Designed by Jesse Millikan
Players 4 (3)
Length 30 minutes
Extra Material 12 (11) chips of each suit, 4 (3) action squares

You are a dedicated artist of the sultanate of Muse, a tiny island trade port in the middle of the sea of Muse surrounded by six other nations. Muse has a strange local economy; there is no local currency and a very limited amount of each of the other six nations’ currencies. Since it’s about all the islanders think of, all the art looks like one or more of the six currencies!

Your goal is to be the greatest artist on muse, which is to say, the one who has the most artworks in the sultan’s palace.


Place the initial economy near the middle of the table. For four players, this is 8 coins of each currency. For three players, this is 7 coins of each currency. Set aside the other 4 coins of each currency - they will be added later in the game (See Drawing, Discarding and Economic Growth).

Muse is played with the basic decktet. Shuffle all of the cards and deal a 4 card hand to each player, then place the remaining cards in the middle as a draw pile with space for a discard pile.

Each player also gets a one-sided action square. These can be printed on card stock or made by hand - only the name of each main action is necessary. (See links.)

Game play

Each player’s hand represents ideas for artworks which players will act upon in different ways across multiple rounds. In addition, each player may have in front of them currency of the six types, horizontal cards representing paintings in their studio, and vertical cards representing that player’s paintings in the sultan’s palace.

Rounds and Actions

The game is played in complete rounds in which each player will take one action with one card (not counting discards), and the game ends at the end of a complete round (see Palace below). Each round, each player will pick an idea card from their hand, an action on the action square (by covering the other three with the idea card), and put them together face down on the table ready to be flipped. Once everyone has selected, each player reveals by turning the action card and idea card over. In addition, players may select one card to discard at this point, by saying “discard” and placing one idea card to be discarded on one corner of their action card.

Then, all players’ actions (including discards) occur in order by the size of the idea cards, from biggest to smallest. (This is decktet rank and then suit order; for details see "Card Order" below.)

A Simple Example Round

Here are the actions in detail:

Sketch: You sell sketches on the street for change.
Details: The idea card is discarded. The player then receives one of each currency on the idea card from the economy, subject to availability; if the economy is out of a currency, the player does not receive it. The player then draws a new card.

Paint: You pay for paint and canvas to make a magnificent painting.
Details: The idea card becomes a painting (face-up horizontal card) in their “studio” area, at a cost of the rank of the card in any mix of currencies. The player then draws a new card.

Patron: A foreign patron of the arts visits the artist's quarter and buys the biggest painting he can.
Details: The single biggest painting in any artist’s studio, that the economy can afford in one of the painting's currencies (from top to bottom), is bought from that player. The price is the rank plus the number of suits (of the painting). (See Patron for details.) The idea card is not used except for order of actions; it is discarded and the player draws a card.

Palace: The sultan makes a rare visit to the artists quarter and appropriates the most glorious painting.
Details: The biggest single painting of any artist goes from the artist’s studio (horizontal) into that artist’s gallery in the palace (vertical and placed above the artist’s studio). The idea card is not used except for order of actions; it is discarded and the player draws a card. If a player has reached four paintings, this signals the end of the game at the end of this round.

Discard: The player discards the idea card and draws a card.

After all actions including discards have occurred, the round is over; players retrieve their action squares, and all players should have a hand of four cards, having drawn during their actions. If the game is not over, players can immediately begin making their selection for the next round.

(Note: After you reveal your idea cards, actions and possible discard, there are no other decisions to be made except what currency a player will spend during the “paint” action. The rest of the round is procedure.)

Card Order

The order of actions is determined by the size of the idea cards played with them, and the painting affected by each patron or palace is determined by the size of the painting. The “size” of each card is the rank, where ace is considered rank 1 and crowns rank 10, and then (to break ties) the suit of each card. The order of the suits are (from biggest to smallest) moons, suns, waves, leaves, wyrms and knots.


The patron action is at the center of the game; you should make sure to execute it correctly. If you have any doubt about the rules, follow this section methodically. After a few times, it should take only a few seconds.

Take these steps when the patron action is resolved by any player:

  1. Identify the “biggest” painting in any studio (by rank and then suit order).
  2. Determine the “price” of the painting, which is the rank plus the number of suits. (Aces cost 2; crowns cost 11; rank card cost their rank plus two.)
  3. If the economy can “afford” the painting in the painting’s top suit, the economy buys it from the player who painted it for the price, in coins of the top suit. Then the card is discarded and the patron action ends.
  4. If the painting has another suit, then the same applies to the next suit - if the economy can afford it, it is bought entirely in that suit and discarded. (Then, if playing with the courts/pawns, the third suit.)
  5. If that painting was not purchased, find the next biggest painting in any artist’s studio and go back to step two. If there are no paintings left, then nothing is bought and the patron action is over.

Drawing, Discarding And Economic Growth

All discarded cards go into the discard pile face up. Whenever the draw pile becomes empty, shuffle the discard pile to replace it.

The first four times the draw pile becomes empty, add 1 of each currency to the economy.

End Of Game and Scoring

At the end of a round where any player has at least four paintings in the palace (vertical), the game is over and a winner is determined.

The winner is the artist with the most individual paintings in the palace. In the event of a tie, the tie is broken by the number of paintings in the artists’ studios, and then by total currency.

The extended deck

The game is written so that it can be played with extended Decktet, though I haven’t yet tried it; the currencies are vaguely balanced around the basic deck. The pawns and courts should be rank 10, but courts rank above pawns rank above crowns for resolution.




Action square printout (PDF)


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