Pompeii - General game info
2-4 players, 45 minutes, 10 years and older
AuthorKlaus-J├╝rgen Wrede
IllustratorsOliver Freudenreich
Guido Hoffmann
Published byAMIGO Spiel + Freizeit GmbH
Online since 2009-08-30
Developed byKay Wilke (Sparhawk)
Yucata.de owns a license for the online version of this game. A big "thank you" to the copyright owners (publisher and/or author and illustrator) who make it possible to have this game for free online here!
Note: This online implementation uses slightly changed rules!
Pompeii - Rules

A.D. 63

Pompeii, the city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is heavily damaged by a strong earthquake. Fearing an eruption of the volcano, many of the 20,000 inhabitants leave their homes in a panicked flight. Those who remain behind begin to rebuild Pompeii.

A.D. 79

Pompeii's development into an important trade city has reached its peak. Over the past years, numerous Roman citizens, famous gladiators and rich Patricians have returned to the city, moving into the new and splendid buildings in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The fear of the volcano has long since been forgotten. When the citizens of Pompeii begin their daily work on August 24, they have no inkling of the imminent catastrophe. By sunrise of the following morning, Pompeii is buried under ash and lava.


53 Pompeii cardswith numbers from 1 to 11 in four different colours
127 game piecesin four different colours
red black yellow blue
7 cards"Omen" Omen
1 card"A.D. 79" A.D. 79
45 lava tilesshowing one of six different symbols
7x helmet 7x mask 7x vase 8x coin 8x column 8x scroll
1 game board

Idea of the Game

Pompeii is played in two phases. In the first phase, the players try to bring as many of their own game pieces into the city by playing Pompeii cards. If you play a card with the house number 3, for example, you may put a game piece into a building with that number. One of the cards says "A.D. 79". As soon as this card has been played for the second time, Mount Vesuvius erupts and the second phase of the game begins. Now, all players try to move as many of their pieces out of the city through the gates, before Pompeii is covered by lava tiles. The player who has saved the most playing pieces at the end of the game wins.


Put the game board into the centre of the table.
Each player gets game pieces in one colour:
If there are two players, each gets 36 pieces - use the colours red and black.
If there are three players, each gets 30 pieces - use the colours red, black and yellow.
If there are four players, each gets 25 pieces - use all colours (red, black, yellow and blue).
Each players puts his pieces on the table in front of himself.

Preparing the Stock Pile

The player who owns the game is the dealer. He separates the "A.D. 79" card and the "Omen" cards from the Pompeii cards with the house numbers. Then he shuffles the Pompeii cards and puts them face-down into seven piles of four cards each.

A.D. 79
A.D. 79

Then, he shuffles the "Omen" cards back into the pile of remaining Pompeii cards he still has in hand, and puts them next to the game board as one face-down pile. On top of this pile, also face-down, he puts the "A.D. 79" card and, on top of that, any two of the 4-card-piles. Now you have the stock pile. Next, each player picks one of the 4-card-piles, taking the cards up in hand. Depending on the number of players in the game, one to three 4-card-piles remain. These are not needed for the game - put them back into the box without looking at them.

How to play

The player to the left of the dealer begins, then the turn to play passes clockwise.

First Phase: New citizens move to Pompeii

On his turn, a player takes three actions, in the following order:
1.) He plays one of the four cards from his hand.
2.) He puts one of his game pieces on a free space in a building
     whose number corresponds to that on the card he has played.
3.) He draws a card from the stock.

A card that has been played is put on the discard pile, face-up.
When the first player has played a card and put it next to the game board, it becomes the first card of the discard pile.

The number of figures at the bottom of a Pompeii card indicates how many cards with this house number there are in the game. (Note, however, that they are not necessarily all in play). The Pompeii cards come in the colours grey, purple, turquoise and brown, and with a number (the house number) between 1 and 11. On the game board, there are buildings of different size, whose colours and numbers correspond to those on the cards. In addition, there are neutral (beige) buildings on the board (for more information on these, see under "Relatives"). All these buildings have a number of small, round spaces on which the game pieces are put.

Note: The Pompeii game board is divided into squares. Some buildings are one square big (e.g. the building number 9), others stretch across two squares (e.g. building number 2). Therefore, it is important that you put the game pieces exactly on the small, round spaces within the buildings. No player may put game pieces into buildings without such spaces.

