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How to Play Land vs Sea Board Game (Rules and Instructions)

How to Play Land vs Sea Board Game (Rules and Instructions)

Released in 2021 Land vs Sea was designed by Jon-Paul Jacques. In the game the players divide into teams. One team/player will play as land, while the other plays as the sea. Land vs Sea is a tile placement game where players take turns adding tiles to the map in the middle of the table. The land player(s) is trying to create land sections, while the sea player(s) is trying to do the same with seas. You score points whenever one of your areas are completed. Once all of the tiles are played, the player who scores the most points wins the game.

Year: 2021 | Publisher: Good Games Publishing | Designer: Jon-Paul Jacques | Artist: Jon-Paul Jacques

Genres: Abstract, Family, Puzzle, Tile Placement

Ages: 14+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 45 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Moderate | Luck: Light

Components: starting map tile, Volcano/Whirlpool tile, 58 map tiles, 2 player scoring aids, 7 wooden discs (3 land, 3 sea, 1 cartographer) 1 scoreboard, instructions

Where to Purchase: Amazon, eBay Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.

Objective of Land vs Sea

The objective of Land vs Sea is to score more points than the other player/team.

Choosing Your Difficulty and Number of Players

There are a few decisions that you have to make before you setup Land vs Sea.

First the number of players will have an impact on how you play the game. The main set of rules below will be for the two player game. For the differences in the three and four player games, see the following sections below.

You also need to choose whether you want to play the basic game or the more advanced game. The game recommends you play the basic game for your first game. The main set of rules below will detail the basic game.

To make the game more complicated there are three additional scoring options that you can include in the game. You can choose to use one, two or all three of these options in the game. To see the additional rules for these three options, check out the Mountains and Corals section, the Caravan and Ship section, and the Waypoints section.

Setup for Land vs Sea

  • Each player will choose a team. A land and sea scoring disc are set aside. Each player randomly chooses one of the two discs. The disc you choose determines which side you will play as.
  • Place the game box bottom where everyone can see it. Inside the box is the scoreboard. Each player will place their scoring disc at the beginning of the score track.
  • Find the starting tile and place it in the middle of the table.
Start Tile in Land vs Sea
  • Find the volcano/whirlpool tile and set it aside.
  • The rest of the tiles are shuffled and placed into two even sized stacks. These stacks should be placed near the scoreboard.
  • Starting with the land player, the players will take turns choosing a tile for their hand. They can pick the top tile from one of the two stacks of tiles. Players can only look at the top face of the tile when choosing which tile to pick. After choosing a tile you can look at the other side of it, but shouldn’t show it to the other player. Each player will end up choosing two tiles for their hand.
  • The land player will take the first turn. Players will alternate turns throughout the game.

Playing Land vs Sea

On your turn you will take five actions.

  1. Play A Tile
  2. Use Action Tiles
  3. Score Completed Areas
  4. Place Waypoints (Optional Rule)
  5. Replenish Your Tiles

Playing A Tile

On your turn you can look at both sides of your two tiles. You will choose one of your two tiles to play. You can use either side of your chosen tile.

When playing a tile it must be placed next to a tile that has already been played. Each edge of a tile will either feature water/sea or land. To place a tile the edges of your tile must match the tile(s) that you are placing it next to. For example a water edge must touch a water edge, and a land edge must touch a land edge.

If any edge of the tile doesn’t match, you can not place the tile in that location.

Incorrectly Place Tile in Land vs Sea
The tile in the bottom left corner was placed incorrectly. The sea on the right side matches the tile it was placed next to it. The land at the top of the tile doesn’t match the sea that it was placed next to though.

Use Action Tiles

Some of the tiles in the game will have a special action printed on them. When you place one of these tiles and the symbol is visible (it is not on the face down side of the tile), you will get to take the corresponding action.

The first special action is the Play Again tile. When you place one of these tiles, you will immediately play your second tile (if you still have one). This second tile will be played following the same rules as your first tile. If you play a second Play Again tile, you won’t get to play another tile.

Play Another Tile Symbol in Land vs Sea
This is an example of a Play Another tile. When a tile with this symbol is played, the player who played it will immediately play their other tile.

