The Rules for Medina (first edition)

This description of the game applies to the first edition implementation at Boardspace.  There are several other translations of the rules available online. 
The second edition adds several new components, and a two player variant.  The second edition rules are found here.

The game is for three or four players. 
Equipment:: Each player starts with an identical stock of playing pieces seen below, except the first player has one extra meeple, which must be played first.  The unplayed pieces of each player are concealed during the game.
The Play: Each turn, each player must place 2 pieces in some legal place according to the placement rules.  Eventually, some pieces may become unplayable. When only one player has playable pieces, he must place at least one dome each turn if any are still unplayed.
Game End: When no players can play any more pieces.
Object of the game:  Is to score the most points, determined by the final configuration of the board.

Playing Pieces

Domes identify the players: Red, Yellow, Blue and Green:  Each player starts with four domes of his color, which will be used during the game to claim four palaces, one palace of each color.  Note that the colors of the palaces are not related to the colors of the domes.. 
Players start with the same number of palaces in each of four colors; Gray, Black,  Brown and Orange. 
Stables are extensions to palaces; they make them bigger and count as palace pieces in all of the scoring rules.
Merchants form a conga-line that is threaded among palaces.  Merchants adjacent to a palace score points for the owner.
City walls grow from the towers at the corners of the board.  Walls score points for the owners of adjacent palaces.

Placement Rules

You should understand these rules, but note that the interface will only allow you to place pieces in legal spaces.  So the simple way to play is to pick up a piece and see where you are allowed to place it.  Note that if you can't pick up a piece, there are no legal places to place it.  This is normal for leftover palaces towards the end of the game.  Under unusual circumstances, you may be temporarily unable to place a stable, but eventually able to place it.

Walls (and only walls) can be placed on the edges of the board, adjacent to a tower or to another wall.  The walls from opposite corners grow toward each other, but are not allowed to meet.  There are no other restrictions on placement of walls, and there aren't enough walls in the game that you will ever be unable to place one.
Meeples form a "market" that threads among the palaces on the board.  The game starts with a market played in the interior of the board.  Subsequent meeples have to be place adjacent to exactly one other meeple, counting horizontal and vertical connections, ignoring diagonals.  Effectively, this forces meeples to form a single line, with possible expansion points at both ends.  If there is no legal expansion point, a new market can be started at any unoccupied square.   Effectively, there is at most one incomplete market on the board at any time. It will always be possible to place any meeples you have.
There can be only one incomplete palace of each color on the board at any time.   A palace is incomplete if it is not claimed by any player, and if it can still expand.   Palaces can still expand if they are not claimed, and if there is still room to place a row of meeples between it and any nearby palaces.  New palaces can't be started after all players have claimed a palace of that color, so when the last palace of a color is claimed, the remaining palace pieces of that color become unplayable.
Stables can only be placed adjacent to a palace (either complete or incomplete), but they must leave room for a row of meeples, just as palaces must.  Stables effective increase the size of the palaces they adjoin.
Each player has four domes of his color, which can (and eventually must) be used to claim one palace of each of the palace colors.  Once a palace is claimed,  it can't be claimed again, or expanded by another palace piece.  Only the palaces you claim will increase your score.


All scoring is done at the end of the game.  Scores displayed before the end of the game are changeable.
Base scoring for palaces

Each claimed palace, combined with its adjacent stables, scores one point for each palace or stable piece, plus one point for each adjacent wall tile, plus one point for each adjacent meeple.   Based on simple geometry, each wall will score for at most one palace, each meeple may score for one or several palaces, but each meeple will score only once for any particular palace.
Bonus tiles for  palaces.
palace tiles
The four palace tiles award bonus points for the largest palace of each color.  If two or more palaces are the same size, then the first palace to attain that size scores.  In effect, the when you claim a larger palace, or enlarge a palace with a stable to create a larger palace, you claim the bonus tile at that time.  Consequently, because of the palace bonuses, gray palaces are the least valuable, and orange palaces the most valuable.  The owner of each of the palace bonus tiles may change from time to time during the game as larger palaces are constructed.
Bonus tiles for towers.
When a claimed palace first makes contact with a tower via a wall, the corresponding tower bonus tile is awarded.  This can be due to a palace being claimed, or to a wall tile being played adjacent to a palace, or to a stable tile being added which connects a palace to a wall.  The two walls extending from each tower are contending to award the tower bonuses.  Each palace can claim the tower tile through each wall only once, so palaces can't reclaim the tower by adding more stables adjacent to the wall, or by adding more walls which are also adjacent to the palace.  Under unusual circumstances, one palace can claim more than one tower, or can reclaim a tower by touching the other wall that is connected to the tower.

Strategy and Tactics

Obviously, the key strategic decision is when to claim a palace.  When is it big enough, and positioned well enough near the other scoring resources, so it will be worth more points to you than subsequent palaces will be worth to other players.  The book is completely open on this.   The board becomes crowded by mid game, with not much room for big new palaces.   Endgame tactics center around being first to enlarge palaces to their largest size, and last to touch the towers.

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