Cutthroat Kingdoms FAQ

References and questions on the Board Game Geek Cutthroat Kingdoms forums were used to make this post/document. If the rulebook definitively answered a question, then the “Rules as written” are supplied here. If the rules are vague but the question was answered by AEG then additional information was provided.

When multiple options are provided you will want to use the rules as written unless your group decided before play began to use an alternate option. Of course you are always empowered to make whatever changes to the rules your group believes are appropriate through the mechanisms provided in the rules.

Our thanks to BoardGameGeek participant Nicholas Sabian aka TrueLancer who compiled and organized this FAQ! Any errors, omissions or mistakes are AEG’s not TrueLancer’s.


Q. In games with many players, especially six players, the coin supply runs out. Are coins piece limited? Are gems piece limited?

A. Gems ARE piece limited. There are 36 gems comprised of six colors with six gems each. However, coins are not. If you run out, you should use another token to help out (i.e. large coins, such as a quarters, or poker chips could represent 25 copper coins to better track money and make change for the bank).

Q. In 3 Player Games, are Feast, Taster, and Royal Pillow cards used? Do you collect Feast Cards? Should you have Taster Cards and Royal Pillow cards?

A. “A Royal Wedding” and “Feast” Events have “4+ Players” printed on them. They aren’t used. You should still collect Feast Cards, as the final score incorporates all sources of VPs, which include the values listed on the Feast Cards.

Pertaining to Taster Cards and Royal Pillow Cards:

Ruling: Cards pertaining to events should read “3+ Players” and be removed if they are not relevant.

Technically, the Royal Pillow works even in a game with no marriages. After all, you smother ‘the heir card in front of you’, which is either another house’s if you’ve had a marriage or your own if you are unmarried. Perhaps a deal involving smothering your beloved children could be made for the right price…

Q. What is the difference between military support from marriage vs. the rules for ‘calling for reinforcement’ on page 13?

A. Rules as Written: Different unaligned houses cannot perform attack or defend actions on behalf of other houses. Soldiers always loyally defend their own house while mercenaries only defend territories or protect lands of houses that have paid them to do so. “Calling for reinforcements” is not asking another player to defend on your behalf so much as paying them something (or, nothing if you are particularly crafty) in exchange for mercenary cards which you then use on your own to defend your own lands.

In contrast, two houses aligned through marriage are given more options. Soldiers may defend their own house’s territories as well as territories belonging to the house they are aligned through marriage with. This gives an aligned house a larger supply of superior troops who are able to be “recalled from the dead”.

It’s worth noting that the Rules as Written simply say that an aligned house may defend; not that it must defend nor that house can *refuse* this aid, potentially opening the path for a particularly creative betrayal scenario.

Q. When does the “Welcome to Aurum” card get played? 

Ruling: Players choose before play begins from these options:

Rules as written: It is not a special Event card in any way other than it is guaranteed to occur first as it is placed on the top of the deck. Play it at the end of the first player’s turn (after their Resource Phase and Action Phase) during the Event Phase as a normal Event card.


Revised Rule: Play the card before the first player’s turn begins.

If one or more of the players are new or a decision cannot be reached by the group in a short period of discussion, play according to the rules as written.

Q. Jeweler: can you sell MULTIPLE gems to the bank?

A. The rules are incorrect. The correct answer is Yes. (this is errata).

Q. Drakonhelm reads, “This territory cannot become plagued.” The Plague cards reads, “Choose one of your territories, or any territory if you control none. If it is already plagued, all military cards on it are killed. Otherwise, flip it to its plagued side.” Can you choose to apply The Plague card to Drakonhelm if you have multiple territories? If you ONLY own Drakonhelm, does that change the interaction? It doesn’t have a plagued side.

Ruling: As intended: ownership of Drakonhelm protects you from the plague.

Rules as Written: sometimes you might ‘technically’ be allowed to choose Drakonhelm but can’t comply with the whole instructions.

Ruling: Make your choice of territory as if you didn’t own Drakonhelm if you do.

Q. The Tribute Event calls for ‘all players’ to collect both coins and gems from their territories. Since gems are limited, it is possible to get into a situation where two or more players may attempt to collect gems but there not be enough for everybody to collect their gem tribute. In this case, which players get priority on collecting gems, if any?

Ruling: Players vote for a mechanism of distribution, and if no successful vote, use the following procedure:

Clockwise order starting with the player who triggered the Tribute Event. The first player will collect all of their gems, then the next player, and so on, until the gems have all been collected or the gem bank is exhausted.

Q. Concerning Attacking and Conquering Unoccupied Territories: the summary of the Action Phase and the “Attacking Territories” section use some terms like ‘attacking’ and ‘conquering’ interchangably. While attacking a territory and emptying it of defenders would make it unoccupied (thus allowing your “Conquer Unoccupied Territories” action to take it and any other empty territories over provided you had sufficient soldiers and mercenaries to play to defend it), can you ‘conquer’ a territory after successfully attacking it? Or is that solely the realm of attacking? The rules seem to imply you may ‘take over and garrison’ a territory as a function of attacking it, and that the “Attack” action triggers taking one set of resources from one territory you conquered – is this ‘conquered with an attack action’? or ‘conquered with the Conquer Unoccupied Territories action’? or both? 

