I was wondering about the coastline on islands not the main lands. Does the coastline refer to the whole island? Where it's either road or boat? Or are they separate coastlines on the same island.

So let's say one side of the island I use ships, then on the exact same island on the other side I use roads...

Or is the coastline refering as one, whether its boat or ship that surrounds a whole island

  • Yes but does the coastline refer to the entire outline of an island?
    – Amy
    Aug 18, 2018 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


"Coastline" is used three times in the rules. The following is the first instance:

Roads and ships may not be built along the same coastline.

The very next sentence explains what this means.

There can only be one ship OR one road along any given coastal hex side

As such, the rules define "coastline" as "coastal hex side". And for any given coastal hex side, you can't use both a ship and and road.

The following are the other two instances:

If your shipping route reaches a coastline, you can then build a new settlement on that coast

[You] may elect to place either or both of their starting settlements on the coastline. If you do so, you have the option of placing a ship, instead of a road, adjacent to that settlement.

Since settlements can't be placed on hex sides, this is obviously a different usage of the term. The standard English definition applies here: The coast or coastline is the line that separates water from land.

  • 1
    It's not necessarily different usages of "coastline". If we interpret "along" as meaning covering the line, and "on" as meaning covering one of the ends, then this can be a consistent usage of "coastline" to mean "the edge of a hex". Sep 4, 2018 at 23:40
  • No, it doesn't have two different definitions. It's the part of the board between two hexes. Ships are placed along this border, while settlements are placed on it. Sep 5, 2018 at 16:00
  • I don't see why not. Sep 5, 2018 at 17:16
  • @Acccumulation, Ships can't reach sides --they reach corners-- so your definition doesn't work for the second instance. /// Ships can be built on any water hex side, not just one, so your definition doesn't work for the third instance.
    – ikegami
    Sep 5, 2018 at 17:20
  • Then you should revisit the difference between "a" and "the".
    – ikegami
    Sep 5, 2018 at 17:23

The choice between road or ship is made independently for every single coastal hex side (defined as the boundary between a land hex and a sea hex). There is no restriction about the road/ship choice that has been made elsewhere either by you or other players, on the same island or on a different one.

Note however that the rules say that an adjacent road and ship are not considered connected unless there is a settlement or city in between acting as an interface. This means that in practice you usually have to stick to either one but you are allowed to switch if you build a settlement/city in between and if you have two independent branches on the same island they do not have to match.

It is technically not forbidden to build a ship and a road touching each other (sharing a vertex) if both of them are otherwise connected to your network in a valid way. However they would not count as being connected, so you would need an extremely contrived situation for that to be of any use.

  • I don't have the rules in front of me, but AFAIR you cannot mix roads and ships within a single connection. Between two settlements (or towns) a connection along the coastline has to be either ships only or roads only. Sep 5, 2018 at 9:24

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