by John Pitre
Royale is a variant of Diplomacy©. The general mechanics of Diplomacy are largely unchanged, and thus it may be played as an addition to Diplomacy or many of the Diplomacy variants. The goal remains: to gain dominance of Europe by gaining over half of the supply centers.
The fundamental change in Royale is the existence of dynasties for each of the starting powers. These dynasties exist as off-board entities, although they do have some effect on on-board play. These 'characters' will age marry, bear children and eventually die. They may also enter ill-thought out marriages, lead troops in battle with varying degrees of competence, and demand more autonomy from their parents.
These dynasties affect the rules in three ways:
The addition of phases to permit the negotiation of marriages, granting of Titles and assignment to military units is necessary. Also, to make the aging of characters relevant to game play, each movement phase represents five years and builds are permitted every ten years only. Thus, the turn phases are slightly different than those of Diplomacy:
Thus, in 'normal' diplomacy terms, there are two additional phases before each movement phase. Players will age 5 years after each turn.
It is the family, and how it is run that will determine the flow and ebb of alliances. Balance must be attained by the new powers a family allows, and the contingency plans for untimely deaths.
Each dynasty begins with a number of characters. This number is determined in advance and may be varied. Each of these characters has two properties: Constitution and Leadership (males) or Guile (females). Each also has a unique name which you assign. These characters will age, marry, produce children, arrange marriages to each other and eventually die.
To compensate for the variation in quality of the dynasty members, the players are permitted to bid on the inital powers and their dynasties. The list of royal families is published and each player submits a list of preferences. Using the normal algorithm, the powers are assigned. A player receiving his first choice gets no bonus points. A player receiving his 2nd or 3rd choice would receive 1 point, 4th and 5th:2 points, 6th and 7th: 3 points. These points would then be used by the players to increase the characteristics of the characters in that dynasty.
The beginning of life. New princes and princesses to carry on the name of your dynasty. All are not created equal. And all will develop needs of their own.
3.1. Birth Rolls
Each married couple (see Marriage, Section 5.0) has a possibility of producing children each birth phase. This ability is conditional on both potential parents not being held prisoner and the mother being aged 50 or less. The probability of having a single child is 50%. There is an equal probability of a boy or girl. A dynasty may try for additional children, but this will exact a toll on the wife's constitution for the upcoming survival phase (one point per attempt beyond one) and thus will increase the probability that she will not survive the year (see Death, Section 4.0). There is no penalty for attempting to produce the first child and the opportunity cannot be declined.
Each couple selects one of the following options:
3.2. Character Properties
Each child receives a constitution and leadership/guile rating at birth and should be given a unique name for reference purposes. Constitution modifies the 'survival roll', (e.g. a constitution of +1 adds a point to the die roll for survival). Leadership modifies the leadership capabilities of the male. Males leadership ratings are further modified by their wives' guile ratings. Both constitution and strength/guile ratings are derived from the following table. These ratings are public knowledge.
3.3. Serial Numbers
Each character has a unique serial number (or numbers) for purposes of dynasty tracking. The serial number encodes information on the genealogy of the character. The serial number of the initial King is x1000 where x is the power id (e.g. aefgirt). The first son of the king will be x1100, the second son, x1200 and the first daughter x1a00, second daughter x1b00. Similarly the serial number of the third son of the first son would be x1130, and so on. The length of serial numbers may be extended to continue generations.
The character serial numbers permit the simple tracking of lines of succession. For the throne, the minimum serial number for that dynasty is always the king. For a Titled noble, the same rule applies, except the serial number will be 'masked' by the serial number of the first noble of that Title. A character renouncing their claim to their dynasty loses their serial number for that dynasty (see Section 5.3). Characters who are born to parents of two different dynasties a serial number derived from each parent, provided the parent has not renounced claim(s) dynasty. If a parent is has serial numbers for more than one dynasty then any issue would have many serial numbers as required.
