The Rules

In essence the game is simple. But, in common with Scrabble, Monopoly, and most other board games, the rules look long and complex - this is to deal with the 'odd' what-if circumstances which can sometimes arise.

Before playing, set up the game, using the contents list as a guide, and read the following sections:
The Aim of the Game
The Cardinal Rule
The Family Tree
The Players
The Dame

If you are playing the standard game, read 'And the Winner Is'.
But if you are playing a timed game, read 'Or the Winner Is' ·

Read the other sections as the need arises:
Ending Your Turn
Spin to Win
The 1526 Square
The Comfort, Court, Crisis and Challenge Squares
The Migraine Square
The Death Squares
The Ostrich Square
The Sevigny Square

The Rules

The Aim of the Game
  • The first player to collect Lymond's family tree, and thus resolve his crisis, is the winner.
  • This is done by moving around the board in a clockwise direction, collecting the Birth Certificates of his various relations, until you have a complete set.
  • For each Birth Certificate you hold, you must tick the space on your copy of the family tree with your pen.
  • If you sell or lose the Birth Certificate, you must remove the tick from the Family Tree.
  • If you lose all your 'Survival Points' you have failed in your quest, and Lymond must rely on the other players for help: left you to, he'd be dead

The Family Tree

As well as holding Birth Certificates, you may also nurture a Family Tree.
You may play using The Big Tree, The Little Trees, or Board Tokens.
Whichever you use must be kept consistent with your collection of Birth Certificates at all times.
Failure to do so will displease the Dame.

  • The Big Tree A single large tree, visible to all players, is maintained (this is especially good if the game is being played in front of an audience and the Dame or her assistant can maintain the tree for you). While you posses the Birth Certificate for a family member, you must have one of your pins placed on that family member on the large Family Tree. The pins are coloured as specified in the section 'The Players' in these rules.
  • The Little List Alternatively, you may maintain a list of Birth Certificates which each player may tick off as that player accumulates certificates.

The Cardinal Rule

You must never ever hold 'spare' or 'duplicate' Birth Certificates. One Marthe should be enough for anyone!

The Players
You take the role of Lymond. However, because you are occupied full time in being witty, twisted, handsome and generally self-obsessed, you will be represented on a board by a friend or relative as follows
Character Piece Colour
Marthe Queen White
Jerott Knight Red
Adam Bishop Yellow
Philippa Pawn Green
Richard King Black
Kate Rook Blue

The Dame

The Dame fulfills the same kind of role as the 'bank' in other games.
The Dame owns the cards, the survival points, and the board.
She is represented by one of the players (usually Marthe) or, if there are enough of you, she will be a non-player. If you are using the single large family tree to keep score, then the Dame will maintain that.
If you are a player and are representing 'The Dame' you must keep her possessions separate from your own.
Each time the Dame hands out, or receives Survival Points, she will utter a suitably mysterious phrase. She may choose to get the phrase from the pack of Crone cards, or she may invent her own.

The Dice

A pair of dice is used. Both dice are thrown, unless instructed otherwise.
There are also Duelling Dice.

  • Set up the Board
  • Shuffle each card pack and place it face down in the appropriate place on the board
  • Ensure that each person has a copy of the blank Family Tree, or that the Large Family Tree is set up.
  • Choose your characters, and place them all in the 1526 square
  • Elect a Dame who will take control of the Birth Certificates and the Survival Points
  • Select the player to go first, by each player throwing dice. The highest score wins.
  • You start from the 1526 square, collecting 500 survival points (you will collect a further 200 survival points each time you land on this square or pass over it, unless instructed otherwise).


Throw the dice, and moves their piece the number of squares indicated by the dice. Squares may be occupied by more than one piece simultaneously.
If you throw a double and immediately say
"It's Twins!", you gain 50 survival points and an extra throw. Failure to utter the phrase immediately means that you will fail to get the bonus 50 survival points and bonus throw.

When you land on a square, you must fulfill the following tasks (in the stated order) if applicable.

1. If you land on a character square, you may
. collect that character's birth certificate from the Dame (if they are a relative), and mark off that relation the Family Tree. You will also collect the number of survival points specified on the board square.
you may auction that relation to other users in return for Survival points. The player is not obliged to auction. Other players are not obliged to buy.
you may return the relation to the Dame.
You must not swap Birth Certificates.
After you have followed the instructions in (a), (b) or (c) above, you must follow the instructions in 'Ending your Turn'.

