Cartagena- The Board Game
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16.12.2017

Cartagena- The Board Game

Cartagena is a board game based on the famous 1672 pirate-led prison escape from the fortress of Cartagena, which was a high security prison for pirates, thieves, and other criminals. Cartagena is a strategy game with each player controlling a group of six pirates. The objective of the game is to take all six escapes through the circuitous underground passage connecting the fortress to the port, where a sail boat is waiting for them. Each player has six pirates in the prison, with the first player relaying all six of them safely to the sail boat, or the sloop, is the winner.

Cartagena is commonly categorized as a race game, but in fact it requires both skill as well as luck. Analytical thought is required to beat your opponent to the sloop, along with luck. The picture cards bring in the element of luck, but deeper analysis is required to utilise the cards properly and guide your pirates to the sloop.

The game board comprises of six sections of two sides, each section with a different arrangement of the same pictures featuring daggers, pistols, skulls, pirate hats, bottles of rum and skeleton keys. The combination of these six pictures is possible in any order, to effectively come up with thousands of different game combinations. Theoretically there are 7206 combinations; however, this is not practically achieved. Players are dealt with six cards out of a 102 card set. 17 cards are allotted for each of the pictures. Pirates can be moved by the players through these cards; new cards are given to players if pirates are moved backwards.

Players take turns to make three moves, either forward or backward. In order to move a pirate forward, players have to select a pirate and play a card. The pirate is moved forward to the preceding unoccupied square that has the same picture as the card. If a pirate faces no unoccupied spaces in front, the pirate reaches the sloop. In order to move backward, a player chooses a particular pirate, plays a card, and moves the pirate backward to the closest square with one or two pirates already on it. Depending on the number of pirates on that square, the player receives as many cards. Pirates however, cannot be taken as far back as Cartagena.

The game of Cartagena has two popular variations, Jamaica and Tortuga. The Jamaica version requires the deck to be hidden, with players not being able to look at each other cards. Jamaica game version is supposedly fast paced; played within half an hour to 45 minutes and it involves both luck and skill. The Tortuga version has no hidden deck systems, and the cards are visible to both players. This game requires less luck, and much more analysis and strategic thought in order to out play the opponent. Cartagena is enjoyed by two to five players as a light game rather than a serious competition, but it is much more complicated than popular race games such as Snakes and Ladders.
May 13, 2008, 2:11 pm


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