How To Play: Cyclades – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Quick Summary

Cyclades is an epic board game centered around the mythical world of ancient Greece. With its immersive gameplay mechanics, stunning artwork, dynamic player interactions, and endless replayability, Cyclades offers an unparalleled gaming experience.

To master Cyclades, players must strategically bid for the favor of the gods, build a powerful army composition, strategically place buildings on islands, utilize mythological creatures' unique abilities, and manage resources effectively. These key elements, when understood and mastered, pave the path to victory in this engaging board game.

By balancing risk and reward, forming alliances, and choosing the right strategies at the right time, players can outmaneuver their opponents and establish dominance over the mythical islands. With its innovative mechanics and richly thematic setting, Cyclades offers a captivating experience that is sure to captivate both seasoned gamers and newcomers alike.

Dive into the world of Cyclades, where battles, alliances, and strategic decision-making reign supreme. Immerse yourself in the stunning mythology-themed artwork and unleash the power of the gods to conquer your adversaries. Whether you strive to achieve victory through military might, strategic planning, or divine intervention, Cyclades offers a unique and thrilling experience that will keep you coming back for more.


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Cyclades, where we delve into the exciting world of ancient Greek mythology and strategic gameplay. In this guide, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and strategies necessary to conquer the mythical islands and emerge victorious in this epic board game. Whether you are a seasoned player looking to refine your skills or a newcomer seeking the best approach to the game, this guide is designed to be your ultimate resource.

Our guide begins with an outline of the game’s rules and mechanics, providing you with a solid foundation to understand the intricacies of Cyclades. With a thorough understanding of the game’s elements, we then dive headfirst into the strategies that can lead you to success.

Within the following sections, you will find expert advice and analysis on crucial aspects such as bidding for the favor of the gods, building a powerful army composition, strategic placement of structures, strategic summoning of mythological creatures, and effective resource management. With these insightful strategies at your disposal, you will be better equipped to make strategic decisions, adapt to changing circumstances, and overcome your opponents in the dynamic world of Cyclades.

Join us on this journey as we unravel the secrets of triumph in Cyclades. It’s time to harness your strategic prowess and lead your faction to domination in this captivating game of ancient mythology.

What’s in the box

  • 1 game board
  • 30 buildings
  • 16 priest cards
  • 10 metropolis tokens
  • 8 mythological creature cards
  • 32 hoplite figurines
  • 04 philosopher figurines
  • 11 boats
  • 04 turn order markers
  • 03 Grand Temple cards
  • Monster cards
  • Wooden cubes representing influence, wealth, and high priest tokens
  • 131 cards of various types
  • Cursor Tokens
  • One 6-sided die
  • Rules Booklet

How To Play Cyclades: Rules Summary

1. Setting up the Game
  1. Place the game board in the center of the playing area.
  2. Shuffle the cards and place them in their respective decks.
  3. Distribute factions, buildings, tokens, and miniatures to each player.
2. Turn Structure
  1. Players take turns in clockwise order.
  2. During a turn, players can only perform one of the following actions:
    • Bidding for the favor of the gods
    • Recruiting mythological creatures
    • Building structures on islands
    • Moving boats and armies
    • Initiating battles
3. Bidding for the Favor of the Gods
  1. Players bid on god cards to gain special abilities.
  2. Highest bidder pays the bid amount and earns the favor.
  3. Players can participate in multiple auctions during their turn.
4. Recruiting Mythological Creatures
  1. Players can recruit mythological creatures if they have controlled the corresponding island.
  2. Spending resources allows players to recruit creatures.
  3. Each creature brings unique abilities and strengths to the player’s army.
5. Building on Islands
  1. Players can construct buildings on controlled islands.
  2. Buildings provide various advantages, powers, and scoring opportunities.
  3. Players use resources to construct buildings and gain their benefits.
6. Initiating Battles
  1. Players can engage in battles during their turn.
  2. Battles occur when players have armies on the same island.
  3. Players use Army and Mythological Creature cards to resolve battles.
7. Victory Conditions
  1. The game ends when a player has built two metropolises.
  2. Players earn victory points throughout the game through various means.
  3. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

With these fundamental rules in mind, you are now ready to embark on your journey to conquer the mythical islands of Cyclades. Brace yourself for fierce bidding, strategic battle tactics, and the gods’ favor as you navigate this epic game of ancient Greek mythology.

