A few acres of snow – learn how to play with

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Have you ever heard of “A Few Acres of Snow”? If not, let me tell you about this intriguing game.

Imagine yourself in a time when North America was being colonized. You take on the role of either the French or the British, competing to expand your influence and control over these new lands.

The game is played on a map that represents the eastern coastline of North America. As you play, you will strategically move your pieces around the map to claim territories, build settlements, and gather resources.

But here’s where things get interesting. The game incorporates a deck-building mechanic, meaning you will also be managing a deck of cards that represent the actions you can take. These actions include recruiting soldiers, constructing fortresses, and even engaging in battles.

Each player will have their own deck, which they can customize and improve throughout the game. This allows for a unique and personalized playing experience. You will constantly be thinking of new strategies to outwit your opponent and gain the upper hand.

The game also emphasizes the importance of managing your resources wisely. You will need to balance your actions with the resources you have available, making every decision crucial to your success.

Victory in “A Few Acres of Snow” is not solely determined by brute force. Instead, it requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and adaptability. You must be willing to adjust your tactics as the game progresses and new challenges arise.

So, if you enjoy games that combine elements of strategy, deck-building, and resource management, “A Few Acres of Snow” is definitely worth checking out. It offers an immersive and challenging experience that will keep you engaged from start to finish.

Welcome to A Few Acres of Snow, where you’ll find yourself in command of two powerful empires from the 18th century. The backdrop? A war for control over the Canadian east coast. It’s a game of strategy and cunning, where you’ll need to exploit your empire’s strengths and work around its weaknesses to achieve victory. Will you triumph through a swift and decisive military coup, or will you endure a prolonged war of attrition? The choice is yours, all for the love of A Few Acres of Snow.

Now, let’s get started with the setup:

– Take your colored cubes (representing villages) and discs (representing cities), as well as your siege marker (a cylinder).

– Place your cubes and discs on the corresponding colored locations on the game board, which you control from the beginning.

It’s time to lead your empires to victory. Good luck!

When I start playing the game, I take the initial draw pile, which consists of location and empire cards in dark colors, and place it on the Draw Deck space on the board. After that, I draw 5 cards from this pile.

Next, I put my location cards, which are in light colors, face up on the Available Location Cards space. This allows me to see all my available locations.

Similarly, I place my empire cards, also in light colors, face up on the Available Empire Cards space. This way, I can easily access and view all my empire cards.

Now, let’s talk about the items that need to be placed close to the game board. First, I put the 12 fortification discs, which are black discs. These discs play a crucial role in fortifying my territories.

Next, I arrange the coins. If I am playing as the French, I start with 5 coins, while the English start with 12 coins. These coins are used for various actions and transactions in the game.

Lastly, there are the 9 neutral empire cards, which are green cards. These cards are sorted by type and placed face up. They serve as independent empires in the game and can be interacted with by all players.

To keep track of the siege progress, I place the 2 siege markers, which are black cylinders, on the 0 square of the two siege tracks. These markers indicate the current status of the sieges.

Now I’m all set to begin my exciting journey in this game!

A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

Getting into the Game

Hey there! If you’re ready to dive into some strategy gaming, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I want to talk to you about the gameplay of this exciting game. So, let’s get started!

How the Game Works

  1. Siege Check: I always begin the game, representing the British player. To start, we need to check if any of the siege attacks have been won.
  2. Actions: Now it’s your turn to make your moves. You get to do two actions, but don’t forget – in the first round, you only get one!
  3. Hand: Time to complete your hand. Make sure you have five cards in your hand at all times. If you run out, just shuffle the discard pile.

Types of Actions You Can Take

There are five different types of actions you can choose from. Let me break them down for you:

  • Expansion Actions: These actions help you expand your dominion and strengthen your position.
  • Financial Actions: Take these actions to manage your economy and keep your resources flowing.
  • Offensive Actions: Ready to strike? These actions let you unleash your attack strategies.
  • Empire Management Actions: These actions will help you maintain control over your empire.
  • Other Actions: Lastly, we have a set of actions that don’t fit into the other categories. They can still have a big impact, so keep them in mind!

Now, let’s talk about some of the symbols you’ll find on the cards:

A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

In the game, there are two types of cards: Location cards and Expansion cards. Let me explain how they work.

The Location cards, like the one on the left in the example, show the places you control. These are your starting points for colonizing other locations. Take a look at the Quebec location card for instance:

– On the right side of the Boat symbol, you’ll see the locations you can reach from Quebec using rivers or lakes.

– On the right side of the Ship symbol, you’ll find the locations you can reach from Quebec using the sea.

Now, let’s talk about Expansion Actions.

1. Colonizing an unoccupied location:

To colonize a location that nobody owns, you can take this action.

Requirements: To colonize a location, you will need a card that shows a controlled location which is linked to the location you want to colonize. You will also need a card that has the required transport symbol. If necessary, you may also need a card with the settler symbol.


