From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Designed by Matthew Rogers
Leichtberg during play
Conduct lodge-based conspiracies during the European Enlightenment
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Long
:Complexity Complexity: High
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 9
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 9
Five-color sets: 10
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
playing cards, opaque bag, Pyramid die, Treehouse die
Setup time: 5 minutes
Playing time: 30 minutes - 75 minutes
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: Medium
Game mechanics: Resource management, Hidden goals
Theme: conspiracy
BGG Link: Freimaurerei
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2012

Scenario[edit | edit source]


It is the late 18th century, and the neighboring German principalities of Leichtberg and Schwerheim are hotbeds of conspiracy! Secret Masters are organizing Masonic lodges on behalf of the Rosicrucians and their rivals the Illuminati in both states. Each player conducts the conspiracy in one of the two principalities, and the conclusion will show who has most successfully manipulated the systems of secret initiation.

(Freimaurerei is German for "Freemasonry." Pronounce it "FRY-mau-reh-rye")

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Although it doesn't use clear pyramids, large reds or greens, or purples other than smalls, this is basically a 10HOUSE / Five-RX game. It also requires an opaque bag, a deck of playing cards, a pyramid IceDie, and a Treehouse die.

Components and Setup[edit | edit source]

Table set up for play: Both Secret Masters are Rosicrucians ... or are they?

Arrange the materials to start as described in this section.

Cards[edit | edit source]

Divide the playing card deck into number cards (A-10) and face cards. Shuffle these two packs separately, and place them on opposite sides to the left and right of the players. The number-card pack is the "Lodge Deck" and the face-card pack is the "Ruler Deck."

Initiate Pieces[edit | edit source]

Beyond the Lodge Deck, put the bank of "initiate pieces," i.e. five color stashes as follows:

  • Masons: 2 complete blue stashes (or one blue and one cyan, used interchangeably). Before the first turn, each player takes three Masons from the bank--one of each size--and places them in his Principality.
  • High Degree Markers: The medium and small pieces of a red stash (French Rite), the medium and small pieces of a green stash (St Andrew's Rite), and the small pieces of a purple stash (Rite of Perfection). These all begin in the bank.

Money[edit | edit source]

Beyond the Ruler Deck, put two complete stashes of yellow pyramids (or one yellow and one orange, used interchangeably) to represent money. Both principalities use the Taler (abbr. T) as their unit of currency. The pyramid denominations are as follows:

  • One-pip pyramids /.\ = 1 T
  • Two-pip pyramids /..\ = 5 T
  • Three-pip pyramids /...\ = 25 T

When players amass money during the game, they should try to keep it in the largest denominations possible, to allow the bank to make any necessary change.

Secret Masters and Alignments[edit | edit source]

Each player unseen to the other chooses a large white or black pyramid to represent his Secret Master (SM). The small and medium white and black pyramids are all placed in the opaque bag. Each player then randomly chooses a small pyramid from the bag, inspects it secretly, and conceals it beneath the SM. This nested combination is then placed on the table. The small pyramid gives the true or INNER ALIGNMENT of the SM, and the large one shows the apparent or OUTER ALIGNMENT. It is possible for players to have the same inner or outer alignment, or both! They will know each other's SM outer alignment, which affects their abilities in the game, but not the inner alignment, which determines victory calculation.

Black pyramids indicate alignment with the Illuminati and white ones align with the Rosicrucians.

Place the alignment bag with the Money beyond the Ruler Deck. Then take a card off the top of the Ruler Deck for each principality, and place them face up on the respective sides of the table. These are the princes (or princesses), and the suits show their alignments.

Black suits (spades and clubs) are for the Illuminati, and red suits (hearts and diamonds) support the Rosicrucians.

Turn Play and Actions[edit | edit source]

Early development of the conspiracies in a sample game.

