- Designers: Bruno Cathala, Christian Martinez
- Players: 2-5
- Playing time: 40 Min
- Age: 10+
- First Released: 2016
"Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts."
–William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Munificent Theatrical Festival takes place once a year and all the producers in the kingdom bring their most talented actors and most extravagant shows to impress the King at Court. Leading up to the festival, recruiters search far and wide for performers of the highest caliber, in order to put on the best show the kingdom has ever seen. However, it is not just the quality of the performance that matters, but also whether it satisfies the King's ever-changing mood. There’s no way to tell who will come out on top until it’s time to take the stage, when only luck, influence and time will tell who earns the most acclaim… and the most gold.
Histrio is a strategic card game in which two to five players compete to put on the best theatrical performance. Over the course of two seasons, players recruit performers, send managers to influence the King's mood, and carry out secret requests. At the end of each season, Ecus are given out to the players with the most successful shows, as it relates to the King's mood. After the second season, the player with the most Ecus wins the game.
Traveling the Kingdom
At the beginning of the game, an Encounter card will be placed beneath each city in the Kingdom. You will begin each game turn by selecting a Travel card, indicating where you intend to send your Caravel for recruiting. You and your opponents will all reveal your cards at once and place your Caravels in front of the city you’ve selected. If you are alone at a city, you will receive all cards displayed there, but if you and an opponent have selected the same city, you will instead each take a Secret Request card. Then all players will move their Caravels onto the city board, showing which cities they cannot return to. You can regain access to a city by obtaining an Experience 1 Actor or if you run out of travel cards entirely.
After the game turn, new cards are placed in front of each city, meaning you have a chance to take more than one card per turn—although your opponents may be thinking the same thing. However, more cards may not always be better, and there are a number of cards you may be able to grab. Actor cards each have their own effect, depending on their Experience level, Chameleons are tricky actors, who can flip between tragedy and comedy as necessary, and Acrobats are specially trained performers who give you special abilities on future turns. If you have your eye on a particular city, you may be able to secure its offerings by using an Acrobat, such as the Ox, who blocks opponents from a city of your choice, or the Bear, who claims a city’s cards, even if there are others present.
The Favor of the King
In addition to the effects of each card, you may also discard your actors in order to influence the King's mood. Any actor you discard will nudge the King's mood toward their specialty equal to their number of experience points. You might like to use this ability to discard unwanted cards, to intentionally sway the King’s humor in favor of the show you’re organizing, or if you’re lucky, both. Often, however, you will often be forced to make difficult decisions about whether a card is more valuable in your hand or at Court.
When the season comes to an end, you and your opponents will receive Ecus for three particular accomplishments: having actors in your troupe that match the King’s mood; playing and satisfying a Secret Request card; and pleasing the King overall. To please the King, a show must have more experience in the King’s desired style of show than the other. The show that has the highest difference in favor of the King’s mood will have these Ecus doubled. It pays to please royalty!
Supreme Theatrical Acclaim
Not knowing what the King will prefer at the end of each season presents you with a major question: do you play it safe and keep a balanced crew, or do you go all in on your ideal show and hope it’s loved by the King and the Court? Consider your options carefully as you travel the kingdom, recruit talented performers, and artfully scheme to put on the best show. If you fill the King’s heart, he may fill your wallet in return, and whoever has the most Ecus at the end of both seasons wins the game and the kingdom’s theatrical acclaim!