I'm getting pretty close to a finished version of REGIME, and it's ready for open playtesting. Download the current REGIME prototype here. Rules are below. This game is designed for 2-5 players, but is best with 3.
You are each diplomats sent to the isolated nation of REGIME. Your goal is to determine who is the true ruler of the country while also building a cabinet of advisers who are aligned with that ruler.
Shuffle the 36 unbordered cards and deal them out evenly to each player's hand. (Discard any leftover cards.)
Sort out the black bordered cards in three rows, one row with letters, one row with numbers, and one row with colors.
The player who has most recently been to another country takes the first turn in the first round.
There are two steps to a turn.
First, choose a card from your hand to discard face-down into the discard pile.
Then turn over one of the table cards face-down. You can turn over any card, unless it is the last face-up card in that row. In that case, it cannot be turned over.
This ends your turn. The player to your left then takes their turn. Players continue taking turns until the table cards show only three face-up cards, one in each row.
This is the true ruler of REGIME. Now you know that the true ruler of this country is Red Archon 6.
All players reveal any cards remaining in their hands. Score 1 point for each color, letter, or number in your hand that matches the face-up table cards.
In this example, each of your Reds, Archons, and 6s score 1 pt each. You have three Reds, two Archons, and three 6s, for a total of 8 points!
The game continues until each player has had a chance to be first player. Once that final round is complete, points are totaled and the winner is whoever has the most points.
What REGIME is Missing
While this might be perfectly serviceable as a microgame where you simply tally points across multiple plays, I would rather have some continuing effects across multiple rounds.
I faced a similar problem in Koi Pond last year and Eric Martin suggested a set-majority/set-collection mechanic that would eventually evolve into the Ribbons. Curious if something similar might work here, based on the cards you discard.
Ideally this mechanic would be something that doesn't require a lot of cross-referencing or book-keeping though. For example, it would be cool if discards affected the relative values of each suit, but that might be too much to fiddle with.
As it stands, the game is a simple, fun diversion that makes you shake your fists at your opponent.