Author: Jean Du Poel

Historien Spiele

G@mebox Star



"Mare" is a game of trade for 2 to 6 players settled in the Antique Mediterranean (ca 300 BC). At start, each player draws two towns (Rome, Carthago etc.), in which he can buy ships and try to establish trade with other towns by selling different resources. After some rounds, when the players have made enough money by trade, they may decide to upgrade one of their towns to a Residential Town. When a player builds such a town, he has to draw a Card making his rulership a Democracy, a Monarchy or a Dictatorship. By this card the player gets to know how much Resources, Provinces, Artworks and Buildings he needs to win. In his Residential-Town, each player can build Armies and Cavallaries, build buildings to strengthen defense and increase trade and the Artworks he aquires are positioned there.

To my mind, "Mare" is one of the best games I ever played. Itīs even made in a great design. The game is HAND-MADE (low circulation-figures), the gameboard is 1-meter-long and itīs made from artificial-leather, the currency in the game are golden metal-coins, all the game pieces are made of wood and the rounds-marker is a block of white marble. I think the game is much better than otherīs of the same category, since it isnīt as complex as a Cosim (It can be played in 2-6 hours), but it offers a much greater variety of actions than "Civilization".

The game is available directly from the author: Horststrasse 10, 49632 Essen (Oldb.), Germany (costs: ABOUT US$ 150,-(normal) / 250,-(luxury) plus postage)

G@mebox Special: Rules Translation

Mare Mediterraneum

game by Jean de Poel
translation by Frank Branham
with corrections by Frank Schulte-Kulkmann


Mare Mediterraneum was the old roman designation for the Mediterranean Sea. The name has kept in the French as well as in Germany .

Here as well as the Black Sea (on the map as Pontius Euxinus), and the west coasta of Africa and Spain bloomed the great trade routes that even reached to the Atlantic and Britain.

The early Mediterranean cultures like Egypt, Crete, and the Phoenician Traders traded heavily. Rome and the western Mediterranean cities took the lead role later. Between the large ports, there was an active trade in merchandise such as Grain from Egypt, wine from Greece, salt and marble from Carthage, metal goods from Rome and Athens, wood from Phoenicia, copper from Cyprus, tin from Britain, and slaves and horses from Africa.

The game begins in 300 B.C. Each player is the ruler of two city-states. Through skillful trade, he tries to build up his cities. Once built, the object of the game is determined, to build monuments, fill warehouses, collect art treasures, and acquire provinces. Lots of dangers work against the player in the form of earthquakes, rebellion, pirates, and barbarians.

The Bits

  • a period 1 meter map of MARE MEDITERRANEUM
  • 6 counter sets with 15 wood disks (1 for each player)
    • 1 residence
    • 3 ships
    • 3 armies
    • 8 provinces
  • 46 trade items made from wood (6 have horses)
  • 6 horse symbols
  • 40 want markers
  • cards
    • 81 trade cards (Handel)
    • 36 art (Kunst)
    • 30 construction (Bauwerk)
    • 15 warehouses (Warenlager)
    • 12 residence (Residenz)
    • 9 state (Staatsform)
    • 6 Art patronage (Kunstforderung)
  • 4 dice
  • 1 Tax Stone (the marble block)
  • rules

The Map

This is a meter-long map of the Mediterranean from the era showing 40 of the most important capitols and trade cities.

The trade items that are available in an area are drawn on the map as symbols in the appropriate regions.

The names on the map are from Latin. The twelve cities written in all caps are the Residence cities. Their names show up on the Residenz cards as well.

Also, Southern Europe and Asia are written in a different direction from the northern sections of the map. This makes it easier for players to read the side closest to them.

Each city has a line connecting it to the sea, to indicate where its harbor is located. The harbor and coastline (the blue/beige boundaries) are considered game spaces. Dashed lines or rivers divide the rest of the regions.

Britain is the correct size, but has been moved south to fit onto the map.

The Tax Chart is out in the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a compass rose in the southeast. The designations mean:

SE = Septentrionis = North
OR = Oriens = East
ME = Meridiens = South
OC = Occidens = West

Stacking Limit

Only 3 ships may occupy a Sea, and 2 ships may be at a coast next to a city. Also, only 3 armies may be placed in a land area.

Meaning of the Symbols

(you might want to look at page III for this bit.)

  • AG=Silver
  • AU=Gold
  • CU=copper
  • Fish
  • Plant=Grain
  • Glass
  • Logs=Wood
  • Pot=Ceramics
  • K=Art
  • Leather
  • Mat=Linen
  • Block=Marble
  • Metal Goods
  • Vases (The word is Olamphore--couldn't find it.)
  • Horse
  • PB=Lead
  • Salt
  • SN=tin
  • Slaves
  • Livestock
  • Grapes=wine


There are two coins in the game. The smaller coins bear the likeness of Janus. This was a common Roman silver coin of the period. The larger coins bear a likeness of Jupiter, and the Steers of Juno. These were stamped in gold.

In the game, the smaller coins are worth 1 MILLE, and the larger coins are worth 5 MILLE.

Which means that 100 MILLE are included in the game. Late in a game with many people, it is possible to run out of money during the tax phase. It is suggested that people build lots, and make notes of the tax collected.


Drag the parts out of the tube. Roll out the map, and give each player a set of colored tokens.

Then place the 40 want disks (Brown disks with trade symbols) onto the 40 cities on the map. Make sure that a city does not receive a want disk for a good that is produced in its own region.

Each player now takes two of the Residenz cards at random. Place a Province counter (the sword) into those two cities.

Shuffle the trade (Handel) cards and make a stack. Same goes for art cards (Kunst).

Sort the wooden trade items and place them beside the board. Same thing goes for the rest of the card decks.

Highest die roll with the blue die gets to go first. This player also becomes the Banker, and gets to dispense money.

Game Start

The first trading phase:

In each of your turns, you get to collect I MILLE from each province as taxation. At the start, you have two provinces, so the Banker should give you II MILIA. The best thing you can do is to take your II MILIA and buy a ship and place it on the coastline of one of your two cities.

The rest of the players in turn should do the same thing. Then it is the first player's turn again.

That player receives taxation of II MILIA again. He can spend it on a second ship, or for 1 MILLE, purchase a trade good that is produced in his own land and load it onto his ship. Or he can send the ship out unladen, and collect II MILIA from the Banker. When you choose a good, pick one that has a nearby city with a want token for that good. That way, you collect money for that good quickly.

You want to build 3 ships as quickly as possible, because you may move all three at the same time in future turns. Building successively on three turns, however, will leave you with no wares to carry.


Each sea and harbor counts as a game space. Each ship moves a single game field each round. If in its move, a ship sails into the harbor of a city with a want counter for a good which it carries, the player may sell the good. To determine the price, roll the blue die, and that is how many it is worth.

The player sells the item, and removes the want disk and the trade counter from the game. If the player feels that the price is too low, he may wait in the harbor and roll again next turn to try for a better price.

Here is an example of a turn: A player moves his ship into Roma from the adjoining Mare Tyrrhenum, sell a good, and purchase a replacement good from that city. Or if he were already sitting in Rome's harbor, he could sell a good and return to the sea with or without a good.

If a player controls a city, then the price is not rolled for, but instead must be negotiated between the players involved. It is also possible for the trade item to be sold for nothing to his own city. It is important to get rid of the want counters on your own cities, because that is how you get to move to the second phase of the game.

Last note: Only one trade counter may be carried by a ship. You must sell the first counter before loading another.

[Translators note: I don't see a rule about dumping your cargo. I am assuming that this is allowed.]


Use the black die for sell prices. "0" means the item may not be sold, and "1,2,3,4" is the sell price.


Building an empire. The second game phase

Making a province into an empire costs X MILIA. Experience shows us that XII-XV MILIA are needed to start. In addition to construction, you must support the arts, build warehouses, and create armies. The first player to start the second phase, pays his money, and replaces the sword province marker with the stone tower.

The first player to start construction of his empire places the marble stone on the "R" space of the tax chart in the Atlantic. This is done at the start of one of his turns. At the start of each of his successive turns, he moves it one field higher and announces if taxation happens.

On the first turn that he starts to build a city into an empire, that player receives no taxation. Nor does any other player. From now on, taxation only occurs on alternate turns. At the start of his turn, the person who started his empire moves the tax blockone space. Taxation occurs on odd numbered turns.

The player starting his empire replaces the sword counter for one of his cities with a stone tower -- meaning he is starting his city. He also takes a State card (Staatsform) to indicate how many trade goods, buildings, art, and provinces he needs to win. He keeps this card hidden.

On the odd turns when taxation occurs, the player rolls the two black dice, producing 0-8 MILIA. If at least 2 is rolled on one die, the player must also draw a Trade (Handel) card.

