The privileged are satiated but the sans-culottes are starving. There is not enough bread.
Not enough bread ? Let them eat cake !
The Bastille fortress was stormed by revolutionaries. It now holds the strategic reserve of cakes. Only citizens wearing the Phrygian cap are allowed to receive Bastille cakes.
Will your revolutionary trial grant you the coveted cap ? Or will you get guillotined instead ?
Will the genuine sans-culottes eat more cakes than the privileged ?
Will the smartest grabber defeat the Revolution by accumulating an undeserved wealth of cakes ? Or will the Revolution succeed in redistributing pastry ?
Tutorial and simplified rules
The most revolutionary aspect of this revolution is its revolutionary trials. This tutorial allows you to discover in a few minutes and without material the principle of the trials. Can you guess if the citizen who is being trialed is lying or telling the truth? Will a democratic vote by more or less well-meaning citizens allow the Revolution to succeed? Or will it let the selfish grabbers fool other citizens and get rich at their expense?
The trial consists in voting to guess the truth, either to convince other citizens (if you’re a revolutionary) or to mislead them (if you’re a grabber).
This tutorial includes several trials. For each trial, citizens are divided into two camps:
- The grabbers win if the majority is wrong.
- The Revolutionaries win if the majority guesses right.
For the first trial, the oldest player plays the role of a grabber whose being trialed.
The trialed grabber secretly designates other grabbers among the players. He can not designate more than half of the players.
To designate them secretly, he whispers “grabber” or “revolutionary” to each player’s ear.
Once the roles are distributed, the trialed grabber says something that is difficult to guess but easy to check after the votes. For example :
I have some candy in the right pocket of my pants
I have the mobile number of the math teacher in my contacts on my phone
I have a friend on Instagram who has a horse’s head as his profile picture
there is a duck in the background picture of my phone
I’m wearing boxer shorts with pink flowers on them
I just wrote a real Russian word in the palm of my hand
there is only one bottle of soda left in the fridge
I drew a heart in this paper
I have more than 50% of battery in my phone
I have less than 3 unread whatsapp messages
there is more than 100 billion kilometers between the earth and the sun
my cousin believes that the earth is flat
my DNA is 1% typical of the inhabitants of Mali
Roger is in love with me
The trialed grabber can specify how other citizens can verify this statement after the vote. The statement is valid if citizens all agree that it will be verifiable after the vote.
All citizens try to guess the truth. Is the statement true or false? The citizens will then vote. If the majority guessed right, revolutionaries win. If the majority is mistaken, grabbers win.
The vote has two rounds. The trialed grabber does not vote.
The first round does not count. It is used for debating. Everyone thinks for a few seconds in silence. Everyone puts their hand behind their back. To vote “true” they will show their closed fist, to evoke the shape of a brioche. To vote “false” they will show they empty hand, palm opened. Everyone says in chorus and rhythm: “shi-fu-mi”. At “-mi”, everyone shows their hand and thus their vote: fist closed for “true” or palm open for “false”. This is the first round.
Then everyone can expose their arguments to try to convince others or to change their own mind: why they voted true or false. Once all those who wish so have expressed themselves, they vote a second time, for good. This is the second round.
The votes for the second round are counted to determine the majority vote. In case of a tie, the “true” vote wins.
The trialed grabber then reveals the truth. If need be, the other citizens check the truth.
If the majority is right, then revolutionaries earn one point each. If the majority is wrong, the trialed grabber wins two points and the other grabbers earn one point each.
This revolutionary trial is over. It is to the citizen to the left of the one who has just been judged to take the role of the grabber to be trialed.
The tutorial stops whenever citizens want. The winner is the citizen who has earned the most points.
This tutorial has allowed you to discover some of the principles of this game:
- the revolutionaries want to the truth to triumph,
- the grabbers are ready to deceive other citizens to defend their own interest,
- the revolutionary trials serve to make the truth emerge about each citizen thanks to votes,
- all citizens can vote and debate during any trial.
You are now ready for the real revolution.
- this set of rules
- one reminder card per player
- print them, 1 per player
- a stack of citizen sheets
- print them from our Google spreadsheets, at least 2 sheets per player
- take half of the sheets and write Sans-culotte (or S) on the first row of their secret bottom flap
- take the other half and write Privileged (or P) on the first row of their secret bottom flap
- a Book of Public Safety
- create a copy of the Google spreadsheets and use its book tab
- a Bastille fortress
- print it, just 1 for the whole game
- a stack of justice scales which also serve as Phrygian caps when put upside down
- cut and decorate them from the egg carton, 1 pair of scales per player
- a bag of cakes
- chickpeas can be used (or any peas, grains, stones or tokens), 20 cakes per player
- a 6-sided dice
- one pike per player
- regular pencils are used as pikes, 1 pike per player
Your objective depends on who you are.
