Santa Cruz - Rules

Starting the Game

By typing /join 2 - 4 players can join the game. By typing /start the game begins. You can also use the Gametool.

Object of the Game

Santa Cruz is a strategic game with easy game play and endless replay appeal.

Players explore a newly discovered island, colonise and try use what they find to maximum points, without giving points to other players.

These rules are mainly for the online game. For deeper and more specialised questions you can consult the original rules which can be downloaded here

Game Board

  1. Player Dashboard
  2. Number of points
  3. Own evaluation cards
  4. Overview of own building cards (road cards, river cards, ship cards, double move)
  5. Coast tiles (blue)
  6. Volcano tiles (orange)

The name of the player whose turn it is always has a white border

Player info:


The upper row shows the number of evaluation cards yet to be played to the left. The number of bird tokens collected is shown to the right of it.

The right column shows the number of available buildings of the three types (houses, churches, lighthouses).

The round plates show how many building cards a player has played of the four different types and how many he had to begin with.

In the example, Nessi has played all four of her road cards. She can still play one river, one ship card and her double move.

Alternative view of the player info:

Mouse over will show you the resources a player has collected.

Spieleranzeige alternativ

In this case, sugar, gold and sheep have been collected by the player.

Flow of the game

There are two rounds. In the preparation phase, all players get their evaluation cards and can then select a building card set.

Afterwards, the first round begind in which the players play all of their cards. Once all cards have been played, the second round begins. All players may once again choose a set, get an extra evaluation card and then discard one of their evaluation cards. Beyond that, it's the same as the fist round. When it's ended, the collected bird tokens are counted and the game ends.


All players get eight houses, three churches and two lighthouses that they can build. The 16 different evaluation cards are distributed as follows: With 2/3/4 players, each player gets 4/3/2 cards.

The building cards are divided into four sets as shown:


Each set includes six building cards in different numbers for roads, rivers and ships, as well as a double move card.

As soon as the game has started, each player may choose one of these sets. The last player begins and the starting player chooses last. Hint: You should consider your evaluation cards when making your choice.

In order to balance the advantage of going first, the other players receive 1/2/3 points as starting bonus.

First Round

Each player, beginning with the starting player, now determines his starting tile. You may choose any unoccupied blue coast tile. Possible tiles are always marked with a flag.

Now the main phase of the game begins: The players take turns playing their cards. They can always play either a building card or an evaluation card. You move your mouse over the evaluation cards (3) to see all of the cards in your hand.


You must play one of your building cards in order to build. Each card type only allows building in certain places:

Ship cards:


You can only build on blue coast tiles. Click a ship card and all eligible tiles are shown by flags. Click the tile you want to build on.

Road cards:


You must choose a tile that can be reached by road directly from one of your existing buildings.


Bauen Wegkarte

Red has already built two buildings (circled in green). The tiles circled in yellow can be used since they can be reached directly by road from one of the red buildings. The lower tile circled in red is already occupied by green, the upper one cannot be reached directly by road.

River cards:


In order to be able to play a river card (sensibly) you must already have a building on a river. If you now play a river card, all unoccupied tiles along the river will be available to you.


Bauen Flusskarte

Green has built a house at one of the two river mouths (green circle). He may now use one of the flagged free tiles along the river (yellow circles). The tiles circled in red may not be used because player red has already built there.

Double move card:

The double move card lets you make two consecutive moves. You may choose one of the three types of movement (road, river, ship). Both moves must be made with this type.

Click the double move card. Three symbols for the three different types of movement appear. Click the type desired and place two buildings according to the respective rules.

Important notes:

  • You still have to have a building of the type shown on the tile you want to build on.
  • You immediately get the number of points shown on the tile.
  • Once you have built somewhere, all adjacent tiles (by road or river) are turned over.
  • If you use the river, you can also build on tiles that have not yet been turned over. The tile is turned over when you choose it and if you don't have the necessary building type, you cannot build.
  • Zugzwang applies: If you can build a building, you have to.
  • A card can also be played if no building can be placed. In this case, nothing happens.

In order to avoid senseless playing, a checkbox is shown if you click a card that will not allow you to build a building.


Click the red X if you choose not to play the card after all. If you do want to play it, choose the green check mark.

It's usually forbidden to choose tiles that have already been occupied by another player. Exception: The player who is last to play in the current round may do so once in the course of this round.


Instead of a building card you can also play an evaluation card. Evaluation cards always apply to all players!

Fisch Schaf Holz Zucker Gold Gold

If a player plays one of these evaluation cards, all players who have built on a resource field of the respective type at least once get the number of points shown. Building on several resource fields of the same type does not increase this number!

Example: If a player plays the gold card 6, all players who have at least one building on a gold tile get 6 points.

Holz/Zucker Schaf/Fisch

If a player plays one of these evaluation cards, all players who have at least one building on both of these resource fields get 7 points. If you are only on one of the resources, you only get 3 points.

Fish bonus:


There is an extra bonus for the fish. Whenever an evaluation card with fish is played, all players get the bonus points shown on the card for each fish tile they have built on. In this case, in contrast to the actual resource evaluation, the effects of multiple tiles are added.



A player selects the fish evaluation card 5. Now both blue and green get the five points because both are present on at least one fish tile. Green gets +1 bonus point for his tile. Blue gets +5 bonus points for his +2 and +3 tiles. Green thus gets 6 points in total, blue 10.

Jede Sorte

If a player plays this evaluation card, all players who have built each of the three building types at least once get 6 points.

If a player plays this evaluation card, all players who have built at least four houses, get 6 points.


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players, who have built four buildings that are directly connected by road, get 6 points.


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players get three points for every building on a river. The buildings need not be connected.


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players get three points for every building on a blue coastal tile.


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players get 2 points for every bird token they have collected.

Attention: It's the number of bird tokens that counts, not their value. The value only counts at the end of the game!


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players get three points for every building on an orange volcano tile.


If a player plays this evaluation card, all players get -2 points for every building on an orange volcano tile.

If this card is played, all buildings on volcano tiles are removed from the board and are no longer available in this round. They can be used again in the next round. The free volcano tiles can be built on again.

Second Round

All players get all of their buildings back (including any that were destroyed by the volcano).


Now all players, starting with the player with the fewest points and ending with the one who is in the lead, may choose one of the sets of building and evaluation cards from the first round. All players also get an additional evaluation card. They then discard one of their evaluation cards without showing it to the other players.

The second round goes the same as the first. The player with the fewest points starts.

End of the Game

Once all cards have been played in the second round, the points on the bird tokens are added to the score. Whoever has the most points, wins.