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Carcassonne: South Seas is a stand alone game in the Carcassonne family. It is part of the Carcassonne Around the World line. The game includes 20 followers in 5 different colors, 60 banana, shell and fish tokens, 73 basic playing tiles, 24 ship tokens, and 19 fishing boat tokens. The tiles feature islands (similar to cities) with bananas, bridges (similar to roads) with shells, seas (similar to farms) with fish, and markets (similar to cloisters).

The starting tile is placed in the center of the playing area, and just as in the regular Carcassonne, players draw a tile on their turn and place it next to a tile(s) already in the playing area. They may then place a follower on one of the features of the tile that is not occupied by another follower. They also have the option to return a follower from the board to their supply. Followers placed on an island are banana pickers, or placed on a bridge are shell collectors, or placed in a sea (laying down) are fisherman, or placed on a market are merchants. 4 of the ship tokens are placed face up near the playing area, while the rest are face down in a stack.

Completed features (islands, bridges, or seas) give the player with the most followers 1 banana, shell, or fish per icon on the feature. Also seas can be scored when a tile with a fishing boat is placed in a sea with a fisherman. The player with the most fishermen gets the number of fish icons in the sea and a group of fish are covered with a boat token and will not give fish in later scoring rounds. Followers in scored features return to the players supply. A market scores when it is surrounded by eight other tiles. The player with a merchant on the completed market gains the face up ship with the most points.

As the final phase of a players turn they may deliver their wares to a face up ship by matching the types of wares indicated on the ship token. They can then take the ship and its point value adds to the player's final score. Any acquired ship is replaced from the face down stack, so that there are always 4 face up ships to choose from.

The game ends when the last tile is placed or when the last ship is acquired. All islands, bridges, and seas are then evaluated as if they were completed and players with the most followers on each feature receive the bananas, shells, and fish indicated by the icons on their features. Players count up the points on their acquired ships and add 1 point for every 3 wares they have regardless of type. The player with the highest score wins.

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