|Number of Players
||G. W. "Jerry" D'Arcey, Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson
In the Catholic Church, an indulgence may be granted to relieve your sins. In some cases, this might be granted by doing good works or engaging in meaningful prayer, but in the darkest of times, indulgences were sold to anyone willing to make a significant "contribution". As the rising families of the Italian Renaissance conspired and plotted to seize control, the indulgence offered them a clear conscience for many a questionable deed committed in the name of power.
Indulgence is a trick-taking game for 3 or 4 players. On their turn, players pick an edict that gives the rule for the hand. The other players then choose if they want to violate the edict by doing the opposite of what it commands. So, for example, "Don't take any Medicis" suddenly becomes "I must take all the Medicis". Committing a sin can be difficult but a player attempting it gets the benefit of the indulgence, a token that turns one of their cards into a winning hand. Can you fool your opponents into committing sins without the indulgence? Can you avoid commiting a sin yourself? Whoever can pull that off will end up with a pile of gems and be declared the victor.
Indulgence is a restoration of the game Dragonmaster, originally published by Milton Bradley in 1981 and designed by Jerry D'Arcey. It was itself a reimagining of D'Arcey's prior game, Coup d'Etat, and its progenitor Barbu. Dragonmaster enjoyed lavish production value, with oversized cards, art by the incomparable Bob Pepper, and some nifty interlocking gems for keeping score. On top of the retheming, the restoration evens out the game play. The original game suffered from a runaway leader problem where an early power play with the dragon card all but assured one player's elimination from contention and gave the other a big leg up. The indulgence token replaces the dragon card to make it more accessible, less powerful as well as easier to understand. It also raises the number of contracts from 5 to 20, and ups the deck to 36 cards.