Not even Kings live forever. Planning for after your death is the job of any good parent. And you never know when it will strike.
After the birth phase all characters are aged five years (including the newborn characters).
Each character will reach he age of 15 unhindered. From the age 15 on each member of each dynasty must make a survival roll. This includes Winter 1600. They must make their required roll or more, modified by their constitution and wives birthing rolls (if applicable) on 2 - 6 sided dice. If they fail to match or exceed this limit, then: they die, their marriages are ended, writs are null and void, and succession is initiated if a Title is held (see Succession, Section 8).
The necessary Surivival Rolls are:
Roll 2 - 6 sided dice
Note that a roll of 2 (double ones) for a survival roll (unmodified) is ALWAYS fatal.
As the Royale games have tended to have population explosions, a plague has been added to keep the population under control. Immediately after the births and deaths checks the GM whether there will be a plague. If the population exceeds the number x will two d6 be rolled for each character. (Characters under 15 are not immune from the plague) Double rolls are fatal. The number x is 20N+y where N is the number of dynasties and y is a random number between 0 and 135. y is randomised by the GM and kept secret. Each time a plague strikes is y re-randomised.
Marriage is about compromises. As a tool of Diplomacy a simple ceremony involving loved ones can often do more than armies on the battlefield.
5.1. Acceptable Marriages
From the age of 15 forward characters may be married. They can't marry a member of their own dynasty, but may marry members of other dynasties who have claim to their dynasty. Due to the limited population pool, Royale ignores difficulties due to being cousins, and same sex marriages were frowned upon in the courts of Europe at the time, so they are forbidden here as well. Note that princesses may renounce their claim to their original dynasty, but for the purposes of determining acceptable marriages, only their original dynasty is used.
5.2. Marriage Treaties
Upon marriage any agreements desired by the two dynasties may be made, in writing. These may include (but are not by any means limited to):
In essence, any agreement that could be made in Diplomacy can be formalized in marriage agreements. Agreements should not, however, include terms which cannot be upheld as the result of another marriage writ. Any such term would be flagged by the Game Master in the preparation of the Writ (see Section 5.4). These marriage agreements are binding, until one spouse or the other dies, at which point the agreement is null and void. Marriage writs cannot be changed, even by mutual agreement, however a term may temporarily be disregarded if both parts agree in written to the GM.
Terms of a marriage agreement may be of two types.
Note that either party may discuss private terms with third parties, but the Master will not confirm or deny the existence of any private term in a writ.
Renouncing of Titles is always a public term.
5.3. Marriages and Succession
By default children are members of the father's dynasty. This means that the father's dynasty controls the child. This default is negotiable as part of the marriage treaty. Children are also in the succession order in both parents dynasties. If the parent is eligible for succession, so is the child. Children cannot be denied their birthright. If the parent is not in line for succession, neither is the child. Succession is conferred at birth.
Renouncing the throne is an announcement made as part of a marriage agreement, and is permanent. Thus, when the marriage ends, rights to succession are not regained, but the princess (or prince) could be returned to the originating family for use in further marriages, as normal. The renouncing of a claim to a Title must be made before the Title is acquired. Abdication is not permitted. In heir renouncing are limited to only one per dynasty and marriage phase.
In the case that a Prince is marrying a Titled female, it may also be the case that the male renounces his right to his Dynasty's throne and Titles and the same rules apply.
5.4. Marriage Writs
The confirmation of a marriage and its attendant treaty has several stages:
The GM will only issue one writ per couple per phase. Thus terms must be negotiated ahead of time. A groom may propose to several brides, and a bride may receive several proposals, but the first to be accepted is in force and all other competing writs are null and void.
Once issued the groom may not withdraw a writ (except in special circumstances noted below). But a writ may be nullified if a competing writ is accepted.
The GM will 'flag' any term which may not, at that time, be fulfilled (as a result of another marriage writ). These presence of these terms does not nullify the writ, but they will be identified and are not in effect until the impedance is lifted. Explanations will not be specified by the GM. Terms which are inapplicable due to the bride's dynasty will be flagged only upon acceptance by the bride. The groom may then withdraw the offer, if desired.
