Everything You Need to Know About Allegory

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Everything You Need to Know About Allegory!

After the September Cozy Classics series, it’s time to get spooky!! The weather’s getting colder, it’s time for cider and campfires, and what better tradition is there than telling stories around a fire? Enter Allegory! While we don’t actually recommend playing this game in front of a fire (cards are flammable after all), the spirit of the game rings true to everything October, and so it’s the perfect game to spotlight this week.

Allegory Calliope games box banner

Allegory was the last game designed for Calliope Games by Zach Weisman (Menu Masters, Sea of Legends)before he left to found Guildhall Studios. He was inspired by poker, but wanted to change up what it meant to “win” a bid. He toyed around with the idea of the winning bid getting to choose a card, but having to give up the coins bid, rather than gaining everyone else’s coins. And then what if folding meant you could actually gaincoins, but with it a card that might not be ideal? With a win/lose situation present to all players, Weisman knew he had a game where strategies would be key, and ever changing. Calliope Games has always been about simple, easy-to-learn games that are hard to master, and Allegory is the perfect representation of that.

Playing as mythical storytellers, players will bid Lore chips for the opportunity to add Theme cards to their 3 Tales. You’ll need to think several steps ahead to see your tale to its gratifying conclusion in Allegory.

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How to Play

Quick Start Guide

Allegory game components

Objective: Obtain the highest score through a combination of the Tales you tell, collecting sets of Themes, and weaving your Hidden Moral into each of your Tales.  

Setup
Every player gets 15 lore chips and a rest marker. Shuffle the Hidden Moral deck (white-backed cards) and deal one to each player. Keep it secret from other players. You get an extra point for every tale that includes this card.

Allegory Game Setup

Shuffle the Theme deck (black-backed cards) and place a number of cards equal to the number of players in the center of the table. This is called the Inspiration Pool. Place the rest of the deck next to the inspiration pool.

Variants: In a game with less than 4 players, remove the Butterfly, Mask, and Coin Theme cards from play. In a 2-Player game, use 3 cards in the Inspiration Pool. For a less competitive game, remove one of each type of Moral card before dealing them out (that way two players aren’t fighting for the same card)

Allegory Gameplay

Gameplay
Each round, players will bid for the opportunity to choose a card from the Inspiration Pool. You’re not bidding for a specific card, just the ability to take one of your choice. You can increase your bid as much as you want. Once all players have Rested (folded), the last remaining player takes the card they want and then distributes the Lore chips used to win the bid across the other cards in any way they choose. 

A little hint: you might want to place extra lore chips on cards that have negative numbers.

Allegory Gameplay continued

If at any point during the bidding you fold, or Rest, place your Rest marker in front of you and take any Lore chips you’ve bid. If you want, you can take the card in the Inspiration Pool with the most Lore chips on it. You add those Lore chips to your stack, and that card to your Theme tableau. 

Note: For the very first round there will be no Lore chips on the cards yet, so only the player who wins the initial bid gets a card.

Allegory Scoring

Scoring:
You will be making 3 Tales: Energy, Spirit and Nature (denoted by Orange, White, and Green corners). You will need to have at least one card in each Tale to be eligible to win, but only your lowest scoring tale will count towards your final score.

Gameplay continues until one player reaches 10 cards in their tableau. Finish the round you’re playing, and then begin scoring. Calculate the scores of your 3 Tales, and only count your lowest tale. For every Tale that contains your Hidden Moral card, you get an extra point, for up to 3 points. For every set of 3 of the same Theme card you collect, regardless of what Tale it goes in, you’ll get a bonus 2 points (and yes, your Hidden Moral can count towards this too).

The amount of Lore chips you have at the end does not affect your score unless there is a tie; then the win goes to the player with the highest score and the most lore chips.

Allegory and components arranged in a circle

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it matter what side of the card I play on top?
Nope! The dual card faces are purely decorative, and help express the dichotomy in storytelling. We like to place the cards based on the story we’re weaving.

Do you have to take a card if you Rest?
Not at all! If the card with the most Lore chips on it is something you really don’t want, you don’t have to take it. But you can’t take anything else.

What if the Inspiration Pool has all negative cards? Can everyone Rest and not take a card?
Oh that stinks! But no, if everyone Rests on their first turn, the last player to go would automatically win the round and must choose a card.

Reviews and Playthroughs

The Nerd Shelves– Livestream Playthrough
The Board Game Barrister– Play-along game tutorial with a Friendly Local Game Store
The Fandomentals- Written Review

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