Trade is up between the three kingdoms, as merchants go between the cities, plying their trade. However, in each kingdom, they must have special permits to sell their goods. To get those permits, merchants must form alliances with the powerful families that influence the Councils in control of the kingdoms.
In Council of 4, players take on the role of wealthy merchants. By influencing the various town Councils, they can gain trading rights in the cities and earn points for their sales. Players will manipulate who is in charge and form trade routes by connecting their cities together. Or they can plead to the Queen, herself, for help.