You are either a Revolutionary or a Grabber:
- If you are a Revolutionary, you want the ideal of the revolution to succeed so you want sans-culottes to get cakes and you don’t want privileged to get cakes.
- If you are a Grabber, you don’t care about the revolution and you want to get as many cakes as possible for yourself.
The winner is the player with the highest score at the end of the game (see How to win for more details about scoring and strategies).
How to Start
Citizen sheets are randomly shuffled.
You, as well as any other player:
- get a pike-pencil
- randomly pick your first citizen sheet ; you are not allowed to show the bottom flap of your citizen sheet to other players so fold it and keep it underneath, hidden and secret until the end of the game
- secretely look at the bottom flap of your first citizen sheet and see whether your first citizen is a sans-culotte or a privileged
- secretely choose to play as a Revolutionary (R) or as a Grabber (G) ; you write “R” or “G” on bottom flap of your first citizen sheet ; be careful to keep it hidden until the end of the game
- take 20 cakes and put them on top of your citizen sheet
- give your citizen a name and write this name on the sheet
You now look at other players. Does any player wear blue, white and red ? Does any player wear a carmagnole-long coat ? or a cap ? Who can best sing the Carmagnole ? Who has the strongest French accent ? The most sans-culottes-looking player starts playing first. You have to agree with all players before the game can start.
How to play
Your turn is played in the following steps.
Step 1 : Pick your next citizen
If you have several citizen sheets, you move your pike-pencil to the next one and play with it.
If you have only one citizen sheet, you play with this sheet. Put your pike on it.
- Has this citizen emigrated and you want them to get back into the game ?
- Then just say “Vive la revolution” and your citizen is back from emigration. Proceed to Step 2 : buy cockades.
- Then just say “Vive la revolution” and your citizen is back from emigration. Proceed to Step 2 : buy cockades.
- Has this citizen emigrated and you want to pass their turn ?
- Then do nothing and jump to Step 5 : any citizen left.
- Or do you just want to pass the turn of this citizen ?
- Then just say “I pass” and jump to Step 5 : any citizen left.
- Otherwise proceed to Step 2 : buy cockades.
Step 2 : Buy cockades
You can buy one cockade if you want to.
Just say “I buy a cockade“.
Buying cockades may let you prove or pretend that you are a sans-culottes because their impact on your final score is three times worse for privileged than for sans-culottes. So buying cockades might help you build a reputation of being a genuine sans-culotte.
You don’t have to pay anything now. The price of cockades will be deducted from your final score. 1 cockade costs 1 score point for sans-culottes. 1 cockade costs 3 score points for privileged.
Step 3 : Donate cakes to the Bastille
You can donate cakes to the Bastille fortress if you want to. Pick any number of cakes from your current citizen sheet and put them into the Bastille for sans-culottes (or grabbers !) to be fed.
Step 4 : Cake-vote !
Some citizens are genuine sans-culotte while other are privileged grabbers disguised as sans-culottes. Maybe you are a grabber and want other players to think your citizens are sans-culottes so that you can get cakes.
Cake voting is the most important step in the game.
Pick the citizen you want to cake vote about. It can be one of your citizen sheets or any citizen sheet of any player.
Do they have a justice scale in front of their citizen sheet ? If they don’t, then pick a new justice scale and put it in front of their citizen sheet. If this citizen already has a Phrygian cap, then do not get a new justice scale but put their Phrygian cap upside down and it will serve as their justice scale.
Pick any number of cakes from your citizen sheet and put them on the sans-culotte scale or on the privileged scale of the citizen being trialed.
Have your cake vote carefully noted as an additional row at the end of the Book of Public Safety with the name of your voting citizen, the name of the citizen being trialed, the number of cakes you voted with and whether you voted sans-culotte or privileged ; for instance “Robespierre, Danton, 3, privileged” would mean your Robespierre citizen voted 3 cakes that Danton is a privileged
Roll the revolutionary dice.
Did you roll a 5 or a 6 ?
- If no, then your cake voting step is over. Jump to Step 6 : emigrate.
- If you rolled a 5 or a 6, then your cake vote closed the revolutionary trial of that citizen you cake voted on and a verdict has to be issued and rewards to be given to winners.
Step 5 : Verdict and rewards
The revolutionary trial of a citizen has just been closed. What’s the verdict ? Sans-culotte or privileged ?
Remove the justice scales from this citizen and count the number in each scale.
If there are more cakes on the sans-culotte scale than on the privileged scale, then the citizen is reputed to be a sans-culotte and is given a Phrygian cap. The cap is put on the corresponding citizen sheet. This citizen will get access to the Bastille cakes.
If there are an equal number of cakes on each scale or less cakes on the sans-culotte scale, then the citizen is said to be a privileged and should get guillotined. This game is non-violent so please don’t behead the player.
