Cartagena is a thematic board game based on the historical 1672 pirate jailbreak from the fortress of Cartagena. It blends strategy and tactical movement with a strong pirate theme.

Key Features

  • Pirate Theme: Players lead groups of pirates attempting to escape from the fortress of Cartagena to a waiting sloop at the port.
  • Tactical Movement: Movement is driven by playing cards with symbols matching those in the underground passage, with strategic leapfrogging over occupied spaces.
  • Resource Management: To gain new cards for movement, players must move their pirates backward, creating a strategic balance between advancing and retreating.
  • Simple Mechanics, Deep Strategy: The game is easy to learn but offers deep strategic choices, making it accessible to new players while still engaging for experienced gamers.
  • Variable Game Play: Each game can unfold differently based on card play and player decisions, offering high replayability.

Gameplay Experience

  • Strategic Planning: Players must carefully plan their moves and manage their hand of cards to efficiently navigate their pirates through the tunnel.
  • Balanced Decision Making: Choosing when to move forward for progress and when to retreat for resources is a key tactical decision.
  • Player Interaction: While there is no direct conflict, players can influence each other's moves and strategies, especially through positioning in the tunnel.
  • Tense Finish: As pirates reach the sloop, players have fewer pirates to move, leading to a tense and strategic endgame.


Cartagena offers a unique blend of strategy, tactical movement, and historical pirate theme. It's a game that is easy to learn but offers depth and replayability, appealing to both casual players and those looking for a more strategic challenge. The balance between moving forward and collecting cards adds a layer of strategic decision-making that keeps the game engaging throughout. Its theme and mechanics make it an excellent choice for families and gamers alike.

Nominated for 2 awards and won 1.

⭐️ Nominated for Kinderspiel des Jahres 2014

🔥 Deal: 32% cheaper than the best Geizhals deal, likely for a short time only!

  • 2 - 5 Players
  • 45 Minutes
  • 8+ years old
  • Easy to learn

We like Cartagena so much that we recommend it in the following board game recommendation lists 2024

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