Each player has an identical set of ten Faction cards. With these, players will leverage Influence over Castles, alter the game board, and sabotage opponents’ strongholds. At the end of six Rounds, whoever has the most Power wins!
Castles are cards dealt face-down following the pattern on a Setup card -- these patterns have anywhere between 8 and 18 Castles. The Setup card also indicates which order the Castles are examined (determining who conquered the Castle).
Players have identical sets of six Influence cards, which are used (one per Round) to attempt to gain control of a Castle. Influence cards are played face-down in the Attack Phase, and revealed during the Conquer Phase. Conquering a Castles scores 1 Power, and maintaining control awards the amount of Power shown on the Castle card -- between 0 and 4 Power. With very few 3 and 4 Power Castles, these will be highly contested!
Conquered Castles have the additional benefit of providing bonus Influence against its immediate neighbors (up, down, left, right, and all four diagonals).
Additionally, players have four special cards:
--Swap cards can be used to change the orientation of the Setup and Castle cards, and can be used to switch two Influence cards (players can only affect their own Influence cards, and Castles that they control).
--The Saboteur card is used to prevent a Castle from using its Influence toward one neighboring Castle for one Round, and any player can play their Saboteur on ANY Castle.
--The Delay card is played to move a player to the end of the Turn Order queue, granting the benefit of seeing where everyone else played before they decide where to play their Influence card. But beware! Everyone has a Delay card, and they can all be used on the same Round!
Power is scored every round and is cumulative. The player (or team!) with the most Power wins!
A note on Team games:
Influence can be played free-for-all, but can also be played in teams, so long as the teams have an equal amount of Factions.