relatives by bribing other players.
The salaried positions are $10k, $20k, $30k, $50k, and $100k. Only one chip can occupy a positions so positions are at a premium, and obviously the $100k space is a dandy. If I accept a certain profession into a salary range (say, a knight into the $30k slot) I can only ever put other players' knights in the $30k slot. Where the game gets really fun is that players will be trying to oust each other from salaried positions in the various estates. So Al has a knight in my $30k, then Bob sends a knight to me. Either Al's knights stays, or Bob's knight displaces Al's. Bob bribes me first with cash (and future consideration?) then Al defends with a bribe. I keep ALL the money and decide who gets the position. Nasty, nasty little game.
It's not much more complicated than that and the game can be a bit player-chaotic, so this game definitely falls into the play-to-have-fun camp. And if you can't fun playing this type of game, you will be miserable for the next 45-minutes. I actually enjoy playing this game quite a bit, but give it only 3 stars because it is very chaotic, and though it says 3-5 players, it is really only a 5-player game, in my opinion. The graphics are workable if a bit drab (and hard to tell apart with two of the colors) but pulling this out once in a while with 5 people can be a lot of fun.
There are plenty of games where deal-making and deal-breaking are important (Rette Sich wer Kann, Kohle, Kies & Knete, Diplomacy, Chinatown, ...) but this is the one which strips off all remaining veneer of civility. This game is pure bribery, greed, and coaxing. The simply mechanic is that you send an emissary to someone else's plaza in search of a job. With a good group of gamers, you'll throw in heavy role-playing by whining and sweet-talking about how you're the person for the job, before you hand your opponent some money (usually more than you announce).
Others will probably do likewise and, when it comes time to decide, the plaza-owner is bound in no way to grant the job to the highest briber. In fact, his decision oft times is based on issues far beyond the amount of under-the-table money you gave him.
Actually, this is a fun concept, for those who enjoy a little play-acting and some good-natured bribery. However, the game breaks down in the final round, as seating order dictates where you'll send your job applicants. This large flaw makes an interesting game nothing more than a chance to show off your acting abilities.
Somewhere in Italy, each player has a palazzio (building) that offers 5 jobs of various salaries. Each player also sends out two pawns each turn to try to get jobs in other players' palazzios.
The fun (?) begins when multiple players' pawns try to go after the same high-paying jobs. Only one player can get each job. In addition, once your pawn has a job, they can be bumped out of it at anytime by another player's pawn.
How do your pawns get jobs? It's completely up to the player with the job opening. So, you bribe, threaten, deal, etc. in the hopes of getting the high-paying jobs. In the end, the offering player can do whatever they feel like. Oh, and they keep your bribe anyway.
If you like the social interaction of dealing and arguing while you play, this game is the epitome. At least one member of our casual quartet (the one who much prefers strategy to wheeling and dealing) did not like this game at all.
To be blunt, any strategy in this game is completely secondary to how well you can whine, threaten, and cajole.