Example: Jürgen plays a grey card with the number 1. 1 He puts one of his red pieces onto the grey building with the house number 1, then draws one card from the stock.

Important: The house numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11 each mark two buildings. When playing a card with any of these numbers, the player chooses a free round space in either of the two buildings belonging to this number.

Example: Oliver plays a turquoise card with the number 6. 6 He can choose on which of the two buildings to put his yellow game piece. He chooses the building with the three spaces, then draws a new card off the stock.

Vesuvius seethes

When a player draws the "A.D. 79" A.D. 79 card off the stock, that player immediately gets another card as a replacement. After that, the "A.D. 79" card is put back into the stock pile. To do that, count off the bottom 15 cards of the stock, shuffle in the "A.D. 79" card, then put the shuffled cards back under the stock.

From now on, the following additional rules must be observed:

The Omen

When a player draws an "Omen" Omen card off the stock, he immediately puts it on the discard pile. After that, he takes another player's game piece out of a building of his choice and throws it into the volcano. This piece is then out of the game. Then, the player draws a replacement card, so that he has four cards in hand again, and it's the next player's turn.


If a player moves a game piece into a building in which there already is another game piece (regardless of colour), that player may put an additional piece (a relative) into a different building in the same move, either one of the same colour, or a neutral (beige) one. Since there are no Pompeii cards for the neutral buildings, they can only be filled by means of the relatives rule.

Note: If a house number belongs to two buildings, the game pieces on the other building do not count for the relatives rule.

Example: Klaus plays a purple card showing the number 3. In each of the two buildings belonging to that house number, there already is another game piece. Klaus puts a black game piece into the right-hand building. Because of the relatives rule, the red piece already in that building allows him to put another of his pieces into a different purple building, or into a neutral (beige) one. The yellow piece in the left-hand building with the same house number does not count. Klaus puts the relative into a neutral building.

If there are already two or three other pieces in a building into which a player moves one of his game pieces, he may put the same number of relatives into other buildings of the same colour and/or neutral buildings (but never into the building which triggered the relatives rule) in the same move. However, he may only put one relative into any given building in the same move.
Example: Again, Oliver plays a turquoise card with the number 6. 6 That house number marks two buildings, and Oliver chooses the right-hand one with the four round spaces. There are already three other game pieces in that building. Oliver adds one of his own, yellow pieces and may move three additional pieces (relatives) into other buildings. He moves one yellow piece into building number 6, one into building number 9, and the third into a neutral building.

Putting relatives into buildings which already have game pieces in them does not trigger the relatives rule again. In other words, there are no chain reactions. It may happen that there are not enough free spaces for all relatives to move into - in that case, the player cannot use the excess relatives.

Joker cards

If all buildings belonging to the number on a card are fully occupied, the player who plays that card can use it as a Joker. That means that he can use the card to put one of his pieces on a free space in a building of his choice, regardless of the colour of that building. Pieces moved into a building by means of a Joker card do not trigger the relatives rule.

Example: Klaus plays a turquoise card with the number 6. Both buildings with that number are already full. Therefore, he may put his black game piece into another turquoise building, or even a purple, grey, brown or neutral one. He chooses a neutral (beige) building.

Vesuvius erupts

The first phase of the game ends when the "A.D. 79" A.D. 79 card is drawn from the stock pile for the second time. All players immediately put all their cards on the discard pile. All game pieces left in front of the players are put back into the box.

Exception: If all cards a player has in hand are for buildings that are already full (in other words, he only has Joker cards in hand), that player can call out "The volcano erupts!" at any time, even if it's not his turn. He must show his cards to the other players as proof.

The Lava comes!

helmet mask vase coin column scroll

Now the first lava tiles are drawn from the cloth bag - without looking into it. Every lava tile shows one of six different symbols. For each symbol (helmet, mask, vase, coin, column and scroll), there is a "first lava square" somewhere on the game board, which is of a darker shade than the other squares. The first tile of a symbol is put on the "first lava square" of that symbol. Lava tiles drawn later must be placed adjacent (not diagonally next to) to a tile of the same symbol.