The first player is the one in the principality of Leichtberg (play Nivinivinack for principality assignment), who will take only one action on his first turn. Play then alternates, with each player taking TWO actions per turn thereafter. An action may be used in one of the following ways:

  • Recruit Masons
  • Assess Dues
  • Build a Lodge
  • Reorganize
  • Charter a Rite
  • Advance Initiates
  • Intrigue

Each is described in detail below.

Recruit Masons[edit | edit source]

Roll the pyramid Ice Die, and take one or two Mason pyramid(s) of the size(s) shown from the bank. E.g. if the die shows a large, take one large; if it shows a medium AND a small, take one of each. (For those without the special die, use these values for a d6: 1 = small; 2 = medium; 3 = large; 4 = large + small; 5 = large + medium; 6 = medium + small.)

If you have lodges in your principality, roll instead once for each lodge, placing the new Masons in that lodge, and then make a final roll, with the resulting Mason(s) placed in a lodge or allowed to remain "unaffiliated" in your principality.

The supply of Masons is finite. If the bank has none remaining of the size rolled, but that size is found as an unaffiliated (i.e. not in a lodge) non-advanced (i.e. with no "rite" pyramids stacked on top) Mason in the other principality, then you can bring it over as a "defection" into your lodge. If there are none of the size rolled in the bank or available to defect, then recruitment fails.

Assess Dues[edit | edit source]

Collect from the bank 1 T per Mason (i.e. blue pyramid of any size) in the principality. The SM does not count as a Mason for dues assessment.

Build a Lodge[edit | edit source]

Return 5 T to the bank, and draw a card from the Lodge Deck. As with the Rulers, suit shows the sympathies of the Lodge (red for Rosicrucians, black for Illuminati). Place it face up on the table and place three Masons on it. (These "charter members" can come from any lodge in the principality or the principality's unaffiliated Masons.) If you don't have three Masons, you can't build a Lodge. If, for any reason, a Lodge has less than the quorum of three Masons on it, that Lodge is immediately dissolved and returned to the bottom of the Lodge Deck. The remaining Masons, if any, continue as "unaffiliated" in the principality.

The SM can count as a Mason for a Lodge quorum.

Reorganize[edit | edit source]

This action may only be taken as the FIRST of the two actions in a given turn. It allows you to move Masons at will among the Lodges (and the unaffiliated zone) in your own principality, subject to the Lodge quorum of three. (You can use this move to deliberately dissolve a Lodge, as described above.)

In principle, there is no upper limit to the population of a Lodge. If you run out of room on the card itself, group pieces so that they are touching the edges. (As a corollary: make sure that unaffiliated Masons are not touching any Lodge card.)

Charter a Rite[edit | edit source]

Return 15 T to the bank. Place a medium red or green on the SM. If he already has a red or green, put a small purple on top of that. These represent the SM's authority to initiate in the French, St Andrews, and Perfection Rites, respectively.

Note that the SM may not acquire charters for both the St Andrew's and French Rites, although it is possible to eventually operate both rites within the same principality. (See Intrigue, below.)

Advance Initiates[edit | edit source]

Each SM or Mason in the principality with a medium red or green pyramid can advance one large or two medium Masons in the Lodge(s) where they are, by placing the same-colored medium on a large, or smalls on mediums. Each SM or Mason with a purple pyramid may instead advance an existing French Rite or St Andrew's Rite Mason to the Rite of Perfection. Candidates for the Rite of Perfection must have a large blue Mason base, plus a medium green or red stacked on top of that.

A three-stage pyramid (blue-red/green-purple) is a Perfect Initiate (PI). Every PI has an alignment, represented by a medium white or black pyramid drawn at random from the alignment bag and nested under the blue pyramid as soon as they are advanced.

With a single action, each initiating Mason (i.e. one with a large blue base with a medium red/green on top) can advance one or two others, throughout the principality. Advancement can only take place among Masons in lodges: unaffiliated Masons cannot be advanced.

