Archipelago is an intriguing blend of exploration, economic strategy, and negotiation set during the Renaissance era. Players represent European powers venturing into either the Pacific or Caribbean archipelagos, engaging in a variety of activities from exploration and resource harvesting to market trading and city building. The game is rich in theme and interaction, offering a complex and immersive experience.

Gameplay Overview

  • Exploration and Colonization: Players explore territories in an archipelago, harvesting resources and building various structures.
  • Resource Management: Efficiently use resources in both local and foreign markets.
  • Negotiation and Strategy: Engage in negotiations, potentially betraying other players, to achieve secret objectives.
  • Natives' Happiness: Balance expansion with the happiness of native inhabitants to prevent revolts and independence movements.
  • Secret Objectives: Players have secret goals to accomplish while also trying to deduce others' objectives.

Special Features

  • Economic Worker-Placement Mechanics: Incorporates "German" style economic and worker-placement elements.
  • High Interaction: Emphasizes negotiation and potential backstabbing, contrary to many traditional economic games.
  • Thematic Depth: Strongly thematic, reflecting the era's expansionism, diplomacy, and colonial challenges.
  • Variable Game Length: Offers short, medium, and long game objectives.
  • Solo Play: An expansion allows for solo gameplay.


Archipelago is an excellent choice for players who enjoy deep strategy games with a strong historical theme and a high level of player interaction. The game challenges players to balance their expansionist ambitions with diplomatic finesse and consideration for local populations. Its mix of exploration, resource management, and secret objectives, coupled with the potential for negotiation and betrayal, creates a rich and dynamic gameplay experience. Suitable for players who appreciate complexity and depth in board games, Archipelago offers a unique and engaging journey into the age of exploration and colonization.

Nominated for 2 awards.

  • 2 - 5 Players
  • 30 - 240 Minutes
  • 14+ years old
  • Hard to learn

Video reviews, ratings, Let's Plays and tests for Archipelago

  • YouTube Review for the game "Archipelago" by Shut Up & Sit Down
    Video is in English

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