Ruling: Attacking Territories (to empty them of defenders) and Conquering Empty Territories (that are empty to start with or have been emptied by your recent attacks) are separate distinct actions. They force you to be strategic and make difficult choices between combat or moving into empty territories. Players with no territories have to make hard choices between taking over a place or mounting a free range attack somewhere. Additionally, since you get resources only during the Attack action, you will have to carefully choose between conquering and attacking if you want specific resources.

These rules are confusing because the word “attack” and “conquer” are used in three different sections and seem to contradict depending on which you give precedence to, potentially coming from different phases of writing. This ruling should clarify the matter.

Q. Winning the game. What happens in the event of a tie on VP? What is the tiebreaker?

Ruling: Players have a vote. It’s time for Kingmaking! If there is no majority opinion, play Cutthroat Kingdoms again to resolve the tie.

Q. Pertaining to THE LINE MUST REMAIN UNBROKEN! Bastards protect “a player’s heir”. They may save ‘the royal heir’. ‘Their’ is extremely vague and can be referring to quite a different collection of bastard/heir relationships. Which bastards protect which heir? Where must the heir be? Does ‘your heir’ refer to your natural born children or do your sons- and daughters-in-law also count?

Do bastards protect only their half-siblings or their siblings-in-law?

Who controls the bastard? Can a bastard protect a heir at a ‘different’ feast belonging to a different player? If I control somebody else’s bastard, I can certainly trade/give it to them, but can I PLAY the bastard to save a heir (with or without their permission, possibly as a trump card to mess with marriages)?

Can my bastard protect my heir elsewhere? Can I make YOUR bastard protect YOUR heir (who is in front of me due to marriage) if somebody tries to poison him or her?

Ruling: Only the Bastard of YOUR house may save YOUR house-specific Royal Heir. So, if you are married, you must give YOUR Bastard to your partner to save YOUR Heir, since they hold your Heir.
A darker, more devious group may decide before play begins to have ANY Bastard save the Royal Heir in front of you from 1 Poison. In this way, you could potentially (if enough Poison gets through), force multiple Bastards to drink, thereby saving your rightful Heir.
Errata: A Bastard may only save an Heir from 1 single dose of Poison. Multiple Poisons may break through the Feast, however.

Q. How does the feast work? 

Feast Turn Order: 

The Feast is turn-based, and begins with the player who ended the game.

Feast Total Turns:
Each player has 1 full turn to a.) pass food, b.) taste food, and c.) reveal food.
Once a player has passed food, the next player clockwise passes food, and so on until ALL players have passed. Then, the first player assigns eligible tasters or hirelings to taste their food, and the next player clockwise, and so on, until ALL players have assigned tasters. Finally, players all get a chance to reveal the results of their Feast one at a time, clockwise.
Passing Food:
ALL cards you want to pass MUST be passed at once during your Passing turn. You may also keep food for yourself, and leave it in front of you. Any Feast cards kept in hand are not scored or counted. Food MUST be passed, or kept in front of you to eat yourself.
Hirelings during the Feast:
Any and ALL Hireling cards may be played during the Feast per their card action. Keep in mind, any card action effecting the Territory portion of the game is useless as the area control portion of the game has officially ended at the start of the Feast phase.
You MAY play an Assassin at any time during the Feast to kill a player attempting to taste food (reveal a Feast card) with a card.
Alt. Rule: Any Non-Taster Hireling card may, instead, be used to taste 1 food card, but if it is FOOD, it eats the food and you do not score the points. If it is Poison, it cancels the Poison. Tasters, however, do NOT eat the food if it is Food, that is their benefit.
Taster versus Non-Taster Hireling card:
Players may only play Non-Taster Hireling cards to reveal THEIR Feast cards and ONLY their Feast cards. A Taster, however, may be used to reveal ANY 2 Feast cards at the table.

Order of Operations for Tasting:

There is a grace period between the placing of the tasting card and the reveal whereby a player may ASSASSINATE the tasting card if desired.
Players MAY NOT refuse to have their food tasted. If another player wants to taste their food using a Taster, they may not refuse.


  • Ignore references to pouches and keeping your coins and gems secret, such as on Page 7 (“Players do not need to let other players know which gems they have nor how many coins they have.”). The number of coins and gems are public knowledge and should be easily seen by all players, while questions about the total value of coins and makeup of your gems must be answered honestly and without deception.
  • The rules as written regarding the Jeweler are incorrect. The correct answer is that you can sell multiple items to the bank.

A sentence summarizing the objective should be appended to the end (e.g. “To win, you must score more Victory Points, or VPs, than all other players.”)

Change the last two sentences to, “One of these event cards is drawn and resolved at the end of each player’s turn [during their Event Phase]. Once the last event card is drawn and resolved, the game is over and VPs are tallied.”

