Die 3 Gebote - A game for 3-7 high priestesses
 

An intuitive communication game for 3-7 players

by Friedemann Friese, Fraser Lamont, Gordon Lamont

artwork: Fréderic Bertrand
editor: Andrea Meyer

age: 10+
playing time: ca. 45 minutes
"The 3 commandments" is language dependent. An English edition is published by Rio Grande Games.
If you want to order the German edition (19.90 EUR plus package and postage), click here.
1. edition (2,000 copies, October 2008)







Torches are blazing, mists are wafting ... in the Holy Circle the High Priestess celebrates her ritual with her novices. They sing with all their heart, cuddle the artefacts, and rearrange them in ever new patterns.
But what if you do not know the religious rules? The best thing is to watch what the others are doing and imitate them. But cautious: Maybe your neighbour just violated a taboo and made the High Priestess angry
Each player takes the role of the High Priestess once and determines the rules of her own religion. The other players are novices trying to sense these rules and thus gather as much karma as possible.


Example:

Kara is the high priestess. She draws four cards
    If you do not move the upper part of your body.
    If you dance.
    If you move a white artefact.
    Number of artefacts in the starting area.
She looks at the board and decides to discard the first card "If you do not move the upper part of your body". Then she determines that it is bad for your karma "If you move a white artefact" and puts the relevant card on the left side of the Holy Border. She then places the other two cards on the right side of the Holy Border.



Jenn is the first novice to take her turn. She takes a black artefact from a triangle where three artefacts are remaining, stands up, talks to the artefact, smiles at Kara in a friendly manner and then puts the artefact into the center.
Kara now evaluates Jenn's move. She only puts one marker in front of the card "number of artefacts in the starting area", because Jenn neither danced nor moved a white artefact. She tallies and announces "three karma for Jenn".

Frequently asked questions:

Each set of rules is only as good as the creativity of those who write it. We tried to explain all contingencies and anything unclear, however, experience shows that this usually only has limited success. Plus: In general each mistake or missing information in a set of rules will be found sometime. And most probably somebody will try it, for whatever reason.

Hence here is a list of questions on the rules of "The 3 commandments", which will be updated regularly. If you have an open question not answered here yet, email it to info [at] bewitched-spiele.de, you will get an answer asap. THANK YOU!

YES,
  • each high priestess may distribute the artefacts anew at the beginning of her ritual
  • each high priestess may leave the artefacts standing (or lying) in the way she finds them at the beginning of her ritual
  • the high priestess is free to interpret any card in any way she wishes. You think that is unfair? Well, after all, she is the high priestess!
  • the high priestess should take care that she interprets it in the same way with any player.


  • NO,
  • the high priestess does not flip a destiny card if a novice's turn is invalid - this is not her fault, is it?
  • the high priestess is not disempowered if four novices in a row make invalid moves. But maybe you should play something else?
  • interpreting a card does not mean to decide without any basis how much karma somebody gets.
  • Wallpaper:

    Here you can download the cover picture of "Die 3 Gebote" as a wallpaper for your computer in the formats

    1024 x 768 pixels
    1260 x 980 pixels
    800 x 600 pixels

    Press voices:

    Check out the ratings at
    Boardgamegeek to get an impression what other people think.

    Eric Martin published a preview of the game at Boardgamenews. He writes "Being the High Priestess is a fun role because players look to you with eager anticipation after making their move: 'Did I do well? Was that what you wanted to see?'".

    The designers:

    Friedemann Friese (left) is based in Bremen, Germany. He is the founder of 2F-Spiele and has published games since 1992. Most recent publications include "Felix the Cat" (2007) and "Fauna" (Huch, 2008). Rumours have it that he is merely famous for his colour of hair ...

    Fraser and Gordon Lamont (right) live in Glasgow resp. Dunblane, Scotland. They are the founders and owners of Fragor Games, who surprised many visitors of the game convention in Essen in 2004 with their game Leapfrog. Some say, they are mainly famous for their kilts and their good taste in respect to some alcoholic drinks well-known in their country ...

    Having known each other for years, the three game designers and publishers only started designing 'The Three Commandments' when they met up for gaming and a drink at a game convention in Helmarshausen, Germany, in 2006.

    Designers' comments:

    Gordon Lamont says: "We were having a chat to Friedemann and we were talking about game design. He had been talking about the mechanism in one of his designs which he was putting forward for the game of the afternoon award at the Gathering of Friends. In essence, it involved a very definite mechanism which showed when a turn was over. This meant there could be no dubiety. In contrast, we had a design which we had produced at the request of a vodka company (we usually take a copy to Essen for fun). The game is a party game and is played fast and loose. Part of the rules of it meant that one person always is in control (with a wolf theme this becomes the pack leader). We solved any rules problems with the rule that the pack leader is always right in their decision. This discussion about the contrast in the two designs set off the creative juices and the design of 'Die 3 Gebote' just flowed from this. However, 'Die 3 Gebote' is not like either of the two games that inspired it!"

    Fraser Lamont adds: "The discussion moved on to designing a game that could be taught to a new player in one sentence. That sentence became, 'Move a pawn from one area to another'. When we first got the prototype ready to go, we grabbed a passer by, sat him down and told him only that sentence. He moved his pawn, was awarded 8 points, and it was five minutes before we all stopped laughing. It was clear then that the game worked, and so we started ironing out the edges. The initial concept of the game is still there and a lot of tweaking made sure it was also as satisfying a gaming experience as possible. The final product is very quick to learn and provides a fun and different gaming experience. Part of the joy of the game is watching people attempt similar moves to other players, but get awarded vastly different points. It plays different every game, and you'll always find something unexpected!"

    Friedemann Friese comments: "Did you ever have the feeling of not understanding cultural actions you were witnessing, whether in a chapel or a football stadium? With 'Die 3 Gebote' you are right in the center of the action and are even allowed to take part. Good if you know how to adapt!"

    Video:

    Friedemann Friese presents "Die 3 Gebote". Jon Power interviewed Friedemann Friese in Essen 2008 and had him explain "Die 3 Gebote".


    Die 3 Gebote - Friedemann Friese Essen 2008 from Jon Power on Vimeo.

    Background:

    The 3 commandments by Friedemann Friese, Fraser Lamont, and Gordon Lamont is the second game published by BeWitched-Spiele which I edited.

    I got to know the game as "Fanatics", in which you intuitively moved pawns on a pentagram. There was already a high priest, whom I subjected to a sex change for "The 3 commandments", so that female and male players can enjoy playing a female role again after the witch in the "Werewolves of Miller's Hollow". The high priest used more unmarked cards, which forced you to rely on your intuition even more. No matter how much I like that, I fear that I am one of the few who do so. Hence there are artefact and action cards now as well as the markers. If you want to play closer to the original, put the markers aside and see what happens.

    My chance to edit the game came when the authors told me that the game was "available" at the Gathering of Friends in April 2008, because they were involved in other projects. Friedemann advised me to work with the artist Fréderic Bertrand, who was very interested and had quite a few great ideas for the game.

    I would like to thank the authors, the artist, and all test players. Last, but not least, I want to thank my girlfriend Karin, who has to share me with boardgames (too) often.