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

Discover how to master Madeira with our comprehensive guide. Dive into effective resource management, optimize your action selection, and maximize scoring opportunities to outsmart your opponents. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, our detailed walkthroughs, from setup to winning strategies, will enhance your gameplay experience.

Hey fellow board game enthusiasts, Jamie here with the lowdown on one of the trickiest games I’ve wrangled my friends into playing: Madeira. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the game rules, and share the top strategies we discovered for clinching victory. Spoiler: It’s not just about growing the most wheat. So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into the challenging world of Madeira.


What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 5 Player Boards
  • 16 Dice (4 in each of 4 colors)
  • 25 Wooden Ships
  • 120 Wooden Workers (24 in each of 5 colors)
  • 5 Wooden Discs (1 in each of 5 colors)
  • 20 City Tiles
  • 24 Character Tiles
  • 15 City Tokens
  • 60 Bread Tokens
  • 90 Resource Tokens (30 Wood, 30 Sugar, 30 Wine)
  • 40 Coin Tokens
  • 1 First Player Token
  • 5 Windmill Blades
  • 10 Guild Favor Tokens
  • 2 Rulebooks (1 English, 1 German)

How To Play Madeira: Rules Summary


  1. Lay out the game board in the middle of the table.
  2. Each player picks a color and takes the corresponding player board, ships, and workers.
  3. Place the dice on the designated spaces of the game board.
  4. Randomly place the Crown Requests tiles on their spots on the board.
  5. Fill the market and the guilds with the respective resources.


  1. Players take turns in clockwise order.
  2. On your turn, roll the dice and assign them to different actions like farming, trading, or building.
  3. Use your workers wisely to carry out actions and fulfill Crown Requests.
  4. Manage your resources carefully and plan ahead for future turns.
  5. After all players have taken their turns, the game moves to the next round.


  1. The game ends after the set number of rounds.
  2. Add up points from Crown Requests, buildings, and remaining resources.
  3. The player with the most points is declared the winner.

Special Rules & Conditions

  1. If a player cannot feed their workers, they must take a penalty.
  2. Some actions can only be taken if you have a specific building or ship.
  3. Special tiles offer one-time bonuses or abilities when acquired.

Remember, Madeira is all about strategy and planning. Keep an eye on your opponents’ moves and adjust your plan accordingly. Good luck!

Best Madeira Strategies

Mastering the Art of Resource Management in Madeira

Winning at Madeira hinges on how well you manage your resources. This aspect of the game can make or break your empire. I’ve learned this the hard way, laughing off early game shortages only to watch my friends sail past me in the later rounds. Let’s break down the top strategies.

Know When to Harvest

  1. Time your harvests to ensure you’re never in a pinch for food or wood. Anticipate the game phases and plan ahead.

Trade Wisely

  1. Don’t just trade because you can. Weigh the benefits and only go for trades that offer you a clear advantage.

Optimize Worker Placement

  1. Every worker on your grid should be there for a reason. Place them in spots that maximize your resource gain or minimize your opponents’ chances.

Mastering Action Selection in Madeira

Winning at Madeira isn’t just about what actions you choose, but also when and how you choose them. Action selection optimization is crucial. Here’s how to do it right:

Timing Is Everything

  1. Early in the game, focus on actions that build your resource base.
  2. Mid-game, shift towards actions that expand your options, like new ship positions or city tiles.
  3. In the late game, prioritize actions that score points directly.

Adapt to Your Opponents

  1. Watch your opponents closely. If they’re going for a particular strategy, consider blocking key actions they need.
  2. Adjust your strategy based on the actions your opponents have taken. This keeps you flexible and unpredictable.

Optimize Your Choices

  1. Always consider the cost-benefit ratio of an action. If it costs more than it gives, it might not be worth it.
  2. Use your pirates wisely. They can give you access to actions you’re not set up for, but they come at a price.

Mastering Madeira: Maximize Your Scoring Potential

So, you want to be the king of Madeira, eh? Well, friends, scoring big is the name of the game. Let’s dive into some strategies that have turned my game nights from humdrum to ‘How did you do that?!’

Focus on Crown Requests

  1. Early in the game, pick Crown Requests that align with your strategy.
  2. Don’t spread yourself too thin; concentrate on fulfilling a few requests well.

City Progress

  1. Controlling cities not only gives you resources but also crucial end-game points. Plan your city takeovers wisely.

Sailing to Victory

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the colonies. Sailing there can earn you points and resources.
  2. Balance your presence; too much focus here can cost you elsewhere.

In sum, winning in Madeira doesn’t just happen. It’s about making smart moves, focusing on your strategy, and always being two steps ahead of your opponents. Now go out there and claim your victory!

Mastering Madeira: A Final Word

So, we’ve laughed, we’ve learned, and, let’s be honest, we’ve probably made a few pirate jokes along the way. But as we wrap up this strategy guide for Madeira, I hope you’re walking away with more than just a few tips and tricks. This game, with its rich strategy and engaging gameplay, has had my friends and me hooked for hours on end. Remember, the key to victory lies not just in understanding the rules but in adapting your strategy, staying one step ahead of your opponents, and, of course, having a blast while doing it. So gather your crew, set sail, and let’s show Madeira what we’re made of!

Want to know what we think of Madeira? Read our detailed review of Madeira 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.