Belle of the Ball has gone through some big changes in basic gameplay between Prototype M and now. All for the best, though! This prototype has all the same set-building strategic fun with a much clearer set of short-term tactics and take-that offense. In case you need a refresher on the premise:
You and the other players are holding parties on the same night, right next to each other! Attract guests, group guests with shared interests and mess with your opponent’s party! The player with the most popularity chips at the end of the game wins!
[DOWNLOAD THE RULES]
[DOWNLOAD THE CARDS]
- Shuffle Guest cards. Discard twelve random cards. Set the rest as a Guest Deck.
- Shuffle Belle cards. Deal three to each player’s hand. Set the rest as a Belle Deck.
- Set aside spaces for discarded Belles and Guests.
- Give a Start Player token to the host of this gathering.
- Each player has implied spaces for four stacks of cards.
- Give each player five chips.
|Example of a two-player setup.|
START OF ROUND
The host deals three Guest cards per player face-up in a LINE. Read each name in an ostentatious voice. For example, a two-player game has a six-card line.
ON YOUR TURN...
You may play a Belle at the start of your turn. Follow her instructions. Belle cards allow you to ignore certain rules of the game.
STEP 1: Invite
You may take the first Guest card in line. - OR - You may take a Guest card that is further back in line by placing one chip on each skipped Guest card. If you invite a guest with chips, you collect those chips, too.
|An example of inviting the first guest in line.|
|An example of inviting the second guest in line.|
STEP 2: Group
Each new guest goes to one of four stacks, or GROUPS, in your collection, or PARTY. Once placed, Guests may not move to another group. You may only have up to four groups. There may be only be up to five Guests in a group. A group of five is a FULL GROUP.
|Example of grouping a newly invited guest.|
STEP 3: Score
If you have a full group, look for any suits, or INTERESTs, the guests in that group have in common. Earn 1 chip for each matching interest in that group. For example, if your full group has 2 hearts and 5 globes, you earn 7 chips. You may score multiple full groups in the same turn.
|Example of matching interests in a full group.|
|Example of collecting chips for matching interests.|
END OF TURN
Discard any of your full groups. The player to your left takes the next turn. Continue until the line is empty.
|Example of discarding a full group.|
END OF ROUND
The round ends when the line is empty. Each player draws back up to three Belle cards. (Reshuffle the Belle discard deck if it runs out.) The player with fewest Chips gets the Start Player token. Play new rounds until the Guest deck runs out.
END OF GAME
The game ends after the last round is complete. Any remaining groups do not score. The player with the most chips wins!
One proposal for has been to shuffle the Belles and Guests into a single deck. Belles can then be invited just like any guest, but instead of going to your party, they go to your hand. Otherwise, the rules are the same as above. It's an interesting thought, as it gives more incentive to spend chips up the queue in pursuit of a novel strategy. Feel free to test it!