Thursday, March 17, 2022

#55: Cartographers (Mark's Top 100 2022)

  • rank: 111
  • rating: 7.7
  • published: 2019
Print Status
  • in print
Why It's On The List
  • Though it is thematically part of the Roll Player universe (along with #64 Roll Player, Lockup, and Roll Player Adventures), Cartographers works without any experience with the other games. It's a clever flip-n-write that challenges players to map fantasy kingdoms while conforming to a set of scoring objectives.
Tips & Tricks:
  • One of the required skills of the game is figuring out what goals you have to accomplish and in what order (based on the seasons). Since you score each goal twice, you want to set up to get the maximum score for that goal when it appears in the timeline.
  • If a landscape card has a choice that is worth gold, take it unless the larger shape will help you meet another scoring goal. Gold taken early pays off four times over the game.
  • I invested in a set of colored pencils for my set - and while my art skills are almost non-existent, my maps look much nicer in color.
  • Cartographers has a really solid solo play option - making it the third of 18 games in the countdown I recommend for solo play.
  • Cartographers is also a fantastic "Zoom call" game - you just have to use the solo rules for monster placement and you're ready to go.
  • There are multiple expansions available for the game:
    • Cartographers: Heroes - which is a stand-alone game that can be used with the original maps or the maps that come with it... and which adds heroes and more active monsters.
    • Two different Skills packs which each add a set of special power cards that allow players to manipulate what they draw by spending hard-earned gold pieces.
    • The Ambush pack which adds four new monsters with different shapes.
    • Three different map packs (Nebblis, Affril, & Undercity) which add two new maps and 3 cards each with some interesting twists.
    • More new stuff is on the way - more heroes and three more map packs!
  • You don't need to own all the extra stuff - but if you play it as much solo as I do, it's nice to have the variety.

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