[Field of the Cloth of Gold]

In June 1520, at Balinghem, there met the young and glorious Kings of England and of France in a grand and splendid celebration of their mutual friendship and admiration. There were great feasts and opulent amusements, conspicuous expressions of deepest and sincerest piety, and fierce tournaments. Each King outshone the other in turn, so that the world might be astounded at the wealth and power of each kingdom. So many tents and raiments were made of precious cloth of gold, that the field is so named.

In this game, two players briefly assume the roles of these divine majesties. If you are afeared of the weight of the crown, and all its worries, fear not: this amusement only requires you revel in the greatness of your kingdom, not to rule it.



Enclosed with these Laws of Play shall be also found:

Mark well, the board contains not only seven oval spaces - six of which are associated with square tile spaces, and one the Dragon - but also a Track of Scoring. This Track is divided five times into rows. The row a player's token occupies upon this Track determines both the tiles they might gain by Secrecy, and the Points they might gain upon the game's conclusion.


First, place the board of canvas upon the table, and each player be given three tokens of their chosen color. Each player places one of these on the Track of Scoring, at "0".

Second, place the fearsome Dragon upon the space that bears its mark.

Third, reserve the six green jewels. The other tiles should be shuffled in such a manner as to not reveal them. You may wish to borrow a small sack or goblet for this purpose. Call this collection of hidden tiles, the Darkness. Each player draws two tiles from the Darkness into their Hand, known only to the player who holds them. The six jewels are plunged into the Darkness. Then, the eldest player must draw and place one tile for each square space on the board.

Play begins with the youngest player, or the player who last lost the game.

Hands and Courts

Players possess tiles in their Hand, and also their Court:

Players gain new tiles either through Secrecy, or as a Gift:

Flow of Play

On a player's turn, they must move one of their two tokens into an empty oval space - that is, a space that holds no tokens, nor the Dragon. On their first and second turns, they must move their tokens onto the board, and thereafter they must choose one token to move from one space to an empty one.

After moving the token, the player takes the tile associated with that space, and presents it as a Gift to their rival.

Then, the player resolves the action for that space completely. (Hark ye the chapter below, called The Actions.)

If the player moved their token from the Dragon's space, move now the Dragon back to the space bearing its terrible visage.

Finally, if any empty oval space on the board has no tile, a tile is drawn from the Darkness and placed face-up within the empty tile space. Mark! A new tile is drawn only when an oval space is empty of both token and tile. To do otherwise is a foul corruption of this splendid and winsome entertainment. A pox upon those who dare.

Then, play passes to the rival player.

The Actions

There be seven actions, each tied to an oval space, arranged as follows.

First, the Dragon: this moves the Dragon to any empty oval space, excepting one that the moving player token has immediately vacated. The tile for the space that now holds the Dragon is the Gift for the rival player.

Second, Secrecy: this gains tiles from the Darkness to the player's Hand. The number of tiles thus gained is dictated by the row they occupy on the Track of Scoring.

Third, Gold (Cloth of Gold): Reveal all Gold tiles from your Hand, placing them in your Court. If your Gold tiles number greater than your rival's, score 2 Points upon the Track of Scoring. If the number is equal, or lesser, then no Points are awarded. Note well that no tiles are Removed when taking this action.

Fourth, Blue (Banquets and Feasts): Reveal all Blue tiles from your Hand, placing them in your Court. If the Blue tiles in your Court number only one, score 1 Point; if they number two, score 3 Points; if they number three or greater, score ye 6 Points. Never can you score more than 6 Points in a single action. Upon scoring, all Blue tiles in your Court are Removed from the game.

Fifth, White (Godliness and Piety): Reveal all White tiles from your Hand, placing them in your Court. For each White tile, score 1 point. Upon scoring, all White tiles in your Court are Removed from the game.

