4-9 Players
20-40 minutes

Welcome to Tortuga!

The year is 1667 and you are a pirate sailing the waters of the Caribbean. A Spanish Galleon floats nearby, and you’ve talked your crewmates into working together to steal all of its treasure. What you haven’t told your fellow pirates is that you have no intention to share the treasure once you have it. You are still loyal to your native country, and keeping the treasure for yourself will finally buy you some respect back home. Some of your crewmates have told you that they share your loyalty and that they’ll help you maroon the greedy pirates on your ship to the rocky island of Tortuga. But you’ve seen your friends’ loaded pistols and heard their whisperings of a mutiny. You know that nobody can be trusted.

How to Win

When the Spanish Armada card is revealed, the team (French or British) with the most treasure in its treasure holds wins the game. Treasure in both ships’ holds and in Tortuga’s holds are added together.

In games with an odd number of players, if teams are tied when the Spanish Armada card is revealed, the Dutch player wins.

In games with an even number of players, if teams are tied when the Spanish Armada card is revealed, see “Tie-breaker” in the Nitty Gritties section.

Tortuga Board

Set Up

Pull out the needed Loyalty cards based on the table below. Shuffle and deal one to each player, face-down. Secretly view your Loyalty card and place it face-down. This is your team. You may not reveal these cards.

# of Players British French Dutch
2 1 1
3 1 1 1
4 2 2
5 2 2 1
6 3 3
7 3 3 1
8 4 4
9 4 4 1

 

Shuffle the Vote cards and deal 3 to each player face-down. Secretly view your Vote cards. You may not reveal these cards except for when you use them in a Vote during the game (Attacks, Mutinies, and Brawls are all types of Votes explained later in the rules.) Place the remaining Vote cards in a face-down stack on the table to form the Vote deck.

Event Deck

6 of the Event cards are marked with a star. Choose 3 of these to use in the game. You can select them randomly if it is your first time playing. Remove the other starred Event cards from the game and place them back in the box.

Place the Spanish Armada card aside. Shuffle all other Event cards (including the chosen starred cards) and place them in a face-down deck on the table. Draw 4 cards from this deck and shuffle them face-down with the Spanish Armada card. Place these 5 cards at the bottom of the deck. If you’ve done this correctly, the Spanish Armada card will be one of the 5 cards at the bottom of the completed deck.

Place the top 5 Event cards of the completed Event deck face-down in a row next to the playing mat.

2-Player and 3-Player Event Deck Set-Up

In  2-player and 3-player games, remove all Albatross cards from the game during set-up. Also do not use the Cabin Fever or Facade starred cards. Other than that, play the game as normal. And remember, if you reveal a Treasure Map you still must give it to another player.

Pawn Placement

Each player should pick a Brethren of the Coast card and place it in front of them. Place the pawns that match with each player’s Brethren of the Coast card into the pouch (and remove any unused pawns from the game). Have one player shake these pawns in the pouch and draw them out one at a time without looking, placing them on alternating ships (Flying Dutchman and Jolly Roger) from top to bottom. The first pawn drawn will be the captain of the Flying Dutchman, the second will be captain of the Jolly Roger, the third will be First Mate on the Flying Dutchman, etc. If there is an odd number of pawns, the last pawn drawn will be the last pawn in line on the Flying Dutchman. Your pawn is the one that matches the color of your Brethren of the Coast card.

Pawns will move around during the game. Whenever your pawn is at the top of a ship, you are that ship’s Captain. Whenever your pawn is the second in line on a ship, you are that ship’s First Mate. Whenever your pawn is at the back of the line on a ship, regardless of the number of pawns on that ship, you are that ship’s Cabin Boy. It is possible to be the First Mate and the Cabin Boy or to be the Captain and the Cabin Boy simultaneously. There may never be more than 5 pawns on a ship. Whenever your pawn is the highest-ranking pawn on Tortuga, you are the Governor of Tortuga.

Treasure Placement

Place 4 treasure tokens on the Spanish Galleon. Place 2 treasure tokens on Tortuga outside of the treasure holds. Give 1 treasure token to each captain. The captain of the Jolly Roger should place their treasure token in either treasure hold on their ship. Next, the captain of the Flying Dutchman should place their treasure token in either treasure hold on their ship.

During the game, treasure will be added to the treasure holds. There is no limit to the amount of treasure that can be stored in any of the holds, even if they don’t all fit on the bottom layer. Stack if you need to.

Tortuga4How to Play

The captain of the Jolly Roger goes first. Proceed clockwise. On your turn, you must perform any 1 action listed below. You must state which action you are going to use before using it. Players only get 1 total action per turn, but if you are a Captain, First Mate, Cabin Boy, or the Governor of Tortuga you may choose your action from the “All Players” potential actions list or from your position’s potential actions list.