The left-hand neighbour of the player who drew the "A.D. 79" card and thus triggered the eruption of Mount Vesuvius draws the first lava tile from the bag and puts it on the "first lava square" of the respective symbol. The other players follow clockwise, drawing and placing one lava tile each until there are six tiles on the board. If a player puts a lava tile onto a city square (regardless of whether it shows a whole building or only half a building) on which there are game pieces, these are thrown into the volcano.

Second Phase: Run for your lives!

Once there are six lava tiles on the board, the second phase of the game begins.
Now, a player's turn consists of two steps:
1.) draw a lava tile from the bag and place it on the board, and
2.) then move two of his game pieces
The left-hand neighbour of the player who put down the sixth tile begins the second phase.

1.) Draw Lava tiles

The player draws a lava tile from the bag without looking into it. He places it on the game board, adjacent to another tile with the same symbol - or, if it is the first tile of a symbol, on the "first lava square" of that symbol. If the player puts a lava tile onto a city square on which there are game pieces, these are all thrown into the volcano - even if some of them are his own pieces.

Also thrown into the volcano are game pieces which, even though they could still be moved, are so enclosed by lava tiles that there is no way left for them to reach one of the city gates. These pieces are thrown into the volcano as soon as they have been enclosed.

2.) Move game pieces

On his turn, a player has two moves, with which he can move two different of his game pieces. He may move a game piece forward by as many city squares as the total number of game pieces (his own and/or other players') on the square on which he begins his move.

Note: In those buildings which stretch across two city squares, game pieces now count as being in two separate squares. In the building with the house number 1, for example, there are two game pieces on each square of that building, thus, each of those pieces can only move two squares.

You can move a game piece vertically or horizontally, but never diagonally. Changing direction is allowed, even more than once in the same move, but moving back and forth is not. You may move a game piece onto any city square, except squares on which there are lava tiles, and you may leave move points unused if you don't want to move as many squares as you could. There is no limit to the number of pieces that may be on the same square - the round spaces on the buildings have no meaning in this second phase of the game. If a game piece is moved out of the city through one of the gates, it is safe from the volcano, and the player puts it down in front of himself. Moving through a gate counts as moving one square, i.e. costs one move point.

Example: There are four game pieces on a city square. It's Oliver's turn. His first yellow piece, which he moves out of this city square, has four move points, which are enough to move it out through a city gate. He puts the piece down in front of himself. With his second move, Oliver can only move the other yellow game piece three squares. The next player who moves a game piece (red or black) away from this square now only has two move points left.

Usually, a player must move two different game pieces on his turn.

Exception: If a game piece is alone on a city square at the beginning of the player's first move, that player may move the same piece again with his second move.

Example: It's Klaus's turn. On his first move, he moves a single black game piece one square to the right, onto the square with three pieces on it. There are now four pieces on that square, which now have four move points each. This enables Klaus to move the game piece from this square out through a city gate with his second move. He puts the piece down in front of himself - it is now saved.

Important: If a player only has one game piece left in the city, he may use both his moves to move that piece. A player who has no game piece left in the city only draws and places lava tiles on his turn.

End of the Game

The game ends with the player who draws the last lava tile from the bag. That player may finish his turn. All game pieces left on the board after that are thrown into the volcano. A game ends earlier than that if there are no game pieces left in the city, or if no piece can be moved out of the city anymore, because all gates or the ways to them have been made impassable by lava tiles. The player who could move the most of his game pieces out of the city to safety wins the game. In case of a tie, the winner is the player with fewer pieces in the volcano.

Rule clarifications

Some special cases are not very clear in the rules. It may happen that you draw a lava tile which cannot be placed. In this case the lava tile is taken out of the game but you do not draw a second tile. You execute the rest of your turn normally.
In rare cases the board may be full in the first phase before the volcano erupts. In that case the first phase ends at once. In another rare case a player has no meeples left to place. In that case he will continue playing and drawing cards but he won't place meeples. When putting neighbours it may happen that there is not enough space for all the neighbours you want to put. In that case you put as many neighbours as possible and then finish your turn.

Rule changes

According to the rules a player may make the volcano erupt at any time when he has only joker cards in his hand. In the online implementation he may do that only within his turn, either before playing a card or after drawing a card.

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