Land Improvements

How do I improve the lands?

If there’s a Land Improvement card in the market row on your turn then you can improve the lands, if you wish. First, you must pay the Land Improvement’s cost (shown in the upper right corner) in order to acquire it. Land Improvements always cost food.

Then you place the Improvement on top of one of the Land Boards or other Land Improvements on the board, but you must follow these rules:

  • Village Improvements must be placed on top of other Village Improvements or Village Boards, and Farm Improvements must be placed on top of other Farm Improvements or Farm Boards. Basically, if the Land makes gold, you can never put an Improvement on top of it that would make it make food, and vice versa.
  • Improvements can never decrease the number of food or gold provided. You can put a Village Improvement that provides 2 gold on top of another Village Improvement that provides 2 gold, but not on top of one that provides 3 gold. This means that by the end of the game there might be some Improvements that cannot be acquired.

Your newly improved Land Board now provides more food or gold for everyone!

Why should I improve the lands?

Yes, acquiring a Land Improvement and placing it on the board helps everyone, your opponents included. There are three reasons you might want to acquire Land Improvements.

  1. Many Land Improvements have an associated path (BOUNTY, CULTURE, MIGHT, or WISDOM). If you have a Court Card or Banner that is worth more Crowns for CULTURE improvements on the board, for example, you might want to acquire Land Improvements with CULTURE paths even if doing so helps your opponents some.
  2. You can acquire Land Improvements before you harvest or tax for the turn. Often, acquiring a Land Improvement before you tax can result in your getting more gold immediately, and gold now is better than gold later.
  3. Acquiring a Land Improvement is an easy way to see the next card in the market deck if you have extra food.

Can I downgrade the farms or villages?

No. You can only place a land improvement or a village improvement of equal or greater value. Thus, if there is a 2-food generating land improvement in the bounty path, a player of the Wisdom path holding the Banner of Wisdom can replace that card with one that generates 2, 3, or 4 food — preferably of the Wisdom path in order to score more points later in the game.

How do I tax the villages?

  1. To tax the villages, you must first feed them 1 food each in order to keep the people from rebelling. Count the number of Village Boards, and then pay that much food. The number of food you pay is different each game based on the number of Village Boards in the board, but won’t change over the course of that game.
  2. Count the numbers in the gold coins in the middle of each village. If Improvements have been made, only count the number of the top Improvement on each Village Board (if a Village Board has been improved with a 2 gold improvement, and then improved again with a 3 gold improvement, it provides 3 gold; you don’t add all of the improvements). Take that much gold. The amount of gold provided will go up over the course of each game as improvements are made.


Example: You tax the board above. First, you must pay 5 food – 1 for each of the Village Boards. Then you get 8 gold: 1 from each of the three Small Villages, 2 from the Monastery, and 3 from the Jewel Bazaar.

Can I tax some but not all of the villages?

The queens of Minervia know that taxing someone and not her neighbor is a great way to incite rebellion. If you want to tax, you must tax all of the villages. If you don’t have enough food to tax all of the villages, you cannot tax this turn.

Can I acquire cards before I harvest or tax?

Yes! You can acquire cards, harvest/tax, and sweep the market in any order. It can be very important to acquire good Land Improvements that would make you harvest or tax for more before you harvest or tax, so that you can acquire an expensive Court Card after. See Why should I improve the lands? above.

Example: You have no gold but lots of food. You want the Mappamundi which costs 12 gold, but the Village Boards only provide 9 gold. You acquire the Hall of 1000 Wonders and improve a Small Village. Now you pay your food to tax, end up with 12 gold, and acquire the Mappamundi.

Court Cards and the Market

Can I acquire more than one card from the market row per turn?

Yes! There’s no limit to the number of cards you can acquire on your turn. So long as you can afford a card in the market row (or the 3 gold it costs to sweep), you can keep going. Of course, you never need to acquire any cards just because you can afford them.

How do I score '?' court cards?

‘?’ court cards can be worth lots of crowns or very few crowns, depending on what cards share a court with them and/or are on the board. Carefully read the text beneath the card’s name – it will explain what the card’s crown value will be at the end of the game. ‘?’ cards can count all sorts of different cards:

The Tiger Pelt, above left, counts MIGHT cards on the Land Boards, and MIGHT cards in your court (including itself). If the Castle card is on the board, and you have the Cannon and the Tiger Pelt, the Tiger Pelt is worth 6 crowns: 2 for the Castle, 2 for the Cannon, and 2 for itself.

