Land vs Sea

RRP: £29.99
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RRP £29.99
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Part puzzle, part game. Play as either Land or Sea (or the Cartographer in a 3 player game). Each player plays with 2 double-sided hex tiles containing a mix of land and sea shapes. They take turns placing a tile each to make a map together. Land places tiles trying to complete land areas, and Sea places tiles trying to complete sea areas. Completed areas score a point per tile; lan…
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-GGP014 Availability 3+ in stock
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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Crunchy decision making
  • Easy to learn
  • High interaction between players
  • Take That tile nabbing

Might Not Like

  • Can feel harder when playing the Sea
  • No solo mode
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Part puzzle, part game. Play as either Land or Sea (or the Cartographer in a 3 player game). Each player plays with 2 double-sided hex tiles containing a mix of land and sea shapes. They take turns placing a tile each to make a map together. Land places tiles trying to complete land areas, and Sea places tiles trying to complete sea areas. Completed areas score a point per tile; land areas for Land, sea areas for Sea. Some tiles score bonus points for whoever completes the area they are in. So players may decide to strategically complete rival’s areas to gain their bonus points. Other tiles allow players to play their second tile, or steal a player’s tile - but not their last one!

Using 2 double-sided tiles (one side always revealed and the other always hidden until played) means there is partial information to plan around, and some surprises too. Players replenish back up to 2 tiles from a choice of 2 face-up tile stacks.

The strategy of the game involves careful tile placement to score from as many land or sea areas as possible, while minimising your rivals’ opportunities to score from the tiles you play. Watch your rivals’ possible plays, and control tempo strategically with Play Again and Steal tiles. Look out for opportunities to score valuable bonus points in your and your rivals’ areas. Carefully select tiles as you replenish your hand to prepare for your next turn.

The game ends once the last tile is placed. The player or team with the most points wins.

The basic Land vs Sea game is simple enough for light / family gamers. After you have played the basic game, you can unlock more scoring options on the tiles to add surprising depth:
1. Mountain & Coral scoring - score for cumulative chains of connected Mountain (Land) / Coral (Sea) sections.
2. Caravan & Ship scoring - score for Caravans & Ships added to Trade Routes on the map, and score each Trade Route you have majority in (more Caravans scores the Trade Route for Land, more Ships for Sea) at the end of the game.
3. Waypoints - bonus points you can place on the map to entice cooperation, or score for yourself.

2, 3 & 4 player modes:
You can play head to head with 2 players, or with 4 players in teams using the basic rules and any of the additional scoring options. 4 player games use Waypoints to prevent alpha players directly instructing their partner.

The challenging 3 player mode uses all of the additional scoring options in a more asymmetric game. The Cartographer scores by connecting Mountain and Coral sections, and all players compete for bonus points and Trade Route scoring.

Tile laying to complete territories on a shared map for points………sound familiar? Well, friends, this may look, feel, and play like Carcassonne. But Land Vs Sea brings a new interactive element to the spatial puzzle table, and we are having a blast!

Primarily a 2 player game (although there are options to play in 3 or even 4 player modes), one person plays Land and the other is the Sea. Each player’s goal is to gain as many points as possible which are awarded when areas of their particular territory are enclosed.

Now, Land Vs Sea is one of those games that straight up deceives you. It’s so easy to learn. On your turn, you place one of two tiles from your hand onto the shared map space. If you complete a territory, points are awarded. You then choose a tile from the stacks to refill your hand. That’s it.

Sandy Strategy

But it’s not it. Not at all. You see, this game sneaks a boat load of strategy into every decision.

Whilst you gain points for completing your own territory type (basic scoring being 1 point per tile comprising the enclosed area with additional bonus points for “X marks the spot” spots!), you might want to complete one of your opponent’s areas on a turn instead.  “Why?” I hear you cry! “Why would I give that Land Lubber/Salty Sea Dog points??” I know it is tempting to try and keep their areas wide open, whilst simultaneously trying to close your own ones down. But bear with me.

Firstly, if you enclose one of their areas whilst it is still small, you’ll stop them building up a gigantic point-plenty ocean/island that will see them rocket along the scoring track later in the game. But, if you complete an area for them and it contains X marks, you will get those bonus points rather than your opponent. They’ll still get the basic 1 point per tile, but the added extras become yours! Hmmmm…..what to do is not so simple now, eh?!

Some of the tiles themselves also let you do sneakily strategic things too. Because each one is double sided, your opponent can only see what is on one side of yours and vice versa. It’s a snippet of open information, but it’s not the whole story. On that basis, you can predict where they might place next, but your prognostications will only take you so far.

Swords Drawn

And each tile has a different combination of land and sea edges and X marks. But some also have compasses or swords on them. Compasses are handy as they let you place both your tiles on a single turn. Swords are indeed sharp because they allow you to steal one of your opponents tiles ready to place next turn (although you can never take their final tile). You’ll only know what’s on one side, but pushing your luck on a pick could be enough to thwart their placement plans!

Plus to up the challenge even more, there’s also a special Volcano/ Whirlpool tile that will award mega bonus points if a player creates a hole with the same territory type on each of the six open hex sides. Plus there are additional optional scoring objectives (Mountains and Coral, Caravan and Ships, Waypoints) that will have your brain diving below the depths when trying to achieve optimal placement each turn (for more on these, check out the How to Play blog!).

