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On the Underground
Tulipmania 1637
Huang Di


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JKLM Interactive - Phoenicia

Phoenicia is a strategy game of bidding and development for 2-5 players, ages 12 and up. Each player rules a settlement located on the shores of the Fertile Crescent, in the Middle East, more than 3,000 years ago. During play, you spend wealth to expand your settlement, adding tiles and tokens to it. The first player to successfully found a city-state wins!

Each player has a game area (with their name at the top, surrounded by a border in their player colour). Each player area contains four village tiles at the start. Further village tiles can be added as the game progresses.

Being an auction game, the game revolves around money. Money comes in two forms - Production Cards and Coins. Coins are held in the Storage, and each have a value of 1. Cards are shown at the bottom of the player area, and have a value of 4, 5 or 6. Each player is limited to 1 production card per storehouse. The number of storehouses held is shown on the Storage tile. Each player is initially limited to 3 coins. These limits can be exceeded during a turn, but if exceeded at the end, the excess are lost. Overspending on a payment will always cause change to be given as coins.

At the start of each turn, players receive income. For every multiple of four income, a production card is received, and for every remaining income, a coin is received. Players can turn in coins to add to their income to get to the next multiple of four. However, the limit on the number of coins is checked immediately before income, and the limit on the number of coins and production cards is checked immediately after income.

Each player also has workers. Workers can be untrained or trained. Untrained workers are shown on the left of the Training Ground. Trained Workers are shown on the right of the Training Ground. Training a worker initially costs 2. A worker cannot be used until he has been trained.

Once a worker has been trained, he can be employed in one of the productive village tiles (Hunting, Farming, Mining and Clothmaking). To place a trained worker there, his tools must be bought for the cost shown on the tile. Once there, the worker produces income and victory points. Once a worker has been moved into a job, he can be moved to another job. In this case, his tools remain, and so a replacement worker can be moved there later without further cost. Tools can also be bought before a worker is available, if desired.

In this position, it costs two to train the untrained worker. To move him into Farming then costs a further five, to make a total of seven. To move him into Hunting instead is free (once you've paid two to train him), as there are already a set of tools on the hunting tile.

The core of the game is the development cards. These appear in the central area, and are auctioned. The card to auction is initially decided by the leading player, and once they have declined to select a card, passes around the table. The player selects the card to auction, and must bid. Bidding then goes around the table, and continues until only one player has not passed - that player wins the card.

Once a player has passed an opportunity to bid, they do not take any further part in that auction, and once a player has passed an opportunity to select the card to be auctioned, they do not take any further part in any auctions in that round.

Each development card offers a combination of the following rewards to the winner:

  • Income
  • Victory Points
  • Additional storage houses
  • Trained and/or untrained workers
  • New/Improved Village Tiles
  • Discounts on specific future development cards (which are shown below the card when it comes up for auction).

The details of each development card can be determined by right-clicking on it. Similarly the details of a village tile, production card, or a player's holdings can be determined by right-clicking on it (for a player, right-click the top bar of the player area).

Play continues until one player has 32 points or more, when the highest score wins. In the case of a tie, the first tied player around the table, starting from the current Overlord, is the winner.

Game subtleties

You probably want to play the game once, and then read the following notes. They may not make much sense before you've played the game, but once you've played once, they should be clear.

When paying for things, you can overpay and get change in coins. Not only does this give you a choice of cards to play, but it can also give you a distinct advantage in the income phase. For instance, if you have an income of 6, then you will get 1 card and 2 coins. Since cards average 5, that's a total gain of 7 on average. However, if you engineer it to have 2 coins, then your income of 6 plus the 2 coins gives you 2 cards, for an average gain of 10-2 = 8.

Furthermore, if you have the improved storage card, then you can hold up to 6 coins. And if you have an income of 6, and manage to end the turn with 6 coins in storage, then you can use your 6 income and 6 coins to get three cards, for an average gain on 15-6 = 9.

This is why you will sometimes be asked to pay 0. You can overpay with one of your cards, and will receive the change in coins. The coins may then be converted back into cards in the income phase, making a profit in the process.

Village Tile List

Tile Requirement Description
Training Ground Part of initial setup Trains workers at a cost of 2 per worker
Improved Training Ground Public Works Trains workers at a cost of 1 per worker
Storage Part of initial setup Holds up to three coins
Improved Storage Granary Holds up to six coins
Tile Requirement Cost of Tools Income per Worker VPs per Worker
Hunting Part of initial setup 2 1 1
Improved Hunting One Tracker 2 1 or 2* 1
Advanced Hunting Two Trackers 2 2 1
Farming Part of initial setup 5 2 1
Mining Prospector 8 3 2
Improved Mining One Smelter 8 3 or 4* 2
Advanced Mining Two Smelters 8 4 2
Clothmaking Dye House 11 4+ 2
Tile Requirement Cost of Tools Description
Victory Point Purchase One City Centre 3 Gives one VP per tool disk, max 3 tool disks.
Improved Victory Point Purchase Two City Centres 3 Gives one VP per tool disk, max 6 tool disks.

* Improved Hunting and Improved Mining give an income shown as "1 or 2" and "3 or 4" respectively. This indicates that each worker produces 1 income (for hunting) or 3 income (for mining), and every second worker produces 1 additional income (so two miners produce a total of 7 income, three produce 10, four produce 14).

+ In addition to providing 4 income and 2 VPs, each clothmaker also provides an additional storehouse.

Development Card List

Name Min Bid Income VPs Storehouses Workers Other Phase+ Cards in game#
Dyer 2   1     Discount* of 4 off Dye House 1 1/2/2/3
Granary 4   1 2   Gives Improved Storage 1 1/2/2/3
Glassmaking 5 1 1       1 1/2/2/3
Fort 7   1   3 Untrained Workers   1 1/2/2/3
Prospector 2   1     Gives Mining Tile
Discount* of 1 off Smelter
1 1/1/2/2
Indentured Worker 3       1 Trained Worker   1 1/1/2/2
Tracker 3   1     Gives Improved/Advanced Hunting
Discount* of 2 off Caravan
1 1/1/2/2
Name Min Bid Income VPs Storehouses Workers Other Phase+ Cards in game#
Caravan 9 2 1 1     2 1/2/2/3
Dye House 14 3 3 1   Gives Clothmaking 2 1/2/2/3
City Centre 4   2     Gives Victory Point Purchase
Discount* of 4 off Public Works
2 1/1/2/2
Smelter 6 1 1 1   Gives Improved/Advanced Mining 2 1/1/2/2
Shipyard 7   2     Discount* of 5 off Ships
Discount* of 5 off Trade Fleet
Discount* of 5 off Port
2 1/1/2/2
Name Min Bid Income VPs Storehouses Workers Other Phase+ Cards in game#
Public Works 12   5     Gives Improved Training Ground
Discount* of 4 off City Walls
3 1/2/2/3
Ships 14 4 2 1     3 1/2/2/3
Refugee Settlement 8       3 Untrained and 1 Trained worker   3 1/1/2/2
Merchant Quarter 9   2 2 1 Trained Worker   3 1/1/2/2
Name Min Bid Income VPs Storehouses Workers Other Phase+ Cards in game#
Trade Fleet 18 4 5 1     4 1/2/2/3
City Walls 30   8   3 Trained Workers   4 1/2/2/3
Port 25 6 7 1     4 1/1/2/2

+ The cards are split into four phases, such that all the cards from phase 1 will appear before any of the cards from phase 2, etc. Within each phase, the cards are shuffled randomly.

# This shows the number of each card that's available in a 2/3/4/5 player game.

* The discount shown applies if you hold one of this card. A second card gives a lower discount, as follows:
First CardSecond CardThird Card

Discounts are shown by a coloured square below the card they apply to, when the appropriate card comes up for auction.

Copyright (c) 2009, JKLM Games Ltd