Best Cyclades Strategies

Bidding Strategy: Securing the Favor of the Gods

A successful Bidding Strategy is crucial in Cyclades, as it allows players to acquire valuable resources and powerful mythological creatures, paving the way to victory. Here are some effective strategies to consider during bidding:

1. Plan Your Auctions
  1. Assess the available gods and their abilities.
  2. Identify the ones that best align with your overall strategy.
  3. Calculate how much you are willing to bid for each god.
  4. Strategically allocate your resources to maximize your chances of winning the auction.
2. Balance Risk and Reward
  1. Consider the potential benefits and costs of each bid.
  2. Weigh the short-term advantages against long-term goals.
  3. Be cautious of overspending or acquiring gods that do not align with your strategy.
3. Adapt to Opponent’s Moves
  1. Observe your opponents during bidding.
  2. Identify their preferred gods and strategies.
  3. Strategically outbid or block your opponents from acquiring crucial gods.
4. Utilize the Favor Track
  1. Avoid overspending by bidding strategically on the favor track.
  2. Monitor the positions of other players on the track and make strategic moves based on their positions.
  3. Strategically aim for the favor spaces that offer incremental advantages.

Mastering the art of bidding is key to success in Cyclades. By strategically planning your auctions, balancing risk and reward, adapting to your opponents, and utilizing the favor track, you can maximize your chances of obtaining valuable assets and securing victory.

Army Composition: Building a Powerful Fighting Force

Mastering your Army Composition is crucial to secure victory in Cyclades since battles play a significant role in determining control over islands. Here are effective strategies for building a formidable fighting force:

1. Diversify Your Units
  1. Incorporate a mix of different units, such as infantry, cavalry, and mythological creatures.
  2. Each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses, so diversification ensures versatility on the battlefield.
  3. Consider the gods that align with your strategy and prioritize obtaining mythological creatures associated with them.
2. Aim for Synergy
  1. Select units that work well together and synergize with your overall strategy.
  2. Combining units with complementary abilities can enhance their effectiveness in battle.
  3. Plan your army composition around maximizing the combined power of units and mythological creatures.
3. Monitor Your Opponents
  1. Observe your opponents’ army composition during battles.
  2. Identify any weaknesses or gaps in their strategy.
  3. Adjust your own army composition to exploit their vulnerabilities or counter their units effectively.
4. Prioritize Upgrades
  1. Focus on upgrading your army units whenever possible.
  2. Upgrades boost the strength and abilities of your units, providing a significant advantage in battles.
  3. Strategically invest your resources in upgrading the units that play a crucial role in your army composition.

By implementing these strategies and carefully considering army diversity, synergy, opponent monitoring, and unit upgrades, you can build a powerful army composition capable of prevailing in battles and establishing control over the islands of Cyclades.

Building Placement: Strategically Fortify Your Dominance

Building Placement is a vital aspect of achieving victory in Cyclades, as strategically positioned structures provide crucial advantages and contribute to establishing control over the islands. Here are some effective strategies for optimizing Building Placement:

1. Control Key Areas with Fortresses
  1. Prioritize constructing Fortresses in strategic locations.
  2. Fortresses offer defensive advantages and control access to valuable territories.
  3. Identify key areas, such as islands with high resource production, and fortify them to secure a resource advantage.
2. Consider the Temples’ Influence
  1. Place your Temples strategically to maximize their influence.
  2. Temples provide various benefits, including additional income, favor, and easier recruitment of mythological creatures.
  3. Strategize to establish Temples adjacent to islands where you aim to gain control.
3. Utilize the Power of Metropolises
  1. Focus on achieving Metropolises on islands to gain significant advantages.
  2. Metropolises allow exclusive access to a god’s power each turn.
  3. Strategically plan island control and building placement to prioritize establishing Metropolises.
4. Timing is Key
  1. Carefully consider the timing of your building placement.
  2. Strategize to place buildings that maximize their effectiveness each turn.
  3. Balance short-term gains with long-term benefits when deciding on the optimal timing for building placement.