The Beastkeeper, above right, counts only beast cards in your court. It itself is not a beast card, if you had the Hounds, the Beastkeeper would be worth 3 crowns.

Can I discard a card from my court if I don't want it?

Kinda. When you acquire a new court card, you can replace one of your existing court cards and discard the old one. Because a court can never have more than 7 cards, a sister with a full court might choose to replace a lower valued card near the end of the game.

What happens if our market deck runs out?

This will happen if players are frequently sweeping the market. When this happens, shuffle the discard pile and use it as the new market deck. Note that Moons should be returned to the box after drawn (not put in the discard pile), and thus shouldn’t end up in the market deck a second time.

Beasts and Garments

How do I tell what a “beast card” is? How can I tell what a “garment card” is?

The beast and garment cards have a subtle icon behind the text, or what is called in the game ‘emblems’. One emblem depicts a double headed eagle (“beast”); the other emblem depicts a robe (“garment”). The cards with the emblems are the only ones that ‘count’ as beast or garment cards.

What cards count as “beast cards” for the Beastkeeper and the Rhinoceros?

All of the animals in the market deck count as beast cards for the purposes of increasing the value of the Beastkeeper, and decreasing the value of the Rhinoceros. All of the beasts have the beast emblem behind their text.

Here’s a full list of the beast cards in the deck:

  • Asp
  • Ermine
  • Hounds
  • Magnificent Tortoise
  • Radiant Dragon
  • Monkeys on Ostriches
  • Pomeranian
  • Pure White Stage
  • Rhinoceros

What cards count as “garment cards” for the Wardrobe Master?

All of the clothing in the market deck count as garment cards for the purposes of increasing the value of the Wardrobe Master. All of the garments have the garment emblem behind their text.

Here’s a full list of the garment cards in the deck:

  • Ceremonial Coat
  • Dragon Phoenix Gown
  • Gold and Silver Armor
  • Harvest Gown
  • Meditation Robes
  • Owl Feather Dress
  • Robe of the Rains
  • Tiger Pelt

Where is the Beast Emblem from?

The beast emblem is actually a reworking of the double-headed eagle used as far back as the Hittites in ancient Turkey and was a Sumerian symbol found in the ancient city of Lagash. Some sources even call it a phoenix. The beast is also associated with the Serbian Empire, the Seljuk Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and even the Imperial Banner of the Holy Roman Empire. Because it spans so many histories and uses, it is truly an international icon. It speaks universally to those in Minervia as a powerful beast, only tamed by a well-trained beastmaster.

What inspires the Garment Emblem?

In the second printing and beyond, this emblem is inspired by the Yuanlingshan, a chinese robe common to both male and female nobles and officials during the Ming Dynasty.


How does the Banner of Balance work?

The path of Balance is all about resolving disputes and making compromises. Many Court Cards don’t get along; for example, if you have the Rhinoceros and the Pure White Stag, the Rhinoceros is worth 0 Crowns because it says “Worth no crowns if in a court with another beast card.”

If you have the Banner of Balance, you can have both the Rhinoceros, and other animals, and the Rhinoceros is still worth its shown value of 7 Crowns.

How do I fly a Banner?

If you have two Court Cards in your court that match that Banner’s path (for example two MIGHT cards for the Banner of Might), you may take that Banner and place it next to your court (as long as you don’t already have a Banner). Land Improvements don’t count towards the requirements; for example, if you have the Cannon, and the Castle Land Improvement is on the board, you can’t take the Banner of Might until you get a second MIGHT card in your court.

You don’t have to take the Banner of the first two Court Cards you acquire whose paths match; you can always choose to hold out for another. Once you’ve taken a Banner it cannot be exchanged with another or taken from you, so choose wisely.

Flying the Banner of Balance takes any two Court Cards that are not of the same path, for example the Cannon and the Monkeys on Ostriches.

If I have the Wisdom Banner but forget to collect gold when another sister taxes, might I do so later? If I have the Bounty banner but forget to collect food when another sister harvests, might I do so later?

Technically, you are supposed to collect gold or food at the time another sister is harvesting or taxing. Some sisters out of the kindness of their hearts will allow you to pick up the Banner extras a bit later, but they don’t have to. Some sisters even remind each other to acquire gold and food on their turns. Again, it depends on the sisters. According to the rules they don’t have to remind the holder of such Banners. — Asked by Rachel

If you collect gold when you have a Wisdom Banner, where does it come from? If you collect food when you have a Bounty Banner, where does it come from?

The food and bounty come from the lands and villages, so from the Monarch bag— not from other players…
—Asked by Ken H.

