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Cartasiega is a UO version of the board game Cartagena by Leo Colovini. It commemorates the escape of around thirty pirates from Lord British's supposedly impregnable fortress of Cartasiega. Up to five teams of players control a group of six pirate counters and must move them through the underground passage that connects the fortress to the nearby port, where a sloop is waiting. The first team to get their pirates to this escape boat is declared the winner.
Game room
The game room. (click to enlarge)


The game is played in a game room containing various areas. Each team's six pirate counters (represented by coloured potion kegs) start in the 'jail'. The teams must attempt to move their pirates along the passageway which connects the jail with the escape boat by expending tokens. They may also choose to move pirates backwards along the passageway to gain additional tokens.


A team is generally made up of between one and three individuals. Each team is assigned a colour and has an area of the game room where tokens are stored. Team members must wear the robes that match their colour.

The team can discuss their next move by party or, if available, Ventrilo. The team leadership rotates each turn and the leader is the person who must come forward and make the team's moves.

After the first couple of turns, when all players are familiar with the rules, there will be a time limit imposed for a team to take its turn.

The Passageway

The passageway is a series of 36 brown tiles connecting the fortress with the escape boat. Between these lies another set of black tiles, but they are just for spacing; only the brown tiles are actually used. Upon each of the passageway tiles is one of six symbols (bottle, cap, dagger, necklace, skull, spyglass).


Each team begins the game with a random set of six tokens. There are six different types of token and these match the signs on the passageway. The tokens are kept in the appropriate containers in the team area, thus all teams are able to see how many tokens of each type everyone has. Only matching tokens may therefore be stored within these bags.

At the start of the game, twelve additional tokens are randomly drawn and placed along the north wall of the game area to form a restock. When a token is won during gameplay, the team will take the westernmost token from the restock. Once all twelve tokens within the restock are taken, a new set of twelve is drawn.

There is no limit to the number of tokens a team may hold except the number of tokens of each type (17) within the game.


Teams play in alphabetical order by colour (blue, green, purple, red, yellow). On its turn, a team may take up to three actions. It is not necessary to use all the actions, but the team must make at least one and generally will want to use all three. There are two kinds of actions allowed and these may be performed in any order:

i) Play a token and advance a pirate. The token is removed from the team's stock and a pirate (either in the passageway or still in the prison) is selected. That pirate then moves forward to the next vacant space marked with the same sign as the token played. A vacant space is one not occupied by another pirate regardless of team. If there is no vacant space in front of the pirate that is marked with that sign, the pirate is allowed to move to the end of the passageway and climb aboard the sloop.

ii) Move a pirate backwards and pick up one or two tokens. The selected pirate is moved backwards along the passageway and stops on the first space occupied by one or two pirates belonging to any team(s). Whilst moving backwards, vacant spaces and those occupied by three pirates are ignored and passed by (three is therefore the maximum number of pirates that can occupy a space). If the pirate moves to a space occupied by a single pirate, the team draws the next token from the restock row. If the pirate moves back to a space containing two pirates, the team draws two tokens.


The first team to move all six pirates on to the sloop is declared the winner. Play can then proceed to determine the remaining placings. Alternatively, the other placings are decided by the team with the most pirates in the sloop and, in the event of a tie, by the furthest pirate along the passageway.

Example Play

Click this link to see an example first turn of a game of Cartasiega. Please note that this turn is to illustrate as much of the game mechanics as possible and some of the moves are not necessarily wise and/or likely to occur on the first turn.

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Images by Andy Simmons @ ANS Graphics