Mare Nostrum game

Mare Nostrum Rules

Mare Nostrum is a game of civilization, conquest and territory management, for 3 to 5 players, from 12 years old. Each player starts the game with an Empire made up of 3 Provinces. To win the game, each player will try to make their Empire prosper by accumulating Resources, increasing their military strength and controlling Cities.

Introduction to the Game

  • The game board is a representation of the Mediterranean Basin, divided into provinces (land areas) and seas.
  • There are locations illustrated in each province: Caravan, Market, City, Temple, etc. As well as the corresponding Resources: Sheep, Perfume, Gladiator, Diamond, etc.
Location on Mare Nostrum game
Icône RessourceResource Symbol
Marqueur d’influenceControl Marker
Une provinceA Province
  • At the start of the game, each player chooses an Empire: Roman , Greek , Babylonian , Carthaginian and Egyptian , at the head of which stands a hero.
  • Each Empire chosen by the player is allocated 3 provinces.
  • To make their Empire prosper, a player can construct buildings in their provinces.
  • Each building constructed increases the Resources collected by the player.
  • A player can also invade an unoccupied province to collect Resources there.
  • The player can also invade a province occupied by another player to control the Resources there.
  • Resources created will allow everyone to build more Buildings, recruit Heroes, acquire Wonders and expand their Army

How to Win the Game

There are 4 ways to win the game:

  • Build the Pyramids
  • Obtain your 5th Hero or Wonder
  • Control 4 Capital Cities or 4 legendary Cities
  • Simultaneously hold the titles of Trade Master, Cultural Leader and Military Leader.

Course of the Game

  • The game is played over several rounds.
  • Play only stops when one of the victory conditions mentioned above is met.
  • A round has 5 phases: Collecting Resources, Trading Resources, Building, Movement and Battle, and Claiming Leadership.

Contents of the Game

  • 1 game board representing the Mediterranean Basin
  • 1 Leader track to be placed to the right of the game board
  • 1 Heroes and Wonders Track Marker to be placed to the right of the Leader Track
  • Important note: When playing with 4 players, the Leader Track will be used to hide the Babylonian Empire. The Babylonian Hero will not be used
Contents of Mare Nostrum game
  • With 3 players, the Titles and Heroes tracks will hide the Babylonian Empire and the Egyptian Empire. Their respective heroes will not be used.
3 players on Mare Nostrum game
  • 5 individual boards of different colors
Individual board Mare Nostrum game
  • 5 double-sided individual screens of different colors
  • On the back of each screen, the starting position of each player is shown.
Starting position on Mare Nostrum game
  • 5 Help sheets which describe the different game phases as well as the special cards present in the game
  • A set of plastic Unit Resources of different colors, representing a Legion, a Trireme and a Fortress
  • A set of markers of Control and Level, of different colors
  • A set of Hero tiles
  • Caravan and Market Resources
  • City, Legendary City, Capital City and Temple Resources
  • Tokens representing the different Resources, Commodities and Coins
  • Legendary Resources for each Resource
  • Set of Hero and Wonder tiles
  • 9 white dice for land battles
  • 4 blue dice for sea battles
  • 1 Pyramid tile
  • 3 Trade Resources


  • Place the board in the center of the table.
  • Near the game board, Build up a reserve that contains the following:

– Commodity and Coin Resources (face up)
– Legendary Commodity Resources (face down)
– Caravan and Market Resources
City, Legendary City, Capital City and Temple Resources

Setup Mare Nostrum game
From top to bottom
Legendary Cities
Regular Cities
Good on Mare Nostrum game
From top to bottom
Legendary Commodities
  • Each player is assigned an Empire, the screen and the corresponding individual board.
  • An Empire corresponds to a specific color. At the start of the game, each player places the Legion, Trireme, Fortress and Control Resources of their color in front of themselves.
  • Refer to your screen to arrange the different Resources in your 3 provinces.
  • Take the number of property and Coin Resources shown on the screen and place them near you.
  • The screen will also tell you how to place the Level markers on the Leader Track.
  • Each Empire is a leader in a domain. Refer to the upper right corner of the screen to find out which area you are in and place your marker on the Leader Track accordingly.
  • Place the Pyramid tile, face up, on the lower left corner of the Hero and Wonder track.
  • Place 5 Hero tiles face up on the first 5 spaces of the 2nd column of the Hero and Wonder track.
  • The remaining slots will accommodate the rest of the Hero tiles, which will be placed face down.

