I've been reading the rules, and while everything is very well explained, I can't seem to determine if the colonist is fixed to the building once placed. Say I put a colonist working on the small market, and it's now the mayor phase, and I got one new colonist from the ship.

I place him on a plantation (sugar, e.g.), but I also feel like the next player will pick the craftsmen card. Can I move the colonist from the hospice to the sugar mill (provided I, of course have room)?

Secondly, at the end of the mayor phase, the mayor should place the number of colonists on the ship equal to the number of free "work spaces", to a minimum of the number of players. Now, how exactly do you determine if the mayor "forgets" this. I mean, if you're a player who hopes he will forget it do you just wait out until the next role is drawn and then point out that the new colonists have been forgotten?

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    I think you should see it as a joint responsibility among all of the players to remember to perform tasks such as replacing colonists, putting coins on unused role cards, emptying the trading house etc. It's not really about whether the individual player forgets. Sep 25, 2013 at 9:29

3 Answers 3


All your colonists can be moved each mayor phase, including ones acquired during earlier turns.

From the rules:

A player may place his new colonist(s), together with all the colonists he acquired from earlier rounds, on any empty circles on the tiles on his player board. Thus, a player may move a colonist placed on a circle or San Juan in an earlier round.

Since it is the last thing a player does during their turn, the first opportunity to remind them is after a new role card is selected or the Governor placard is moved (since otherwise it would still be during their turn.). It seems silly to place only the minimum number of colonists in the ship if "forgotten" at this point, and I can see how this could be exploited by players to not end the game as soon as it normally would. (Note: This rules seems is probably for later turns after a Builder phase has been selected and people cannot remember which new buildings have been built, and therefore how many colonists are supposed to be on the ship.)

As his last duty, the mayor puts new colonists on the colonist ship to be used in the next mayor phase. [...] - If a mayor forgets (players may remind him) to place new colonists on the colonist ship, players later place the minimum (number of players) on the colonist ship.

  1. Yes, during every Mayor phase, you can reassign your colonists to new buildings or plantations. The only thing you cannot do is voluntarily place your colonists in San Juan if there is an empty space (building or plantation) for them to occupy.

  2. If your game strategy depends on cheating, then you should find a new hobby.

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    You totally misinterpreted what I wanted to say. I'm reading the rules, and there is a specific section which mentions: "If a mayor forgets (players may remind him) to place new colonists on the colonist ship, players later place the minimum (number of players) on the colonist ship." My question is: What's the point of this rule and how does it actually come into play?
    – NLuburić
    Sep 23, 2013 at 13:41
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    The point of the rule is just for ease: to avoid having to remember what the "open spots on Buildings" state was at the end of the last Mayor phase. We often play that if we can all agree what the actual number should have been, we use that, otherwise, we just use the minimum. Sep 23, 2013 at 20:54
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    My group will actually backtrack and ensure we have the right number. But the number of times we forget is getting less and less.
    – Stephen
    Sep 23, 2013 at 22:52

I totally understand your frustration! What is difficult is that the rulebook speak about "player board", "the island", "the city", "player's tiles", "San Juan", "small city of San Juan" and so on... If you mix them up, then the rulebook doesn't make sense...

Remember that "San Juan" is not the same as "the island"! On "the island" there is 12 spaces, each for a plantation tile. In "the city" there is 12 spaces where you can place your buildings. Your "player board" consists of both "the island" and "the city". "San Juan" or "small city of San Juan" is an own place, situated on "the island" but not the same as "the island"! On "San Juan" you can store your colonists if you cannot place your colonists on your "player board". Thus: You have no empty circles on the buildings/plantations (the city) or plantation tiles (the island), but you still have a few colonists. What to do? You store them on "San Juan", or also called in the rulebook "small city of San Juan".

When you have this names sorted out, then the text is easy to understand: "No player may chose to place colonists in San Juan if he has empty circles on his player board. All empty circles must be filled, if possible."

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