Sultans of Karaya will feel familiar to fans of Werewolf/Mafia in that players each have a secret role and (most of them) belong to one of two teams, each team having a specific way to win the game. The two teams are:
• Sultan and Guards (Loyalists) – to win, they must eliminate all the Assassins and have no more than two Slaves still in play, or the Sultan must survive for a round after being revealed.
• Assassins and Slaves (Rebels) – to win, they must kill the Sultan or have three Slaves seated adjacently with their identities revealed, in which case a slave revolution brings down the Sultan.
The number of role cards in play equals one more than the number of players, with exactly one Sultan, as many Guards as Assassins (with at least one in play), and at least three Slaves in the mix. Zero to four neutral characters will also be in play, each unique and each with the ability to win with one team or the other. The Slave Driver, for example, wins with the Rebels if face-down when the round ends and wins with the Loyalists if face-up, while the Fortune Teller must correctly predict the winning team.
At the start of the game, each player secretly receives one role card, with one card placed face-down in the middle of the table. On a turn, a player can peek at another player's role card, switch/hide (if your role is face-down, switch cards with another player or the spare role card; if face-up, make other players hide their eyes, then secretly switch with any other face-down role card), or use a character action: Guards can detain other players, forcing them to lose their turn; Slaves try to bring about a revolution; Assassins can eliminate any player at the risk of a Guard intervening and killing them instead.
The neutral characters have more complex actions. The Belly Dancer, for example, neutralizes adjacent Guards, preventing them from detaining others or warding off assassination – but only if she's revealed. (If she's revealed and using her powers, she's working for a Rebel win; otherwise she can stay hidden and score if the Loyalists win.) The Vizier can force another player to reveal himself and use his special action.
Players on the winning team score one or two points depending on whether they were face-up – that is, working publicly for the cause – or face-down. At the end of a round, redeal all the role cards. The player with the most points after five rounds wins the game.