Players each get five dice, which they will roll at the start of the round. Each player also gets three Wisdom tokens. Players each start with one random Trait and one random philosophy.
Further rules are as follows:
- To start a round, roll five dice in your color.
- Your lowest dice have your first Trait. The second-lowest dice have your second trait, and so on.
- On your turn, place one die...
- on the corner of any card, thereby founding that many villages on the river;
- or beside the philosophy deck. Draw that many philosophy cards, and keep one.
- Any dice placed on a Hill get +1. Any dice placed on a Mountain get +2. These bonuses are cumulative.
- You may grant one wisdom to another player to swap a die face before placing your die.
- Then you may sacrifice a trait, if you wish to do so. Each sacrificed trait awards greater points than the last, 3 for the first, then 6, 10, 15, 21. Sacrificed traits are turned face down and set aside.
- Lastly, you may achieve a Philosophy by paying Virtues noted for the desired level. Once a philosophy has been achieved at any level, points are awarded, and it is turned face-down. (Thus, you may try to save up for the high value levels, but it may take the whole game.)
- Whoever has the most villages around a light-bordered card collects it.
- Whoever has the fewest villages around a dark-bordered card collects it.
- If tied, the card remains on the board.
- For each card you collect with 10 or more villages around it total, collect one Pollution token.
- The player who achieved the most philosophies gets 10 points. 2nd place gets 5.
- The player who has sacrificed the most traits gets 10 points. 2nd place gets 5.
- The player who has the most Virtues remaining gets 10 points. 2nd place gets 5.
- The player with the fewest Pollution tokens gets 10 points. 2nd place gets 5.
- All tied players share points.