Final Thoughts

We are absolutely loving Land Vs Sea. It was so easy to learn that we thought we might have missed something. But the ease of play belies half an hour of sand-in-your-socks crunchiness that is definitely our jam! Each tile you take and each one you place is an I could-I should-should I? moment. Knowing whether to go for completing your own area, blasting an open hole in your opponents, or profiting from their hard work is just the start of the consideration process. Being able to play two tiles can feel like a win, but miss something on the board and you could be leaving yourself vulnerable. And that’s before you’ve even considered what other players have on the underside of each tile in their hand!

The tiles themselves are also brilliant. Each one contains illustrations that have us giggling and pointing. From bottom trumpet tooting rabbits to dragons and mermaids with two tails not to mention all the differently designed ships and cultural references, the efforts that have gone into making this game visually charming are off the chart. They’re also nice, thick hexes, and the box (which doubles up as the scoring track) is bright and colourful and fun.

Personally, playing as the Sea somehow feels more challenging. This could be psychological. The sea seems more open and expansive and untameable. Land also goes first (although that’s not always an advantage in the end). Or it could just be down to colour contrast/preference. The composition of the tiles in terms of edge types looks pretty balanced but my scores are definitely lower when riding the watery waves.

Whatever the reason, I am loving Land Vs Sea. 2 Player is definitely the sweet spot for us. The Cartographer (3rd player) is an interesting dynamic with their focus on mountains and coral reefs, and we haven’t played the 4 player team mode yet. But I’m in no rush as there is so much sea to tame and land to scour that we will be happily half-hour hate drafting each other out of points for years to come!

Hello there, hex fans! If you’re here then your mind is already turning to Land vs Sea. Which is great because it is an awesome game! The full review can be found on the previous tab on this page, and this bonus piece is all about how the game works. So let’s dive right into the basic gameplay!

Set Up

Straight out of the box and in fact using the box! Decide which player is going to play Land and who will play Sea (and the Cartographer in a 3 player game – they score mountains and coral and everybody else competes for other features – more on this below!). Then take all the double-sided hex tiles out. Place the compass starting tile in the centre of the table and put the Volcano/Whirlpool tile to one side. Then shuffle the rest and place them in two equal stacks.

Each player takes it in turns to take 1 tile off the top of a stack until everybody has 2. Land is supposed to go first (but I’ll let you fight that out between you!). The reverse side of each tile is hidden but you can look at both sides any time. Place a marker of each type on the score track (which is part of the box insert) and it’s time to begin!

Take A Turn

On your Land vs Sea turn, you are going to place one of your tiles into the shared map space. The edges of your tile must match the edges of any adjoining tiles in terms of territory type (so land touching land or sea touching sea). Then you replenish your hand by taking a tile from one of the stacks.

If the tile you place features a compass, you’ll get to place your second tile immediately after your first. You then replenish your hand by taking two tiles. If the tile you lay down has a sword on it, you can steal a tile from another player who will then replenish back up to two tiles at the end of their turn. Note that you can’t steal during the last turn, you cheeky land lubbers!

If you enclose an area of your own territory type, you’ll get one point for each tile within it. You’ll also get bonus points for any “X” marks on those tiles. If you enclose an opponent’s area, they’ll get the main points, but you’ll get to keep the X mark bonus points for yourself! Jubby as one of my dearest pals would say!

If you manage to make a perfect hex shaped hole where all edges are of one territory type, the volcano/whirlpool tile gets dropped into it which will mean mega bonus points for whoever encloses that area.

Play continues until all the tiles are used. Whoever has the most points at the end of Land vs Sea is the winner!

Advanced Modes

Once familiar with the place and pick flow of the game, you may well be ready to include some extra crunch! And if you’re ready to get your feet wet and your pants sandy, there are a number of modules from which to choose:

Mountain and Coral – unless a third player is acting as the Cartographer (who will be scoring these features), you’ll get bonus points for creating chains of connected Mountains and coral tiles;

Caravan and Ship – if you create trade routes in the sea/over land by connecting tiles depicting ships/caravans, any player will immediately score 2 points for each ship/caravan added to the chain even if it isn’t part of their territory (but you might be handing majority bonus points to your opponent at end game!);

Waypoints – this extra token can be placed on any tile (that hasn’t got a waypoint token or has been scored) when enclosing and scoring another area. It acts as a bonus X mark and gets returned to the player when that area is scored.

If you play with 4 players it is the basic 2 player set up (with any added modules you like) but in two teams instead. The 3 player mode has a Cartographer scoring for Mountains and Coral, leaving Land and Sea to battle it out over trade routes and waypoints.

So there we have it! You are ready to place and pick your way to victory in Land vs Sea! I hope this guide helps you in your first few battles. One tip – look hard at each tile before you place it. Not because it helps the game play, but the illustrations are so fantastic you won’t want to miss a single one!

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Crunchy decision making
  • Easy to learn
  • High interaction between players
  • Take That tile nabbing

Might not like

  • Can feel harder when playing the Sea
  • No solo mode