Advancement Example[edit | edit source]

Schwerheim has two Lodges. The five of clubs contains two small Masons and a large Mason initiated into the French Rite on a prior turn (a medium red on a large blue). The trey of diamonds contains the SM who is chartered in the French Rite and the Rite of Perfection (a small purple on a medium red on a large white with alignment concealed inside), and three medium Masons. There is a large Mason unaffiliated.

On her turn, the Schwerheim player uses the first action to Reaffiliate, moving the unaffiliated Mason and the SM into the five of clubs. Using her second action to advance initiates, she has the French Rite Mason advance the large Mason to a second French Rite Mason, and the SM advance the one of the French Rite Masons to the Rite of Perfection, so that at the end of the turn the five of clubs has the SM, a PI, a French Rite Mason, and two small Masons.

Alternate Example of Advancement[edit | edit source]

With the same initial arrangement, she could move the large to the five of clubs and the French Rite Mason to the trey of diamonds. The advancement would then take place in the latter Lodge, with the French Rite Mason advancing two mediums, and being advanced by the SM as before.

Intrigue[edit | edit source]

Both principalities are well organized. Neither has met the conditions for ending the game, nor will one be able to do so without sabotaging the other!

Roll a die and consult the table.

Intrigue Table[edit | edit source]

Intrigue Rolls
d6 Treehouse Result
1 SWAP Attempt Ruler alignment change.
2 AIM Attempt Lodge alignment change.
3 DIG Change or add PI alignment.
4 TIP Suppress Lodges.
5 HOP Inspire a Defection from other Principality.
6 WILD Any one of the above Intrigues.

Ruler Alignment Change[edit | edit source]

The player may attempt to change the alignment of the Ruler of either principality. Select the Ruler first. Turn up the top card from the Ruler Deck and place it on top of the old Ruler card. The new card shows the current alignment of the Ruler.

Lodge Alignment Change[edit | edit source]

The player may attempt to change the alignment of a Lodge in either principality. Select the Lodge first. Turn up the top card from the Lodge Deck and place it beneath the Masons, but on top of the old Lodge card. The new card shows the current alignment of the Lodge.

Change/Add PI Alignment[edit | edit source]

The player may attempt to change or add to the alignment of a PI in either principality. Select the PI first. Lift the stack by its large base off of the medium alignment pyramid underneath. This medium pyramid is the OUTER alignment of the PI. The player who is Intriguing may simply draw a new medium-sized pyramid at random from the alignment bag and replace this, returning the old one to the bag. More deviously, the player may add (or replace, if there already is one) a small pyramid as an INNER alignment at the core of the nest that is the base of the PI. The player will draw the small pyramid at random, but may secretly inspect it before placing it under the PI.

Suppress Lodges[edit | edit source]

The player may incite either Ruler to suppress and dissolve all of the Lodges with an alignment opposite to the ruler in that principality. In order to accomplish this Intrigue, the player’s SM or a PI in his principality must have an OUTER alignment that matches that of the Ruler. Otherwise, the Intrigue has no effect.

The card(s) of the suppressed Lodges are returned to the bottom of the Lodge Deck. All single-pyramid blue Masons in those Lodges are returned to the bank. Masons in those Lodges who have been initiated into the high degrees become unaffiliated.

Inspire Defection[edit | edit source]

A PI can be brought from the opponent's principality into the player’s own, if the player has an SM or PI with an outer alignment matching that of the targeted PI. The defector is placed in the same Lodge (or unaffiliated) with the SM or PI who served as the agent inspiring defection.

Alternately, a player’s PI of any alignment may be used to inspire defection in a high-degree Mason of the rite (French or St Andrew’s) that the player’s principality lacks. In this case, roll the Treehouse die. Any result other than a WILD (6) indicates success: Move the defector to the join the intriguing PI, and if the defector has a 3-pip base, add a small purple and alignment pyramid to make the defector into a PI as well. In case of failure, move the Intriguing PI to join the targeted high-degree Mason, and change the middle pyramid of the PI to match the targeted rite.

