- Helpful files available on BoardGameGeek (selection):
- Important: The implementation on Yucata
enforces the rules of the second edition!
- Please don’t forget to read the section about the
online game before playing your first game.
A Few Acres of Snow is a two player game about the struggle between Britain
and France for control of North America, fought out during the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries.
What actions you can perform in the game are determined by the cards you
have in your hand and deck. Each nation has its own set of location
and empire cards. You increase the range of actions available to you by adding
cards to your discard pile, which eventually becomes your draw deck. Cards come
in two general types, location cards and empire cards. You add location cards
to your deck by settling new locations or capturing them from the
enemy. Empire cards are simply drafted, although some of them have
to be paid for.
Each player starts with control of a number of locations, and has the corresponding
location cards in his starting deck. Location cards may be used to
settle new locations, develop existing locations, build fortifications,
and launch attacks. Locations may also provide a means of transport, income,
settlers and militia.
Empire cards comprise of a variety of different types of cards. Many of these
have a military function, such as regular infantry and siege artillery. Other
cards increase the range of actions available to you, such as the governor
card, which allows you to remove cards from your hand. You need to tailor the cards
in your deck to suit your objectives. If you wish to develop your towns speedily
then it will help to have more settler cards in your deck. If you want to win through
sheer force of arms then draft military cards.
There are also neutral empire cards which can be drafted by either player.
The most interesting of these are the Native American cards. Native
Americans allow you to ambush and raid your opponent. Raids in particular
can be most discomforting to your enemy, especially if he is British.
The game can end suddenly if one player captures a particular location,
e.g. if the British take Quebec. It will also end if one player captures a certain
number of cubes and discs from his opponent, or when he manages to place all
of his discs or cubes on the board. In the latter two cases players add
up points to see who has won.
- 1 game board
- Other components:
There are two card types, location cards and empire cards. Location
cards have a named location on them. All cards without a location named on them
are empire cards. Cards also come with five different border colours. Those
with a deep or light red border can only be used by the British player. Those with
a dark or light blue border can only be used by the French player. Cards with a
green border are neutral and can be used by either player. The deep red and dark
blue bordered cards are also the initial draw decks for the British and French players.
Many of the cards have a parchment area at the bottom which contains text and/or
symbols. The text will explain the action/s that can be carried out by the card.
The symbols vary in their use/employment as explained below:
Bateaux – a card with this symbol on can be played to allow you to travel
along a river or lake.
Fur – a card with this symbol on can be used in conjunction with a trader
card to earn money (two money per fur card played).
Money – a card with this symbol on can be played to earn the amount of money
shown in the coin.
Wagon – a card with this symbol on can be played to allow you to travel along
Settler – a card with this symbol on can be played to allow you to settle
a location that also has this symbol in it. It can also be used to develop a village
into a town.
Military strength – a card with this symbol or symbols on can be played to
add to your strength in a siege. Each such symbol on the card is worth one strength
Ship – a card with this symbol on can be played to allow travel by sea. It
can also be used to add to your strength in a siege if the besieged location has
a ship symbol next to it.
Ambush – a card with this symbol on is vulnerable to being ambushed.
The British and French players do not have identical sets of location cards. Many
of the British locations do not appear in the set of available French location cards.
Where locations card do occur in both sets, they may have the same or different
connections and may have different symbols.
Starting the game
Each player should select a side and take the corresponding wooden pieces and cards.
Each player should have:
- An initial draw deck (dark red/blue border).
- An available location card deck (light red/blue border).
- An available empire card deck (light red/blue border).
You shuffle your initial draw deck and place it face down in your draw deck
space. Your location cards and the empire cards should be placed face up in the
spaces indicated. These decks do not require shuffling.
The neutral empire cards (green border) should be placed face up by the side
of the board so that each type of card can be clearly seen (it makes sense to stack
cards of the same type to save table space).
Place the money by the side of the board to form a bank. The French player
starts with five money and the British player starts with twelve money.
