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Cartographers

Cartographers is a competitive map-drawing game where players create maps by filling in various terrain types and scoring points based on specific map objectives. It features unique scoring cards and a changing scoring system in each game.

7.62 / 10
BGG Rating
10+
age
2019
published year
1 - 100
player count
1 - 8
Recommended player count
30 - 45 mins
play time

How Complex is Cartographers?

1.88 / 5

Cartographers is easy to learn and play, with simple rules and mechanics, making it accessible to players of all skill levels.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of Cartographers?

1 / 5

Luck plays little to no role in Cartographers as players draw on the same map simultaneously, but there's some randomness in the way ambush, and ruins cards appear in the game.

How much Player Interaction does Cartographers offer?

2 / 5

Cartographers has limited player interaction as players focus on their maps and shared objectives, with only minor opportunities for interaction through the ambush scoring cards.

How much Replayability does Cartographers offer?

4 / 5

Cartographers offers high replayability due to the changing scoring system each game, randomized scoring cards, and explore cards, providing a different experience each time.

Why you should play Cartographers

Unique gameplay

Cartographers is a fantastic game that combines elements of drawing and strategy. Players take turns drawing on their map sheets, trying to score points based on the scoring cards of the game.

Easy to learn

The game is easy to understand, with simple rules and mechanics that can be picked up quickly. This makes it an excellent choice for experienced gamers and those new to the hobby.

Replayability

With 16 different scoring cards and a variety of terrain types, each game of Cartographers is different. This means that players can enjoy the game multiple times without becoming repetitive.

Solo play

Cartographers also includes a solo play mode, perfect for those who want to enjoy the game independently. The solo mode is challenging and fun and provides a great way to practice your skills before playing with others.

Family-friendly

Cartographers is a family-friendly game that players of all ages can enjoy. The game is not overly complex, and the drawing element adds more fun that kids will love.

Why you should avoid Cartographers

Not for everyone

While Cartographers is easy to learn, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. Some players may find the drawing element too simplistic or may not enjoy the strategy involved in creating the most valuable territories.

Limited player interaction

Cartographers is a game primarily played in isolation, with each player working on their map sheet. This means there is little player interaction, which may not appeal to some gamers.

Where to find the Rules of Cartographers

Check the rules of Cartographers in a PDF file.

You can also find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the Cartographers files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Strategies for Cartographers

Think before drawing

Before you start drawing on your map, take a moment to plan out your moves. When drawing, you must choose a terrain type if an explore card allows. Choose the one that will give you the maximum possible points according to the game's four scoring cards.

Start collecting coins early

Coins compound to give you points every season, so filling your coin track early in the game is beneficial. There are two ways you can earn coins,

  1. By surrounding the mountain in all four adjacent spaces
  2. By picking a shape with a coin in the draw phase

Let's take two games, G1 & G2. You earn the same number of coins in both games every season after the spring. But, the number of coins earned in the Spring season is different.

GameCoins in SpringPoints from coins
G111 + 2 + 4 + 6 = 13
G244 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 25

By collecting three extra coins in the first season, the points from coins almost doubled in game B. Hence, in the spring season, look to collect more coins. In the next three seasons, focus less on coins, as completing the objectives on the scorecards will earn more points.

Prioritise scorecards

In the second season, you will get one last chance to maximise your points for scorecard B. Hence, if an explore card allows you to score the same or more points than any other scorecard, you should prioritise B. Also, you will get more time to score points for A, C & D scorecards than B.

Try to keep the ruins space empty

Two ruins are in the explore deck every season. Worst case, you will come across eight ruins cards in the game. There are only six ruins spaces on the map. The smallest shape to draw requires one space, while the biggest requires four spaces.

When you don't have an empty ruin space when a ruin card comes, you will fill fewer spaces than you can. So, think before filling a ruins space.

Monster attack

You can disrupt your opponent's plan whenever an ambush card is revealed. You can use it to sabotage their score by drawing in the space they will get maximum points. If no such opportunities exist, draw on one of their ruins spaces.

Mechanics

Simultaneous Action Selection
Line Drawing
Paper-and-Pencil
Solo / Solitaire Game
End Game Bonuses
Variable Set-up
Square Grid
Grid Coverage
Bingo

Categories

Fantasy
Territory Building