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Machiavelli is a card game that involves creating Rummy-style sets and runs. Players aim to play all the cards from their hand; the first player to do so wins.


Machiavelli uses two or more French decks, without including jokers. Each player starts with 15 cards in their hand. They play cards to the table to form combinations, trying to empty their hands the fastest. Players play in turn. In each turn, a player may play any number of cards (including zero), possibly rearranging cards on the table. A player can also draw a card. The turn then passes to the next player. The game runs until someone runs out of cards or the deck is depleted.


Cards on the table must always form combinations. There are two types of combinations: sets and runs. In either case, a combination must always consist of at least three cards, and may never include two identical cards. A set is a collection of cards with equal rank (number). A run is a collection of cards with equal suit and consecutive ranks. The ranks are ordered as usual, except that aces are always low: A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K.


  • 5♣ 5♦ 5♥ forms a set: there are at least three cards, none of which are identical, and all have the same rank.
  • 5♣ 5♦ 5♥ 5♠ also forms a set for the same reasons.
  • 5♣ 5♦ doesn't form a set: there are less than three cards.
  • 5♣ 5♦ 5♦ doesn't form a set: there are identical cards.
  • 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ forms a run: there are at least three cards, none of which are identical, all have the same suit, and the ranks are consecutive.
  • 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ also forms a run for the same reasons.
  • 5♣ 6♣ doesn't form a run: there are less than three cards.
  • 5♣ 6♣ 8♣ doesn't form a run: the ranks are not consecutive.
  • A♣ 2♣ 3♣ forms a run; are low.
  • Q♣ K♣ A♣ doesn't form a run; aces are not high.

Playing cards

During a player's turn, the player can play cards to the table, making sure that the table always consists of combinations. The player may introduce a new combination on the table, or they can add cards to an existing combination. As long as the player can play cards, they may do so; they may also stop at any time.

For example, the table has the set 5♣ 5♦ 5♥. A player may play a combination, such as 6♣ 6♦ 6♥ or 6♣ 7♣ 8♣, or may extend the existing set by playing 5♠. They may even do both, if they have the appropriate cards. A player may add any number of cards to a single combination: extending A♣ 2♣ 3♣ to A♣ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ 9♣ 10♣ J♣ Q♣ K♣ is allowed.

Rearranging cards

One feature of Machiavelli is that players are allowed to rearrange cards on the table so that their cards can be included. The only condition is that at the end of the turn, all cards on the table must form combinations again; there can be no unmatched cards.

In Board Game Arena, rearranging cards is done by picking the cards that are to be rearranged into the hand, and then playing them all back into combinations along with additional cards from the hand. Cards that are picked up from the table will be marked in red, and a player may not end their turn until all these cards are played. A player may decide to click "Restore", which will forfeit their turn, identical to as if they don't play any card in the turn.


The table consists of a set 5♣ 5♦ 5♥ 5♠ and a run 6♣ 7♣ 8♣. The player wishes to play 4♣. The player removes the 5♣ off the set, adds it to the run, and adds the 4♣ to the run. The table now has a set 5♦ 5♥ 5♠ and a run 4♣ 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣.

The table consists of three sets 5♣ 5♦ 5♥, 6♣ 6♦ 6♥, 7♣ 7♦ 7♥. The player wishes to play 8♣. The player rearranges the sets into runs 5♣ 6♣ 7♣, 5♦ 6♦ 7♦, 5♥ 6♥ 7♥, and adds the 8♣ to the first run. The table now has three runs 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣, 5♦ 6♦ 7♦, 5♥ 6♥ 7♥

The table consists of two sets 6♣ 6♦ 6♥, 7♣ 7♦ 7♥. The player wishes to play 8♣ by taking the 6♣ and 7♣ off the sets to form a run 6♣ 7♣ 8♣. But this leaves unmatched cards 6♦ 6♥ 7♦ 7♥, so this move is illegal.

Ending a turn

A player may end a turn when the table doesn't have any unmatched cards. If a player ends the turn without playing any card, they must draw one card from the deck; otherwise, they don't draw any additional cards.

End of the game

If a player has no cards in their hand, they immediately win.

Otherwise, if the deck is depleted, the player with less cards in their hand wins. Ties are possible; in this case, the tied players are joint winners.