The Trader’s Tale begins with discount sales across Tinderbox, the original Ruby Twosday was so named after a famous quest commissioned by King Puwbert 25 years ago to rescue his daughter, the Princess Ruby, from the dread Dragon Verxighares.
Seeking the favour of the crown the Wizards of Tinderbox raced to hire and equip adventuring parties and be the first to bring back the captured princess, making many Traders very rich in the process.
The Trader’s Tale is a game for 2 – 4 players who will take on the role of the Wizards, and re-live the events of one of the most famous days in the history of Tinderbox’s Merchant’s district.
AIM OF THE GAME
In The Trader’s Tale, each player takes the role of a wizard who is looking to hire a group of adventurers for a special mission. Each Wizard Card shows the three different Adventurers that the player needs to hire.
Adventurers do not need to be hired in any particular order. The first player to hire the three Adventurers that fulfil their Wizard Card’s requirements wins the game.
Starting Player The first player is whoever most recently bought something at a shop. They should set the gold on their Wizard Commodity Board to 2. All other players set their gold to 3. All other commodities start at zero, place the matching coloured cube at the first spot for each of the four commodity types: Rations, Potions, Weapons and Horses.
Starting with the first player, each player takes their turn, one after the other, in a clockwise direction. On their turn, players go through the following three steps in order:
- Meeple Placement
- End of Turn
Each turn, a player may move or place their Wizard Meeple onto any empty area on the board. They may also move or place each of their Assistant Meeples, however, this costs gold. On a turn, the first assistant moved or placed costs 1 gold and the second assistant moved or placed in the same turn costs 2 gold. There is no limit to how far or where a Wizard Token or Assistant Token can be moved or placed as long as that location is empty
If a player wants to move onto a place that is occupied by another player’s Meeple(s) they must displace them before they move. To do this the player pays their opponent 1 gold for each Meeple they wish to remove. Return displaced Meeple(s) to their owner, who may place them on the board again as normal in their turn.
Players may have as many of their own Meeples as they like on a single location.
The five different area types where a player’s Meeples can be placed will determine which Trade Actions are available to them.
Each Meeple can perform one Trade Action each turn. Trade Actions can be resolved in any order.
The diagram on the below illustrates the positions you can place your Meeples and the corresponding Trade Actions.
- Trade Actions: Perform: You are performing some Magic in the Tavern for the amusement of the clientele. Gain 2 gold if a Wizard Meeple is taking this action. Gain 1 gold if the Meeple is an Assistant.
- Hire Adventurer: Select a face-up Adventurer Card from beside the Tavern where the Wizard Token is located and pay the hire cost on the card. Take the Adventurer card and place it face up next to your Wizard Card. This Adventurer has now joined your party on the quest.
- Sponsored Hire: You have convinced the Trader to donate a commodity to sponsor your adventurer. This reduces the cost of one Hire Adventurer action in the Tavern by one commodity which the adjacent Trader produces.
- Sample Goods: Gain 1 commodity of the type which the Trader provides.
- Buy/Sell Commodity: Either purchase or sell the type of commodity which the adjacent Trader provides. Each is worth the amount of gold shown for that commodity on the Commodity Value Table. Adjust and track your gold and commodities on your Wizard Ledger Board.
- Become Top Trader: Gain or take the Top Trader Token.
- Sell Trinkets: Gain 1 gold.
End of Turn
If your Wizard Meeple ends the turn on a Trader Tile increases the corresponding Commodity value by 1 on the Commodity Value Table.
If a commodity reaches the 4th level, a new Adventurer becomes available at a Tavern. The player that owns the most of that commodity type on their Wizard Ledger Board gets to choose the Tavern where the Adventurer appears. Flip the top face down Adventurer card from that Tavern’s deck. A Tavern may have any number of face up Adventurers. If there is a tie for which player has the most of a commodity, then the player with the Top Trader token gets to choose the Adventurer card instead, even if they were not one of the tied players.
Once this is done return any markers that reached level 4 on the Commodity Value Table back to level 1.
WINNING THE GAME
Each Wizard Card shows the 3 different Adventurers that the player needs to hire to win the game. Adventurers do not need to be hired in any particular order. The first player to hire the 3 Adventurers that fulfil their Wizard Card’s requirements immediately wins the game.
Of all the Tinderbox Tale games, The Trader’s Tales is the most involved and possibly the closest to The Brigade. The Trader’s Tale has an almost mini euro style to the gameplay and offers a lot more strategy and more complex gameplay; and yet still belongs in the same set as The Barmaid’s Tale and the Damsel’s Tale. I would probably also recommend you play them in that order, Barmaid, Damsel and finish with Trader’s Tale.
As someone that loves games like Scott Almes’ Harbour and Marc André’s Splendor. I found myself bonding with this game almost immediately. It was quick, enjoyable with the perfect amount of challenge vs fun. It made you think, plan and yet still mess with people just enough to make it my favourite of the 3. I know I think I said that in the Damsel’s Tale review, but at the time I had already written and hadn’t played the Trader’s Tale.
I played this game with a few friends at a recent games’ night; this group had not played the other 2, so it was nice to get some fresh eyes on this game. As I played the others with Mandy (my UK friend) and a few other casual gamers; this group were more seasoned gamers. They really loved the progression of the 3 games, and how they build a solid world. They actually plan to see if they can get a copy of the Brigade at PAX this year…. Or steal my copy if they can’t get one.
The art of Trader’s Tale is a little less flamboyant and colourful than Brigade and Damsel’s Tale. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. It just adds more depth to the world and helps show the versatility of the Tinderbox Universe. I must say, my favourite bit of this art is the way the Wizards have been handled, they are stunning; the different personalities have been captured perfectly and each just sings on the cards. I also love how they have included different types of Wizard: Staff, spellcaster, fire mage and my favourite the fairy godmother. I love Grandma Von Tock!
Overall the Tinderbox Tales was a massive hit for me and could in itself be a games night. The versatility in all three of these games is amazing. That being said, The Trader’s Tales is my favourite not by much as they each have their own qualities; but this is the style of game I love and feel most at home with