Santa cruz (game)

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Santa Cruz
Game data
author Marcel-André Casasola Merkle
graphic Michael Menzel
publishing company Hans in hapiness
Publishing year 2012
Art Board game
Teammates 2-4
Duration about 45 minutes
Age from 8 years


Game of Games 2012
Game of the Year 2012 - Recommended list of
German Games Prize 2012: 10th place

Santa Cruz is a board game by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle , published in 2012 by Hans im Glück Verlag and distributed by Schmidt Spiele . Michael Menzel was responsible for the graphic design . Santa Cruz was awarded the “ Game of Games” game award in 2012 and was on the recommendation list for “ Game of the Year 2012”.

Plot and game play

The game revolves around the settlement of the Caribbean , but fictional volcanic island of Santa Cruz . After landing on the coast, the players build new houses, lighthouses or churches in rounds, gradually explore the interior and develop the island's resources. The game is played in two rounds, with additional information being available to the players in the second round. The aim is to collect the most points by the end of the game.

The game material includes:

  • game schedule
  • 54 building site tiles
  • 28 construction cards in four different sets of 7 cards
  • 16 scoring cards
  • 52 wooden buildings (8 houses, 3 churches, 2 lighthouses per player)
  • 22 bird chips
  • Scoring stones and 50 increments
  • Overview cards

The game board shows the island of Santa Cruz , which is still uninhabited at the beginning, with a total of 49 building sites. These are partly connected by roads and rivers and further divided into coastal, land and volcanic areas. Before the start of the game, you are randomly provided with face-down building tiles, only the tiles in coastal areas are laid out face up. Uncovered building tiles each show a certain type of building (house, church or lighthouse) and possibly a resource (fish, sheep, wood, sugar or gold) or a bird chip. Each player also receives a supply of buildings (8 houses, 3 churches and 2 lighthouses) as well as a set of construction cards and, depending on the number of players, two to four scoring cards in hand. The game is played in turn.

In the first round, the landing takes place, in which each player settles one of the coastal areas by placing a suitable building on a free building site. Adjacent land and volcanic tiles are always uncovered when an area is settled and the interior of the island is gradually explored. From the second round, the settlement requires the playing of construction cards: You determine which spaces the player can reach: "Ship cards" allow the settlement of further coastal areas, "River" or "Path cards" can also be used to reach correspondingly connected areas inland. Each settlement brings a few points, which are recorded on a " Kramer track " (point track), the construction card used is discarded. When settling certain areas, a player may also draw a bird tile, these score additional points at the end of the game and are kept secret during the game.

As an alternative to settlement, a player can also play a scoring card and thus trigger a scoring. Scoring cards each show certain conditions and score points for every player who fulfills them. There can be ratings, for example, for the possession of certain buildings or resources, the connection of areas or most of the bird tiles collected. A special feature is the rating of the volcanic eruption , which destroys all buildings in volcanic areas and brings the players concerned minus points.

When all players have played their cards, the first round ends and a second round follows. To do this, the players only take back their buildings, but the building tiles remain face up. The players' card sets (construction and scoring cards) are redistributed among the players, whereby the player with the fewest points may choose first. In addition, each player draws another scoring card from the stack and then discards one of his scoring cards face down. The rest of the process corresponds to the first round. Since most of the players' hand cards and all construction sites are known in the second round, the players can better adjust their strategy accordingly.

After completing the second round, the collected bird tiles are evaluated and the player with the most points wins.

Awards and reviews

In 2012 Santa Cruz was awarded the Austrian “ Spiel der Spiele ” game award. Among other things, the reasoning states:

"[...] The simple rules with lots of examples and nice game components distinguish this game, the plan is modular and can be put together differently and offer new options through extensions. The game publisher Hans im Glück did an excellent job of "Santa Cruz". "

- Dagmar de Cassan / Games Committee of the Vienna Games Academy

When it was selected for the “ German Games Prize 2012”, the game reached 10th place, and it was also on the recommendation list for the “ Game of the Year 2012”.

The reviews of Santa Cruz were generally positive. In particular, the scoring card mechanism, the "relaxed" game flow as well as the material and especially the graphic design by Michael Menzel appealed to many reviewers. The critics, on the other hand, were particularly divided when it came to dividing the game into two rounds: Some found the second round to be more interesting than the random first round due to the stronger tactical possibilities, while others found the repeated colonization to be artificial, illogical or simply unnecessary.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Game of the Games 2012
  2. Jörg Köninger: Review at from July 2, 2012
  3. Kurt Györög: Review on Topolino's homepage from July 22, 2012
  4. Franky Bayer: Review by H @ LL9000 from October 15, 2012.
  5. Ingo Hackenberg: Review and video description at
  6. Video review from May 24, 2012, on YouTube .