The Steal tile gives you the ability to steal another player’s tile. You may not use this ability to steal a player’s last tile. When choosing which tile to steal, you cannot look at the other side of the tile. The tile that you steal will stay in front of you as you can’t play it until your next turn. 

Steal a Tile Symbol in Land vs Sea
This tile features the Steal symbol. When a tile like this is played, the player who plays it will steal one of the other player’s tiles.

If one of your tiles was stolen on a previous player’s turn, you will have to play the one tile that you have remaining. At the end of your turn you will get to choose two tiles to add to your hand.

Score Completed Areas

If you place a tile that completes an area or areas, you will score that area(s). A piece of land is considered completed when it is surrounded by water. A sea is completed if it is surrounded by land.

There are special tiles that can break up sea or land areas in the corner of the tile. These tiles can be used to separate land or sea areas.

Close Off Area
A tile has been played which separated these sea and land areas. The corner where the land and sea meet divides the top and bottom land areas and the left and right sea areas.

If a land area is completed, the land player will score points for it. If a sea area is completed, the sea player will score points for it. An area scores one point for each tile contributing to the completed area.

Completed Area Scoring
This piece of sea has been completed. As five tiles were used to create it, the sea player will score five points.
Scoring in Land vs Sea
As a five tile sea area was completed, the sea player scored five points.

The player that completed the area will then score points for each bonus point symbol displayed inside the completed area.

Bonus Symbol Scoring
This piece of land was completed. As the land area is comprised of four tiles, the land player will score four points. The area also features two bonus point symbols (the black x icons). The player who completed the area will score two points.

If two areas are completed due to the tile that was placed, both areas will be scored individually.

Replenish Your Tiles

For the last action on your turn you will replenish your hand to two tiles. If your hand already has two tiles, you will skip this action.

Look at the two stacks of tiles. You can choose the top tile from either stack. You cannot look at the bottom side of either tile until after you choose it.

Choose Tile in Land vs Sea
The current player can choose either of these two tiles to add to their hand. They can only look at the other side after they have chosen it.

If you played two tiles on your turn, you will get to choose two tiles to add to your hand. You can choose one tile and look at its back before choosing your second tile.

If all of the tiles are removed from one of the stacks, you will split the remaining stack in half to create a second stack.

After replenishing your hand to two tiles, your turn ends. Play will pass to the other player.

Volcano/Whirlpool Tile

Sometimes a situation will be created where a hole is made in the map. If all six edges of the hole are the same type, you will immediately place the Volcano/Whirlpool tile in the hole (with the appropriate side face up).

Placing the Volcano
A hole was created in the map. As each edge of the hole is land, the Volcano tile will be placed in the hole.

If the Volcano/Whirlpool tile completed an area, it will be scored immediately. You will score this in the same way as any other tile.

Scoring the Volcano Tile
With the placement of the Volcano tile, this land area was completed. The land player will score seven points (seven tiles). The player who placed the tile which lead to the Volcano tile being placed will score seven points from the bonus symbols.

Land vs Sea End Game

The game ends as soon as the last tile has been placed.

End of Game in Land vs Sea
All of the tiles have been added to the map. This marks the end of the game.

The player that has scored more points wins the game.

Final Score
As the land player scored more points than the sea player, the land player has won the game.

If the players tied, the game ends in a tie.

Mountains and Corals

If you choose to use the Mountain and Coral scoring, a few additional rules are added to the game.

Place the Mountains and Coral scoring aid face up on the table so players can consult it during the game.

Some of the tiles in the game feature mountains or coral sections. These will cover two or three tile edges. These tiles can be placed like any other tile.

If a mountain edge is placed next to another mountain edge, the land player will immediately score one point per each connected side.

Mountain Scoring
A mountain edge was placed next to another mountain edge. The land player will score two points for the mountain range that was created.

Each time you connect another mountain side to the group, you will score one point for each tile in the group.

Mountain Scoring
Another mountain edge was added to this group of mountains. The land player will score an additional three points for connecting three mountain edges together.

Corals are treated in the same way as mountains. The sea player will score the points instead of the land player though.

Coral Scoring
Two pieces of coral were placed next to one another. The sea player will score two points for the connected corral edges.