Can I fly more than one Banner?

No. The first banner you choose to fly is the one you’re stuck with.

Why are there 5 banners when there are only four players?

With four banners all players have at least one choice of banner and cannot be ‘stuck’ with one path in the game. We have heard that groups play with 5 players with success, but the game is best with 2-4 players. See 2 player rules here. — Asked by Maria

If I have to get rid of a court card and I only have two cards but I’ve claimed my banner, do I have to give up my banner?

No. Once you acquire a banner, it is yours, even if you have lost the card that helped you choose it.

Unwanted Guests

How do I get rid of Unwanted Guests?

There are a number of Court Cards that can chase away annoying Unwanted Guests. These Court Cards say “Discard one UNWANTED GUEST upon acquiring,” and allow the sister who acquires them to get rid of an Unwanted Guest. These cards only affect Unwanted Guests that you have at the moment you acquire them, and don’t protect you from future Unwanted Guests.

Example: You have the Boorish Uncle, and you acquire the Imposing Automaton from the market row. You may immediately discard the Boorish Uncle. You then acquire the Cannon. The Cannon’s ability is wasted, because you have no Unwanted Guests to discard, but it’s still worth 5 Crowns.

Here’s a full list of the Court Cards that chase off Unwanted Guests:

  • Cannon
  • Consecrated Oils
  • Hounds
  • Intimidating Automaton
  • Bard

A Note about the removal of Unwanted Guests

The only way to rid oneself of an Unwanted Guest is by purchasing a card with this ability. Cards that enable the removal of an Unwanted Guest, such as the Cannon, are not discarded along with the unwanted guest. They are kept and become part of the player’s court.

A Second Note about cards that remove Unwanted Guests
Cards such as the Cannon can only be used to remove an Unwanted Guest once, upon acquiring. Therefore a sister may remove an Unwanted Guest at the time she purchases the Cannon. She cannot keep the ability for later. Cards that remove Unwanted Guests are used for that purpose one time only, and do not provide, therefore, a ‘rid yourself of Unwanted Guests forever’ style ability.
— Asked by Maria

Do Unwanted Guests and Banners count towards the 7 cards I can have in my court?

No. Unwanted Guests hover annoyingly near your court, but are not part of it, and Banners are not Court Cards either. You could end the game with 7 Court Cards, 1 Banner and up to 6 Unwanted Guests.


How do Moons work?

Sometimes after you acquire a card or sweep, while refilling cards in the market row you’ll reveal a Moon. The first thing to do is stop, even if you’re not done refilling the market row; you’ll finish refilling the row after you resolve the Moon. Next, read the Moon aloud and follow the instructions on the card. Finally, return the Moon to the box (do not discard it; it’s important that the Moons don’t get shuffled back into the market deck when the deck runs out), and continue whatever you were doing before you revealed the Moon.

Example: Kayla reveals the above Moon when filling the spot in the market row after she acquired the Pure White Stag court card. Kayla has 4 food, and loses 2. Jordan has no food, and loses nothing. Xavier has 7 food, and loses 3. Then Kayla returns the Moon to the box and fills its spot with the next card from the market deck.

Do Moons go in the discard pile?

No. Moons are taken out of the game once used and put in the box for the rest of that game.

What does 'together pay' mean on Moon cards?

Some Moon cards ask the sisters to “together pay” an amount of resources. When one of these Moons come up, the sisters must discuss and negotiate how many (if any) resources each sister will contribute. One of two things happens to every sister, depending on whether the sisters meet the amount of resources shown on the Moon.

Example: Kayla reveals the Diamond Moon (above). She offers to contribute 1 food. Jordan and Xavier both offer to contribute 1 food. Samantha says, “I’m not paying anything.” If any of the other sisters agrees to offer 1 more food, they pay the food and all 4 of them get 7 gold each. If none of the sisters agrees to put in the last food, then nobody pays any food and nobody gets any gold. Either way, return the Moon to the box and continue playing.

Does the game end even if the Hollow Moon causes me to discard down to 6 cards in my court?

No—the game only ends if, at the end of the round (after the last player’s turn), a player has 7 cards in her court. If you had 7, but then the Hollow Moon made you discard down to 6, the game continues. — Asked by Maria

Ending the Game

Do food and gold matter at the end of the game?

When the game is over, all that matters are the crowns in each sister’s court – her food and gold count for nothing.

Does the game end immediately when I get 7 cards in my court?

No. The game ends at the end of the round (after the last player’s turn) if anyone has 7 cards in their court.