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Always wanted to lead your own colony?

Santa Maria is a streamlined, medium complexity euro-game in which each player establish and develop a colony. The game features elements of dice drafting and strategic engine building. The game is low on luck, has no direct destructive player conflict, and all components are language independent. You expand your colony by placing tetris-like pieces with buildings on your colony board. Dice (representing migrant workers) are used to activate buildings: Each die activates a complete row or column of buildings in your colony. The buildings are activated in order (left to right/top to bottom), and the die is then placed on the last activated building to block this space. It is therefore crucial where you put new buildings in your colony, and also the order in which you use the dice. You will produce resources, form shipping routes, send out conquistadors, and improve your religious power to recruit monks. Each recruited monk may be trained either as a scholar (for special abilities), as missionaries (for immediate rewards), or be appointed as a bishop (for possible end-game points). The player who have accumulated the most happiness after three rounds, wins the game. The available specialists, bishops and buildings varies from game to game, which makes for near endless replayability.

User Reviews (1)

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Gamer - Level 4
“Solid strategic dice game”

A resource management engine builder with dice. Santa Maria is a different twist on dice drafting


The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round 3 white dice per player are rolled. You may draft up to 3 of those dice each turn to activate the buildings in a column on your personal player board. You also have a blue die to activate a row on your board. You gather resources and can use them to buy tiles to place on your player board to give you more buildings or to buy ships that give you bonuses at the end of the round like coins, VP, or moment on the conquistador and religious tracks.

The tracks themselves are a factor as well. The religious track allows you to unlock up to 2 more blue dice, as well as place tokens on a bonus board for ways to cheat, more resources, or end game goals.It’s first come first serve here, unless you want to pay 2 coins to another player to share that space with them. The conquistador track is a point grab track that resets every round. In a 3 player game for example furthest player on the track gains 6 points in the first round while 2nd place gains 3. 3rd place gets nothing.

Your round ends when you decide to pass and take a bonus. 2 coins will get you start player next round.

End game is scored by a combination of VP collected, VP on ships, complete columns and roads on your board that have people tiles in them, and your religion track reward spots that grant points based off the goal they display.

With all the different ships, dice combos and buildings you can get, and various end game goals, replay is quite high

The Bad

Jostled player boards can create a problem as the tiles shift. Also initially your starting board is kind of sparse so it seems like it is hard to get things going.

In Conclusion

A solid dice drafter/engine builder. Worth at least playing, and possibly owning if you love rolling and drafting dice like in a game like Roll Player


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