2. If you land on a Comfort, Court, Crisis or Challenge square, you must follow the rules for these cards, and then in 'Ending Your Turn'.

3. If you land on a 'Duel' square you must follow the rules for a Duel, and then in 'Ending Your Turn'

4. If you land on a 'Death' square you must follow the rules for Death squares, and then in 'Ending Your Turn'

5. If you land on the Migraine Square, you must follow the 'Migraine Square' rules.

6. If you land on "Sevigny" or "The Ostrich" you must follow the rules for 'Sevigny' and 'The Ostrich' squares, and then follow the rules in 'Ending Your Turn'

Ending Your Turn

1. At the end of your turn, you may choose to sell any number of Birth Certificates back to the Dame for the value specified on relevant board of the square, or you may auction the Certificate to another player who does not already own that Birth Certificate.

2. If, after you have undertake all the above actions in your turn, you have no survival points left, then you know that, if left up to you, Lymond would have killed himself by now. In remorse, you top yourself and hope that the other players can save him.

3. When you have completed your turn, play passes to the person on your left, unless instructed otherwise.

....And the Winner Is (full game)

You win the game if you are the first to collect an entire Family Tree-full of Birth Certificates, and then spin the 3 Francis Crawfords in the correct order (see the 'Spin to Win' section). If all the players fail in this aim, then Lymond will Languish Locked in L for evermore, and there is no winner.

....Or the Winner Is (timed game or quick finish)

At any point, by unanimous agreement of the players, a fixed completion time for the game may be set.

At the agreed completion time, play continues until the player to the right of the starting player has had their turn. Play then ceases.

When play has ceased the player with the most Birth Certificates wins. If there is a tie, the number of Survival Points is the decider (more is better). If these too are tied, then the dice are thrown to decide the winner.

Up until the agreed time expires, the game can be won as stated in the 'And the Winner Is…' section.

Spin to Win

The user throws one dice to determine the number of attempts they may have.

Each attempt consists of the following steps:

a. You must spin the Silver spinner, and must land on the First Francis Crawford.
If you succeed, collect the Birth Certificate of the First Francis Crawford, then go to step b.
If you did not succeed, the whole attempt ends in failure, and you must pay a fine of 50 survival points and go to step d.

b. You must spin the Blue Spinner, and land on the Second Francis Crawford. If you succeed, collect the second Francis Crawford's Birth Certificate, then go to step c.
If you did not succeed, the whole attempt ends in failure, and you must pay a fine of 20 survival points and go to step d.

c. You must spin the Blue Spinner and land on the Third Francis Crawford.
If you succeed, you should collect his Birth Certificate, and claim victory - you have won the game!
If you failed, you must pay a fine of 10 survival points and go to Step d.

d. Remember that you have as many attempts as you scored with your throw of the Dice. You must take all these attempts, and follow through the whole Spin to Win game, even though you may already have some of Francis Crawfords on your Family Tree.
However, if at any time the number of survival points that you have falls to Zero or less, you must stop playing Spin to Win, must hand back all your Francis Crawford Birth Certificates, and must sell more Birth Certificate(s) in order to ensure you have some survival points. Play passes to the player on your left, and you are now an ordinary player again. You need to gain back all your Family Tree members before you can Spin to Win again. If you complete all your attempts, but still have some survival points, then you wait until it is your turn again, and play Spin to Win again.


Any player may take part in an auction.
The seller must accept the highest bid.
The Dame never takes part in Auctions.
You cannot bid for a Birth Certificate if you already own a certificate for that relative (see the Cardinal Rule)

Squares - The 1526 Square

This is the square that you all start from. It's the equivalent of the Go square in Monopoly. You collect 500 points at the start of the game, and a further 200 points each time you land on, or pass over, this square unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Squares - The Comfort, Court, Crisis and Challenge Squares

A pack of cards relates to each of these squares. Each card contain a message for Lymond which you read.
When you land on the appropriate square you draw one card from the top of the appropriate pack. You must then read it out. Other players may see the card if they wish.
You should then carry out the instructions on the card, and return it face down to the bottom of the pack, unless instructed otherwise.
If the card instructs you to collect or give survival points from/to a specific player, and that player is not part of the game, then the Dame will fulfill the part of that player for this purpose.

