Cornish Smuggler (2013)

Average Rating: 6.09/10
Board Game Rank: 4437
Thematic Rank: 629
Strategy Game Rank: 1284
Year Published
# of Players
2 − 5
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2–5 players
(12 voters) [poll]
Mfg Suggested Ages
13 and up
Playing Time
120 minutes
User Suggested Ages
(6 voters) [poll]
Language Dependence
Moderate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(5 voters) [poll]
Primary Name
Cornish Smuggler
Alternate Names
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ObjectID: 142451
Description Edit | History

Cornish Smuggler allows players to assume the roles of Smugglers in 18th Century Cornwall. Buying and selling goods for gold while employing a network of local characters, secret knowledge, hidden locations, bribes, dirty tricks and a healthy dose of cunning to evade the attentions of the customs officers and the other players.

When selling goods, players can choose how much to sell them for; making a choice to either increase their reputation and influence in the community by selling cheaply, or maximising their profit by getting the best price possible. An increased reputation allows a player to transport their contraband more easily and evade customs, but to win the game they must have the most gold out of all the other players. However, the higher the price goods are sold for, the stronger the customs forces become…

Smuggling in Cornwall was rarely performed by just one person; rather large swathes of the community were often involved. In Cornish Smuggler, players must build a smuggling network by employing characters; each with a unique ability, cost and affect on a smugglers reputation within the local community.

When smuggling goods, the choice of which goods to buy is key. Players can choose to buy big bulky goods, which are hard to fit on board ship (goods and ships are all different shapes and sizes) or smaller more easily transported goods which are worth far less.

Also, different sized towns will offer different prices for goods. Smaller towns offer a lower price, but with a lower risk. Larger towns offer better prices and allow smugglers to sell more goods, but the risk of do so is (generally) much greater.

The customs forces in Cornish Smuggler will move around the board dependant on what the players do. Landing, moving and selling goods merits their attention although players can also move customs by spending influence or utilising secrets. Luckily all Customs can be bribed meaning that once you've bought them they will remain 'your man' until the end of the game...or until another player pays them more.

Although starting off fairly underfunded and under supported, as the game progresses the Customs Officers will get steadily stronger, harder to bribe and more numerous. As such, it gets harder and harder to smuggle goods effectively, secretly and profitably so each game has a clearly defined end point that is visible to all players

Discovering secret tricks can help a players cause, and there are secret storehouses that can be hired out where you can stash your goods, hiding them from Customs and protecting them from being seized.

There are many possible paths to victory in Cornish Smuggler. Players will have to adapt their strategy to accommodate the actions of the other players, employ the right characters, buy the right goods, discover the right secrets and make the right deals.

This game is about real things that happened to real people in a real place, thus creating a directly relatable experience between 21st Century Cornwall and Cornwall at a time when the community was experiencing significant poverty and exorbitant taxation. As a result, smuggling wasn’t necessarily seen as something that was illegal, but rather as something that was ‘fair game’ and as such was taken with an often light hearted view.

What this game is:

Dodging the Law, employing the local vicar, building an network, discovering and using secrets, renting out the mayor's wine cellar, getting rich, a surprisingly accurate historical representation.

What this game isn't:

Ship racing, firing cannons, being a pirate

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More Information Edit | History

Game Components

1 Fully Illustrated 600 mm x 540 mm game board (perfect for kitchen tables)
60 x Secrets Cards
60 x wooden Influence Counters
58 Gold Counters
52 Reputation Counters
50 Wooden player counters
48 x Character Cards
25 Customs Bribe Markers
16 x Unique wooden Goods Shapes
12 x Storehouse Cards
10 Wooden Customs counters
10 x Ship Cards
5 Wooden ship counters
2 x Reference cards per /player
1 Rule Book