Sixth, Red (Tournaments): Reveal all Red tiles from your Hand, placing them in your Court. Then, both players shalt compete in displays of manly violence: both at the same time score 1 point for each Red tile in their own Court. Note well that the rival player does not Reveal new Red tiles, but only scores for those already present. Upon scoring, all Red tiles for both players are Removed from the game. Then, each player (beginning with the acting player) takes new tiles via Secrecy, as if they had taken the action of that name.

Seventh, Purple (Collections): Reveal all tiles from your Hand, placing them in your Court. A collection of four tiles, one of each type save jewels, is deemed a Set, and for each Set, score 2 points. Mark: no tiles are Removed when taking this action.

End of the Contest

If the last tile is drawn from the Darkness, or if one or both players achieve a Score of 30 Points or more, the game is ended immediately. Each player shall then score additional points for Jewels and Gold.

The player with the highest score wins the game. If their scores be the same, the player with the greater number of White tiles in their Court is the winner. If these be the same, the player with the greater number of tiles in their Court, of all types, wins, and if this does not resolve it, the two majesties do share victory.


Game Design: Amabel Holland. Layout: Mary Holland.

2023 Edition Notes

I've always been fascinated by the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and had for some time thought about how I might make a game of it. In February of 2020, I realized that June would mark the quincentennial, so if ever there was a time to do the game, it was then. To release it in June, we would need to take it from start to finish – design, playtesting, art, layout – in only two months.

That probably doesn't seem like a lot of time, but you'd be surprised what can happen in a couple of months. When I started the project, I was certain that I was a cis man named Tom Russell. And that's the name that was on the box when it was released in June. But by that time, I already knew the name was a lie.

The summer of 2020 was a complicated, messy part of my life. I wouldn't be out as trans until October. I didn't start using the name Amabel publicly until the following March. In that period, we released five boxed games with the old name on it – a name that I knew was wrong.

I didn't really feel the need to change the name on those boxes, or indeed any boxes released before the cracking of my egg. I very much wanted to honor the weird sad woman who didn't know she was a woman, who thought "I'm not a tomboy, I'm a tomgirl" wouldn't get old. And I wanted to honor the messiness of that early transitional period. Except…

Except that of all of those five games, I really wish that Field had the right name on it. It's easily one of my most popular and successful designs, and one with a much broader appeal than my angry abrasive political games. It'd be an easy game to recommend to people I meet who aren't knee-deep in The Hobby, if not for the fact that it has the wrong name on it.

Mary told me, "well, we can just change it then", and I knew that, but I'm stubborn and lazy, and if I changed this one, why not those, et cetera. But then, in December of 2022, our printer sent us a new counter template.

What happened is that he had identified a potential issue with the existing template for ¾" counters, and so made a new template that would avoid it. I would then need to layout the counters again for all games using ¾". And one of these was Field. So, okay, might as well change the name on the box while we're at it.

Back in 2020, Field was designed for ¾" counters, as they are larger and more appealing than our standard ⅝" counters. A halfsheet of ¾" gave us 54 counters arranged (on the old template) in four blocks of twelve and one block of six. To prevent colors bleeding from one counter to the next, each block needed to be of a single color. And so I assigned each of my four tile types a block of twelve. This left a block of six, which I gave to gold – that's why there were eighteen of those tiles.

That's been a source of complaint over the years. When folks bounce off the game, invariably it's because of the endgame scoring, and how often that can decide the game. Mostly I roll my eyes at that, because, yeah, that's the game – that's part of the decision space you need to plan and adapt for. But at the same time, eighteen gold tiles does make it harder to do that. So, when I was laying out the counters on the new template, I decided, on a lark, to try only twelve gold, and added six new Jewel tiles.

I liked it a lot! It adds some spice to the game without detracting from its essential nature. In fact, I think it's likely I would have thought of something like this if I had had more than two months, or if I had been the person I am now.

The person whose correct name is at last on this box, and is thanking you for buying it, whether for the first time or the second.

Amabel Holland
January 11, 2023