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In the 15th century, the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator (Henrique o Navegador) summoned the best cartographers and navigators of his time and instructed them to explore the shores of the African coastline . They thereby won expertise in navigation and shipbuilding, heralding the Age of Exploration and enabling Portugal to later to find a sea trade route to India and China. In the height of its power Portugal controlled the sea trade from Brazil to Japan and attained overwhelming wealth with the trade monopoly on spices.

The players represent wealthy trade dynasties that help to build up the Portuguese colonial empire. Tracing the routes of famous explorers they advance all the way to Nagasaki--but sailing into unknown waters is a dangerous venture. Founding colonies and building factories helps them to build up an economic base. But the prices for sugar, gold and spices fluctuate all the time, and only the trade dynasty that adapts to the market will be able to finance its lofty plans. Competing for new discoveries, colonies, shipyards, and churches it is very important to observe the actions of the other players.

Navegador for 2 to 5 players is a challenging strategy game with a little luck, because no-one knows exactly what to expect when discovering new sea regions. Player’s turns follow simple rules and are executed on a rondel, which leads to a fluent play experience.

User Reviews (4)

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
18 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“A Eurogame Above the Rest”

Navegador was designed by Mac Gerdts who is known for games which incorporate a rondel mechanic, and published by Rio Grande Games in 2010. Navegador is for 2 to 5 players ages 12 and up and plays in about 90 minutes. In the early 15th century Prince Henry the Navigator gathered up the best cartographers and maritime persons to explore the South Atlantic and Africa in attempt to find a trade route to the East. Their efforts brought forth a new age of exploration and made Portugal a world power. In Navegador players represent wealthy trade dynasties which take part in building the Portuguese colonial empire. Players will explore the South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, establish colonies in South America, Africa and Asia, and build factories, churches, shipyards and ships in order to build a powerful economy.

The components are excellent. The board is mounted and has artwork depicting a 15th century map. The tokens and coins are all of thick cardboard. The wood pieces are above the typical Eurogame. All playing pieces have colors which are easy on the eye. The almanac sets the game theme and is a nice touch. It gives a ton of historical background on the period and the significant personalities. The rulebook is only 8 pages and very well written and organized. Top notch components!

Set-up for Navegador is almost as easy as it gets. Each player is given a player sheet and their playing tokens. A few starting tokens are placed on the board and player sheet, then starting gold is given. You’re ready to play!

Navegador progresses through three phases until the last sea region is explored or the last building is constructed. Players receive only ONE action during their turn. A player moves their Stone around a circular rondel which has seven different actions depicted on it. The Stone may be moved up to three spaces for free. For each space moved above three, the player must remove one of his ships from the board. The actions on the rondel consist of Sailing, Workers, Colony, Privilege, Ships, Building, and Market.

This action allows the player to move all of his ships on the board and explore uncharted sea regions. Ships move from sea region to adjacent sea region. In the first phase, ships can only move one region. Ships move up to two regions in the second phase and up to three regions in the third phase. A minimum of two ships are required to move into an unexplored sea region because one is lost to unchartered waters. The player takes the explorer disk from the sea region and places it on his player sheet to be scored at the end of the game. This sea region is now explored and can be freely entered by any player.

Recruit a worker in Lisboa (Capital of Portugal) for 50 Cruzados per church. Additional workers can be recruited at a steep cost, and this cost increases as the game phases progress.

The player may found a colony if he has at least one ship adjacent to a colony marker and has at least two workers in Lisboa. The player pays the indicated amount of Cruzados on the colony marker and places it in front of him. Colonies are used when taking the Market action and scored at the end of the game.

The player pays one worker to seek a favor from one of the five significant personalities working to make Portugal a world power. The privilege gained gives a one-time cruzados bonus and makes your factories, shipyards, churches, explorer markers or colonies worth more victory points at the end of the game.

Construct a ship in the sea region adjacent to Lisboa for 50 Cruzados per shipyard. Additional ships can be constructed at a steep cost, and this cost increases as the game phases progress.

Construct a factory, shipyard, and/or church. The player pays the required amount of cruzados and must have the required amount of workers to construct the building(s).

Players sell the raw materials produced by their colonies or the finished products produced by their factories. Navegador has three resources – sugar, gold, and spice. Players may sell either raw materials OR finished products for each of the three resources. For example, sugar raw material, gold raw material and spice factory goods can be sold during a player’s Market action. The price for the goods fluctuates with demand. If raw materials are sold, then the market is flooded and the price drops. However, if factory goods were sold then raw materials were taken out of the market and the price increases. This action gives players gold to recruit workers and construct ships or other buildings.

Once the last player has taken his action, victory points (VP) are tallied. A player receives 1 VP per worker, ship on the board and for every 200 cruzados. Then VPs for explorer markers, shipyards, colonies and churches are tallied according to the privileges on the player sheet. A player may have three privileges in shipyards which would make each of his shipyards worth seven VPs instead of 3 VPs.

Navegador is a fairly easy game to learn but will take a few plays to grasp the strategies. This game has many interesting mechanics. The market is the trickiest mechanic of the game. Knowing when to take the Market action to maximize your profits from the sale of your goods could be the difference between having empty pockets or pockets lined with cruzados! I played a couple other games with a rondel mechanic and did not enjoy them. I was a little apprehensive about trying Navegador because of the rondel; however, the rondel just fits this game perfectly! Another interesting mechanic is the privilege system. Players compete directly for a limited amount of privileges. There are so many things you need to do and getting a privilege is a drain on your resources, but you must find a way to get them to maximize your VPs. If you are not all that crazy about the worker placement mechanic then Navegador is the game for you. The worker placement mechanic is minimized in this game. Navegador is a great game; one of my favorite Eurogames. It is a lot of fun, but still has tense moments like when you’re trying to beat other players into the market. I strongly recommend Navegador to avid and power gamers.

Player Avatar
Critic - Level 1
19 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“It's only 1 action a turn, how hard can it be?!”

Navegador, like many of Mac Gerdts’ games uses a rondel mechanic for action selection. It limits you to 1 action a turn (unless you have Henrique the Navegador). However, setting up meaningful actions several turns in a row can be very difficult. This game opens up the more it is experienced. Learning the subtle nuances between when to invest in workers and send them away for prestige tokens. It also has the decision of explore versus build an economy. To me, Navegador embodies what a Euro should be, it has depth of play, there are multiple paths to victory. It also has those aching decisions of passing up an action you really want to take an action that will help you in the future.

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Intermediate Grader
Gamer - Level 2
14 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Rondel done well”

I usually stray away from games that incorporate a Rondel mechanism as I have just never really been fond of them.

However, Navegador has quickly become one of my favorite games of 2010.
The Rondel forces players into often painful decisions as they attempt to guide their explorers to victory. Every action has major strategic value, and manipulating the Rondel to exploit them to your advantage adds another layer to this already great game.

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I Own a Game!
7 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“Mulitple paths to victory”

I think this game is great. It’s big strength is that there are so many congruent objectives to form optimal strategies, and these strategies are varied and depend intricately on the paths that your opponents are taking.


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