Each player starts with a number of cubes and discs on the board, which represent
settled locations. Cubes represent villages and discs represent towns. Certain locations
are already coloured red and blue, to indicate which side they are initially controlled
by. The British player should place one cube in each red square location and one
disc in each red circular location. The French player should do likewise in each
blue location. Having a cube or disc in a location indicates that you control it.
Each player draws five cards from the top of his draw deck to make his hand.
Playing the game
Players take turns, alternating between the two, until either a player achieves
an outright win or the game ends due to one player exhausting his supply of cubes
or discs. The British player always takes the first turn.
The first thing you must do when it is your turn is to check to see whether
you have won a siege combat. Once you have done this you perform two actions.
The only exception to this is the first turn, where both players perform only one
After you have completed your two actions you refill your hand to five cards.
If you need to draw a card and your draw deck is empty then you shuffle your discard
pile to make a new draw deck.
The following rules are not laid out in the order that phases occur. The rules dealing
with winning a siege can be found following those describing how to initiate a siege.
Each turn, after checking to see if you have won a siege combat, you perform two
actions (plus any "free actions" you wish to take). You only take
one action on your first turn of the game. Each action is a discrete
event and should be resolved before you perform your second action. You
can perform the same action twice.
There are some actions which are free actions. These do not count towards
your two actions and can be performed at any time during your turn, irrelevant
of what other actions you are performing, including before and after
you perform your two normal actions. However, you cannot perform a free action
during the resolution of a siege, nor after drawing cards at the end
of your turn.
Cards that you play are placed onto your discard pile. The only exception
to this are cards played to a siege combat. These cards should be placed
in the correct siege card space, depending on whether you are the attacker
or the defender.
Each player should be attempting to expand his "empire" in North America.
The following actions allow him to do this in some way:
These actions involve players in some form of conflict.
These actions allow you to gain money.
Card management actions
These actions allow you to manage your cards in some manner.
Settle a location
This action allows you to place one of your cubes in a neutral location (one that
does not already contain a cube or disc). You must first play a location card that
connects to the location you wish to settle. Each location card has a list of locations
that it connects to. It also shows the type of transport required to reach those
locations, which will either be bateaux, ship, or wagon. You must then play a second
card that has the correct transport symbol on it. If the location you intend to
settle has a settler symbol in it then you must play a third card that has a settler
symbol on it. Remember, the only symbols that can be used appear in the parchment
area of the card.
Once you have played the necessary cards you place one of your village cubes in
the newly settled location. You then take the location card for that location from
your deck of available location cards and place it on top of your discard pile.
Please do not forget to do this as you will not then gain the benefit of settling
the location. The number of cubes you have places a limit on the number of locations
you can settle.
There are some locations that you do not have the corresponding location card for,
e.g. the British do not have a Montreal card. You can still settle a location that
no card is available for but you do not add a card to your deck.
The British player wishes to settle Deerfield. To do so he must play the New Haven
card. He must then play a card with a bateaux symbol on it (he plays St. Mary’s).
As Deerfield has a settler symbol in it he must also play a card with a settler
symbol on it (he plays Boston). He then places a cube in the Deerfield location,
and takes the Deerfield card from his available location cards and places it on
top of his discard pile.
The French player wishes to settle Fort Niagara. To do so he must play the Fort
Frontenac card. He must then play a card with a bateaux symbol on it (he plays the
Trois Rivieres card). He does not have to play a card with a settler symbol on it.
He places a cube on the location and adds the Fort Niagara card to his discard pile.
Develop a location
A cube in a location represents a village. You can replace a cube with a disc, which
represents a town. To do so you must first play the location card for the location
that you intend to develop. You must then play a second card that has a settler
symbol on it. You then retrieve your cube from the location and replace it with
one of your discs. The cube goes back into your available stock. The main reason
to develop a location is that you gain double the victory points for that location
at the end of the game. You can only develop locations that have a victory point
value, which will be indicated next to the location on the board. The number of
discs you have imposes a limit on the number of locations you can develop.
The British player wishes to develop Albany. He must play the Albany card and then
a second card that has a settler symbol on it. He chooses to play the St, Mary’s
card as his second card. He then replaces the cube in Albany with a disc.
Note that the British player has the potential to develop Oswego, as it has a victory
point value. Conversely, he could not develop Fort Stanwick as it does not have
a victory point value.
Fortify a location
To fortify a location you must play a fortification card and the location card for
the location you wish to fortify. You must also pay three money to the bank. You
then place a fortification disc under the cube or disc in the location. A location
can only have one fortification disc in it. A fortified location starts a siege
with an additional siege strength of two, and is also immune to raids. The number
of fortification discs is a limit to the number of times this action can be selected.
Note that if you had just resettled a location you could fortify it within the same
Besiege a location
At some point in time you may wish to attack your opponent, with the intention of
taking control of one of his locations, or at least rendering it neutral.
You must first play a location card that connects to the location you intend to
besiege. You must then play a card with the necessary transport symbol on it (in
exactly the same way as if you intended to settle the location). You must then play
one card that has at least one military symbol on it. The first two cards should
be placed onto your discard pile. The third card, the one with a military strength,
must be placed onto your Siege Card space. If you are the British player then you
would place it in the British Siege Card space, if you are the French player then
you would place it in the French Siege Card space.
You now take your siege location marker and place it near the location you are besieging.
This is to remind you which location you are besieging.
The siege strength marker is now adjusted according to the initial strengths of
the two sides. You must use the correct siege track, i.e. if you are the British
player then you would use the British Siege Track. Place the siege strength marker
in the "1" space, in favour of the defender (every location has an intrinsic
defence strength of one). Move it two spaces in the defender’s favour if there
is a fortification disc in the location, and a further number of spaces equal to
any defence modifier that appears next to the location. This is the defender’s
initial strength. Now move the marker a number of spaces in favour of the attacker
according to the military strength of the third card he played.
The siege is now underway. It will last until one player either wins the siege or
withdraws from it. A location can be under siege indefinitely. You can only attack
one location at a time, although you may be involved in another siege as the defender.
The siege track length is finite, thus you can never exceed the highest value on
The British player decides to besiege Louisbourg. He plays the Halifax card (which
is connected by sea to Louisbourg), a card with ship symbol on it , and a siege
artillery card (for which he must also pay three money). He places his siege marker
by Louisbourg. The first two cards he plays go on to his discard pile, while the
siege artillery card goes in to the British Siege Card space.
It is now the French player’s turn. He must now decide whether he is going
to let Louisbourg fall or not. He decides to fight on. For his first action he plays
a regular infantry card and for his second he plays the Port Royal card, which has
a ship symbol on it. As Louisbourg has a ship symbol next to it this means the ship
symbol on the card has a military strength of one. The French player moves the siege
strength marker three spaces in his favour. He places both cards in his British
Siege Card space on his side of the board. This makes Louisbourg safe for the moment.
Note that the French player could not use the Louisbourg card itself as the location
is under siege.
Winning a siege combat
At the start of your turn you must check both Siege tracks to see whether you have
won a siege combat.
If you are the attacker in a siege and the corresponding siege strength marker shows
you have an advantage in strength of two or more, then you immediately win that
combat. You remove the other player’s cube/disc from the location that you attacked
and retain it (you will score victory points for capturing cubes and discs at the
end of the game). You also remove and return to the stock any fortification disc
in the location. If the location that you were attacking has a settler symbol in
it then you must play one card from your hand that has a settler symbol on it if
you wish to place one of your village cubes there. If the location does not have
such a symbol on it then you place one of your cubes in the location. If you do
place a cube on the location then you take the location card for that location from
your available deck and place it on top your discard pile. This does not count as
one of your actions. If you not able to or you choose not to place a cube (you do
not have to settle a location after winning a siege), you do not take the location
card. The location now becomes neutral. Note that the losing player retains the
location card for the location, although it is now useless.
If you are the defender in a siege combat and you have an advantage in military
strength of one or more, then you immediately win that combat. You retain control
of the location.
Once a siege has ended both players retrieve their cards from the corresponding
siege card space, i.e. if the British were the besiegers then each player would
take their cards from the British Siege Card space. The winner places all of his
cards on to his discard pile. The losing player must select one of the cards to
be placed back in his empire deck or neutral empire display before placing the remainder
onto his discard pile. He cannot choose to lose a location card. The French player
could choose the infantry card that is part of his initial draw deck. If the loser
is not able to select a card for removal then he does not do so. The attacker’s
siege location marker should be retrieved.
In the British siege of Louisbourg the British player has managed to gain the upper
hand. At the start of his turn the siege marker shows that he has an advantage of
three strength points, which means that he wins the siege. The blue cube is removed
and claimed by the British player. As Louisbourg has a settler symbol in it the
British player must now choose whether he wishes to play a card with such a symbol
to be able to place a cube of his own there. He chooses to do so and plays the New
York card. He then places one of his cubes in the location. He then takes the Louisbourg
location card from his location card deck and places it on his discard pile.
The French player must choose one empire card to return to his empire deck from
the cards in his siege space. He then returns the remaining cards to his discard
pile. The British player returns all of the cards in his siege space to his discard
Note that the French player does not remove the Louisbourg card from those in his
active deck. This card is now effectively useless.
Reinforce a siege
To increase your strength in a siege, whether you are the attacker or defender you
can play one card that has one or more military symbols on it. You adjust the siege
strength marker a number of spaces in your favour equal to the number of military
symbols on the card. If there are two sieges in progress then you choose which one
to use the card for.
The card you play must be placed in the corresponding siege card space. E.g. If
the British are the besiegers and you are the French player then you would place
your card in the British Siege Card space on your side of the board. This includes
location cards that you play for their military strength.
You can only reinforce locations that you can trace a series of connections via
controlled locations from either Quebec (if you are the French player) or Boston
(if you are the British player). These connections may be made by river, lake, road
and sea. Indian trails do not count as connections for this purpose. You do not
need to play any cards to travel along these connections.
Fortification card A fortification card can be played in a siege BUT only by the
defending player. When played this way it has a strength of one. Note that you cannot
add a fortification disc to a location that is currently besieged.
A card with a ship symbol has a military strength of one if used in a siege that
occurs in a location that has a ship symbol next to it. If a location card has a
ship symbol and a military symbol then you can only use one of those symbols, the
card would not add two to your strength. You can play a card with a ship symbol
as the first military card in a siege, as long as ships can be played.
Playing a military leader card is a free action and adds one to your siege strength.
To launch a raid you play one or more cards that state they can be used to raid.
One card allows you to raid a location that is within two connections of a location
that you control. Each additional eligible card played increases the range by one
connection, so if you played three cards you could raid a location up to four connections
away. A Priest or Indian Leader card can be played to increase the range of a raid,
just as if it were another card that allowed a raid.
You must pay one money for each Native Americans card that you play, not just the
You can only raid along connections formed by rivers, roads, lakes, or Indian trails.
You can utilise any combination of these connections. Locations along the edge of
the same lake are all regarded as being connected to each other. You do not play
any location cards to launch a raid and you do not need to play any transport symbols.
You can raid beyond a location that contains an enemy cube or disc. You cannot raid
a location that has a fortification disc in it, nor can you raid beyond such a location.
You cannot raid into or from a besieged location. You can raid through a besieged
location if you are the besieging party and the location is not fortified. You cannot
raid through a location that your opponent is laying siege to. You can raid from
a location that is not in supply.
Your opponent now has the opportunity to block the raid. He can do so by playing
one card from his hand that states that it can block If you are the defender in
a siege combat and you have an a raid. Your opponent can also block the raid by
playing the location card for location that is being raided. The card played to
block the raid is then placed onto his discard pile. Your opponent does not have
to pay money to play a Native American card to block a raid. If the raid is not
blocked then you take the cube or disc from the raided location. If you took a disc
from the location then your opponent replaces it with a cube, i.e. a town becomes
a village. You retain this cube/disc and it will score victory points at the end
of the game.