Course of the Game

Phase 1: Collecting Resources

  • The Collecting Resources phase is played simultaneously.
  • Important note: at the start of the game, skip this phase since it has already been dealt with during setup.
  • Anything you collect during this phase will be placed behind your screen.


  • If a Control marker is in a given province, they control all the buildings within the province.
  • Unless the building space is occupied by another player.

Collection of Commodity and Coin Resources

Caravan, Market and Commodity Resources

  • Your Caravan is always associated with a Commodity.
  • It allows you to collect 1 Commodities Resource corresponding to what is indicated in your Province.
  • If a Market is located in your Province, the Commodity Resources you can collect will be doubled.

Temple, City and Coin Resources

  • Your City is always associated with a Coin.
  • It allows you to collect 1 Coin Resource.
  • If a Temple is located in your Province, the Coin Resources you can collect will be doubled.

Legendary City and Legendary Commodities

  • If a Legendary City has been built in your Province, collect 1 Coin Resource and draw 1 Legendary Commodity Resource.
  • If a Temple is also built there, you can either collect 1 additional Coin Resource, or draw 1 additional legendary Commodity Resource.

Phase 2: Trading Resources

  • This is the phase for exchanging Commodities and Coin Resources between the players.
  • The trade master is awarded the 3 trade Resources, both sides.
  • Each face corresponds to a certain number of Resources to be exchanged:
Resource on Mare Nostrum game
  • The trade master will choose the face they want to use.
  • The chosen Resource will be placed on the upper part of the Leader Track, on slot I at the start of the game.
Chosen resource on Mare Nostrum game
  • The chosen side determines the number of Resources that each player must present at the exchange.
  • If a player does not have enough Resource Resources to exchange, they do not participate in the trade.
  • If, on the contrary, a player has the requested number of Resources, they are obliged to participate.
  • Behind their screen, each player will choose the Resources they will present for exchange.
  • Once they have made their choice, the Resources will be placed, face up, on the space reserved for this purpose on the individual board.
Mare Nostrum game
  • Once each player has placed their Resources, they are turned over.
  • The trade master starts the trade by choosing a Resource Resource from the individual board of the opponent of their choice and places it, face down, on their individual board.
  • After that, the player whose Resource was taken will play, and so on until all the Resources are collected.
  • Important note: There can only be one back and forth exchange between two players.
    Example: A draws from B
                    B draws from A
                    But A can no longer draw from B.

Unequal Exchange

  • Sometimes a player ends up with one less Resource than the others and the Trade master ends up with one too many.
  • The trade master takes all their Resources and places them behind their screen.
  • They choose a Resource, which they will place, face up on the disadvantaged player’s individual board so that the number of exchanged Resources is equal.
  • If there are only two players and they have already traded back and forth, the untraded Resources will be returned and remain on the individual boards.
  • Once the exchanges are finished, the Resources go back behind the screen.

End of the Phase

  • If the trade master does not change, they will choose a Resource among those they have left in the next round.
  • If, on the contrary, the trade master title goes to another, they take all the Resources and choose one of the 3.

Phase 3: Building

  • The Cultural Leader determines the order in which players will be able to build.
  • The player whose turn it is may reveal all their Resources.
  • The building cost is determined as follows:
Item to be purchasedItem namePurchase price
Control marker3 different ResourcesOr3 Coin Resources
Capital City
Legendary City
Temple6 different ResourcesOr6
Hero/WonderThe cost is indicated on the individual board and varies according to the round played.
Pyramids12 different ResourcesOr12 Coin Resources
  • The Resources that have been used are returned to the supply.
  • Once the purchases have been made, each player adjusts their level on the Leader Track.
    Example: player A moves up one rank in the military column after buying a legion.

Control Marker

To place the Control marker in a Province, it meet the following conditions:

  • Be adjacent to one of your provinces
  • Be neutral, i.e. not yet occupied by a Control marker
  • Be free of any opposing army

The Units

The Legions

  • The player can place as many legions as they want.
  • The legion must however be placed in a province under its Control.

The Triremes

  • The player can place as many triremes as they want.
  • The trireme must be placed in a sea adjacent to a province under its Control.
  • It is also possible to place the trireme on a sea already occupied by an opposing trireme.
  • A chain of triremes will allow a player to connect two provinces separated by water.


  • A province can only have one fortress.


  • Refer to the images printed on each province to determine what kind of building you can build there.

Heroes and Wonders

  • Heroes and Wonders can be purchased and placed face up on Heroes and Wonders boards.
  • At the end of the Building phase, the purchased Hero and Wonder tiles will be replaced by those that have been placed, face down, on the Hero and Wonder track.

