In Medina, players must place two pieces on the board (except when allowed to skip this with a tea tile), either augmenting an existing building (or starting a new building if the current building of that color is finished), or expanding one of the other features of the city, like the market or the walls. Each player will claim one building of each of the four colors by the end of the game, giving one point per wooden piece attached to the building.
Also, if you own the largest building of a particular color you get a bonus for that color. Finally, there are bonuses for palaces around the well, as well as for the player who most recently connected one of their buildings to the walls, which grow from the four corners of the city.
Depending on edition selected and players number, each player receives a number of blocks that they will place on the board in turn.
A merchant is placed randomly on the board as well as a well if applicable.
A first player is randomly chosen.
These are the blocks received in the largest quantity. They come in four colors: white, purple, maroon, orange.
Adjacent buildings constitutes palaces, which grow in time. A building can be placed only adjacent orthogonally to an unfinished palace of this color or anywhere on the board if no palace of this color is unfinished.
Buildings cannot be placed adjacent orthogonally or diagonally to another palace, meaning there is always room for an alley between two palaces.
Rooftops are used to claim palaces. A player can only claim ONE palace of a given color. Once they have placed a rooftop on a palace, this palace is finished and cannot be expanded further by buildings.
Also, if a player claims the largest palace they will get the palace tile of this color for additional points. Palace tiles can change hands several times.
In 2nd edition game, players will also receive neutral rooftops used to finish palaces and thwart opponents plans. Palace tiles can be claimed by the "neutral" player and be placed back onto the board.
Stables can be used only to expand existing palaces. They must be placed orthogonally adjacent to a palace (finished or not). As buildings, they must not be placed orthogonally or diagonally to another palace.
Walls are placed next to a tower (there is one on each corner of the board) or to another wall. Chains of walls are then created from each corner, but corners must be separated by an empty places (a gate) between the chains of walls.
When a wall is placed orthogonally adjacent to a finished palace (including stables), the owning player receives a watcher tile for additional points. Also, when a finished palace is expanded with a stable to connect to an already existing wall, the owner player receives a watcher tile.
Neutral player can claim watcher tiles.
Merchants can only be placed next to an existing merchant in order to create a string of merchants (the market). A merchant can only be placed orthogonally to one and ONLY one existing merchant in either ends of the market. If both ends of the market are blocked, new merchants can be placed anywhere save adjacent to existing merchants, creating a new market.
If applicable, the first players to claim purple palace will receive tea tiles. Playing a tea tile will allow a player to pass by clicking on it in their inventory. It is not possible to pass twice in a turn.
Neutral player can claim tea tiles (which are removed from play).
End game and scoring
When a player is unable to play he is eliminated from future turns. When all players are unable to play, game ends and the winner is the player with the most points. Points are awarded as follows:
- each building or stable constituting a palace: 1 point
- each wall adjacent to a palace: 1 point
- each merchant adjacent to a palace: 1 point (NOT counted double it adjacent to two or more buildings)
- each palace orthogonally separated two spaces away from the well (see water icons): 4 points
- each palace tile: 1-4 points
- each watcher tile: 1-4 point
In case of ties, the player with the largest palace wins. In case of another tie, the player owning the largest palace that has been claimed first wins.
Differences between editions
There are significant differences between the two editions of the game.
In second edition, a palace that has a building or stable that is separated orthogonally by one space from the well grants four more points to its owner.
This can be setup in a 1st edition game if the "well" option is selected (by default).
Merchants on watcher tiles
In second edition, merchants are placed on watcher tiles. The first player to claim a watcher also receives the merchants. If the neutral player claims this watcher tile, the merchants are removed from play.
This can be setup in a 1st edition game if the "merchant on watchers" option is selected.
In second edition, the first players to claim purple palaces will receive tea tiles (3, then 2, then 1). Playing a tea tile will allow a player to pass by clicking on it in their inventory. It is not possible to pass twice in a turn.
This can be setup in a 1st edition game if the "tea tiles" option is selected.
Last remaining player
In first edition, if there is only one player able to play, they MUST play at least one rooftop each turn if possible. The game will refuse to finish a turn if that constraint is not satisfied. Once this player does not have rooftops anymore, they can still continue to play normally.
In a second edition game, the first player of a two players game only plays one block in their first turn (and also the second player in a three or four players game).
This is not the case in the first edition.
In a first edition game, there is no neutral roof and hence no neutral player to claim tiles.
Number of blocks
In a first and second edition game, the number of blocks received during game setup is different.