In the case that the applicability of a term changes before the writ (e.g. due to another writ coming into force) has been accepted, either party may withdraw the writ.
The bride's dynasty may choose to issue a 'delayed' acceptance. That is an acceptance that will be effected at the deadline. These are legal, but are not in any way binding. The bride may accept another writ, or decline the proposed writ. The GM will handle the delayed acceptance but will make no announcement of it.
A son who is a strong leader is a great asset. A son who is a poor leader is a liability not easily covered.
From the age 20 on each male must be assigned to an army (or fleet) of the dynasty. Males may be voluntarily assigned form the age of 15. The King is exempt from this requirement, but may be assigned if desired. If an assigned noble, becomes King, he has the option to retire, but may then not be reassigned. The assigned noble will modify the strength of his unit. Several leaders may be assigned to a single unit, but they need to be assigned as evenly as possible. A noble's leadership rating is modified as well by the wife's guile rating. Once assigned, leaders may not be reassigned to another unit unless they are captured (see Section 6.3). Nobles may be assigned to foreign units, if that has been agreed upon in a writ.
A character may be assigned to a foreign unit, if that has been agreed upon in a writ. That goes for any writ, not just the one from the relevant character's marriage.
The ratings all leaders assigned to a unit are added (including the wives' guile ratings). The overall result is limited to +1, 0 and -1. A leaderless unit has a rating of zero and behaves as a normal Diplomacy unit.
If the unit's leaders' rating is +1, it has a strength of +1. This unit will attack with a strength of two. It supports and holds with a strength of a normal unit.
If the units' leaders' rating is -1, it has a strength of -1. This unit will attack with a strength of zero. It can thus move only into empty territory or if supported, and it cannot of its own, cut support. It supports and holds with a strength of a normal unit.
The effective power of each unit may be summarized in the following table:
6.3. Capture and Ransom
A unit that is forced to retreat may have its leader captured by the attacking force (probability .5 for each leader individually). In the next (and subsequent) Marriage phase, the attacking force may decide to:
Leaders held prisoner may not roll for further children, although their marriage treaties are still in full effect. A noble may marry while in prison.
Eventually, they tire of waiting for you to die.
At age 30 each male who is not an heir must be assigned a Title. Males who are not heirs may be assigned Titles from the age of 15. An heir is defined as the first in line for a Title either as a King or Noble.
Each Title refers to a province currently under the control of the dynasty to which the male belongs. This means either a supply center controlled, or a neutral province controlled by the same rules as that for supply centers. You may also title a noble to a province you do not yet control, but have a unit in, however that does not affect control of the province. You must still occupy it during a "fall" move, before you may build in it. All provinces of the dynasty's home country begin the game controlled by that dynasty. Titles to sea spaces are not allowed.
If no territories are available then no Title may be granted at that time. Two nobles from the same dynasty may not be given Title to the same province. If more nobles are eligible for Titles than there are available provinces, the assignment is discretionary to the power.
Nobles from different dynasties may be given Title to the same province, but only the dynasty controlling the province will be able to build there (see Section 7.2).
7.2. Powers Conferred by Titles
The Title (Baron of Burgundy, Lord of Liverpool, Sultan of Serbia, etc.) confers certain powers. The location of the Title is now a permissible build site for the dynasty that owns the Titled noble, provided it continues to be controlled by the dynasty wishing to build.
A build site is not a supply center (unless the build site happens to be located at a supply center).
For a dynasty to build a unit in a province all of the following conditions must be met:
A unit created in a Titled build site belongs to the noble holding Title for that site. Units created in unassigned home supply center are under the King's control.
Unassigned provinces are controlled by the King, and any original supply center meets the first condition above. In heir only the capital is treated as a homecenter.