Caravans and Ships

These are the additional rules that will be used if you choose to use the Caravan and Ship scoring.

Place the Caravan and Ship scoring aid face up on the table so the players can consult it during the game. Some of the tiles in the game feature ships or caravans. These tiles are played like any other tiles in the game.

If you place a ship or caravan tile next to another ship or caravan, you will immediately score two points.

Caravan Scoring
The current player has placed a tile featuring a caravan next to another tile with a caravan on it. They will immediately score two points.

At the end of the game players will score additional points based on the ships and caravans placed. When multiple connected tiles feature ships and/or caravans, a trade route is created. At the end of the game the players will determine whether land or sea gained the majority of each trade route.

  • If there are more caravans than ships in a trade route, the land player will score one point for each ship and caravan in the trade route.
  • If there are more ships than caravans in a trade route, the sea player will score one point for each ship and caravan in the trade route.
  • If there is a tie for control over the trade route, neither player will score points for it.
Caravan Ship Final Scoring
During the game this five tile trade route was created. As the trade route features three caravans and only two ships, the land player will receive five points for the trade route.


At the beginning of the game each player will take one additional token of their type (land/sea). This token will be your waypoint during the game.

After playing tiles and scoring on your turn, you can choose to place your waypoint out on the map if it hasn’t already been placed. If you are a land player you may place your waypoint on any land section with at least one open edge (hasn’t had a tile placed next to it) if it doesn’t already have a waypoint on it. The same applies to the sea player and sea sections.

Placing a Waypoint
The land player has placed their Waypoint token on this tile.

When the area that has a waypoint on it is completed, the waypoint token is returned to its owner. A waypoint is also returned if the tile that it is on is surrounded by six tiles. Outside of these two ways, a waypoint can’t be moved or removed from the map.

Whenever a waypoint is returned to a player, the player who played the tile that returned the waypoint will score one point.

Waypoint Scoring
The area that this Waypoint token was placed on has been completed. The player who completed the area will score one point for the token. The Waypoint token will be returned to the land player.

Three Player Land vs Sea Rules

The three player game follows all of the rules of the basic game. There are a few tweaks though to accommodate the third player. The three player game uses all of the additional scoring options: mountains and corals, caravans and ships, and waypoints.

Additional Setup

  • The Cartographer token (green) will be used by the third player. It will be placed on the first space of the scoring track.
  • Turn the Mountain and Coral, and Caravan and Ship scoring aids to the three player side.
  • The land and sea player will each take one token for their waypoint.
  • The players should take turns as follows: land, sea, and cartographer.


Land and sea areas score like in the normal game. Whoever completes an area will score the bonus points.

The Cartographer will score points for all chains of mountains and corals created by any player. The land and sea player no longer score points for these sections.

As for caravans and ships, players will still score the two points for playing a ship/caravan next to another ship/caravan.

When determining the majority for caravans versus ships, scoring will be the same. If a trade route has the same number of caravans and ships though, the Cartographer will score one point for each caravan and ship.

As for waypoints, only the sea and land player will get waypoint tokens to place during the game. The Cartographer can still score points by completing the waypoints though.

Four Player Land vs Sea Rules

With four players, two players will play as land and two will play as sea. You will use the waypoint rules, and can choose which of the optional scoring options that you would like to use. All of the rules for the basic game are followed.

Additional Setup

  • Only one score token is used for land and sea. Each team will have one combined score.
  • Place the scoring aids with the 2/4 player side face up.
  • Each player will take a waypoint token corresponding to their team.
  • The players should take turns in the following order: youngest land player, sea player, land player, and sea player.


Players may never show the hidden side of any of their tiles. This includes your teammate.

You may never steal a player’s last remaining tile. You can choose to steal one of your teammates tiles.

Players may not communicate in any way with their teammate about what they want them to do on their turn. You can use the placement of your waypoint to give your teammate an idea of where you want them to play though.

One player from each team should play with their waypoint tile face up, while the other player uses it face down so players can remember whose is whose. When an area with a waypoint is completed, the token will be returned to the corresponding player. Two waypoints can end up being placed in the same area, but not on the same tile. If an area is completed with two waypoints on it, the player that completes the area will score two points.

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