Does this verdict disagree with your vote ? Too bad, you lost the cakes you voted with on the loosing side. These loosing cakes are to be shared among winners.
Does this verdict agree with your vote ? Congratulations, you won ! Not only do you get your winning cakes back but you win some of the loosing cakes as rewards for your good cake-voting.
How many loosing cakes do vote winners get ?
The tab for the Book of Public Safety on our Google spreadsheets calculates and displays the number of lost cakes to be rewarded to the Bastille and to the winners of this cake-vote when a verdict is to be issued.
You must mark on the Book of Public Safety that this trial is closed so that cake votes aren’t get counted twice into account during future trials.
The cakes on the winning scale are called winning cakes. The cakes on the loosing scale are called lost cakes. There are always more winning cakes than lost cakes.
The Bastille always supports the winning scale. You must pretend the Bastille voted for the winning scale with as many cakes as the difference between the number of winning cakes and the number of lost cakes.
For instance, if there are 3 cakes on the privileged scale and 1 cake on the sans-culotte scale, then you will pretend that the Bastille voted privileged with 3-1=2 cakes.
Voting citizens get their winning cakes back. The lost cakes are to be distributed to the winners and to the Bastille proportionately to the number of cakes they won with.
Biggest winners get their reward first. The Bastille get its reward before citizens to be rewarded with an equal decimal number of cakes.Citizens closest to the left of the current player get rewarded before other citizens to be rewarded with an equal decimal number of cakes.
Cakes can’t be split in pieces so the proportion of cakes to be given as reward must be rounded to the nearest integer number of cakes. Smaller winners are rewarded last with the remaining cakes so they might get no reward.
For instance, let’s say players A, B and C voted sans-culotte with 1, 2 and 3 cakes respectively. That makes 6 cakes in support of sans-culotte. And players D and E voted privileged with 2 cakes each. That makes 4 cakes in support of privileged.
The trial gets closed. The verdict is sans-cullotte because 1+2+3 > 2+2.
The difference between winning and lost cakes is 1+2+3-2-2 = +2. So we consider the Bastille to have voted sans-culotte with 2 cakes.
The total number of winning cakes is 8. There are 4 loosing cakes to be distributed among player A, player B, player C and the Bastille fortress proportionately to their winning cakes :
Player C should get 3*4⁄8 = 1.5 cake.
The Bastille should get 2*4⁄8 = 1 cake.
Player B should get 2*4⁄8 = 1 cake.
Player A should get 1*4⁄8 = 0.5 cake.
But cakes can’t be split. So this number gets rounded to the nearest number of cakes. Half cake is rounded as one cake.
Player C gets 2 cakes.
The Bastille gets 1.
Player B gets 1.
Player A gets none.
Step 6 : Emigrate
Your citizen might want to leave the game, either temporarily or finally.
Just say “I emigrate.”
Reminder: Your next turns will be passed as if you said “I pass” for each of your citizens (see step 1) until you say “Vive la revolution !” at step 1 or until the end of game.
Step 7 : Any citizen left ?
If ever you already have several citizen sheets, you now play your next citizen by jumping to Step 1 : pick your next your citizen
Once you played all of your citizen sheets, proceed to Step 8 : recruit a new citizen
Step 8 : Recruit a new citizen
If you are revolutionary, then you may want more citizens to join the revolution.
Just say “I recruit a new citizen”.
Randomly pick an additional citizen sheet.
If you are a revolutionary, secretely write “R” (as in Revolutionary) on the secret bottom flap of the sheet and see if your new citizen is a sans-culotte or a privileged. You are not allowed to show this flap to other players. Give this new citizen a name and write it on the sheet.
If you are a grabber you don’t care about the revolution unless it allows you to get more cakes. But you can pretend you are a revolutionary and get fake citizen ID which you will use as puppets. Just say “I recruit a new citizen”. Randomly pick an additional citizen sheet. Secretely write “G” (as in “Grabber”) on the bottom flap of the sheet and pretend you are reading whether your new citizen is a sans-culotte or a privileged. In reality, since you are a grabber, all of your citizens are sans-culottes if your first citizen sheet said sans-culotte or are privileged if your first citizen sheet said privileged. They are fake. The mention on additional sheets is to be ignored. Give this new puppet citizen a name and write it on the sheet.
Step 9 : Distribute Bastille cakes
Look at each citizen, starting from the first one of the player on your left.
Does this one have a Phrygian cap (not a justice scale) ? If not, then look at the next citizen until you have examined all citizens.
If a citizen has a Phrygian cap, then pick a cake from the Bastille and put it on the citizen sheet. Update this citizen sheet with the number of cakes distributed from the Bastille to this citizen.
If there are no cakes left in the Bastille, then… too bad for them.
