Marco Polo II - Wrath of Khan is dice-worker placement game with a heavy contract fulfillment component.
The game is played over 5 rounds. Each player will roll their own 5 dice at beginning of the round, then use 1 or more dice to activate various action spaces available on the board -- 1 action per turn, until their dice are all used. (Some black dice can be purchased to give extra actions for that round only.)
Players will accumulate and spend resources: coins, camels, black pepper, silk bundles, gold bars, and jade. The pepper, silk, and gold (in order of increasing value) are primarily used to fulfill contracts, while the other resources have multiple uses. For example, camels and coins are often spent to facilitate movement, and jade often used to get better resource income when using the books (market) actions. Jade can be used in place of a coin or a camel when you're desperate!
All players begin with their meeple(s) in Beijing, in the upper right-hand corner of the board, and move around (leaving a trading post in each new city) in order to gain access to more contracts (5 cities provide them), more action spaces (8 cities provide them), and collect shield icons (particularly those shown on your goal card!), which give you points at the end of the game. Travel along the paths costs coins, camels, and/or jade, as indicated -- and the blue paths require in addition that the player possess a guild seal of the indicated type.
At the beginning of the game each player will choose a character card and a goal card. These are all unique. Each character has special rules that break some rule of the game.
The goal cards specify private goals you can achieve for extra points, divided into two sections. The top section shows which cities have the indicated shields, you should try to visit one of each shield. The more shields you collect, the more points you will score at the end. The ones on your card will count double, if you get them. (There is no benefit to visiting more than one city with the same shield icon.) The bottom section of the goal card indicates which guild seals you should try to get, and then improve, to score the indicated points.
On their turn, a player will select one (or more, as necessary) die and choose a single action space on the board to activate.
If an action space fits more than one die, the action requires that many.
Action spaces either have a blue or tan background.
- - The blue background indicates that the space cannot be used more than once per round -- once any player has used it, it's no longer available for anyone.
- - The tan background, in contrast, means that "stacking" is permitted: once a die is placed there, another die (or 2 or 3, whatever is required at that space) may be played there if:
- -- the color of the new die is NOT the same as any previous die played, or is black. That is, only black dice can be used in the same space multiple times, all other colors can only appear in the stack once.
- -- the player pays coins equal to the (lowest) value of the new die (dice) being used.
Some action spaces require a minimum value. For spaces that require multiple dice, both dice must meet the value requirement.
Action spaces at the bottom of the board (clockwise, roughly) allow the players to spend dice in order to:
- - aquire a guild seal (2 dice)
- - Travel (move your meeple on the board) (1, 2, or 3 dice)
- - gain new contracts (from cities with your trading posts present)
- - Books: gain resources (along bottom center of board, for 1 die)
- - Khan's favor: gain 2 camels and 4 coins (a single die)
- - two special action spaces that change every round (1 die each)
Each of these will be covered in more detail, later.
Alternatively, you may use dice to activate an action space in a city where you have a trading post. Most of the randomized city action spaces allow you to convert one resource into another. The die value used on the action space indicates how many times you can do that conversion.
- - each of the 3 travel action spaces requires a different number of dice, and shows the number of spaces you can move:
- -- 1 die to move 1 space
- -- 2 dice to move up to 3 spaces
- -- 3 dice to move up to 6 spaces
- - the lowest-valued die of those used is the maximum number of spaces you can move; e.g. to move 4 spaces, you must put 3 dice in the top space, all with value 4 or higher.
- - the bottom "move 1 space" action requires you to pay 2 coins.
- - you can move fewer spaces than you are able, if desired
- - you must pay the travel costs on the map for the route used: coins, camels, jade. A blue route requires that you possess the indicated guild seal, as well (it doesn't matter whether the seal has been improved).
Once at the _end_ of your travel (not along the way):
- - if you haven't yet, place a trading post in the destination city, and
- -- if the city has contracts, you may take one from it (you must then discard one if you had more than two).
- - If the destination city contains a semi-circular "outpost bonus" tile above it, remove the tile and take the bonus (only the first player to visit gets this bonus).
- - If the destination city contains a rectangular "city bonus" tile (these have blue roof markings on the left and right, and a large exclamation point), take that bonus immediately, and at the beginning of every subsequent round.
The player may also perform any number of these "bonus" actions on their turn, which do not require dice (except the money bag):
- - change value of one of their dice (1 camel to reroll, 2 camels to change its value by one)
- - purchase a black die for 3 camels
- - complete a contract
- - improve a guild seal
- - place any die in the money bag and take one of: 3 coins, 2 camels, or 1 jade.
- - (caravans expansion) claim or complete a caravan
End Game Scoring
- Each improved guild seal shown on your personal scoring card awards points.
- Each different shield on cities with your trading posts, score as shown on the shields track.
- Every 2 remaining goods (pepper silk gold and jade) is worth 1 point. Camels are not goods!
- Every 10 coins is worth 1 point.
- Player who completed the most contracts gets 8 points, second most 4 points. (But no points for second in a 2-player game.)
If playing with Caravans expansion:
- For any caravan still on the game board, you may sell all remaining goods for half of the usual points: a gold bar is worth 3 points, a silk 2 points, and a pepper 1 point.
Tie breaker goes to player with most camels.