If the player rolls 2-4 on both dice, he must take 2 trade cards.

Leave the doce as they land, and keep a running total of how much a player has spent over the course of a turn. It is quite easy to spend more than you take in.

Also, if one of the player's cities has a want counter, then he take I MILLE less for each want counter on one of his two cities under the nex taxation.

Once the empire phase has started, the player can also buy Buildings (Bauwerk), armies, and Art Patronage (Kunstforderung) cards. Each player may only ever buy one Art Patronage card, Buildings and armies may be purchased as needed in each turn.

The new turn order for the second round becomes:

1. Move the Taxation counter (if you were the player who started building his empire.) Collect Taxes by rolling the black dice.

2. Interaction Phase

3. Move Armies and Ships

4. Settle taxation, and purchases.

5. Take new armies and buildings which have been purchased.

Each controlled province also adds I MILLE to taxation. This includes your captial under construction.

Once the Tax Stone reaches X, its next move should be onto the I space.

If a player cannot pay his bills from taxes and his reserve, his construction reverts back to a province. Buildings and art are retained, but the player must pay X MILIA to recover them and resume construction.

The Object

One the second phase has started, each player who begins on their empire knows the object of the game. He must meet the 4 victory conditions:

Art (Kunst). This is the number of artworks which must be collected. Half artworks are worthless. However, two matching halves are worth two points total.

Buildings (Bauwerks). Each building is worth 1.

Provinces. This is how many province stones you need.

Wares. The merchandise must be stored in warehouses ( Warenlager ). Stuff on ships and on horses does not count. Duplicates of a trade good are worth nothing, so two silver is only worth one toward your goal. However, having a monopoly on a trade good keeps your opponents from acquiring that good.

Two trade goods fit into each warehouse. You have to provide a warehouse, and the warehouse decays if both of its goods are removed. Therefore, return the warehouse as soon as it empties.

Warehouses may only be built in your capital. You are also not allowed to hold trade goods in a warehouse that are produced in the region. For example, Salt and Marble may not be held in Carthage.

Art Patronage Cards

Art can only be acquired by patrons of the arts (exception: the 6 auctions). To acquire an art patronage card, you pay the required amount (I-III MILIA) and take the card. Your artist costs I MILLE per round to support.

When you throw a "0" or "1" on a tax die, you gain the top one or two Art cards.

You may return your Art Patronage card, but only if you have not rolled the tax dice yet.

Art Cards (Kunst)

There are 20 single pieces and 16 double pieces. Each single piece of art is worth one point. Half of a work is worth nothing, but you may trade with other players to obtain the other half. the full artwork is worth two points.

Art Trade

The K trading stone is used to mark shipping a piece of art to another location. If one player has the artwork wanted by another, they must decide on a price, then one must carry it on a ship from one player's capital to the other's capital.

30 Building Cards

Buildings cost money. They rank from simple decorative columns (I MILLE) to a triumph arch ( VI MILIA) to the ampitheatre (XIV MILIA). There are 5 different types of buildings, ones that don't do anything (Columns), Buildings that add I MILLE to taxation, II MILIA Taxation, III MILIA taxation, and defensive fortifications that add 1 or 2 to the empire's defense. Temples work slightly differently. They give a number of MILIA each time the player rolls a "0" on a tax die.

Each turn, a player may construct ONE building, regardless of price.

A player may only build 1 city gate and 1 tower (to give him 3 defense points). A player may also build a big and little temple, but never two big or two little temples.


On the first Tax Round after the construction of his residence, a player may pay IV MILIA for an army. This may only be placed in the land of his empire. Each tax round that the player keeps the army, he must pay I MILLE.

Armies keep a player's terrain safe, and help him gain new provinces. You need at least one to win.

An army is as fast as a ship. The turn after it is raised, it may move 1 game space. The army may not immediately attack upon moving, but must have moved into the province surrounding the city on a previous turn.

An unowned city is taken with a (blue) die roll of 4,5,6. The army is moved into the city.

A foreign province (with a sword), is taken on a 5 or 6.
A foreign capital is taken on a 6.

Armies that are within the walls of a city during tax time keep taxes from being collected from that province.

If you ever attack a city and roll a "1", you lose the army. Immediately return it to your stash. Attacks must be named before you start to roll dice.

An army that has just conquered a city does not form a province. The army can plunder the city, meaning that if he is still there on a tax round, the owning player need not pay upkeep. As soon as the army leaves the city, the player may pay 1 MILLE to upgrade the city to a province. If he chooses to do so, place a sword marker on the city.