Re-Rolling[edit | edit source]

Unhappy with the result of your roll on the Intrigue table? Don’t use it. Just pay 5 T and roll again! (The whole process counts as a single action, not concluded until you accept the roll result and stop paying.)

Example Diagram[edit | edit source]

This diagram shows a tabletop in the course of play. (The banks shown do not include accurate counts of pyramids!)

End of Play[edit | edit source]

A concluded game: The Illuminati have thoroughly infiltrated the control of Schwerheim, where there are five Lodges, three Secret Masters, and an Illuminati-sympathetic ruler, but the Rosicrucians have only a nominal presence in Leichtberg.

Either player can declare the game over at the START of their turn, before taking any action, as long as their principality meets at least one of these two conditions:

  • There are at least five Lodges, OR
  • There are at least three Perfect Initiates (including the SM).

Just because you can end the game doesn't mean you should. See scoring below.

Victor Determination[edit | edit source]

When the game is over, both players reveal the INNER alignment of their Secret Masters. Then they total up the points from their own principalities as follows:

  • If the principality’s Ruler’s alignment (as shown on the top card) matches the SM’s inner alignment, 3 points.
  • For each Perfect Initiate in the principality whose true alignment (smallest alignment pyramid) matches that of the SM, 2 points.
  • For each Lodge in the principality with an alignment matching the SM’s inner alignment, 1 point.

The player with the most points wins.

Breaking Ties[edit | edit source]

In the event of a tie on points, the player with the most lodges in their principality wins. In the event of a tie on points and lodges, the player with the most PIs in their principality wins. In the event of a tie on points and lodges and PIs, the player with the most Masons in their principality wins.

Influences and Other Notes[edit | edit source]

This is a historical fantasy game, not a simulation. Leichtberg and Schwerheim are imaginary places, and any resemblance of the Masonic rites in the game to actual historical organizations is accidental. Those interested in the actual history that inspired the scenario are referred to Christopher McIntosh's book The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason.

I think playing cards make this game easier to process and play visually. But if you are lucky enough to have a copy of Jean Bouchard’s gorgeous Masonic Tarot and can’t resist the obvious impulse to use it instead, I recommend making épées and coupes the Illuminati suits, with batons and deniers for the Rosicrucians. (This is in contrast to the usual correspondences with playing cards.) Obviously, the Trumps Major must be set aside, but there’s no reason not to retain the fourth court card in each suit.

Variant: Additions to the Ruler Deck[edit | edit source]

Various cards can be added to the ruler deck to complicate ruler alignments and changes.

A Joker or the Tarot Fool may be included in the ruler deck. If a ruler is the Joker/Fool at the end of the game, then the actual alignment of the ruler is determined by a further draw after play stops.

If playing with a Tarot deck, the Hermit can be added to the ruler deck, and he counts as a ruler with no alignment (scoring for neither Illuminati nor Rosicrucians).

If playing with a Tarot deck, the Magician can be added, and he counts as a ruler with the true (inner) alignment of the Secret Master of that principality, no matter which!

If playing with a Tarot deck, the Empress and Emperor can be added to the ruler deck. If one of these cards is drawn, place it next to the ruler card in play. A subsequent successful alignment change for that ruler will discard the Empress/Emperor, but until that time, the Empress/Emperor's alignment applies to the rulers of both principalities. (If one principality has the Emperor and the other has the Empress, they neutralize each others' effects.)

Variant: Additions to the Lodge Deck[edit | edit source]

These cards complicate lodge alignments and changes.

A Joker or the Tarot Wheel of Fortune may be included in the lodge deck. If a lodge is the Joker/Wheel at the end of the game, then the actual alignment of the lodge is determined by a further draw after play stops.

If playing with a Tarot deck, the Tower can be added, and it counts as a lodge with no alignment (scoring for neither Illuminati nor Rosicrucians).

If playing with a Tarot deck, the World can be added, and it counts as a lodge with the true (inner) alignment of the Secret Master of that principality, no matter which!

Links[edit | edit source]