Step 10 : End of turn
Your turn is now over. The player on your left plays their turn.
The game ends :
when the last citizen in play emigrates
or once all players agree this is the end of the game and each of their citizen play one last turn
Then you calculate scores.
How to win
The winner is the player with the highest score.
In order to win, you have to know how your score is calculated, to understand it well and to adopt well-thought attack or defense strategies.
Calculate your score
Fill your citizen sheet in order to calculate your final score :
- you and all players reveal the true nature of their citizens by unfolding the secret bottom flap of their citizen sheet : revolutionary or grabber ? sans-culottes or privileged ?
- for each grabber : how many cakes do their citizens own at the end of the game ? substract 20 per citizen (their initial number of cakes) from that number: that’s how many cakes this grabber earned during the game. Add that number to the score of this grabber.
- how many cakes were distributed from the Bastille to sans-culottes ? add this number to the score of every revolutionary.
- how many cakes were distributed from the Bastille to privileged ? substract this number from the score of every revolutionary.
- for each revolutionary : how many citizens did you recruit ? substract this number from your score
- for each sans-culottes : how many cockades did this sans-culottes buy ? substract that number to the score of this citizen.
- for each privileged : how many cockades did this privileged buy ? multiply that number by 3 then substract this from the score of this citizen.
- for each player : sum the score of your citizens if you are a grabber or pick the best score of your citizens if you are a revolutionary
Understand your scoring
|Who you are||Decreases your score||Increases your score|
|Grabber||You donate cakes to the Bastille (-1 point per cake)||The Bastille distributes cakes to you (+1 point per cake)|
|Grabber||You loose cake votes (-1 point per cake)||You win cake votes (+1 point per cake)|
|Grabber or Revolutionary||You buy cockades (-1 point per cockade if you are a sans-culotte or -3 point per cockade if you are privileged)|
|Revolutionary||The Bastille distributes cakes to privileged citizens (-1 point per cake)||The Bastille distributes cakes to sans-culottes (+1 point per cake)|
|Revolutionary||You recruit a citizen (-1 point per citizen you recruited)|
There are four cases. You can be :
a Revolutionary and a sans-culottes, then you may want to prove that you are a sans-culottes and to know who is a sans-culottes and who is a privileged so that you can best contribute to the revolution,
a Revolutionary and a privileged, then you may not want others to believe you are a sans-culottes and you may want to know who is a sans-culottes and who is a privileged so that you can best contribute to the revolution,
a Grabber and a sans-culottes, then you may want to prove that you are a sans-culottes and you may want to pretend that you are a revolutionary so that you influence other players but you may only care about others to the extent that it helps you to get more cakes,
a Grabber and a privileged, then you want to pretend that you are a sans-culottes and a revolutionary so that you influence others toward letting you grab more cakes and you may only care about others to the extent that it helps you to get more cakes
In other words, your score mainly depends on whether you are a Revolutionary or a Grabber :
- If you are a Revolutionary, the more cakes are distributed to sans-culottes, the higher your score gets ; and the more cakes are distributed to privileged, the lower your score gets.
- If you are a Grabber, the higher number of cakes you earn during the game, the higher your score gets.
Your score also depends on the number of cockades you buy during the game in order to be recognized as a genuine sans-culotte and get access to cakes. The more cockades you buy, the lower your score gets. Cockades are 3 times more expensive for the privileged than for the genuine sans-culottes. The score of the privileged will get even lower with the number of cockades they buy in order to pretend they are sans-culottes.
Your score finally depends on the number of citizens you recruit. If you are a revolutionary, then recruiting new revolutionaries is difficult and your score will be negatively impacted by the number of citizens you recruited. But if you are a grabber, you can freely recruit citizen puppets and pretend they are revolutionaries while actually serving your own interest. Your score won’t get impacted by the number of citizens you recruit.
Strategy : Bribery attacks
Revolutionaries as well as grabbers can try to win cake votes with bribery attacks. Here is how. At any time, you announce something like this :
If you vote like me in this trial and we loose, I promise I will reimburse your lost cakes and I will give one more cake as a reward.
You can imagine and try similar promises. You can also ask any third party (player or non-player) to take some of your cakes as deposits and use them according to your promise.
This kind of promise is also known as a P+Epsilon attack.
Strategy : Alliance defense
You can defend against bribery attacks by forming alliances. You can announce such an alliance at any time :
If you join our alliance against that citizen, you have to give 1 cake as a deposit. Then if you vote against them in this trial, you get your deposit back. But if you vote like them, the alliance will give your deposit cake to any of its loyal members.
You can request any trusted third party to manage the alliance by holding and distributing cakes according to your promise.
The research purpose of this board game is to identify winning strategies for grabbers and revolutionaries. Please drop a comment below to tell us how you win !
How to contribute
See the Contribute page.