It is wise to move your army out during a non-tax round. That way, you only pay I MILLE to upgrade the city to a province, and need not pay upkeep on the army.

Buying certain buildings can increase the bonus points of a capital.

There are 6 tactic cards in the Trade deck. These are auctioned to players, and can add bonus points to combat. With a bonus point, and unoccupied city can be taken with a 3, a province 4, and a capital 5. Note that three of the cards are Taktik cards (ReiterTaktik, Fussvolktaktik, and Seetaktik). These may only be used against armies. (and the SeeTaktik against ships)

To cross a river while moving an army, roll the blue die. On a 3 or more, the army may cross the river. The mountains require that you roll a 4 or more. Also, mountains count as a game space, so you must spend a turn in the mountains. You need not roll upon moving out of the mountains.

An army that is attacked while in the mountains or by an army that has just crossed a river gains a 1 point bonus advantage.

Attacking with two armies also give you a 1 point attack bonus.


To make a warship, put an army onto a ship.

Cities must be conquered by land. To conquer Syracuse, you would have to land a warship in Sicily, and move the army from the warship. On the next turn, you could attack Syracuse.

Warships sail into a sea with a merchant ship, and roll the blue die. On a 4-6, the ship is captured, and any trade goods may be taken. Move the army onto the foreign ship. The capturing player may then move the ship. Once, however, the captured ship has landed, the player must either destroy the ship, or allowed it to leave freely.

If an attempt to capture rolls a "2-3" the merchantman is sunk. On a "1", the warship simply misses the merchant ship.

If three merchant vessels occupy a sea, then a capture may be made from an adjacent sea.

If another warship occupies the same sea as a warship attempting to capture, then he may choose to not allow the attempt. The two warships then must fight.


If you put a horse under an army, you get cavalry. It now moves twice as fast as a normal army. Cavalry also get a bonus point in a field battle against another army. If you want to move a cavalry unit by sea, you need two ships.


If two armies are in adjacent game spaces and one wants to fight, each player rolls with the blue die. Reroll all ties, and the highest roll wins.

If the winner wins by at least two point, the losing army is removed from the map.

If the attacker loses by 1 point, he must retreat into an adjacent area. He cannot retreat into the region occupied by the defender.

If the defender loses by 1 point, the attacker chooses the defenders retreat, and moves his army into the defender's old position.

If the defender would have to move across a river, mountain or into an occupied region, he is instead removed from the game.

In a multi-army fight, only 1 army is removed in a turn. [If the space is still occupied, no attacking armies may advance.]

Armies may not occupy a capital, but may be placed in the land around it. (This is a good idea, as you can knock out antagonistic armies.)

You may take over the capital of another player. (Example: You stand before Carthage with a Storm card and two armies. You have two bonus points, and Carthage has two defense point because of its tower. You can conquer the city with a "6". On a 2-5 nothing happens. On a 1, one of your armies is lost, and you can no longer take the city. If you fail to take the city, then you are hosed anyway, as your Storm card is used up in the attack.)

If you succeed, then that player no longer has a capital. You get Carthage, and all of its Warehouses and art. Ships, armies and provinces stay under Carthage's control.

Carthage now has 3 choices:

  1. Play as a Vassal of the conquerer.
  2. Try to build from the other original city.
  3. Take over someone else's capital city.

When you take another capital, you get their money immediately, goods and artwork must be ferried to your home to count for much. Buildings remain in the conquered captial.

[ Frank K. suggests that the buildings be allowed to count toward the conquerer's total points for victory. ]

Trade Cards

Trade cards come into play as soon as the first capital starts to go up. And come into the game whenever a 2-4 comes up on the black dice. Trades cards are drawn and immediately read aloud.

There are the following trade cards:

  • 20 want cards
  • 21 Storm Cards
  • 6 emissary gift cards
  • 6 art cards
  • 3 circus cards
  • 2 Barbarians
  • 4 pirates
  • 2 earthquakes
  • 2 revolutions
  • 2 rebellion
  • 3 coup
  • 6 attack cards

20 Want cards (with a trade symbol)

A drawn want card must be laid beside your capital city and reduces your taxation by I MILLE. This goes into effect immediately. You should attempt to bring the corresponding ware to your city as soon as possible to lessen your pain. If you draw a want card which is produced in your capital, then pay I MILLE, and discard the card.