Potential Actions for All Players:
  • View 2 event cards: Secretly view the front of any 2 of the 5 face-down event cards. After viewing, place them both back in their same positions face-down.
  • Reveal 1 event card: Flip over any 1 of the 5 face-down event cards. Reveal this card to all players and resolve the consequences listed on the card. Replace the revealed card with the top card from the Event deck.
  • Point to 2 event cards. Force any player to choose 1 to reveal: Point to any 2 of the 5 face-down event cards and choose any other player. The player you chose selects either of those 2 face-down event cards without viewing it first, reveals, and resolves. The other Event card remains in its position unseen. Replace the revealed card with the top card from the Event deck.
  • Move your pawn to or from a Rowboat. Move your pawn from either ship or Tortuga to an adjoining rowboat. Or, move your pawn from a rowboat to the back of the line on Tortuga or to the back of the line on the adjoining ship.
Potential Actions for Captains:
  • Call for an Attack: Successful attacks let you take treasure from the Spanish Galleon. If the Spanish Galleon is out of treasure, successful attacks let you take treasure from the other pirate ship. See “Vote Cards” section below for details.
  • Maroon any Crewmate: Maroon any other pawn on your ship to Tortuga.
Potential Action for First Mates:
  • Call for a Mutiny: Successful mutinies maroon your captain to Tortuga. See “Vote Cards” section below for details.
Potential Action for Cabin Boys:
  • Sneak Treasure: Move 1 treasure token already on your ship from the British treasure hold to the French treasure hold, or vice versa.
Potential Action for Governor of Tortuga:
  • Call for a Brawl: Brawls move the 2 pieces of treasure on Tortuga to one or both holds on Tortuga. See “Vote Cards” section below for details.

As soon as the Event deck runs out and the only unrevealed Event cards left are the 5 in the row, revealed cards will no longer be replaced. Play until the Spanish Armada card is revealed and the game ends. If the Spanish Armada card is the last card left, players may not use an action to view cards or to force other players to reveal cards.

Getting Marooned & Tortuga

During the game, your pawn may get marooned to Tortuga. If you are on a ship and you get marooned, your pawn is placed at the back of the line on Tortuga. Pawns ranked behind you on the ship move up to fill in the empty pawn position. If the Captain is marooned, the First Mate becomes Captain. If everyone on a Ship has been marooned, the treasure that is on that Ship remains on that Ship in the same treasure holds. That treasure still counts towards a team’s total treasure count. If a player boards an empty ship, they become Captain of that Ship.

While on Tortuga you still get turns and you may still perform player actions as normal. If there are more than 6 players on Tortuga, continue to rank them as they arrive on Tortuga, even if there are no more circles for the pawns.

If you are already on Tortuga and you get marooned, your pawn is placed at the back of the line on Tortuga and pawns that were ranked behind you move up. You must also choose one of your Vote cards and place it at the bottom of the Vote card deck and play with fewer Vote cards for the rest of the game. If you are marooned multiple times while on Tortuga, you will lose multiple Vote cards.

Rowboats

Moving to a Rowboat takes one action. Therefore, it takes two total actions to get from Tortuga to a Ship or from a Ship to Tortuga, since you must move to the Rowboat as one action, and move to the Ship or Tortuga as the second action. If there is a pawn currently on a Rowboat, no other pawn may move onto that Rowboat since each Rowboat holds only 1 pawn at a time. If your pawn is on a Rowboat, you do not participate in Votes. You are allowed to “sit” on the rowboat and perform other actions (e.g., viewing and revealing cards) in order to block other pawns. If you are marooned while on a Rowboat, you must return your pawn to the back of the line on Tortuga.

Vote Cards

Attack

The captain of a ship may call for an Attack as their action. If the Captain is the only player on the Ship, he may still call for an Attack. All players on the attacking Captain’s ship place 1 Vote card in the middle of the table. 1 Vote card from the Vote deck is also placed in the middle. Shuffle and reveal these cards.

Only the top section of the Vote card matters in an Attack and contains Cannons, Torches, or Water. Every 1 Water cancels out 1 Torch. If there is at least 1 Cannon, and at least 1 “successful” Torch revealed, the captain may take 1 piece of treasure from the Spanish Galleon and place it in either hold on his ship. If the Spanish Galleon is out of Treasure, the captain may take 1 piece of treasure from the other pirate ship (Flying Dutchman or Jolly Roger) and place it in either hold on his own ship.

Example: If 2 Cannons, 1 Torch, and 1 Water were played, the attack would fail since the Water cancelled the Torch and there were no “successful” Torches.

Example: If 1 Cannon, 2 Torches, and 1 Water were played, the attack would succeed since there is 1 Cannon and only 1 of the Torches was cancelled by water, thus leaving 1 “successful” Torch.

