This game is heavily inspired by the great game Cartagena (2000), developed by Leo Colovini. We fully recommend getting a copy of the game for the full pirate experience, but you can also mimic some of the game mechanics using the Green Box.
One really cool thing about Cartagena is that although it’s labelled as an 8+ game that provides sophisticated strategic choices to all ages, you can easily reduce the rules and complexity to play with younger kids. All the way down to the most basic: Draw one card, find the right symbol on the board and move your piece forward to that symbol. This plays right into the flexibility of the Green Box as well, where we encourage players to come up with their own games and variations.
Here are suggested rules for a variant that can be played with children around the age of 7:
At a glance:
- All 36 symbol tiles
- All cards
- 3 colored cubes pr player
Sort the symbol tiles in 6 stacks, each containing all 6 different symbols. Shuffle each stack, and use them to build a “tunnel”, or track. The shape can be anything you like, straight, spiral, serpentine. Place all player cubes outside one end of the tunnel. Shuffle the cards and deal 3 cards to each player. Select a starting player randomly, or let the youngest players start.
On your turn, you play one card from your hand. Take one of your pieces and move it forward towards the end of the tunnel. Stop when you reach a tile with the same symbol as the card you played. If this tile is occupied by another cube, keep moving until you reach the next. If you reach the end without coming across an available tile, place your piece outside the tunnel. This piece has completed the track and exited the tunnel.
When you have played one card and completed your move, draw a new card from the deck. Then it’s the next players turn.
The winner is the first player to get all her or his pieces to the exit.
Try different numbers of cards and pieces pr player to adjust the level of complexity.
In the original game of Cartagena, the movement rules are a bit more complex. Each player plays with six pieces. You play a card to move forward as described above, but you do not draw new cards every turn. In order to draw new cards, you must move one of your pieces backwards until you reach an occupied tile. If this tile has one other piece on it, you draw one card, if it has two pieces, you draw two cards. If it has three pieces you must continue backwards to the next occupied tile. In addition, on your turn you can do a total of three movement actions (forwards or backwards) before play passes to the next person. Check out BoardGameGeek for the full official rules with more variations.