In Spyrium, each player leads an industrial conglomerate. Players will score victory points by constructing buildings, employing their workers in them, patenting techniques, and by calling on special characters. The player with the most points at the end of 6 turns is the winner.
Spyrium takes place across 6 rounds (which are referred to in this game and for the remainder of these rules as "turns"), which are split into 3 periods. Period A takes place across turns 1, 2, and 3, Period B takes place across turns 4 and 5, and Period 6 takes place across turn 6. Each period has a unique deck of cards, and 9 cards from that turn's period are dealt out into a 3x3 tableau to form the market at the start of each turn.
Each player begins the game with 3 workers, 2 Spyrium crystals, and £8. Each player also begins with a token on the 2 space of the Residence track in the middle of the game board.
At the beginning of each turn, each player earns income based on their token's position on the Residence track, so at the beginning of turn 1, each player will gain £2. The top card of the event deck is also placed onto the Current Event space (bottom right) of the game board, revealing the event underneath as the Future Event (bottom left) that will become active next turn.
Starting with the start player, each player will perform one action, continuing in turn order until all players have passed, at which point the turn will end. There are 2 phases to each turn: Placement (Phase I) and Activation (Phase II). The phase that a player is in determines which actions they are permitted to take. The phase that a player is in is independent of that of any other player; some players may be in Phase I while others may be in Phase II. A player may choose to move to Phase II during their action, but may not return to Phase I at any point during that turn.
These are the actions that a player may take:
- Place a worker: The player places one of their unused workers between any two cards in the market, or between a card and an empty card space. They may not place a worker on the outside border of the board. There is no limit to the number of workers that a space between cards may hold.
- Activate the event: The player places a token on the Current Event card, and carries out the action listed on that event card. If there are multiple options on the card, the player chooses only one to follow. Each player may only activate the Current Event once per turn.
- Move to Phase II: The player moves their token to Phase II and immediately activates a Phase II action.
- Gain money: The player removes one of their previously placed workers from the market, and chooses a card adjacent to the space where that worker was. For each remaining worker next to that card, the player gains £1 from the bank.
- Activate a card: The player removes one of their previously placed workers from the market and chooses a card adjacent to the space where that worker was, to activate the card. The player must pay an activation cost of £1 to the bank for each remaining worker next to that card, in addition to any other activation costs for the card. If the card is:
- A worker (tan background) - Gain the benefit, or pay the cost to acquire the benefit listed on that card. The player does not acquire the card.
- A technique (green background) - Pay £6 to acquire the technique card. These cards provide an ongoing benefit during the game, as well as an opportunity to score bonus points at the end of the game.
- A building (blue background) - Pay the cost listed in the top right corner of the card to acquire the card. The building card must be placed into a building space in the player's personal area. The cost to purchase a building space is equal to the number of buildings that the player has already built. Thus, the first building space is free, the second one is £1, the third one is £2, etc. A player may, instead, discard an existing building to place the newly-acquired building in its building space without having to pay for the space. Furthermore, if the building being discarded has an icon at the top that matches an icon on the newly-acquired building, the cost of the newly-acquired building is discounted by £3.
- Use a building - The player may activate one of the buildings that they have acquired, paying the cost pictured in order to gain the benefit. If there are multiple options on the card, the player must choose one. Any workers used to activate buildings cannot be workers that were previously placed in the market. Each building may only be activated once per turn. A building may be activated in the same turn which it is acquired.
- Activate the event: As described in Phase I. Remember that the Current Event can only be activated once per turn.
- Pass: A player may do this once they have retrieved all of their workers from the market, in order to pass for the rest of the turn.
Some market cards and events have a token symbol on them, represented by a blue circle. When these cards are dealt out, tokens with a random value between 1 and 3 are placed on them. For event and building cards, one token is placed. For character cards, the number of tokens placed is equal to the number of players, minus one.
The value on the token is substituted for whatever is shown on the blue circle on the card. For character cards, the player chooses which token on the card to use as a substitute for the value. That token is then discarded when the character is activated. If all tokens from a character card with the token symbol are discarded, that character can no longer be activated (but the card remains in place).
When activating a card or event with the Residence (house) symbol, the player may either:
- Advance forward one space on the Residence track
- Gain victory points equal to their current position on the Residence track
As a reminder, players gain money equal to their position on the Residence track at the start of each turn.
When a player reaches 8 points (not including points on buildings or technique cards in their personal area), they immediately gain a bonus. They can choose between £5, or an extra worker. When the player reaches 20 points, they gain the bonus that they did not previously choose.
End of Turn
The turn ends when all players have passed. The Current Event is discarded, and the Future Event becomes the new Current Event. All cards remaining in the market are discarded, and 9 new cards are dealt to form a new market. The first player marker passes to the next player in order.
End of Game
At the end of turn 6, the game ends. In addition to any points already earned during the game by the players by activating buildings, events, and characters, players will earn points for any buildings (blue cards) and techniques (green cards) in their personal area. Money and spyrium are not worth any points. In the event of a tie, the players share the victory.
- Players may not acquire more than 7 workers.
- If the player reaches the 7 space on the residence track, they may only choose to gain victory points when taking further Residence actions.
- Technique cards can each score a maximum of 7 points.
- If a player discards a building with a worker or residence symbol, the player does not lose the benefit that they gained when acquiring that card.
- Remember that each worker can only be used once per turn. If a player places all of their workers in the market during Phase I, they will be unable to use any of those workers to use their building cards in Phase II.