If a want counter for the same trade good is already on your capital, then you must bring two goods back to keep your people happy.

If a needed good is in a warehouse in the capital, then you must supply the good immediately. If this empties your warehouse, then it falls apart and must be discarded.

21 Storm cards

Place the Storm card face up beside the trade card stack. All ships in this sea are in trouble due to the storm. For each ship, roll the blue die. On a 5 or 6, it does well and may move in the next round. On a 3-4, any cargo is washed overboard, and on a 1-2 the ship and its cargo goes down. A storm lasts until replaced by a different storm. This could require several turns. Any ship that braves the storm must roll like the above.

6 Emissary gift cards (Gesandtengeschenk)

These cards are immediately given to another player. Of course, who actually gets the card may be decided through some deal. (Like half of an artwork, or a non-aggression pact)

You must give the gift immediately. But you may make more elaborate trades: "This gift goes to the person who brings me a wine, and I'll throw in II MILIA upon delivery." You may not cash the gift. All agreements are non-binding.

6 Art Auction cards (Versteigerung)

When this card is drawn, turn up the top card on the Art stack. The player who turned up the card must either bid the low bid listed on the auction card or pass. The highest bid (when all have passed) gets the art card for the bid amount of MILIA.

Note: You cannot spend money due to you in taxation in any auction.

3 Circus cards (Zirkusspiele)

The player must support a Circus by paying the listed cost immediately. However, one shortcoming (want cards and counters) that would normally be subtracted during this round's final taxation is removed. The lack card or disk is discarded and removed from the capital.

2 Destroy Artwork cards (Barbaren zerstoren Kunstwerke)

Roll a blue die for each of your artworks. Only roll once for each complete 2 part set. On a roll of 1, the artwork is destroyed and discarded.

Destroyed art is removed completely from the game.

If you do not have any art, give this card to any other player who has some art. Then they have to roll for their destruction.

2 Cards "Pirates Plunder" (Piraten Plundern)

These involve the warehouses. For each ware in a warehouse, you must roll for it. If you roll one of the numbers listed on the card, you lose that ware. If the warehouse is emptied, then is falls apart and is discarded.

If you've no warehouses, pass the card to someone who does.

1 Pirates capture a merchantman (piraten kapern ein Handelsschiff)

If you draw the card, and if you have a ship laden with a ware, then you must roll for it. The other players choose which ship is attacked if you have more than 1.

On a 1-3 you lose the ship and its cargo. You may rebuild it on a later turn for a cost of II MILIA as usual.

If you do not have a ship with cargo, give this card to another player who does.

Pirates plunder Capital (Piraten rauben Staatskasse)

Roll the blue die. You lose that many MILIA. If you roll more MILIA than you have, he takes all you have, but does not force you into debt.

Cash is all he takes, so you will still receive any tax revenues.

2 Earthquakes (Erdbeben)

Roll for each of your buildings. On the appropriate die, the building is doomed and goes back to the building pile for peopla to choose as a new building.

If you've not any buildings, smile evilly and hand this card to someone who has buildings.

2 Revolt cards (aufstand)

A Slave revolt forces you to put up an army for IV MILIA to quell the revolt.

An Army revolt lets the other players choose which of your armies is removed form the map.

6 Rebellion cards

One province (NOT the capital) is auctioned off. If he has more than one province, then each bidder may choose a different city. Highest bid gets the city he is bidding for.

The owner may bid, and also gets the first bid. The minimum bid on the card must be followed.

3 Coup cards (Staatsreich)

You may choose to lead a coup or give the card to another player. The person who receives this card must throw the blue die. On a 1-3, the player gives up his old State card to take a new one of the appropriate type. On a 4-6, the old State remains, and the card is passed to the player on the left. The card keeps going around until someone is hit by the coup.

Variations - Duration

A game runs an hour per player. With 5 players, and the 5,4,3,2 goals, the game will run five hours. You may use the longer 8,6,4,3 goals which will prolong the game for 2-4 players.

Some ways to shorten the game:

a) use 4,3,2,1 goals.

b) Only go through the tax chart twice. The second time the tax stone hits X, stop. The player who has the most points toward their goal, wins.

Variations - Building

Place buildings face down in a stack. When a player wants to build a building, he turns up a card. He may choose to build that. If he chooses not to build, each player in turn gets a chance to build it. If no one wants it, then replace it at the bottom of the deck.

Variations - Ships

You can speed up the game by allowing empty ships to move two spaces. Laden ships move one space as usual.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany