Basic Rules

The High Seize is a game about smuggling, pirates, and greedy merchants (that’s you!)

The goal of the game is to try and get the highest total value of cargo safely across the ocean without it sinking.

This is a free-for-all game that involves bluffing, so there are no teams and no reason to tell the truth about what you are doing. Unfortunately, this means some ships will inevitably be overloaded and too slow to escape the pirates!

Basic gameplay

Each cargo card has a weight number marked by the anchor in the top left, and a value number marked by the coin in the top right. Cargo cards will be placed on ships and each round, the heaviest ship will sink. This means heavier cards are harder to trade. However, they also tend to be more valuable. Avoid placing very valuable cargo on overloaded ships!


1. Starting a game

Give each player a colored deck of 20 cards, and have them separate out the 4 ship cards. Have each player shuffle the other 16 cargo cards together. Place the black neutral ship card in the center of the play area.

2. Playing a round

Every player takes one ship card and sets it down in front of them face up, then draws 4 cards from their deck. These cards are their hand, which they choose and play cards from. Choose a starting player however you would like. (For example, the player who most recently visited an ocean or lake.) Next, players take turns playing cargo cards face down on one of the ship piles in front of a player, or on the neutral ship pile in the middle. This continues in a cycle going to the left, until all players have played all of the cards in their hand.

3. Ending a round

Once all cards in players’ hands have been played, flip all the ship piles face up, and count the total weight of the cards in each pile. The heaviest ship sinks! (If tied, all tied ships sink.) Take all the cards from the sunken ship(s), including the ship card(s), and put them in a discard pile face down. (The neutral ship card does not get discarded.) Then, each player sets aside, face down, their own colored cards that were not discarded. They represent successfully traded cargo. This is the end of the round. The starting player rotates to the left, and the next round begins.

4. Ending the game

Once the final hand is finished and players have claimed their cargo that did not sink, each player turns their set aside cargo pile face up and counts the total value of cards in that pile. Don’t forget to count ships! The player with the highest total value of cargo wins! If there is a tie, all tied players win.