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Pg. 1
Cornish Smuggler
English first edition
Publisher: Grublin Games Publishing
Year: 2013
Size: 14.37 x 10.43 x 2.95 inches
3.57 pounds
Release Date: Oct 24, 2013
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0 Traduction des cartes
Tableau des cartes secret et des cartes personnages.
2 Additional Reputation Tokens
A set of 20x20 mm tokens representing 5 and 10 reputation each.
2 Cornish Smuggler Rules (German)
These rules have been kindly translated by Daniel Danzer, but are still in a plaintext version (we're working on it - bear with us - it's a lot more work than you would expect!). In the meantime, please use this file as an accompaniment with the printed rulebook for the moment and thank you for your patience!
5 Player Aid
It prints on 8.5" x 11" paper. It should line up for double sided printing. One side has turn summary, action, and some rule reminders information. The reverse has a Town Sale chart, sell rules, and a chart for how to move the Gold Wheel and Custom Chart if you don't want to count round and round the Gold wheel. The Honest Work addendum rule is included. This Aid assumes players have read the rules and have already setup the game.
1 Les règles en Français
Les Règles en français mais sans la mise en page.
9 Printer Friendly Quick Rules Summary
Identitcal to the similarly named colour version, just without the colour - a summary of the Cornish Smuggler rules fitted onto a doublesided sheet of A4
11 Cornish Smuggler Rules Summary - a Playing aid
All the rules for Cornish Smuggler, condensed onto a doublesided sheet of A4. This isn't a replacement for the rulebook, but is intended more as a quick reference sheet to compliment the game. Many, many thanks to Sarah Jane Swart for her excellent help with this.
34 Smugglers Beware! Cornish Smuggler Rules Addendum
This pdf is a rules addendum to Cornish Smuggler, created to fix the Honest Work loophole which allowed smugglers the option of collecting all secrets cards in Turn 1...irrespective of the thematic inadequacy of such behaviour;) Although we worked as hard and as smart as we could to prevent this sort of loophole from existing, this sort of thing does occasionally happen when a game is released, I'm just happy that it was caught early so we have an opportunity to fix it! With the exception of the Essen-500 copies of Cornish Smuggler, this addendum will enclosed with every copy of Cornish Smuggler so it is as clear as possible. For the Essen-500 copies, we are including this with the replacement reference cards and 'L' shapes which are already being sent out. If you have one of...
7 Correct Reference Cards for the Essen-500 copies of Cornish Smuggler
There is a minor error on four of the reference cards where the cost to Hire a Character is stated as the Gold Cost + 1 Influence or 1 Reputation, rather than Gold Cost + 1 Influence or 2 Reputation. This is entirely my fault (I strongly suspect that this change was made late at night...) so I'm posting out replacement cards to everyone who picked up a copy of Cornish Smuggler at Essen. However, I'm not going to be able to get these out to you for ~3 weeks, so this file is for those of you who would like to print out their own cards to play with in the meantime. Also and just to clarify, this error is only for the 500 copies which we had for Essen and has already been corrected for all other copies of Cornish Smuggler.
48 Cornish Smuggler Final Rulebook
You've seen the working copies, well here is the FINAL Version of the Cornish Smuggler rulebook that is included with each copy of the game. You'll notice that this FINAL version of the rulebook has undergone a complete graphical redesign, is fully indexed, is the product of over 1000 hours of proofreading, editing and design (at a conservative estimate...not including playtesting!) and is something which we are very proud to have produced. We're currently working on translations for this rulebook (and the game cards) into German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Czech and of course Cornish;) If there are any languages that you feel are missing, say so in the comments and if there's enough demand then I'll look at sorting that translation out as well. Also, we have a...
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Board Game Rank: 4437
Thematic Rank: 629
Strategy Game Rank: 1284
Num Ratings: 340
Average Rating: 6.09
Standard Deviation: 1.92
Num Views: 73059
GeekBuddy Analysis: Analyze
Similarly Rated: View
Avg. Game Weight: 3.2
Fans: 77
Personal Comments: 151
Users Owning: 635
Users Wanting: 27
Users Trading: 44 [find trade matches]
Has Parts For Trade: 1
Want Parts In Trade: 1
Price History: View
Total Plays: 434
Plays This Month: 1
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Linked Podcasts/Periodicals
Pg. 1
Ep. 1 – Let’s Say Hello w/ Henry Jasper
35.25 MB
The Board Room Episode three
153.1 MB
The Board Game Review Room: Cornish Smuggler by Grublin Games
20.59 MB
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