The Resource Phase should be changed for more clarity. Specifically, the first sentence under THE RESOURCE PHASE should read:

“The player collects:

* 1 Feast card per territory they control

* Their choice of one of either the COIN value OR the Gem Value of each territory they control

If a player controls no territories, they may instead collect 3 Coins.

Additionally, the last sentence concerning players needing to let other players hide the number of gems and coins should be struck out and/or replaced with some variation of: “The number of Coins and Gems as well as Gem colors you own is public knowledge and should be easily viewable at all times or truthfully revealed when asked.”

PAGE 7: Under attacking territories, change the first sentence to: “One at a time, a player may attack any number of ENEMY territories on their turn.”

PAGE 8: Conquering Territory
Change the last sentence of the second paragraph to: “Finally, add your House Color Token to the territory. Once this has been done, the territory has been conquered.”

Change the section to make it more apparent that revealing a Bastard card forces the bastard’s parent to pay you the resources on one of YOUR territories (that is, the Blackmailer) rather than collecting that value from the bank as usual.

Additionally, the text on the card could reference ‘your’ Resource Collection phase if room permits for greater clarity.

PAGE 11: The Feast
Clarify these rules? Refer to FAQ above. Can hirelings be played? How do turns go? What is the exact order? Can you assassinate tasers and hirelings? Can you kidnap a bastard now?

Errata: A Bastard may only save an Heir from 1 single dose of Poison. Multiple Poisons may break through the Feast, however.

Completely ignore the brown “Tasters” box.

As per FAQ question above.

PAGE 10: Marriage Rules
The second paragraph under Marriage Rules’ 1st sentence should read: “When a marriage is arranged the players swap royal heir cards; the heirs are now married.


These ‘semi-official’ rules were just rules pulled from the forums that were referenced as examples but not ‘officially’ released (although some were playtested or referenced here).

“The Royal Pillow” (optional rule from PAGE 4)
For additional fun, set aside the Royal Pillow and a number of random hireling cards equal to the number of players. Shuffle these together, deal one to each player at steup, putting the remaining hireling cards back in the deck. We wish you well on your wedding night!”

“Well Equipped Mercenaries”
When deploying a mercenary to a territory, you may pay one coin to the bank to deploy the mercenary FACE UP and showing their color rather than face down, as usual.

“Intrigue Mode”
Your coins and gems are a secret resource. Rather than having their number and type as public information, instead hide them in some way, such as storing them in a pouch.

“Feastier Feasts”
When the Feast begins, there is an opportunity for players to invest in the feast. In player order, a player may choose to purchase 0 to 4 Feast Cards at a price of 2 coins a piece. Once all players have had the opportunity to purchase Feast cards, begin the Feast as normal.

This rule can be done IN ADDITION to the normal rules for obtaining feast cards or INSTEAD OF the normal rules for feast cards.

(This version of feasts is referenced by Bryan Merlonghi on the forums as an alternate rule for feast cards. It also seems to have been done this way in an older, outdated pdf of the rulebook.)

“Random Aurum Trade Time”
Instead of placing “Welcome to Aurum” card first, place it randomly in the deck. When a player draws the Aurum card, a round of negotiation begins as normal.

“Random Feast Time”
As above, but with the Feast. A Feast can happen any time!

“Random Weddings”
As above, but with weddings. It might be early, it might be late, and combined with the above random rules, you might not have any heirs left.

“Open Wedding Cathedral”
Rather than weddings only occurring during the Wedding Event Card, players can enter into a marriage at any time provided the heir is alive. A marriage does not count as a deal. While the weddings are much more eager to have marriages, they’re not performing any divorces, ’til death do they part. Couples who experience a tragic accident can get married again. [Taken directly from suggestions on this forum.]

“Black Widow”
Do not return a dead heir gravestone card, only the living royal heirs. Dead royal heirs count as VPs.

“Orphan Collector”
All bastards are worth VP. Your OWN bastard is worth double VP.

“Feast Card Priority”
Instead of placing the Feast Card last, place it randomly in the deck. The player who draws it during their Event Phase collects the card but counts it as “All Is Well” and the next player begins their turn. When all of the Event Cards in the deck are resolved, you begin a Feast as normal, but the player who owns the Feast Card gets to choose the First Player of the Feast. You may trade this card.

“First Player Votes”
Once the First Player’s turn comes up again, there’s ANOTHER round of bidding. The winning player may choose who the new “First Player” is. On failed votes, the turn order proceeds as normal.


Q. Is Takebacksies a real word?
A. No.

Q. (Almost) every house’s family seem to have a pair of heirs, one male and one female. When a Royal Marriage occurs between houses, how many and who exactly are participating in the marriage?

Ruling: An arrangement pleasing to both houses.

Q. Every house has a pair of heirs… except for Lady Slayne, who only seems to have a daughter, Cascabel, pictured with a pet snake wrapped about her arm. How does a marriage work in this case when the background seems to suggest that multiple heirs are married?

Ruling: Somebody has got to marry a snake.

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