The Seven Dukes
Seven (or more) NPC Dukes vying for control of the kingdom
Players play roles, such as archbishop, treasurer, general, steward, etc, and use thier influence to promote or topple each of the Dukes, based on a hidden mission dealt out at game start.
Each turn players will lend their support via face-up (first) and face-down influence coins (second).
Face-up coins display which duke they are supporting for all players to see and count towards “having the ear” of that Duke. Face-down coins are gathered together, mixed up, then flipped face-up to be distributed to the dukes. Thus, each player only knows what he or she contributed, and how many each player contributed, not which.
Each Duke has a reference table for an action he or she performs each turn based on relative rank with the other Dukes after their rank has been determined by contributed support. For instance, Duke A is in received enough influence in the support phase that he rose from 5th to 4th place, which means that he performs his fourth place action as listed on his table, instead of the one he performed during his last turn (his 5th place action). If the relative rank didn’t change between turns, the Duke repeats the same action.
Players also compete for the “Ear” of each Duke, which means that they have currently contributed the most face-up influence to that Duke. Whoever holds the Ear gains benefits or penalties for their association with that Duke when that Duke gains benefits or suffers penalties.
Players will place one of their markers on each Duke’s influence table, and increase its rank on the table by that many points whenever they play face-up influence. For example, if Player A is in rank 1, Player B is in Rank 2, Player C is in Rank 3, and Player D is in Rank 4, Player A could play 4 face-up influence in the support phase to skip ahead to rank 5. If player A had played 3 influence, it would have tied Player D, but beaten Player C, so Player A would be inserted between them. After the end of each Support phase, if any spaces are empty below the lowest rank player, shift the whole column down so that the lowest rank player is in the lowest slot.
A player fulfills the objective that was on his hidden objective card dealt at game start.
Gain his ear while reducing Duke X to rank 1
Reduce Duke X to rank 1 and incite a war between him and another Duwek
Promote Duke X to rank 7
Start a war between Duke X and Duke Y
Gain the ear of Duke X, and Duke Y, and Duke Z
Player characters have varying incomes (influence coins), abilities, and motives.
Events change the map and alter the Dukes’ standings. Things like war, famine, and feasts further promote the Duke in the lead of each representative stat. Ducal abilities raise and lower these stats which are tracked on the Duke’s character space with a corresponding d6.