Mastering the art of Building Placement is a crucial step toward victory in Cyclades. By controlling key areas with fortresses, maximizing Temples’ influence, utilizing the power of Metropolises, and strategically timing your building placement, you can further establish your dominance and increase your chances of success.

Mythological Creatures: Unleashing Ancient Power

A key element of victory in Cyclades lies in commanding powerful Mythological Creatures. These awe-inspiring beings can turn the tides of battle and provide significant advantages. Here are some strategies to effectively utilize Mythological Creatures:

1. Obtain the Right Creatures
  1. Explore the potential of each Mythological Creature.
  2. Identify creatures that align with your strategy and complement your army composition.
  3. Strategize the acquisition of creatures that provide abilities well-suited for control, defense, or strategic offensives.
2. Strategic Summoning
  1. Consider the timing and circumstances for summoning your creatures.
  2. Summon creatures when the strategic situation calls for their unique abilities.
  3. Adapt your summoning strategy based on opponents’ actions to ensure maximum impact.
3. Addict Chaos to Battles
  1. Integrate Mythological Creatures into your battlefield tactics.
  2. Unleash creatures at critical moments to disrupt opponents’ plans and tip the scales of battle in your favor.
  3. Combine creature abilities with army units to create powerful synergies and overwhelming forces.
4. Maintain Favor and Feed Creatures
  1. Secure favor to maintain control over your creatures.
  2. Prioritize generating income to feed your creatures and keep them active.
  3. Please the gods by balancing favor usage and income generation to maintain their allegiance.

Effectively harnessing the power of Mythological Creatures is essential for victory in Cyclades. By obtaining the right creatures, strategically summoning them, infusing chaos into battles, and maintaining favor levels, you can unlock the immense potential of these beings and pave your way to triumph on the mythical islands.

Resource Management: Amassing Wealth for Victory

Resource Management plays a crucial role in securing victory in Cyclades, as efficient utilization and allocation of resources can provide significant advantages. Here are some strategies to master Resource Management:

1. Prioritize Resource Accumulation
  1. Focus on generating a steady income of resources.
  2. Utilize buildings and control islands with high resource production.
  3. Ensure a consistent inflow of resources to fuel your strategies and plans.
2. Balance Immediate Needs and Long-Term Goals
  1. Strategize short-term expenditures while keeping long-term goals in mind.
  2. Weigh the benefits of immediate resource usage against potential gains in the future.
  3. Avoid overspending or spending resources inefficiently, as it can hamper progress toward victory.
3. Allocate Resources Effectively
  1. Assign resources based on priority and utility.
  2. Distribute resources to build a powerful army, summon mythological creatures, and construct strategic buildings.
  3. Lean towards investing in areas that align with your overall game plan.
4. Trade for Scarce Resources
  1. Negotiate alliances for resource exchanges.
  2. Seek trade opportunities with other players, especially for scarce resources.
  3. Strategically leverage trade agreements to acquire resources that are crucial to advancing your game strategy.

Resource Management is an integral part of victory in Cyclades. By prioritizing resource accumulation, balancing short-term needs with long-term goals, allocating resources effectively, and strategically engaging in trade, you can amass wealth and gain a significant advantage on your path to victory.

Conclusion: Mastering the Strategies of Cyclades

Congratulations, you have reached the end of our comprehensive strategy guide for the thrilling board game, Cyclades! Armed with a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics and expert strategies, you are now well-equipped to navigate the mythical islands and emerge victorious.

Throughout this guide, we have explored crucial aspects of the game, including Bidding Strategy, Army Composition, Building Placement, Mythological Creatures, and Resource Management. By honing your skills in these areas and strategically maneuvering through the twists and turns of gameplay, you will be able to outwit and outplay your opponents with confidence.

Remember, success in Cyclades ultimately depends on your ability to adapt, think critically, and make calculated decisions. While victory may not come easily, with perseverance and an understanding of the game’s intricacies, you will be well on your way to establishing dominance in the ancient world of Greek mythology.

Now it’s time to gather your friends, unfold the battle map, and embark on an epic journey like no other. Immerse yourself in the engaging gameplay, embrace the captivating artwork, and engage in fierce competitive battles that Cyclades promises to deliver.

May the gods smile upon you as you set sail for victory in Cyclades!

Want to know what we think of Cyclades? Read our detailed review of Cyclades here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.