«Goa» review

Goa Board Game

In 16th century Goa was one of the important trade centers around the world and also the beautiful place with sunny beaches… Just imagine, that wealth of this shiny and peaceful world depends on you! Which way you will invest your money and what resources are you going to develop? Test your economical abilities with «Goa» by «Rio Grande Games»!

This game was developed by Rüdiger Dorn who is famous by such great Eurogames like «The Traders of Genoa», «Jambo» and etc. The release date of this games is 2004 and the new edition was released in 2012 by «Z-man Games». Also, it’s important to have a look at these great illustrations that were made by Oliver Freudenreich. He is famous for his work in such projects as Smelly Molly, Monza the card game and many others.

It is worth mentioning that this game was reprinted by «Z-Man Games» and it’s called «Goa: A New Expedition». This version has four additional tiles and couple of features like the Bonanza variant.

Goa - Game Board

Inside the box

  • 55 game tiles;
  • 18 Colony tiles;
  • 18 Colonist cards;
  • 17 Ship cards;
  • 10 additional action cards;
  • 45 Ducat cards;
  • 30 Expedition cards;
  • 4 Supply boards;
  • 4 Development boards;
  • 20 Auction markers;
  • 20 Success markers;
  • 50 Spice sacks;
  • 1 Game board.


«Goa» is a strategy game with auction elements and management of resources. Game setting takes place in 16th century. You sell spices, send ships and colonists to other countries and gain money.

Each player has a board that shows the success for different things: ships, spices, colonists and etc. The more a player moves along the track the better one is performing the particular action. If you go far enough on the certain track you will get more points. There are also some rewards for the first player who reaches the last two levels of each track. «Goa» is a game which provides a lot of opportunities for hard decisions to players. Also, you can play this game online on www.famdepaus.nl!

Goa - Bidding


Let’s see how to play this game…

The game is divided into two parts – part «A» and part «B».

Each of these parts consists of four rounds. At the end of part «A» players remove game tiles (which have been remained) from the playing area and place 25 random «B» game tiles on the playing area and discard the 2 which are not used before.

Then, the players start part «B».

At the end of part B, the game ends and players score their victory points. Each round runs as follows:

  • Place auction markers;
  • Tile auctions;
  • Player actions;

Goa - Advancement for ships spices and colonists

End of a round

After all players performed three actions they have an opportunity to play additional action cards and it depends on how many of them they have. Each player from the starting one:

  1. On his turn, may play 1 additional action card and take an additional action.
  2. Pass, but then cannot later in this round play an additional action card.
  3. Each player may keep only 1 additional action card.

End Game

The game ends after the fourth round of «B» part. Then players count their victory points. The player with the most victory points wins the game.

Goal: The player with the most victory points wins the game. Players can earn victory points for their progress on development boards.

Cards and characters

Goa - Trading Cards

In Goa characters are established by the Portugese spice merchants. Players have 5 types of cards:

Colonist Cards

With Colonists Cards players can found colonies but they will have to need the whole list of colonists to do this. For example, if you need to found a colony you have to gather – 6 colonists for Quilon, 8 colonists for Cochin, 10 colonists for Madras and 12 colonists for Calicut;

Ship Cards, Ducat Cards and Expedition Cards

Ship Cards, Ducat Cards and Expedition Cards are used mainly for tiles purchasing.

Additional action cards

Additional action cards provide the opportunity to perform actions during the turn if it is possible.

The Expedition Cards

All expedition cards have three parts. The upper part shows the use of the card during the game. The lower left part shows 1, 2, or 3 colonists and the lower right part shows an island with a symbol to be used in scoring at game end. The players can play expedition cards during the game or collect them for scoring at game end. Of course, players can do a bit of both. There are three ways for a player to get expedition cards:

  1. He chooses the expedition action and takes expedition cards in the number shown on his development board.
  2. He buys an expedition tile and takes 2 or 3 expedition cards.
  3. He is the first player to move his success marker to the second row from the bottom in a column. He takes 1 expedition card. He is the first player to move his success marker to the bottom row in a column. He takes 1 expedition card (see also page 10). Use of the expedition cards during the game: Either before, during, or after a n action (also additional action), a player may play exactly 1 expedition card. When exactly can a card be played? To understand this, a player must know the 2 different kinds of cards:
  • Expedition cards that change a specific action (these cards have an “A” in the upper corners): a player can play one such card when he takes the corresponding action.
  • Expedition card s that are not related to a specific action: a player can play such a card any time during his action turn, either before, during, or after the action he takes.

Goa - Explorer Card

Similar Games

If you’re interested in good Eurogames and Goa board game you should probably check out China, Princes of Florence and Alien Frontiers.

The last one is the most similar to Goa because it has quite the same system of colonization and player interaction. Also, this game has a lot of bonuses which are gained for colonized territories. But this game has one little minus – at the end of the game it can be overanalyzing, but still this game is cool and if you like Goa you will probably like Alien Frontiers!


Goa - Five Species

Q: On the development board, the colonist column shows an extra action card to the right of each tier. I’ve practically eaten the rulebook trying to find out what this symbol means… can anyone point me in the right direction?

A: It means you get an action card when you move ALL the tracks down to that level.

Of course, the expedition card o nthe left means that the FIRST player to move any given trak to level 4 or 5 gets a card (its given out once per track for 4 and for 5, so a total of 10 possible card handouts). The extra actions are not to the first, but to anyone thatgets all their tracks down that far.

Q: After a couple of plays the following seems to be apparent strategy wise: Buy extra cards and more extra cards; cash is king; develop your chart fairly evenly intially; and don’t over produce colonists too early. Any other tips?

A: I was very successful by completely ignoring evenness in my chart. I marched way down two paths while ignoring theothers (and using a red card to generate colonists to ignore that one, and auction purchases to ignore others).

I dont see how ‘cash is king’. You need money for auctions, which are great, but if you just keep taking actions for money, you introduce so much money into the game that it becomes worth much less, as you had it to your opponents during bids.

Q: Cash was used in the auction but also as a means of securing the extra action card which proves to be worth quiet alot. Didn’t you find this to be the case in your games of Goa?

A: The action card comes from buying the flag during the auction…

Q: When using the espionage tile, once you decide which action you are going to take, can you combine it with an expedition card that enhances that action? For example: can I use the espionage tile to found a colony and use the “flip a third card to reveal colonists” expedition card in conjunction with the espionage tile? And this still does not count as one of my three actions?

A: Actually, the answer is no. The rules clearly say that the use of a tile is not an action and that “A” cards are used to modify actions. Therefore, an “A” card cannot modify the use of an Espionage tile (a non-action).



Goa is not the usual game… It has well-developed auction system and resource management elements. It’s one of the best economical strategies we ever experienced! You should definitely buy it on Amazon!