You are head of a family in an Italian city-state, a city run by a weak and corrupt court. You need to manipulate, bluff and bribe your way to power. Your object is to destroy the influence of all the other families, forcing them into exile. Only one family will survive...
Each player is randomly dealt 2 cards that indicate which government officials he influences. These cards are kept secret until a coup or assassination occurs, or the player is caught in a bluff. Once both cards are revealed, the player is eliminated from the game — the last player remaining is the winner.
On a turn, a player can take 1-2 coins, launch a coup against another player (costing 7 coins), or take actions that are specific to certain roles: taking 3 coins, stealing 2 coins from another player, making an assassination attempt, or exchanging cards. Certain roles can counteract the actions of other roles. But here’s the kicker: you don’t actually have to own a particular card to take that action. You can choose to bluff about it instead. However, if someone challenges your bluff, you will lose influence and must flip one of your cards face up. You will also lose influence if you wrongfully challenge another player.