Santiago de Cuba Michael Rieneck Pegasus Spiele & Eggertspiele
I have heard this called CUBA Lite in reference to the game CUBA from Eggertspiele a couple of years back. It actually is a top notch game in it’s own right and it’s relationship to CUBA is simply by name and author. SANTIAGO de CUBA is another game where the winner is the player who collects the most Victory Points. Collecting VPs is done in a variety of ways but mostly by balancing your actions within the game mechanics.
The board has a number of movement spaces, shown as stars, plus a special Gold star which represents the Docks. The other stars equate to randomly placed Cubans (shown to the right - El Zorro, Jose, Alonso and Conchite + there are 5 others) each of whom has two important aspects for the player landing on their star. For example if you move the Car (movement dobber) to the star under Jose you immediately receive 2 white (sugar) resource cubes plus you must place your ID Avatar onto one of the three Yellow Flower Buildings. These buildings, four are shown here, have optional actions that the player can take. Only one player can be on a building space but they must move off the next turn unless prevented from doing so by their Cuban or the Dock.
The game is played over 7 ship departures. A ship can move out in a turn or after several turns, determined by whether it has a full cargo or whether the Value marker reaches the flag (another part of the game mechanic). What resources the ship carries and how many of each depend on a die roll. There are 5 dice, one for each resource (wood is a neutral resource in the game to allow players to do have an extra option) of which 4 are placed in the Dock, chosen by the die-roller.
Two of the Cubans have very special abilities - El Zorro lets your Avatar stay on the same building and thus repeat the action it performed last turn, as well as making the other players give you a bonus. Alonso sends you to a White Flower Action and allows you to take control (own) a building whereby when other players use its action you gain a VP.
At the onset of the game the Cubans are randomly placed next to the stars and the buildings are randomly placed in the sets of Flowers. This ensures that the game play cannot be figured out and reused each game, it doesn’t change the dynamics or mechanics of the game.
We like Santiago de Cuba a lot, mainly because it is a very well balanced game with numerous options for the players, and because it plays in less than an hour to a satisfactory conclusion.
The rules are so well written that we have played it with regular gamers, those who play international-European games regularly and with friends who play board games occasionally, with no confusion.