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Maria: learning to play

Rules

Rules available for download in:

English English German German
Spanish Spanish French French
Italian Italian Italian Japanese

Maria comes with an English and German bi-lingual 24-page staple-bound rules book (10 pages for each language). The rules book is also available for download as a PDF file in English, German, French, and Spanish, which can be printed or read online using Adobe's free Acrobat Reader program.

Maria’s game mechanics are a mix of diplomacy, card play and traditional wargames. Game play involves not just force/space/time calculations that underpin military strategy, but hand management techniques from traditional card games, as well as politics and diplomacy. Each country has unique strengths and weaknesses and the game must be played very differently depending on where you sit.

An overview of how to play Maria is presented below:

The illustrated summary of the rules to Maria

(1) Generals and supply trains are the two types of playing pieces in the game. Generals are cylinders; supply trains are cubes. Pieces move from city to city along roads. Generals can move three cities a turn, supply trains two.

Moves

(2) Main roads are heavy black roads. Supply trains and generals can move one city farther on a main road. In addition, generals moving on a main road can force-march eight cities if they don't enter an enemy-controlled fortress.

Main Roads

(3) Supply trains are needed to keep generals in supply outside of their home country. If a general outside its home country is not within six cities of a supply train, it loses troops every turn. A supply train is eliminated if an enemy general moves through it.

Supply

(4) Fortresses can be conquered by a general moving through them, unless there is an enemy general within three cities, in which case the fortress is defended. A defending general can be driven off by a successful attack from an adjacent city, forcing it to retreat out of defense distance.

Conquest

(5) Each country has a hand of tactical cards, which are mainly used in combat, but which can also be used to buy troops and bid for political cards. Each turn, each country draws additional cards; the number of cards drawn varies from country to country.

Tactical Cards

(6) The board is divided into squares, each of which is marked with a suit. In combat within that square, only tactical cards of that suit can be played to add to the strengths of the armies. Players must adjust their strategy according to their card strength in each suit.

Squares

(7) In combat, players take turns playing tactical cards to add to the strengths of their armies. When one side runs out of cards or decides to give up, the weaker side loses armies equal to the difference in strength between the two sides and must retreat the same number of cities.

Combat

(8) Political play is at the end of every turn. Two political cards are turned face-up, and the countries bid for them with face-down tactical cards of the political trump suit (the last player to win a major battle names the trump). High card picks first, and second-highest picks second.

Cards of Fate

(9) Battle victories are marked with victory markers. Victory markers can also be played for taking elector fortresses, winning the imperial election, and for control of Italy and Silesia. These markers aren't placed on the map, but on off-map tracks.

Tracks

(10) The game ends when a country has played all of its victory markers, either on conquered fortresses or on the off-map tracks. If no country wins by the last turn, a tie-breaker is used based on the sum of how each power did at the end of each year.

Victory

For more about Histogame’s Maria, click on any of the icons below:

Open the Box
Open the Box
Unfold the Board
Unfold the Board
Set up the Pieces
Set up the Game
Learn to Play
Learn to Play