How to Play Paolo and Francesca: Intrigues in Gradara

Thanks to our synergy with Sir Chester Cobblepot, Dante Alighieri: Comedia - Inferno players will also have the exclusive opportunity to buy a bundle including the game Paolo and Francesca: Intrigues in Gradara. This work by Filippo Gasperi and Luca Mulazzani is also a real game, not just a souvenir. It’s not just our opinion, but the Italian Touring Club itself who says so, and they certainly can be trusted.

Sir Chester Cobblepot produced this work to recreate the power games of the noble families during the Renaissance and the late Middle Ages. The most famous occurred between the 15th and 16th centuries, a struggle which would influence the history of the medieval village of Gradara. 3 to 5 players aged 8 and up will play as the Borgia, the Della Rovere, the Malatesta, the Montefeltro and the Sforza families to compete in a contest for the control of the nine most important places of the village and their Personality.

The Bank, the Castle, the Church, the Brotherhood, the Guardhouse, the Laboratory, the Tavern, the Market and the Courthouse, are connected by three Road cards and a starting Public Square, reflecting the town’s real structure. Even today in Gradara, walking along the main road that winds around the Marche hill, you will immerse yourself in an incredibly preserved medieval atmosphere. Thanks to the cards, the game board is different for each game, increasing its longevity.

Twenty-four personalities, three of each type, the Banker, the Mason, the Judge, the Captain, the Merchant, the Magistrate, the Monk and the Apothecary must be brought to one’s side to ensure dominance. In order to convince them, players can use “gentle” methods or, if necessary, “rougher” methods, such as going to the Tavern and hiring one of the five Assassins who can "solve the problem".

To further spice up this bluffing game, fourteen Events are added: five Pettifoggers (the lawyers of the era) to steal cards from opponents, four Keys to block the movement of your opponents and five Walkways to sneak through the walls to stealthily reach another Place. Besides its power struggles, the village also hides the adulterous love of Francesca da Polenta and her brother-in-law Paolo da Rimini, also known as "Paolo the Handsome".

Equipped with a First player placeholder, five pawns and twenty-five colored plastic counters, players compete for victory by moving their Representative (a pawn of their color) to control Places by marking them with their own counters. A merciless race for points that is resolved only at the end of the game. After gaining some game experience, you can implement optional rules, e.g. by adding Giovanni Malatesta's card and making the challenge more demanding and exciting.

To control the Places you need to reach them with your pawn and play two cards from your hand, one face up and one face down: the visible one must be the Personality of that Place. The other card should also be the same Personality, but bluffing is possible. The opponents will have to prove the deception to make you lose points, but it is not always easy: if you have used the Seal of a Family, they will first have to prove the true identity of your Representative!

Eighteen three-player rounds; thirteen four-player rounds and ten five-player rounds in which to Bribe, Exert or Increase Power, Expose, Spy or even Assassinate enemy Personalities. Paolo and Francesca: Intrigues in Gradara has no complex rules but each victory must be earned because the strategy of subterfuge and bluff is not trivial. The Cobblepot team has defined this game as "a wolf in sheep's clothing". 

The game can end in two moments: at the end of a turn in which the deck of cards is exhausted or at the end of the turn in which a player has placed the fifth of his colored tokens into play. Then, each player scores their points to determine the winner. The game’s two authors know Gradara very well, from its history to its legends, as you will see very clearly while playing their game. Today, the author Filippo Gasperi is the mayor of this town, and we strongly suggest you visit it if you have the occasion!