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Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Cartagena
Series:  Cartagena
Theme:  Pirate
Genre:  Racing
Format:  Board Games
Other:  Games for Non-gamers


English language edition

Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title [], but it may be available in another edition. Try: Cartagena

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 30-45 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Leo Colovini

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Venice Connection

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Product Description

The game recalls the legendary 1672 escape of a large group of pirates from the dreaded fortress of Cartagena. Each player has a crew of 6 fugitives which he tries to hurry through the long and tortuous underground passage that connects the fortress to the waterfront. But the task is not easy, because to move pirates forward in the passage you must play appropriate cards, of which you only have a few, while to replenish your cards, you must move pirates backward again.... To balance these conflicting needs requires good timing and judgement. The first player who succeeds in bringing his 6 pirates to the end of the passage and aboard a waiting sloop wins the game.

The rules of the game are simple and easy to learn, and they offer two ways of playing: a faster way that gives more scope to luck, and a tactical way what requires more skill. Players can choose which they like best.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2001
Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 2001

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Leo Colovini

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Venice Connection

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 30 - 45 minutes

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 480 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 6 board-segments printed on both sides. On each is a portion of the underground passage with a different sequence of the following 6 signs: a skull, a dagger, a key, a bottle, a pistol, a three-cornered hat.
  • A small board in the shape of a sloop.
  • A deck of 103 cards; on the face of one is an arrow; on the face of all the others is one of the 6 signs (17 of each sign).
  • 30 pirates (pawns) in 5 colors, 6 of each color.
  • Rules with one illustration in color on a separate sheet.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.7 in 6 reviews

Sort reviews by:

Rediscovered Gem
March 23, 2009

When I started collecting European games this was among the first games I got. I enjoyed playing it and then give it up as I discovered other games. Recently reading the reviews I decided to bring Cartagena out again. It is a great game and I now wonder why did I ever put it on the shelf. Naming the pirates is a great idea!!! It has brought new exictiment to playing the game in hopes of getting to name another pirate. It also leads to new strategies such as if I can't win at least the named pirate is getting on the boat.

So, far I have only played by the hidden card method which I find to be a fun way to play. If Hare and Tortoise is not you game Cartagena very well could be. I found Hare and Tortoise too difficult to play but, Cartagena is a game everyone can enjoy.

Fun, unique, light game...
September 09, 2005

This is a fun different kind of game to play. We haven't played anything quite like this. The rules are easy to learn and it plays quickly for the most part. We love the idea of placing the sturdy large tiles together before game play to create the game board itself. It is different each time, and is just part of the reason we haven't seemed to get bored with this game since we got it over a year ago.

We love Cartagena! I also also recommend Alhambra, Acquire, and Mexica. Even though they are completely different type games, they would be a great addition to your collection.

Fun light game
July 09, 2005
Played once with 4 players. Fun, short, light game. I won, so maybe that biased my opinion. Don't be scared off by the pirate theme - it's not a strong theme (no blood, fighting, looting, etc.) - this would be fun for kids and family too.
by Scala
Deserves better rating!
August 05, 2004

Easy to learn, fun to play, high interdependency between moves of players and others, element of racing to the finish line, multiple options in each turn, etc, etc.

We never tire of this game and appeals to kids, teens, adults, gamers and non-gamers!

Try this one. Someone will thank you for it!

Easy to learn, fast to play, fun for the family.
January 30, 2006
As the title suggests it's a pretty simple game with interesting rules. The game provides 2 differnt kinds of varients, one offering more strategy, and the other more luck. The game can be explained in roughy 5-8 minutes and takes about 15-25 minutes for about 3 players.

I give this a 4 star because sadly, the components aren't of very great quality, the cards are very easy to rip and the box is too large for the actual game. This may be nit-picking but over all the game is still worth the price if you want a quick family game that you can explain without too much of a problem.

- L.T.

Leo Strikes Again!!
June 23, 2004

I admit a bias towards games designed by Leo Colovini first off. Many of his games employ simple but clever methods of gameplay that move the game from what could be a simplistic excersize of luck and a little skill into a real workout for the ol' brain.

Cartagena was a game I held off buying for several years, thinking it was just to simplistic. I was wrong. The game is fun, plays quickly, and has just enough depth to make you think through each move.

Is it a 'masterpiece', a 'classic', 'better than chess'? Certainly not. But it is a very good game, and makes a superb filler between games of Perto Rico or Game Of Thrones, or even chess!! We play with all cards showing, whcih is really the way to go.

I am glad I finally picked this up, and it has since seen many playings with a variety of gamers. 4 stars it has earned. Thanks Leo!

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