End of a Player’s Turn

  • The Commodities Resources are returned to the reserve.
  • It is forbidden to keep the Commodities Resources for the next round. 
  • The player can only keep 2 Coin Resources. The rest will also be returned to the reserve.
  • The current player ends their turn and the Cultural Leader chooses who will be next.

Phase 4: Movement and Battle

  • The Military Leader chooses the order of the turns.


  • Triremes are always moved first.
  • A trireme can be moved to an adjacent sea.
  • A trireme can only be moved one square.
  • At the end of the movement, the player can choose whether or not to enter a battle with an opposing trireme.
  • Important note: if several enemy triremes are on the same sea, there can only be one battle. It is therefore up to the player to choose who they want to fight against.

The Legions

  • Once the movements and the sea battles are finished, proceed to the movements and the land battles.
  • A legion can move from one province to another adjacent province.
  • The player can use their chain of triremes to move a legion to a distant province.
  • As soon as a province is occupied by an opposing army, a battle is inevitable.


  • Battles are resolved in a single roll of the dice.
  • Blue dice will be used for sea battles, while white dice will be used for land battles.
  • The attacker and the defender roll their dice at the same time.
  • Roll as many dice as you have triremes or legions per province.
  • Each player will add the dice results they have obtained.
  • The result obtained will be divided by 5 and rounded down.
  • To hit an enemy you must roll a 1.
  • Each trireme or legion hit will be returned to the reserve.
  • Important note: if you have a fortress in the province where the fight takes place, 5 points are added to the result of the dice roll and 1 opponent hit is canceled.


  • If a tie occurs during a naval battle, nothing happens and the triremes remain where they are.
  • In case of a tie during a land battle, the province is declared at war.
  • You cannot construct buildings and place units in a province that’s at war
  • On the other hand, you can continue to use the Resources that are already present.
  • Nevertheless, if the Capital City is the one at war, the construction of buildings and the placement of units remain possible.


  • However, if a player manages to eliminate all the units that were occupying a province, they are declared a Conqueror.
  • Important note: as soon as an opposing unit lands on the province, it is no longer conquered, but at war. You will lose your Conqueror status.
  • The Conqueror has the choice between 3 actions on the province they occupy:

Looting a Building

  • The Conqueror has the right to loot only one building.
  • Depending on the looted building, they may or may not gain a Commodity:
Looted buildingGain
Caravan1 associated Commodity Resource
Market or TempleNothing
City or Capital CityCoin Resource
Legendary City1 Legendary Commodities or 1 Coin Resource
  • All destroyed buildings return to the reserve.
  • The gains will be kept behind the screen until the next Trading Resources phase.

Occupying Buildings

  • The Conqueror may occupy one or more buildings in the conquered province.
  • To do this, they must place a unit on each building. This implies that they control it and collect the Resources instead of the player they have defeated.
  • Placing a unit on a Market doubles the Resources obtained, provided you also have a unit on a Caravan.
  • Placing a unit on a Temple doubles the Coins collected, provided you also have a unit on a City, a Legendary City or a Capital City.
  • If one or more buildings are not occupied by the Conqueror, the player who has the province under their Control can continue to collect Resources from it.
  • As soon as the Conqueror leaves the province, its control returns to the player who has it under their Control.

Converting a Control Marker

  • The Conqueror can place one of their units on the Control marker of the province they occupy.
  • They can replace it with one of their Control markers during their next Military phase under 3 conditions:
  • Their unit is still placed on the Control marker,
  • They remain the Conqueror of the province,
  • The province is adjacent to their Empire.
  • At the end of each Movement and Battle phase, players update their Level markers on the Leader Track.

Phase 5: Claiming Leadership

  • After each phase, each player’s Level markers move up or down on the Leader Tracks.
  • In the Claiming Leadership phase, the player with the highest level on the Leader Track they are on becomes the Leader.
  • One of the Leader’s level markers is then placed at the head of the Leader Track.
  • In the event of a tie, the previous Leader chooses their successor.
  • If a player exceeds level 15, their marker is flipped to display “15+” and returns to the bottom of the Leader Track.

The Hero and Wonder Tiles

  • All heroes have a special ability that can control the different phases.
  • Refer to the tile and the individual help sheet for details.

End of the Game

  • The game ends as soon as one of the 4 end-of-game conditions is met.

Official rules in PDF

Explore the official Mare Nostrum Rule in PDF.