If you do not have a cube available to replace a disc then the location becomes
neutral. If you successfully raid Quebec/Boston/ New York twice then that does not
mean you have won the game. However, you would do if you were able to settle them
at a later point in the game.
You can regain control of a location that you have still have a location card
for by taking the "settle a location" action.
From Kennebec the French player could launch raids against Fort Halifax, Deerfield,
Pemaquid and Boston. A raid against Boston would require the play of two eligible
In this example Deerfield has been fortified. The French player could now only raid
Fort Halifax or Pemaquid. Note that it would not be possible to raid Boston via
You play one card that has the ability to ambush. The other player may now block
this with a card that states that it can do this. This card must be played from
the hand, not the reserve. The card used to block an ambush is placed onto the player’s
discard pile. Your opponent does not have to pay to use a Native Americans’
card to block you.
If the ambush is not blocked then the opposing player must select one card that
is marked with the "ambush" symbol from either his hand or his reserve
and place it back on his empire deck.
If your opponent does not have a card that can be ambushed then he must prove that
by showing you clearly the cards in his hand. He would then not lose a card.
When you play one of these cards your opponent must give you one neutral Native
Americans card from either his hand or his reserve. You then place that card onto
your discard pile. If he does not have such a card then he must show you his hand
clearly to prove that this is the case. The French player cannot lose his blue bordered
Native American card to a British Indian Leader card.
You play one location card and take an amount of money from the bank equal to the
value indicated in the gold circle.
You play one card with a ship symbol on it. You can then play one or two cards which
have a gold symbol on and take the amount of money indicated.
When you play the trader card you then play one or more location cards that have
the fur symbol on them. For each such card that you play you take two money from
This action is only available to the French player. You play the Louisbourg card
and another card with a ship symbol on it. You then take two money from the British
If the British player does not have sufficient money then you take any shortfall
from the bank.
Card management actions
Draft one empire card
You select one empire card from your available empire cards and place it onto your
discard pile. Check the card to see if you are required to pay any money to the
bank. You can never take a card of your opponent’s colour, nor can you draft a location
card. You cannot place location cards in your reserve.
E.g. If you drafted a neutral fortification card then you would have to pay three
money to the bank.
You can discard one or more cards from your hand, placing them onto your discard
pile. You can discard one card at no cost. If you then wish to discard more cards
you must pay one money for each additional card discarded, e.g. if you discarded
three cards you would have to pay two money.
Place a card in your reserve
The reserve gives you the flexibility to place cards to one side so that you can
pick them up later when they may be more useful. You select one empire card from
your hand and place it face-up in the box marked ‘Reserve’. You can have up to five
cards in your reserve. If you inadvertently go over this number and your opponent
notices this he must select a number of cards from your reserve to bring the number
down to five cards. These cards should be placed back with your available cards.
You cannot place location cards in your reserve.
Retrieve your reserve
As a free action you can retrieve the cards in your reserve and place them back
in your hand. You must pick up all of the cards in your reserve. You must pay one
money for each card you retrieve.
Note that you can have more than five cards in your hand.
When you play the governor card you also select any one or two cards from your hand
and return them to the available cards. This is a way for you to reduce the number
of cards in your deck. If you choose to remove a location card then you return it
to your available location cards deck. If you choose an empire card then you return
it to your empire card deck. If it is a neutral card then you return it to the neutral
card display. You can always regain a previously removed card in later turns if
you wish. To regain a location card you would have to "settle" the location
again, including the playing of a settler symbol card if necessary.
If you play the intendant card then you pay two money to the bank (French intendants
were notoriously corrupt) and then select one card of your choice from your discard
pile and place it in your hand.
Playing your home support card is a free action. You draw three cards from your
You can only draw those cards that are presently in your draw pile. If there are
less than three then you draw the remaining cards, you do not shuffle the discard
pile to make a new draw deck. Note that it would be possible for you to play this
card, then an Intendant to pick it up again, and then play it for a second time
in the same turn.