Squares - The Migraine Square

When you land on the Migraine square you must immediately say "What's the Time, Archie?" (no other similar phrase will do). Failure to do so will result in a 100 Survival point fine paid to the Dame.

Normally, apart from a severe headache, you suffer no ill-effects of being on this square, and may play as normal. However, if you are forced to retire to this square in any other way (i.e. you are sent by a Comfort, Crisis, Court or Challenge card; or you lose a duel), then your headache will come with blindness. You must wear the blindfold and, as you will be unable to see the dice, or read any cards, you will be completely incapacitated for your current throw and two others, after which the headache and blindness will wear off and you may remove the blindfold. During this time, you will be unable to take any part whatsoever in the game.

The Dame will ensure that no cheating takes place while you are blindfolded. There is NO limit to the number of people who may be in this square at one time, and NO limit to the number of people who may be blindfolded at one time.

You may buy yourself some Opium on your current throw, or any of the two others, which will provide you with relief, but at a cost to your health of 250 Survival Points. If you possess an Opium Card, you may use it to purchase relief without the need for survival points.

Squares - Duel Squares

Duel Squares are marked with crossed swords. If you land on a duel square, you must immediately say "Have at thee, Varlet!" (no other similar phrase will do). Then you must throw the appropriate duel dice.

If your initial (L) lands uppermost, then you win the duel, and move forward the number of squares that you have thrown in the duel, and play that square as though you had landed on it normally.

If your opponent's initial (R, G, B or A) lands uppermost, you lose the Duel. This causes a crisis of nerves, and you must immediately retire to the Migraine Square without passing through the 1526 square and so without collecting 200 Survival points.

Failure to challenge your opponent with the appropriate phrase ("Have at thee, Varlet!") will result in a 100 Survival point fine.

Squares - Death Squares

Death Squares are marked with a red bloody saltire and contain the names of non-relatives for whose deaths you feel responsible. If you land on these squares, you will be overwhelmed with guilt, and must immediately say "I am overwhelmed with guilt!" (no other similar phrase will do) and will pay to the Dame the number of Survival points specified on the square.

Failure to mention that you are overwhelmed with guilt will result in a 100 Survival point fine.

Squares - The Ostrich

If you land on The Ostrich Square, you must immediately say "Hello, Molly!". You may then choose the birth certificate for any square on the board that you do not already own, together with the relevant number of Survival Points. You do not, however, go to that square, but remain with Molly in The Ostrich.

Failure to greet Molly appropriately when (ahem) landing on her square, will result in a 100 Survival Point fine, and withdrawal of certain unspecified but valued privileges.

Squares - Sevigny

If you land on the Sevigny Square, you must immediately say "Hello, Nick!". You may then choose the birth certificate for any square on the board that you do not already own, together with the relevant number of Survival Points. You do not, however, go to that square, but remain with Nick Applegarth at Sevigny.

Failure to greet Nick appropriateley when arriving at Sevigny, will result in a 100 Survival Point fine, and withdrawal of library and spinet privileges.



Thanks to Karen Rex, heather Fletcher, David Fletcher, Cindy Byrne, Henk Beentje, Diana Crane and to all the others who helped in the inspiration and design of Lymopoly over the internet and at the Hotel Meridien Phoenicia in Malta; and to Cindy, Marta Farensbach, Nancy Wyman, Nancy Tague, Jan Fergus and Bill Marshall, who helped to road test it at the Kirkwall Hotel in Orkney.


Disclaimer This game is not based on Monopoly, and bears no relation to it, except in a certain similarity in the name, and other similarities such as are shared by a number of board games


This game is © Copyright 2001 by Simon Hedges. It is based upon characters, plot lines, situations and places which are created by Dorothy Dunnett. This game may not be produced at all or played for profit.


Updated 14 Apr 2002 to clarify the 'multiple blindfolded people' situation., and increase size of font for the phrases.
Updated 27 Dec 2001 to reflect lessons learned at the O'Spit
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