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German edition

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

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Roman Pelek, Claudia Hely

Manufacturer(s): Amigo

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Product Description

The flow of money determines the path of the canals!

The climate is hot and each drop of water is precious on the Cape Verdian island Santiago. The players must not only buy at auction the largest connected plantations, but also water them as well. Here you have to hurry, because land which is not watered dries up and turns to desert. Then, if you've still got a little money in reserve, you can give it to the canal overseer discretely to ensure he builds the "right" channels...

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Strategy Game Nominee, 2005
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2004

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Roman Pelek, Claudia Hely

  • Manufacturer(s): Amigo

  • Artist(s): Oliver Freudenreich

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 90 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 936 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.


  • game money
  • 110 yield stones
  • 45 plantations
  • 15 blue canals
  • 5 proposed canals
  • 3 palm trees
  • 1 water source
  • 1 canal overseer
  • 1 gameboard

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 5 in 1 review

by Dr Jay
I Need a Ditchdigger!
March 03, 2004

Santiago, with five players (3-5 players), presents one of the best interaction game I have witnessed. Perhaps, it was the players; I think it was the game design as well.

You have four even stacks of tiles. You are asked to match up two colors or place another farm tile. Two farm tiles are already placed on the board at the beginning of the game. The game mechanics looked so easy in the beginning. The four stacks of tiles are revealed with four tiles to bid on.

You start by bidding on who will draw and place the first tile. Ten Escudos or dollars are given to each player at the beginning. You may conserve your Escudos or bid wildly for those first tile placements. At the end of each round, the player is given three dollars to refresh the resources on hand.

The name of the game is irrigation. Each player has four irrigation sticks or canals. The one in your color represents the one placement you can use to keep your farms going. The blue stick represents a freebie that you can place to head off someone else not keeping your farms irrigated. You need to keep your colored canal stick for a time when farms will be lost without irrigation. Sticks placed between farm or crop tiles do not necessarily water the crops you want watered.

As individuals are deciding on their bids, one player may stay out of the bidding. He or she automatically becomes the ditchdigger for the lowest bid or staying out of the bidding. The Canal Builder or ditchdigger becomes a powerful person who decides which additional bid will be accepted and where the life-giving water stick will be laid.

The last step in the turn involves laying one of your blue tiles to keep that farm going. If no water stick is located near your farm tile, your farm tile is turned and the farm is lost. The farm becomes a desert.

At the beginning, two of the players placed tiles that gave them two farms or crop little blocks. On the farm tiles it shows how many little blocks of your color can be placed. Two tiles were immediately lost without irrigation, and the game begin to look like a stalement.

Then, the players got smart. They started holding back bids to become the Canal Builder and accept bids. They, then, built more carefully to conserve their water resources. It became a contest to guess who would become the Canal Builder. I ended up building only one farm for many turns, but the farms were at least receiving water from the other players.

Deals continued to be made in the game to save precious water irrigation sticks and team with other players' farms. That made the game highly interactive. Some players started new farms away from other people's tiles. The middle of the board became filled with one- and two-farm tiles. The players vied for conserving their water sticks. The Canal Builder was making a killing.

Money is earned at the end of the game by the number of crop stones on a farm tile times the size of the area involved. Money on hand is also counted. The final scores were unbelievably rich: 86, 67, two 52s, and 43. All in all, players commented they liked the game and would play it again.

From the furor generated by trying to convince the Canal Builder with bids and the spirited bidding for initial placement of tiles, this game is a winner. It has all the elements of stabbing your neighbor in the back and acquiring more water.

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