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Roads & Boats Paradise Puzzles

In the paradise puzzles, you do not only try to find the optimal strategy on a particular map - the design of the map itself is part of the puzzle as well. Can you figure how many tiles are needed to produce 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 shares in 20 turns? Or can you figure out what is the maximum number of points you can achieve in 20 turns on an ideal map?

Current Records

The current records are as follows:

Goal Number of tiles needed / solution found by
Basic game With planes and/or bombs
1 share 8folklore 6folklore
2 shares 8folklore 7folklore
3 shares 10Uwe Gemming ? 
4 shares 13Uwe Gemming ? 
5 shares 19Uwe Gemming ? 
6 shares 24Herman Haverkort ? 
  Total score / solution found by
max. points800Herman Haverkort ? 

(Click on the numbers to see the solutions)

Would you like to get famous? ;-) Then try to beat the record for six shares using the basic rules only, or the record for four shares with planes and/or bombs.

For the basic games, the maps for 1, 2 and 3 shares cannot be made any smaller: this can be proven using some easy calculations. For 3 shares, the solution provided is not Uwe's original solution, but another solution on 10 tiles that yields more points.

Whether or not 4 shares can be made on less than 13 tiles is not clear, but it seems that it would be extremely difficult, if not most unlikely. It is probably equally difficult to improve the 5 shares solution.

The 6 shares' and the 800 points' solutions are elaborated versions of the strategy used by Bas de Bakker to find the first 5 shares' solution. His 5 shares' solution was beaten by Uwe Gemming, but it seems that Uwe's strategy does not extend easily to 6 shares. For the current six shares' solution, see the 800 points' solution and leave out the last mine.

It is not known whether 7 shares can be made in 20 turns.

We do not know yet how much can be done with planes and bombs. As a starter, Herman made a 6-tile solution for one share - smaller is impossible, since you need six different buildings before you can produce bombs.

The current two shares' solution yields 320 points, and Herman does not really believe that it is optimal (that is why the solution is not provided here). So maybe you can design a better 7 tiles' map which yields more points?

With three or more shares, it starts to get really difficult. In the multi-player game, bombs give you flexibility, which is welcome because you do not know in advance how the game will develop. In the Paradise puzzles, you do not need such flexibility: you just want to save space. But that is not as easy as it seems at first. To get a bomb you need a bomb factory, whose existence immediately raises the need for another bomb, otherwise you just end up using the same number of tiles. For two bombs you need two iron, for which you might need another mine (or new shafts), for which you need another iron token (either for the bomb which is used to make space for the additional mine, or for the new shafts). By now you can see the real problem coming: the fuel needed to process the iron. On a small map, using small transporters, it is a real pain to produce vast amounts of fuel out of wood. So you might need to move to the sea, probably replacing the coal-burner by a raft factory and two oil-rigs, so that you need another two bombs to compensate for the additional tiles. All this will probably give you so much logistic trouble, that most of the core production process is somewhat delayed and you need an additional mint to produce the coins in time, which requires another bomb. That makes a total of six bombs to save one tile: quite a logistic challenge...

To make three shares on nine tiles, Herman has been trying to get the following strategy to work. Use three woods, three plains, one tile of rocks and two mountains. Start on one of the plains, build a quarry and a woodcutter, then a sawmill, then send off two donkeys for reproduction and have the third donkey build two more woodcutters. One of the woodcutters will be blown up and replaced by the paper-mill later on. The remaining four tiles are used for:

  • a mine, built in turn 7, extended with gold shafts in turn 13, replaced by a mint in turn 17;
  • another mine, built no later than 10 and extended with gold shafts no later than turn 16;
  • a coal-burner, built in turn 9;
  • a bomb-factory, built in turn 10, blown up and replaced by a mint in turn 15.
The paper-mill is built in turn 11, using the first bomb, just in time to make two papers for the new shafts and specialisation research which is needed to extend the first mine in turn 13. The stock-exchange is built in turn 19 on the most convenient place (probably replacing the quarry).

So far, Herman has been unable to find an arrangement of tiles and roads which will actually make this strategy work. Of course, the approach could also be completely wrong.

So this where we are now as far as minimal maps for puzzles with bombs and/or planes are concerned. For four or more shares, we do not have a clue if bombs and/or planes enable you to make them on smaller maps than without these tools. Of course, as long as we are still stuck with the smaller maps, planes cannot be expected to be useful. Maybe they are useful on maps for six shares or so, helping to get building materials to remote sites fast, or delivering that last coin to the stock exchange just in time?


All maps must be made with the tiles supplied in the second edition of Roads & Boats. In practice, this means that you can use an unlimited number of non-river tiles, and the following numbers of river tiles:

shape straight riverwide bend sharp bendspecial tiles
pasture 6331 junction tile
woods 331none
rocks 111none
mountains0003 source tiles
desert 011none

Note: sea tiles are included in the tile count! Of course, it does not make sense to use desert tiles, unless you really need the extra bends in the river. The flow of rivers must conform to the rules described in the rule book. In case of doubt, ask us! Railways are not allowed.

Before playing, fill the first four rows of the wonder with bricks of unused colours. This means that the first wonder brick in a turn costs two goods right from the beginning. The maximum number of points you can get in the wonder is 80 - the game ends at the two-player mark. You have only 20 turns instead of the usual 33 to finish the game: 13 neutral bricks will not be used. Play by the rules of the second edition, including the clarifications in the FAQ-list on this site. For mining, use the one-player rule (see scenario book).

The maps resulting from the paradise puzzles will be added to this site as normal puzzles under the name "Small World" (basic rule maps) or "Tierra del Fuego" (when playing with bombs and planes).

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