Lords of the Spanish Main
Sun Nov 5 02:40:07 UTC 2006

A game by Philip Eklund and Sierra Madre Games, 2006

Who Are We?
Each player represents one of these:

Where Are We?

In full color on thin cardboard, about A3 sized, depicting the Caribbean region from Florida to Venezuela, the Yucatan to Antigua. The sea is divided into zones and islands are studded with flags.

When Are We?

It is the year 1600. Only Spain has colonies in America and each year the galleon fleet returns with treasure worth 20 million ducats, unless someone should choose to interfere ...

Who Else Is There? (just a subset):

Who Wins?

The player with the most gold. The game can end after 1620 and certainly by 1649.

Who Else Is Included?

What are the phases in a turn (year)?

  1. Reveal a card.
  2. Capitalization and skullduggery
  3. Auction card or Resolve event.
  4. Trade, Raid & Interdict
  5. Projects mature.
What are the main game mechanisms?

If you know the other Lords games, there is much that is familiar. in the economics, auctions, capitalization, cooperation with competition, and, of course comets. But the rules are shorter and simpler than in either Lords of the Sierra Madre or Lords of the Renaissance.

If you don't know the other games, the basic substructure is that each turn a card is turned up and either it's an event that's applied or it's a good thing which is sold off to the highest bidder. Most good things are not immediately usable though, oh no. They have to be "capitalized" which means that one pays one gold per turn for a few turns and only then are they available and start generating profit or fighting ability or both. So make sure you have funds to last that long.

Atop this substructure, each game has its own set of players and mechanisms. In Lords of the Sierra Madre it's about getting gold mines and smelters, connecting them together and taxing them or protecting them from being taxed and ultimately becoming rich enough to run for president. In Lords of the Renaissance it's about connecting together trade routes. In this one there are a few different things that can be done:

What are some of the more interesting mechanisms? What kind of background notes come with the game?

There are two pages to describe the nine characters. One and one half pages describe a sample game. Half a page gives the designer's notes. Three pages give extensive footnotes on the history of the game.

How are the rules to read?

They seem easier to grasp than earlier SMG games, but I think they may always be a bit of a challenge, just because of the very nature of the game. In many games, you have specific phases and players must do specific things. For example, let's think of a similar kind of German game, In the Shadow of the Emperor. There is an election phase and there are strict steps that must be followed in conducting them. But here, matters are much more wide open. There is a turn and players may perform one or several of a wide variety of activities and there are a wide variety of potential situations. This does not always lend itself to easy explanation.

Lords of the Spanish Main-related pages on this site: