Games Nine Muses Rulebooks

Nine Muses Rulebook

2-4 Players • 30 min • Ages 12+

Call upon the Nine Muses of Ancient Greece to harness the three types of knowledge defined by Aristotle and earn your place in the history books as a great philosopher, or your rivals will take your place!


  • 1 Aristotle card
  • 9 Muse cards (Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, & Urania)
  • 8 Scorekeeping cards (4 Tens Place & 4 Ones Place)
  • 4 Reference cards
  • 34 Philosopher cards (6 Aesop, 3 Agnodice, 5 Archimedes, 3 Chariton, 5 Heron, 5 Hypatia, 3 Hipparchia, & 4 Telesilla)
  • 26 Knowledge tokens (14 Craft, 8 Science, & 4 Ethics)


  1. Separate and shuffle the Muse and Philosopher cards into decks.
  2. Place the following amount of Knowledge tokens in a pile for everyone to reach based on the number of players and put any leftovers in the box, out of play:      
    Two players: 10 Craft, 6 Science, 2 Ethics     
    Three players: 12 Craft, 8 Science, 3 Ethics     
    Four players: 14 Craft, 8 Science, 4 Ethics
  3. Set out the Aristotle card face-up for everyone to see.
  4. Deal five Muse cards in a row face-up for everyone to see.
  5. Deal three Philosopher cards to everyone.
  6. Deal a Tens and Ones Place scorecard (set scores to 0) and a Reference card to everyone.
  7. Give two Craft to everyone from the central pile.

    You’re all set up! Whoever most recently read a philosophy book gets to go first.


Nine Muses is a game of strategy, balance, and thievery played over five rounds. You must know when to spend Knowledge and when to hold onto it to prevent your Muse cards from being stolen.

On your turn

You must perform these actions on your turn in the following order:

  1. Collect muse benefits: Gain any Knowledge or Victory Points from any Muses in your possession with abilities that are activated at the start of your turn.
  2. Select a Philosopher card and do one of the following:
    Exchange Knowledge: Perform one of the trade/gain options shown on the card, then discard it
    Call Muse: Discard the card to take a qualifying Muse card from the central area or an opponent and place her face-up in front of you
    Demonstrate to Aristotle: Discard the card and select one type of Knowledge you have (Craft, Science, or Ethics), then trade as much of it as you want for the Victory Points per token shown on the Aristotle card
    Toil: Discard the card and gain a Craft

Playing a round

You’ll take turns playing one Philosopher card at a time to perform an action. Once all players run out of Philosopher cards, it’s time to start a new round.

To start a new round:

  • Deal three new Philosopher cards to everyone.
  • Deal a new Muse card to the central area.
  • Rotate the starting player to the left (clockwise).

Winning & ending the game

Once the final Muse card has been revealed, play through one last round and then the game is over. Whoever has the most Victory Points at the end of the game is the winner and greatest sage of all time!


There are three types of Knowledge: Craft, Science, and Ethics—which can be gained or traded using Philosopher and Muse cards.

Keep the following in mind:

  • You’ll always gain from or pay to the central pool of Knowledge first but when that runs out, you may pick any number of players to steal the remainder (yes, you may even ironically steal Ethics)
  • Knowledge in Nine Muses is purposefully limited and you may not substitute it for other assets or attempt to collect the remainder of a transaction on a future turn

Philosopher card actions

After collecting any potential Muse card benefits, you’ll select a Philosopher card and take one of four available actions, all of which involve discarding the Philosopher card.

Exchanging Knowledge

Choose one of the options shown on the Philosopher card to gain or trade different types of Knowledge, then discard the card.

Calling a Muse

Discard a Philosopher card to take a qualifying Muse card from the central area or another player, placing that card face-up in front of you. 

Keep the following in mind:

  • You must meet the condition in the box to be able to Call that Muse
  • You need only meet the condition at the time of Calling the Muse and will still keep that Muse    when you no longer meet the condition (unless she’s stolen)
  • You may Call a face-up Muse from the central area or steal an opponent’s Muse
  • To be able to Call a particular Muse, you must be the only person who currently meets the condition. When multiple players meet the condition, that Muse can’t be Called; she must remain where she is
  • There is no limit to the number of Muses you may have under your possession at the same time

Demonstrating to Aristotle

Discard a Philosopher card to trade any number of one type of Knowledge for Victory Points. Select one type of Knowledge you have and trade as much of it as you want for the number of Victory Points per token as shown on Aristotle.


Discard a Philosopher card to gain a Craft. Toiling is a last resort but good in a pinch! 

Keeping Score

When you gain Victory Points, you can keep track of your score using the two scorecards provided. Place the Tens Place card over the Ones Place card and align the two numbers, as shown.


Design, art, & rules

Shaine Greenwood

Special thanks to

Doug Beyers
dAVE Inden
Trevor Harron
Stepan Opalev
E.S. Ott
Katie Paul
Shirley Rodríguez
John Zošák
Quinn Washburn
Antony Wyatt
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