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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Cartographers (2019) is a sequencing game where you compete to draw the most effective map of a fantasy kingdom. You play by drawing Tetris-shaped terrain features onto your Map pad, making careful choices of what goes where to maximise points. It is a game of balance where you make placement choices in the present in the hope that they also work well when you meet them again in the future.

You play as a cartographer tasked with mapping out new Territory cards onto your blank Map pad. You carefully pick one of the Tetris-shaped featured on each card so it fits onto your map and maximises your score. But to do this you must balance meeting your current goals whilst bearing in mind possible future goals.

As things progress you change the scoring goals four times. This means your choices earlier in the game affect your ability to score points later in the game. Thinking ahead and accommodating how the game may develop is key. The winner is the player who best meets the four sets of goals and therefore scores the most points.

What looks at first like a simple game of adding territory shapes to a map, quickly becomes a much more complex challenge where every decision counts. Add to this the cards that enable you to sabotage your opponent’s map and features that need to be placed in specific places on a map and you begin to see why this map-making game is so marvellous.

Our examiner, Rob Prior, first checked Cartographers 23 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 4 weeks ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is a Roll-And-Write and Sequencing game with Puzzle elements. You can play with 1 to 20 players in the same room. It is best played with 3-4 players.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Learn to Play: This takes 45 minutes to learn. You need to take time to understand the placement rules for each type of Territory card and the Edict cards, which set the goals for each of the four parts of the game. Once you have grasped these, then gameplay is simple to understand.

Play Time: It takes between half an hour and 45 minutes to play a round of this game.


This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to be able to make decisions in the short term with an eye on longer-term goals.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds. The Marauder cards feature monsters attacking, but this does not take place in a graphic or violent way.


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
There are a number of expansions for this game including:
  • Cartographers: Skills Mini Expansion (2019) - adds abilities enabled by spending coins.
  • Cartographers: New Discoveries (2020) - adds extra Monster cards and new maps.
  • Cartographers: Ambush Mini Expansion (2020) - adds extra Ambush cards
  • Cartographers: Skills Mini Expansion 2 (2021) - adds abilities enabled by spending coins.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 1: Nebblis – Plane of Flame (2021) - adds a new map and Scoring cards.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 2: Affril – Plane of Knowledge (2021) - adds a new map and Scoring cards.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 3: Undercity – Depths of Sabek (2021) - adds a new map and Scoring cards.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 4: Frozen Expanse – Realm of Frost Giants (2022) - adds a new map and Scoring cards.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 5: Kethra's Steppe – Redtooth & Goldbelly (2022) - adds a new map and Scoring cards.
  • Cartographers Map Pack 6: Hornhelm – Wasteland Market (2022) - adds a new map and Scoring cards. 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Players: 1-20

Genres: Roll-And-Write, Sequencing and Puzzle

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: Cards and Pen and Pad

Developer: Thunderworks Gam (@ThunderworksGam)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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