Renaissance Princes is a simulation of the power struggles in Renaissance Italy in the 1300-1600 period. You control a city and use its resources to guide its fortunes. You earn Victory Points (VPs) by reaching certain objectives. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins.

The game is played on a Game Chart which is split into two sections which in turn are divided into boxes representing certain territories and objectives. The players represent the signori (lords) of the Italian cities of Genoa (also France and the Angevins), Florence, Rome, Venice and Milan (as well as Aragon, the Holy Roman Empire, and Spain).


The class is divided into groups. Each group has a moderator who runs the game and keeps records for that group. Each remaining student chooses a city.


Renaissance Princes is played in Game-turns. A Game-turn proceeds as follows:

First, the players check the Scenario Instructions for any special rules which apply to a particular Game-turn. Then, up to 10 minutes per turn are allocated for negotiation among the players.

Next, the first player receives 20 Resource Factors (RFs) and deploys them. The player then conducts attacks against other players' RFs. This completes the player's turn. All of this takes place on the Game Chart.

The remaining players each receive 20 RFs, deploy RFs, and make attacks with their RFs in the sequence given in the Scenario Instructions. When all of the players have taken their turns, one Game-turn has been completed.

Each game lasts 6 Game-turns. The game is over after all of these have been completed. The players total their Victory Points and the winner is determined.


Resource Factors (RFs) represent a city's military, political, diplomatic and economic strength, and its willingness to use it. RFs are similar to the pieces in Risk and checkers.

Your goal is to attain the objectives listed for your city in the Scenario Instructions. You do this by deploying RFs. Each turn you receive 20 RFs. You then deploy your RFs wherever you wish in your column on the Game Chart.

To deploy RFs, tell the moderator where you want to put them. The moderator will then record your deployments on the Game Chart in your city's column in accordance with your instructions.

You must use all RFs received on that turn in that turn. After deployment, you cannot move RFs. You cannot give them to another player. You may use your RFs to attack RFs belonging to another player after you are finished deploying them. Note that you start the game with a negative number of RFs in your city. This represents the effects of the Black Plague, the banking bankruptcies in Florence, the Avignon Papacy, and Venice's wars with Louis I of Hungary. More negative RFs will appear during the game.


One of your goals is to conquer territory. You do this by using RFs to attack your opponents. These attacks represent everything from simple threats to major invasions. Attacking is never required. Attacks can be made when you and another player have RFs in the same territory. In other words, you attack horizontally on the Game Chart.

You attack by first indicating your target (the defender). Both you and the defender then remove an equal number of RFs. You decide how many RFs are removed. The moderator records these activities on the Game Chart. See the Example of RF Conflict page to see how this works.

After you are finished with this attack, you may attack a different opponent's RFs in that territory if you have any RFs left there. You may attack in as many territories as you wish, as long as you have RFs in them.

You cannot attack other players in the General Objectives section of the Game Chart.

You cannot reduce another player's RF total in a box below zero, or increase the number of negative RFs in a box.


You have a Presence in a territory when you have at least 5 RFs there at the end of the game. A Presence represents situations such as trade agreements, spheres of influence, alliances, satellites, or annexations. More than one player can have a Presence in a territory.

You achieve Victory Points by obtaining Presences in certain territories. You can never have more than one Presence in any box, or get extra VPs for having more than 5 RFs in a territory. The Victory Points for an objective depend on its historical importance to the city involved.


Several cities will receive a negative number of RFs in them during the game. They are deployed in specific boxes at the beginning of each turn. These represent certain problems a particular city faced during this period. To establish Presences in these territories, you must deploy enough RFs to overcome this. For example, if Florence wants to get a Presence in an area that is showing -5 RFs on the Game Chart, then that player must deploy at least 10 RFs there to establish a Presence. In effect, you must attack the negative RFs and remove them before doing anything else in that box.


Your other goals can include developing your city's internal stability, economy, and cultural activity. On the Game Chart page you will find a General Objectives section. You can win VPs with Presences in these boxes too. Players may not attack each other on this chart.


You cannot win Renaissance Princes unless you negotiate with the other players. Whoever makes the best deals usually wins. However, trust no one! Lies, betrayals, threats, broken deals, and bluffs are all allowed and encouraged. It is recommended that you look through Machiavelli's The Prince, a book inspired by all of this, before the exercise. If you have any bad qualities as a human being, this would be a good time to use them.


A game of Renaissance Princes normally lasts 6 Game-turns. After the last Game-turn, the players compare their RF deployments with their objectives listed in the Scenario Instructions to determine their Victory Points. More than one player can receive Victory Points for a territory. The player with the most Victory Points at the end wins.


Renaissance Princes is based on Kings and Commerce, a game on Medieval Europe. It is published in Academic Gaming Review 4.3 (Spring 2002).

Renaissance Princes is designed by Peter L. de Rosa, and is Copyright, 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduction allowed for nonprofit educational use as long as this copyright notice is included.


Machiavelli is a Diplomacy variant which captures the spirit of the age. The Hundred Years War is a massive online game. The site also has extensive historical information. Ancients covers pre1500 tactical warfare.


After several Game-turns, the situation on the Scenario Chart looks like this:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 5 10 8 5
Yurt 6 - 2 5
Zen - 5 - 11

Ariel gets 20 RFs per turn. He puts 5 in Xenophobia and 15 in Yurt:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 10 10 8 5
Yurt 21 - 2 5
Zen - 5 - 11

Ariel then attacks Beauregard in Xenophobia with 5 RFs (each loses 5 RFs) and Chas in Yurt with 2 RFs:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 5 5 8 5
Yurt 19 - 0 5
Zen - 5 - 11

Ariel next attacks Chas in Xenophobia with 2 RFs. (remove 2 RFs from each):

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 19 - - 5
Zen - 5 - 11

Now is Beauregard's turn. He gets 20 RFs. He puts 4 in Yurt and 16 in Zen:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 19 4 - 5
Zen - 21 - 11

Beauregard then attacks Ariel in Yurt with 4 RFs, and Dirk in Zen with 11:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 15 0 - 5
Zen - 10 - 0

Chas now receives 20 RFs. He puts them in Xenophobia:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 3 5 26 5
Yurt 15 - - 5
Zen - 10 - -

Chas attacks Dirk with 5 RFs, and then Beauregard with 5 RFs, all in Xenophobia:

Ariel Beauregard Chas Dirk
Xenophobia 3 0 16 0
Yurt 15 - - 5
Zen - 10 - -

If this were the end of the game, Chas would have a Presence in Xenophobia, Ariel and Dirk would have Presences in Yurt, and Beauregard would have one in Zen.



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