7.3. Transfer of Titles
Titles are transferred by the usual rules of succession (see Section 8). It is possible through succession for a noble to attain Title to more than one territory.
If due to succession the Title should change dynasty, the Title and all armies that were raised from the Titled center will transfer to the new dynasty. So will also control of the province he is titled to, provided it is unoccupied and under control of the dynasty that used to control the title. If the province is occupied by a third power, that power will keep control of it. For kings, this applies to any unassigned homecenter. This applies equally to 'created' build sites, and to original home centers. The province becomes a build site for the succeeding dynasty.
Home supply centers are always build sites for that dynasty.
If the Title for a controlled province is lost to another dynasty, then that Title may be reassigned.
A province may be a build site for more than one power.
You can't take it with you.
8.1. Order of Succession
Upon the death of a King, a new King succeeds him. The order for succession is:
The Queen of the deceased King, if any, is removed from consideration as the Queen Mother is not permitted to remarry. Upon the death of his Queen, the King may remarry. In the case of females attaining the Crown, the male is the Royal Consort and may not remarry after the death of the Queen, but the Queen may remarry.
8.2. Transfer of Power
The order of succession works similarly for Titled nobles, except that the surviving spouses may remarry, and succession cannot be passed to any non-descendant of the first Title-holder. If a Titled noble becomes king, then that Title is retired and may be re-granted by the new King at a later date. All armies of that Title revert to the power, but the location of the Title is now a permanent building site (not a supply center) for that dynasty. Note that it must be controlled to build there.
In the event that the King is succeeded by the member of another dynasty, that dynasty assumes control of all possessions of the non-Titled nobles. This includes all build sites not granted to Titled nobles, and all armies controlled by the king. In essence the power controlling that dynasty is eliminated to be replaced by smaller powers related to the Titled nobles that exist when the dynasty changed hands.
If a dynasty loses its crown, it may under the earlier versions of the rules continue to function as a power, although since there is no king in the dynasty, no new titles may be granted. Under the Wasa rules, if a dynasty loses its crown, its nobles may chose one of themselves king of a geographical area of the board. (Preferably one under its control) For example king of Spain, Hungary or perhaps "Free France". The king may then chose a province with a supply center, under the control of the dynasty, in which to locate the new kingdoms capital. This province will then be a permanent homecenter for that kingdom, just like the ordinary homecenters.
In the event that there is no heir to the King, then a new dynasty is formed, similar to the initial dynasty ("the first King's brother"). In the event that there is no heir to a Titled noble, that Title is dissolved. Any units controlled by the dissolved Title revert to the King's control, and the Titled area is no longer a build site.
When a power is eliminated, the dynasty ends. Members of the dynasty currently married to members of other dynasties will continue in their roles, but no further members of the eliminated dynasty will be created. Unmarried members of the dynasty may continue to marry members of the active dynasties, but any children will be controlled by those dynasties.
9 Clergy Rules
Once a man becomes 20, (15) he may enter the clergy. He has to renounce and he cannot 'quit' or marry. You can only have 3 members of the clergy per Dynasty. You can have an unlimited number of clergy members. Each turn a clergy member has a 50% chance of increasing a level.
The levels are:
these rolls are d10 and modified by the leadership rating... so a
(die from 1-10)
Each level confers a special power. This is in addition to the levels underneath it (except one special case).
The Archbishop, Cardinal, and Pope powers can only be used once a turn.
When a person joins the Clergy, this is where they begin. If there is to be a marriage between two Dynasties, at least one of them must have a priest. A priest can perform any number of marriages, and are eligible to perform marriages the minute they become priests.
Bishops allow people to renounce their claim. Renouncing is a very common item put in a writ, especially for the female. A Bishop on either side of the family allows either of them to renounce. If neither dynasty has a bishop then there can be no renouncement in the writ. Each clergy member may only use his powers to let one character renounce per marriage phase.