Withdraw from a siege
You may choose to withdraw from a siege. You treat this as if you had lost the siege,
i.e. you lose one empire card from those in your siege card space. The remaining
cards are placed onto your discard pile. Your opponent also places the cards from
his siege card space back onto his discard pile. Remove the siege marker from the
location. This is a free action. Both the attacker and defender have the option
to withdraw from a siege.
Simply do nothing. Passing does not stop you performing more actions in later turns.
Ending the game
The British player wins immediately if he wins a siege or settles in Quebec.
The French player wins immediately if he wins a siege or settles in Boston
or New York. In the case of a siege it is not necessary for a cube to be
placed in the location to trigger the victory condition.
Otherwise the game lasts until one of the end game conditions has been met,
If there are no sieges in progress at the start of a player’s turn
and he has placed all of his discs OR cubes onto the board.
If there are no sieges in progress at the start of a player’s turn
and he has captured twelve points worth of cubes/discs from his opponent
(a cube is worth two points and a disc is worth four points).
Each player now adds up the number of victory points he has. You score
points as indicated for locations that you control, i.e. that you
have a cube or disc in. If you have a disc in a location then you score double the
number of points indicated.
You also score two points for each of your opponent’s cubes that you captured
and four points for each disc you captured. The player who has the highest total
of victory points is the winner. In the case of a tie then the French
player is the winner.
The rules to "A Few Acres of Snow" are © Martin Wallace 2011.
All artwork is © Treefrog Limited.
Screenshot, British player interface:
The largest part of the interface is used by the map. Depending on your screen resolution
it might be necessary to scroll. Scrollbars should be visible. The various components
of the interface are now explained in detail:
- Hand cards
This part of the interface shows your hand cards. Depending on you screen resolution,
it might be necessary to scroll in order to see all cards.
Click the small button next to the number of hand cards on the main panel in order
to move the cards up and down. This might be necessary if parts of the map
(i.e. locations) are hidden behind the cards.
One or more cards can be clicked in order to perform various actions.
Activated cards are highlighted with a yellow border. Clicking an activated card
will de-activate it again.
Note, that clicking cards will activate those but the action itself is performed
by clicking suitable locations on the map or by clicking one of the action buttons
on the main panel. Whether or not an action is available depends on the cards that
are currently activated.
Important: Cards must be clicked in exactly the same order as described in
the rules for any action.
In order to settle a location, you would first click a card that has a connection
to the target location. Then you would click a card that has the matching connection
symbol. After that, you would either click on the location to perform the action
(i.e. place a cube) or you would first click a third card that has a settler symbol
- Main control panel
This part of the interface shows your main control panel.
The upper part is the information panel (gray background). If a French/British
siege is active, the name of the besieged location is displayed. In the example
screenshot above, Port Royal is besieged by the British player.
If you have to perform an action, all actions that can currently be performed by clicking a location
on the map are displayed below the siege info. Looking at the screenshot above,
the player must have clicked two location cards that enable him to perform a "develop"
General information is displayed on the right part of the info panel, e.g. "Perform
first action" or "Finish your turn."
The number of remaining actions are shown, too.
There are also two small buttons:
"c" changes the size of the hand cards (small or large).
"n" changes the adjustment of the location names that are displayed
on the board.
Below the info panel, you see a number of buttons on the left side. These are action
buttons. A button is enabled if you may perform that action in the current
situation. Looking at the screenshot, the player has clicked a number of hand cards.
He may either settle a location or discard the selected cards. Clicking the "Discard"
button would perform that action automatically.
To the right of the action buttons, you see the number of cards for each pile, similar
to your opponent’s cards info on the upper bar. Clicking a button next to
the cards will display a separate screen with additional information about these
You can also see information about your money, your current victory points
(clicking will display more detailed information), available cubes/discs
and captured cubes/discs.
The "Map" button is currently not available. Clicking it will switch
between two maps of different size in the future.
The "Auto" button opens a separate screen that may be used in order
to set priorities regarding ambush and raid blocking responses in order to avoid out-of-turn actions.
Settings can be changed on each turn.