Madeira - Pearl of the Atlantic (2011)

Players: 2 - 4
Playing time: 90 minutes

Data from BoardGameGeek
Players are settlers in the Madeira island. Each player gathers a few men and a piece of land to cultivate, given by the king of Portugal and arrive in the island with their hopes and dreams of becoming wealthier and richer! Wheat plantations were the first means for the survival in the island. After that, when D. Henrique introduced the sugarcane, sugar became the core business of Madeira. With the offer of sugar increasing in other places of the world (such as África and Brasil) the financial results of sugar were not enough and the production of the very famous Madeira wine became the most important economic developer of the island.
Players try to gain prestige and money in the island adapting themselves to these constraints, promoting the development of the island, fighting the corsairs and trading with the most important European markets of the time.

In Madeira - Pearl of the Atlantic, players start the game with only a few resources such as land, men and money and try to expand their wealth by trading goods (wheat, sugar and wine), increasing their status quo in the island, acquiring more properties, making donations for the local cathedral and helping to develop the island by constructing some buildings and preventing attacks from the corsairs!

The game is divided into two major eras: the first one being from the first times of the discovery and colonization - in which players perform actions related to land developments, contracting men to work and colonize, constructing small buildings, irrigating the plantations, colecting wood and making terraces in order to increase the land production. The second one, more dedicated to trading with foreign european crowns, an opportunity that came together with the sugar cane (the “white gold”), working on diplomacy to get some favors, donate large amounts of money to increase their prestige in Madeira.

Gameplay revolves in a new action selection mechanic with dice, where players face difficult choices on what actions to activate for themselves and other players. Players try to built up an economic engine (by getting more permits, harvesting, selling and trading goods) that fit their strategy keeping in close attention the common welfare of the Island. Who ever gett’s more prestige wins the game.

90 minutes of settling in the first really empty land space of the Portuguese discoveries. Madeira was a laboratory of what became known as the Portuguese Empire!

Graham Charlton

Probably a masterpiece. Probably a little too long and brain-burny to be played regularly. Alas.

  • Rated this 9/10
  • Owns this

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