Example: If 2 Cannons and 2 Torches were played, the attack would succeed. However, you still only take 1 piece of treasure.

Mix and place all played Vote cards face-down at the bottom of the Vote deck. Each player who participated in the Vote draws a new Vote card from the Vote deck.

Mutiny

The First Mate of a ship may call for a Mutiny as their action. All players on that ship, except for the captain, place 1 Vote card in the middle of the table. 1 Vote card from the Vote deck is also placed in the middle. Shuffle and reveal these cards.

Only the bottom section of the Vote card matters in a Mutiny and contains either a Skull or a blank space. If a majority of the revealed cards have a Skull, then the captain on the Mutinying ship is marooned to Tortuga. If a majority are blank or there is a tie, nothing happens.

Mix and place all played Vote cards face-down at the bottom of the Vote deck. Each player who participated in the Vote draws a new Vote card from the Vote deck.

Brawl

The Governor of Tortuga may call for a Brawl as their action. If the Governor is the only player on Tortuga, he may still call for a Brawl. All players on Tortuga place 1 Vote card in the middle of the table. 1 Vote card from the Vote deck is also placed in the middle. Shuffle and reveal these cards.

Only the middle section of the Vote card matters in a Brawl and contains either a British flag or a French flag. If a majority of the revealed cards are British flags, place both pieces of treasure on Tortuga in the British hold. If a majority are French flags, place both pieces of treasure on Tortuga in the French hold. If there is a tie, place 1 piece of treasure in each hold. The two pieces of treasure on Tortuga always remain on Tortuga, but they may be moved to either of the holds on Tortuga in future Brawls.

Mix and place all played Vote cards face-down at the bottom of the Vote deck. Each player who participated in the Vote draws a new Vote card from the Vote deck.

With the above information you are ready to play. Remember, when the Spanish Armada card is revealed, the team with the most treasure wins the game. The information below has more information about each Event card, rule clarifications, and tips & tricks. If you’d like, you may begin playing and read the rest as needed. Just keep in mind that some of the Event cards might maroon you, so tread lightly.

Event Cards

In the descriptions below, “any player” includes yourself. “Another player” does not include yourself. All card resolutions are mandatory when revealed.

Helpful Cards (6)

Pistol (2): Revealer points to any player. That player is marooned.

Letter of Marque (4): Revealer may do any 1 of the following:

  1. Send any player from Tortuga or a Rowboat to the back of the line on either Ship.
  2. Draw 1 Vote card. Then, place any 1 Vote card from your new hand of Vote cards at the top of the Vote deck. Remember, the Vote card you place on top of the deck will be added into the next Vote.
Hurtful Cards (6)

Black Spot (3): Revealer is marooned.

Albatross (3): Revealer keeps this card face-up in front of them for the rest of the game. If at any point a ship has 2 total Albatross’ on board, all players on that ship are marooned to Tortuga. Example: The First Mate revealed an Albatross earlier in the game and has it in front of him. If anyone on that First Mate’s ship (including himself) reveals another Albatross, everyone on that ship (even those players without Albatross cards) are marooned to Tortuga. If you possess 2 Albatross cards and you enter a ship, everyone on the ship (including you, who just joined the ship) is immediately marooned to Tortuga. You are essentially a walking bomb. Albatross cards have no effect on Tortuga. If more than 1 player enters Tortuga simultaneously because they all were marooned from Albatross cards, they reverse their rank order (Cabin Boy would get best-ranked open pawn spot on Tortuga, Captain would get worst, etc.).

Treasure Maps (3)

Revealer gives the Treasure Map to another player. The player given the card (“the owner”) may use the Treasure Map at any time. It does not need to be their turn to use it and it does not count as an action. A player may be given and possess multiple Treasure Maps.

Fountain of Youth (1): Owner may choose to not be marooned after revealing one Black Spot, getting shot with a Pistol, or being marooned by their captain. If they use this card to prevent being marooned by their captain, that counts as the captain’s action. Discard after use.

Atlantis (1): At any time the owner may move from one ship to the back of the line on the other ship. Owner may not use this card to move from Tortuga or a Rowboat to a ship. If an Attack or Mutiny is called for on the opposite ship, the player with Atlantis may choose to use their card immediately after the vote is called for. They will then move to the end of the line on the new ship and participate in that vote. If a captain uses an action to maroon the owner of Atlantis, the owner may choose to jump to the other ship instead of getting marooned. In that case the captain would still get to perform an action. Discard after use.

El Dorado (1): Owner immediately draws an extra Vote card. In any one future vote, owner may play two Vote cards instead of the usual one. Players given El Dorado (including those playing down Vote cards from being marooned while on Tortuga) may keep the El Dorado card and not use its ability in order to keep more Vote cards in their hand. Discard after using two cards in a vote.

Starred Cards (Add 3 into each game)

Black Powder: Revealer places the explosion token on either rowboat. That rowboat may not be used for the rest of the game. If a player is currently on that rowboat they are marooned to Tortuga. Players on Tortuga can not use an action to move to a ship without its connecting rowboat.

Cabin Fever: Revealer chooses 1 other player. Revealer and the chosen player’s loyalty cards are shuffled and redistributed to each of them. They each view their new loyalty card.

Crow’s Nest: Revealer places any one player’s hand of Vote cards in the Vote deck. Revealer then searches the Vote deck for any Vote cards to replace the cards that were in that player’s hand. Shuffle the Vote deck after completing. Be sure to replace that player’s hand with the same number of Vote cards they had when Crow’s Nest was revealed.

Facade: Revealer swaps pawn positions with the player sitting on their right.

Eight Bells: All pawns on revealer’s boat or island are put into the pouch and drawn out randomly back onto that boat or island.

Pirate Code: Revealer keeps. Revealer may not participate in the next two Votes (Attack, Mutiny, or Brawl) that they would have been a part of. They may still call for a Vote if in a position to do so. If they are alone for a Vote, a Vote card is still added from the deck. Turn sideways after missing the first vote to help you keep track. Discard after not participating in the second Vote.

Scurvy: Any player on the same ship or island as the revealer, including the revealer, loses their next turn. Those players still lose their next turn even if they are moved off of the Scurvy revealer’s ship or island. Players losing their turn may still participate in relevant Brawls, Mutinies, or Attacks called for by non-skipped players.

Stormy Seas: All treasure on the revealer’s ship or island is returned to the Spanish Galleon (if on a ship) or outside of the treasure holds (if on Tortuga). Remember, if there is treasure on the Spanish Galleon, captains can not attack each other’s ships until the treasure on the Galleon is gone.

Game-Ender (1)

Spanish Armada (1): The game ends when the Spanish Armada card is revealed. See “How to Win” section above to see which team wins when the game ends.

Tortuga1

Nitty Gritties

General Gameplay

Players may look through the discard pile. A player may use their own pen and paper or electronic device to keep track of where viewed cards are in the line of Event cards (Tortuga 1667 is not a memory game!). While you are encouraged to communicate verbally with others in the open, you may not pass notes or electronic devices, or whisper in someone’s ear, to pass information. As soon as an action is stated, Event cards are pointed to, a Vote card is played, or a pawn is let go of, there are no take-backs (unless house rules dictate otherwise).

If your group takes particularly long turns, use a 30-second timer. If a player does not choose their action by the time the timer ends, they must immediately view 2 event cards for their action. If a player is forced to reveal a card, they may have 30 seconds to decide which card to reveal. If they have not chosen by the time the time ends, the forcer chooses which card they will reveal.

Tips & Tricks

This game is about knowledge and communication. If you trust someone who claims to be on your team, share strategies and information about Event cards with them at opportune moments. If you don’t trust someone, use your information to mislead them about strategies and  Event cards.

Unless you are desperate, it is not wise to reveal Event cards at random. Half of the cards may hurt your team drastically. It’s often in your best interest to use an action to view the cards first, or to rely on the knowledge of a trusted ally. Knowing where harmful cards are also allows you to force an enemy to reveal those cards and suffer the consequences.

In the Vote card deck there are 30% Cannons, 30% Waters, and 40% Torches. If you are alone on your ship and you play a cannon in an attack, you have a 40% chance of success by drawing a Torch from the deck. If Attacking with your team, you can collaborate or mislead about who is going to play a Cannon, who is going to play a Torch, etc. A big part of the game is managing the Vote cards in your hand so you don’t get stuck using a card that works against your strategy.

Tie-breaker

If a game with an even number of players is tied when the Spanish Armada is revealed, remove the Spanish Armada card from the game and shuffle all discarded and unrevealed Event cards (including those in the row of Event cards) into a new Event card deck. Lay out 5 new Event cards in a row and continue playing where you left off. The first team to take the lead wins the game. Players should keep any cards that were already in front of them, such as an Albatross or a Treasure Map.

Optional Advanced Set-Up

During the setup phase, first place 4 treasures on the Spanish Galleon, 2 outside of the treasure holds on Tortuga, 1 in the British hold on the Flying Dutchman, and 1 in the French hold on the Jolly Roger. After passing out loyalty cards, randomly draw out the pawns one at a time. Each player may choose their starting ship and pawn position when their pawn is drawn out. Players may also choose to begin on Tortuga. Ships may begin unevenly. After all pawns have been placed, the pawn at the top of each ship is the captain. Move pawns up to fill any empty spaces on the ships.

Groups may also choose to use more than 3 starred Event cards. This creates a slightly longer, more chaotic, and more strategic game.