Machiavelli - State of the Art of the State

Bruce Duewer

Machiavelli is one of my favorite variants, and my favorite that is supported both by the Ken Lowe Internet judges and is in print. That I happen to be relatively good at it as well is a bonus. I've gotten a lot more requests lately for information regarding certain oddities in the current state of the Machaivelli implementation of the judge than I have in a while. Apparently, we've got a lot of new players (a very good thing) and they are justifiably annoyed when they run into places where things happen differently than they expect. Thus, in this first article on Machiavelli (yes Manus, that's a promise that this will be a short series) I will ignore various pleas for a strategy guide, first trying to make sure everyone can go into games with a relatively even playing field. This article is my attempt to address three burning questions in the hearts of most Judge Machiavelli newbies and many GMs:

Section I: The Rules

The Judge implementation of Machiavelli is based on the original release, rather than on the more recent Avalon Hill re-release. Thus, when playing on the judge, the first principle to remember is to ignore the new release, or you will get very confused.

There are actively used sources of knowledge about what the rules are. They are:

I'm going to risk causing great confusion by stating what I think the proper way to play is on the less-than-clear points, and I invite others to write me with comments. Hopefully at least on the points where we can reach a consensus, either rules.machiavelli can be updated or an errata.machiavelli can be added to the distribution. I apologize for the laundry-list nature of this, and how things that are simply easy to misread will be mixed in with things about which serious contention exists. Some of these are also occasionally handled inconsistently by the judge and will be addressed in that respect in sections II and III. GM's are welcomed to include a statement in the house rules for games either affirming or denying agreement with this document until we produce something more official.

Anchored Cities


Variable Incomes



Timing of ownership changes






Coastal Conovys

Special movement rules

Assasination Chits

Bank operations


Special units



Autonomous Garrisons

Victory Conditions

Art of the State

Section II: Judge Bugs

The Judge has several known bugs, and probably several unknown bugs. Here is a description of some of the most common ones, and a short description of the fix. Let me know if you know of more. For the purposes of this list I'm assuming that my interpretations in Section 1 are correct. Any judge coders who are motivated to do so are welcome to shrink this section. In my opinion, adding additional ownership checks at certain key points would do the most good for an easy change.

Retreat City Ownership Bug

Missing Ownership Checks

Repeated Rolls Bug

Negative or Out of Bounds Rolls

Extra Special Units

Truncated Order Reports

Frankenstien's Autonomous Garrison

Illegal Conversion Retreats Allowed

Illegal Venice Retreats Allowed

Mishandling of 3d multiple rules

Victory Not Detected

Unreal Dislodgements of Convoys

Paradox Situations

Section III: Dealing With Bugs


Cash Wasting Bribes

Moving a game to a different Judge

Editing Data Files

Bruce Duewer

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