Palagonia is cooperative family game of creative shape making for 3 or more players.

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Objective: Palagonia is for three or more players, who try to score points by making closed islands containing animals.

The aim is to cooperate with the next player to make the most complex shapes with the tiles available; generally, the more complex a shape, the more points it is worth.

Tiles: Palagonia is played with 48 arch tiles and one d6 die. A second set of tiles should be used for more than four players.

Figure 1.  An arch tile in its three rotations.

Start: All players roll the die to start. The player with the highest roll moves first and play continues clockwise.

Moves: Each turn the mover rolls the die and takes an action according to the number rolled:

1.  Remove an exterior tile (i.e. tile with at least one free edge).
2.  Add two tiles.
3.  Add three tiles.
4.  Add four tiles.
5.  Add five tiles.
6.  Rotate an interior tile (i.e. tile that is completely surrounded).

If the mover rolls 2, 3, 4 or 5 then exactly that number of tiles must be added, and no fewer.

All tiles must either be:
a) added to the same scoring island (explained shortly), or
b) all touching.

The following examples show some typical moves.

Figure 2.  Remove an exterior tile.

Figure 3.  Add two tiles (scoring move).

Figure 4.  Add three tiles (non-scoring move, all must touch).

Figure 5.  Rotate an interior tile.

Scoring: Players score points by adding tiles to form closed islands. Each island is worth 1 point for each limb plus the total score of all animals it contains. Each animal is worth 1 point plus an additional point for every closed shape inside it.

For example, Figure 6 (left) shows an island containing a single 1 point animal for a total of 1 point. Figure 6 (middle) shows an island with one limb containing a single 1 point animal for a total of 2 points. Figure 6 (right) shows an island with three limbs containing a single 1 point animal for a total of 4 points.

Figure 6.  Islands worth 1, 2 and 4 points.

Figure 7 shows islands with slightly more complex animals. Each animal is worth 2 points in this case as they contain a closed shapes themselves (note that animal limbs are not counted). Each island has two limbs and contains a 2 point animal for a total of 4 points each.

Figure 7.  Islands worth 4 points each.

Figure 8 shows an even more complex island that covers all 48 tiles. This island has one limb and contains three animals worth 1, 2 and 5 points respectively for a total of 9 points.

Figure 8.  An island worth 9 points.

Cooperation: If a move completes a scoring island, then the player who completed the island (the creator) scores 3 x its point value and the previous player (the helper) scores 2 x its point value. In other words, each island is worth 5 times its point value, shared 3/2 between the creator and helper.

Players are encouraged to negotiate with the next player in the hope of making a strong cooperative move, but should not be surprised if the next player has their own agenda and instead tries to make a cooperative deal of their own on their move!

Pen and paper are required to keep score. It is useful to draw up a column on the left for the raw island scores and a column for each player. As each island is completed, notate its raw score in the left hand column and multiply this value by 3 and 2 for the scores in the creator and helper columns respectively.

End Game: If the mover rolls a 2, 3, 4 or 5 and this number is greater than the number of remaining tiles, they may either:
a) play all remaining tiles, or
b) remove an exterior tile (as if they'd rolled a 1).

If the mover can play all remaining tiles to win, they should obviously do so. If they are not in a winning position, however, they would be wise to remove an exterior tile from the largest existing island in the hope that they get to close the island again next turn to score much-needed points.

Bonus Play: A continent is an island that covers all tiles, such as that shown in Figure 8. If the final move uses the last remaining tiles to form a continent, then that move is worth 15 points (unless the island value is higher).

Aim: The player with the highest score wins. If scores are tied, then the player with the best scoring move throughout the game wins. If scores are still tied, then the game is tied between the leading players.


All tiles should form a single group (the ocean) at all times, and edge colours must always match. Interior holes are not allowed in the ocean.

When an interior tile is rotated, there are only two valid rotations that it may be turned to (it cannot be rotated back to its startuing position). No points are scored for rotating a tile.

Rotating an interior tile without disturbing the surrounding ocean is a skill. It's best to depress a tile edge and cantilever it up.

A quick way to work out an animal's score is to simply count the number of closed shapes that make it up. Limbs on animals do not score any points.

Limbs occur where three arches meet at an intersection. For example, the rightmost shape in Figure 9 has three limbs but none of the other shapes in this figure have any limbs.

Figure 9.  Shapes with 0, 0, 0 and 3 limbs respectively.

Each extension from such intersections is a limb only if it ends in a "hand" that looks like a club or clenched fist. For example, Figures 6, 7 and 8 show islands that contain intersections with only one limb, as the other two extensions from those intersections meet up to form closed loops rather than end in hands.

Eyes (small closed circles such as in Figure 9, left) constitute animals but not islands, as they don't have any limbs or internal shapes.

In the event of a dispute as to how many points an island is worth, all players should vote and reach a concensus on its value. More complex and attractive islands should score more points, and it is up to the creator to sell the features of their island.

The current player must pass if they can't move, for example if they roll a 6 while there are no interior tiles (very rare).

Point recycling: Some animals inside a given island were possibly islands themselves at some point. Shapes can therefore score points several times throughout a game.

Palagonia: A World of Shapes

Palagonia is a world inhabited by creatures and shapes that can be formed by Palago tiles.

You'll find lots of inspiration for your shapes there!


Palagonia rules by Mike McManaway and Cameron Browne 2009. Palago tiles by Cameron Browne and copyright (c) Cyberite Ltd 2008.

Palagonia is a multiplayer version of Palago. Thanks to Yusuke Takedahara for encouraging me to clarify the rules regarding limbs.

Palago can be played on Richard's PBeM server where it is called Lambo (due to its derivation as a sort of "Lite Mambo"), check out the help file for more details. Many thanks to the server regulars who helped test the game. Please challenge me (camb) to a game any time.

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Site designed by Cameron Browne © 2009.