Günter Burkhardt &
Wolfgang Kramer


No. of Players:
2 - 4



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

One of my favourite holiday resorts in the last years is the peninsula Zealand in southern Netherlands. Here you can find nearly optimal conditions for a relaxing family holiday: broad beaches and nice cottages and many bike paths to burn out oneself. In the evenings I usually get around to play the one or other game. And now here it is, the optimal game for my holidays: Seeland from Günter Burkhardt and Wolfgang Kramer. Seeland is settled in the golden times of the Netherlands in the 17th century. This is the time of the drainage of the peninsula Zealand, when new land was slowly won from the Sea. Players take part in this land reclamation in the role of prosperous merchants. And so I took the game, travelled to Zealand and had several tests with some friends of mine.


At first sight the game is lovely designed and comes with a neatly arranged board. One half of the board is covered with hexagonal spaces where the land claiming takes place. At the beginning all of the 30 island disks are covered and randomly placed on these hexagonal spaces, showing only mud and water. On the covered downside the island disks show fields for cabbage, rapeseed and tulips or a farm. In the game the players drain the land with the help of windmills and thus they are able to turn the island disks to the other side. For me this historic function of the mills in the Netherlands was something new, what shows us yet again that gaming is not just boyish pastimes but teaches us history and other knowledge (if someone should need a justification for his hobby).

Well, back to the game: the other half of the game board is covered by a double roundel, representing the office of the guild master where the trading of the seeds and windmills takes place. This roundel has a very clever mechanism. On the one hand the inner roundel shows the choice of seeds and mills that are currently available. On the other hand the outer roundel determines how much money a player can spend to move the guild master along the inner roundel to the best market places.


At the beginning of every turn a player finds the inner roundel with the market places filled with randomly chosen seeds and mills. Now the master of the guild has to be moved clockwise along the roundel from one market to the other by the active player. One step is for free, but for every further step the player must move his merchant one step further on the outer roundel. He then may take the seed or mill where the master of the guild comes to a halt, but of course the players do not have unlimited money. Now, how does that work on a roundel? It is quite simple. At the beginning of the game five coins are put on the outer roundel. This limits the players amount of money. They may never spend more money than their merchants can move forward on the coins. Coins, that are left anti-clockwise by all players, are put in front of the first coin clock-wise, so that from now on, all players can spent one more money again. So the possible moves for a player to put the guild master on the inner roundel are limited by the generosity of the opposing players, too. I found this way of money management quite clever, and although it may not be very realistic, it perfectly provides a corresponding balance between the players. A player who is rich at the moment may be the poorest in the next turn, if he only puts the guild master two or more steps further.

But why should one do so? Well, both seeds and windmills, can be worth more or less, which is given by a value on the disks and this is quite important when it comes to a scoring. Of course it is better to get the disks with the higher values, and so it is sometimes worth spending a lot of money to put the guild master to the right market place.

The second phase of a player's turn is the reclamation of land. For this the player places the seed or mill that he has just bought on the other half of the board, on a free space of the hexagonal fields. Mills must be placed on a field that is adjacent to another occupied field. The player then may decide whether he wants to take possession of the mill by putting one of his four mill markers on top of it. Of course this is only possible as long as the player still has mill markers left. On the edge of the board there are some covered landscapes that are turned over as soon as a player has put a mill beside it. This can bring the player a huge advantage, if he is lucky enough to find a farm under this disk. A farm gives the player a Stuiver, which can be used for one extra turn whenever the player wishes. As I can say from my testings, in the basic game this is very often the way to win the game.

Seeds on the other hand must be placed adjacent to a mill the player possesses. Then it automatically becomes a landscape tile for the rest of the game (turned to the other side).

Whenever the sixth field around a mill is covered by a landscape tile or a mill, a scoring for this mill takes place. For this all values on the disks adjacent to the mill are summed up (including the mill itself). A bonus is guaranteed if all three different types of landscapes can be found around the mill. But beware, if there is a monoculture, the owner of the mill gets nothing at all. Both of these features allow players to play nasty. They only have to plant the wrong seeds around a player's windmill and his harvest will be some classes lower than expected. Especially with four players there is a good chance to put a spoke in somebody's wheel.


The game ends after the mill or seed draw pile is empty and the guild master ends on an empty market place. The player with the most scoring points wins the game.

To offer more variation, the authors have included three variants to increase tactics:

  • In the first variant is a marker for a record harvest. Twice in a game each player can reclaim his actual harvest as a record. This is marked and at the end of the game there is a bonus for the four highest markers.
  • In the second variant a steward will move to every mill where a surrounding landscape shows the symbol of the steward. From now on this mill stands under surveillance and must bring a particularly high profit. When it comes to a scoring the profit of this mill is compared to the actual expectations that are quoted on the foremost coin on the outer roundel. If the profit is equal or higher to the expectations there is a bonus, otherwise 5 scoring points are subtracted from the profit of the mill.
  • With the last variant the board itself has to be turned over. Now there are no longer any uncovered landscape tiles on the board. Instead, some of the landscapes are already painted on the board and can immediately be used when a player places his mill next to it. Because there are no longer any uncertainties, luck plays a minor role and the game becomes more strategic.

As you would expect from the famous authors Burkhardt and Kramer, Seeland is well balanced and has no weaknesses in game play. All possible questions are covered in the rules, though it is not understandable that it should be necessary to divide the rules into three parts (one for the settings, one for the base game and one for the tactical variants). In my rounds of testing, especially the occasional gamers start to like the game very quickly. Though there are also some more tactical elements in the game, it is clearly a modern family game. If the German Spiel des Jahres award would not already have been assigned to Dixit in 2010, I would have given Seeland a very good chance. RAVENSBURGER also has equipped the game quite richly with very well designed game materials, and it is really a joy to have some variants included that truly extend the ways to play the game. After some years with weaker games of RAVENSBURGER they now seem to be back on the right way. Following last year's Diamonds Club, Seeland is now the second game of the publisher that really convinced me.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2010 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany