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Rules to "The Cataline Conspiracy" by Knizia

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  • jsyedidia@yahoo.com
    The Cataline Conspiracy, one of the 14 games in New Games in Old Rome, is Knizia s version of Sid Sackson s classic Sleuth . Since Sleuth is out of print and
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2001
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      The Cataline Conspiracy, one of the 14 games in New Games in Old
      Rome, is Knizia's version of Sid Sackson's classic "Sleuth". Since
      Sleuth is out of print and hard to reproduce in a home-made version,
      I thought some people might appreciate having the rules to Knizia's
      game, which can be played with any deck of cards that has 5 suits
      with at least 6 cards per suit. Thus, you can use the cards from Lost
      Cities, Battle Line, Schotten-Totten, or Galaxy. It also seems to me
      that Knizia's version is slightly more elegant, because there are no
      arbitrary restrictions on what you can ask about. Other differences
      are that Knizia has 30 cards which differ in two characteristics
      (5x6), while Sackson uses 27 cards which have 3 characteristics
      (3x3x3). Both games allow two types of questions, but in Knizia's
      version the second type of question is addressed to all the other
      players, while in Sackson's version it is about 9 cards rather than
      3. Finally, in Knizia's version, there are 5 or 6 missing cards of
      which you only have to identify the sum of the values, while in
      Sackson's there is one missing card which you must identify exactly.
      Knizia also suggests two very interesting variants, which I describe
      below. I have never played "The Cataline Conspiracy", but the rules
      seem nice to me.

      Rules to Cataline Conspiracy
      Designer: Reiner Knizia
      3-5 players, 45 minutes
      Deduction game.
      (Summarized from the translation to the German rules by K. Tidwell, K.
      Jacklin, and R. Knizia)

      The cards numbered from 1 to 6 in 5 colours (suits) are used.
      Additionally, you will need a pad and pencil for each player.

      First sort the 30 cards by colour so that you have five separate
      stacks. Shuffle each stack separately, then remove one card from each
      stack and set it aside face down. These are the "conspirators" and
      there is one from each colour. The remaining 25 cards should be
      shuffled together. If there are three or four players, an additional
      card is removed at this time so that there are six conspirators. Put
      the five or six cards safely aside, until the end of the game. The
      remaining cards are distributed evenly between the players. Everyone
      should take their cards into their hand and keep their identities
      hidden from the others. Decide who begins. Each player prepares an
      information sheet, upon which they will record their conclusions. The
      information sheets are confidential.

      Course of the Game:
      The players take turns asking questions. Each player gets to ask one
      question about either the cards of a particular colour, or the cards
      of a particular value. The questions can be directed in two different

      In one case, the question is directed at a single player. This player
      then passes to the questioner, face-down, all cards in his hand that
      match the query. Simultaneously, the player announces the number of
      cards he passes. The inquiring player may inspect the
      cards, but then returns them face-down to their owner.

      In the other case, the question is directed at all players. Each
      player must then hand over one card of their choosing that matches
      the query, if they have such a card. If they have no matching cards,
      they should announce this fact to the group. The inquiring
      player inspects all of the cards, then returns them to their owners.

      Once a player has asked his question, received and inspected the
      cards, and returned them, it is the next player's turn to ask a new

      Accusations and Game End:
      Players may interrupt the game at any time to make an accusation. The
      accuser then announces the sum of all of the number values of all the
      cards he suspects of conspiring. He does not have to announce the
      individual cards that are under suspicion. The accuser
      then takes up the stack of conspirators and checks to see if his
      accusation is correct. If the accusation is correct, he wins the
      However, if his accusation is wrong, he must return the stack of
      conspirators to their face down position, without revealing any
      information about them. The game continues normally. The player who
      accused innocent cards falsely has lost and may neither ask further
      questions, nor make further accusations. He may still be questioned
      however. If it should happen that only one player has remained
      silent and made no false accusations, then that player wins the game
      by default.

      Advice on Marking Information Sheets (this is easier to understand
      with diagrams):
      Make a grid with 6 rows and 5 columns, and an extra box at the end of
      each row and column. For each card there is a corresponding box. In
      this information about the card is recorded. All of the boxes for a
      particular card value lie in a row. All boxes for a particlar colour
      lie in a column. At the end of each row and column there is an extra
      box where information about respective values and colours can be
      noted. All boxes are labelled with the initials of all the

      At the start of the game mark a big circle in all of the boxes of
      your own cards on the information sheet. At the same time cross out
      all initials in the respective boxes. If you establish that a
      particular player does not have a specific card, cross out his
      initials in that box on the information sheet. If you establish that
      a particular player does have a certain card, mark that box with a
      circle around the owner's initials. Then cross out all other initials
      in that box.

      In the extra boxes of each row and column keep a running tally of the
      number of cards of this value or colour held by each player. When you
      firmly establish this total for any given player, circle the tally to
      indicate this is the actual total. If the player concludes that none
      of the other players hold a particular card then he has discovered a
      conspirator. The respective box is blacked out.

      Variant #1:
      The game plays completely differently if the cards are not returned
      at the end of an inquiry but, instead are kept by the player that
      asked the question. In this case, you are not allowed to demand all
      the cards from a player which he just received the turn before.

      Variant #2:
      In this game variant each conspirator is accused alone. At least ten
      conspirators are removed at the start of the game. As soon as a
      player discovers the identitiy of a conspirator he announces his
      accusation. A running list of accusations is kept, and this card is
      assigned exclusively to the accusing player. Once ten cards have been
      accused, uncover the conspirators. Anyone who has made false
      accusations is eliminated and loses. Among the remaining players, the
      one with the most correct accusations is the winner.
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