Archbishops can arrest people. Upon advancement to Archbishop, he must declare an archbishopric (a residence). This province must be a Supply Center controlled by your dynasty or in which you have a unit. The thought being that larger cities (places that supply essential needs) would be the only place large enough to warrant having an archbishop. Archbishops may be put in foreign supply centers, if that has been agreed upon in a writ. Foreign leaders within 2 spaces of the archbishopric could be arrested (a 50% chance modified by a 10% bonus/penalty per point of difference in the two people's leadership. A +1 Archbishop that tries to capture a -2 leader has an 80% chance of success), provided the SC is still owned by you. If you lose the SC, or even if it is occupied by foreign troops (like after a spring move), then you can only make an attempt within 1 space at a 10% additional penalty. An archbishop can't arrest people the same marriage phase as he is granted his Archbishopric, he has to wait a turn while his network of informants install themselves into their surroundings.
Since the clerical powers never leave you when you advance, Cardinals can continue to arrest people and the province remains his archbishopric. His stature is greater now, so any leader that is within the radius of any Archbishop's or Cardinal's home that is not controlled by the same player is eligible for arrest. Cardinals also have the option of declaring someone beyond reproach. That person cannot be captured by a member of the clergy for that round. Also, a leader is protected from arrest if he is stationed in an Archbishop's province that the player also controls. Popes are above that sort of thing, but may still protect leaders. Popes no longer have a province, as they serve everyone.
The difference between POW's and leaders arrested by Clergy: Only POW's can be executed, and upon the death of the Clerical captor, the prisoner is released.
When an unsuccesful arrest attempt is made the dynasty of the targeted noble will know someone tried to arrest him, but not who. If the attempt was unsuccessful due to that he was protected by a Cardinal/Pope both the noble's and the protector's dynasty will know someone made an attempt, but failed due to the protection. The attempting dynasty will get a message saying whether the targetted noble were protected or not.
Archbishops may be assigned to a foreign center after agreement in a writ. (Remember though, that he will get the penalty for the center being foreign, se above)
Cardinals affect succession. Upon the death of a titled noble, the title normally passes on to the next in line. A Cardinal has the option to back the second in line and attempt to "pass over" the rightful heir. There is a 50% chance of successfully causing a skip. The skipped noble is now deemed "unfit for a title" and cannot ever be titled, but he does not renounce his claim. For game mechanics, his serial number is put in parenthesis so his future children will (likely) not become claimless. If he was not skipped as King, he is still eligible to be King, but only if there are NO OTHER claimants that have not been skipped over for a title. For all practical purposes, there are two lines for King: Those who haven't been skipped, and those who have. The ones who have been skipped are put at the end of the line, likely behind their own children. A cardinal may only use his cardinal powers once, i.e. he can't both arrest and skip etc.
Cardinals get to vote on the new Pope. Only Cardinals that have "advanced" are eligible to be voted for, and all Cardinals can vote. If a Cardinal advances and there still is a pope, then a plus (+) is put next to his title to signify that he is eligible to become Pope, should the chance arise. The first tie breaker for Pope is his leadership; the second is age; and the third is random. There doesn't always have to be a Pope, and there is none at the beginning.
The Pope can annul marriages. Provided one side requests it, a marriage can be called off, and the writ will be rendered null and void. The nullification is immediate, but the two participants must wait until the next marriage phase to be married. To prevent the pope's power from becoming useless it is not allowed to include in a writ that the parts may not ask the pope to annul the writ. However it is allowed to include that if either of the two dynasties has a pope, he may not annul the writ.
At any marriage phase a Pope may: marry, allow renouncing, protect/skip and annul.
10.1. Builds, Births and Deaths
10.1.1 * Potential vote on Pope
10.2. Marriages, Treaties and Titles
10.3. Moves and Retreats
11.1 Life Expectancy Table
** if the character is a pre-menopausal, married female, this table assumes that she tries for ONLY one child each turn
11.2 Birth Outcome Tables
11.3 Labor Outcome Table