  • Discard the required cards.
  • Place a cube on the colonized location.
  • Place the location card on your discard pile.


If I want to colonize Deerfield, I will need to:

  1. Play a starting point card, such as New Haven, which is connected to Deerfield by a river.
  2. Play a card with the boat symbol, like St. Mary’s, to provide transportation.
  3. Play a card with the settlers symbol, such as Philadelphia, because Deerfield requires it.

A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

Once you’ve finished the setup, you can move on to the next steps:

  1. Place a red cube on the Deerfield card.
  2. Take the Deerfield card from the pile of British Location cards.
  3. Put it on top of your discard pile.

1.2. Developing a location

Now it’s time to upgrade one of your villages (cubes) into a city (disc).

Requirements: You need the location card you want to develop and a card with a settler symbol.

Action: Replace the cube with a disc.


  • You can only develop locations that have a purple hex next to them, indicating victory points on the board.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot develop more locations than the number of your color discs available.

1.3. Fortifying a location

Requirements: To fortify a location, you will need a card of the specific location, a fortification card, and 3 coins.

Action: When you choose to fortify a location, place a Fortification disc beneath the cube or colored disc that represents that location.

Advantages: Fortifying a location has two important benefits. First, it protects you from enemy raids, keeping your resources safe. Second, it adds 2 points to your defense if the location is ever attacked.

Limitations: Each location can only be fortified once. Once you have fortified a location, you cannot do it again.

2. Offensive Actions

2.1. Besiege a location

Besieging a location is similar to colonization, but instead of sending settlers, you send soldiers represented by the military symbol.

Requirements: To initiate a siege, you need three specific cards: a card that shows a controlled location connected to the target location, a card with the required transport symbol, and a military force symbol card. The military force symbol card can be a ship symbol if the attacked location also has a ship symbol. Action:

– First, discard the first two cards.

– Next, place the third card (the military force card) on your siege space, either the British Siege or the French Siege.

– Then, take your Besieged Location marker, which is a cylinder in your color, and place it in front of the location you are besieging.

– Finally, position the Siege Strength marker on the appropriate Siege Track. The British Siege Track is used if the siege was initiated by the British player. Take into account the initial Siege Strengths of both sides when placing the marker.

Hello there! Let me walk you through the important steps for a successful siege in the game. It’s really something to keep in mind and can make a big difference in your gameplay.

  • First, let’s talk about the defender’s military strength. We start by placing the Siege Strength marker on the underlined 1 value space. Each location has an initial defensive strength of 1. If the location under attack has been fortified, we move the marker an additional two spaces. And if the location has additional fortifications, indicated by a military symbol next to it on the board, we move the marker accordingly.
  • Now, let’s move on to the attacker’s military strength. We adjust the marker in favor of the attacker by a number of spaces equal to the military strength of the 3rd card played.

And with that, the siege has officially begun! It will continue until one player emerges victorious or the besieging player decides to retreat. Oh, just a quick reminder – you can only besiege one location at a time, although you might still be involved as a defender in another siege.

I’m a British player and I’m about to attack Louisbourg. First, I play the Halifax card, which is the location I control that connects to Louisbourg by sea. Next, I play a card with a ship symbol, to show that I’m attacking from the sea. Finally, I play a Siege Artillery card, which costs 3 coins to play. This card allows me to place my Besieged Location marker in front of Louisbourg to indicate that I’m laying siege. After playing these cards, the Halifax card and the card with the ship symbol are discarded, but the Siege Artillery card stays on my “British Siege” space.

A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

When it comes to defending Louisbourg, we start off with a defense value of 1. But that’s not all – we also have a symbol on the board representing an additional defense. So, together, we have a total defense of 2 (1 + 1) in favor of France.

Now, let’s talk about the British player. They get to make their move by adjusting the Siege Strength marker. They can move it up to 3 spaces in their favor, depending on how strong their military is. This is based on the points they have on their Siege Artillery card.

But the British player doesn’t stop there. For their second action, they play a Regular Infantry card and a Military Leader card. This gives them an additional boost of 3 spaces in their favor on the Siege Strength marker. Both of these played cards are then placed on their “British Siege” space.

2.2. Reinforcing a siege

Here’s what you need: Any card with a military symbol.
If you have a card with a ship symbol and the place under siege can be reached by sea, it adds 1 strength point.
If you play a siege artillery card, it costs 3 more.

Here’s what you do: Put the card on the “Siege” space that matches the one on your card.

Remember: playing the Military Leader card doesn’t cost anything.

Example: Now it’s my turn to retaliate. I decide to fight back by taking two actions to reinforce my army: a Regular Infantry card and the Port Royal card, which has a ship symbol. I know that since Louisbourg has a ship symbol, it can be reached by sea, which means I can get help from warships (each ship adds 1 point to my military strength). So, I move the Siege Strength marker 3 spaces in my favor, and neatly place both cards on the “British Siege” space on my side of the board.

A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

Checking the sieges:
Before anything else, at the start of my turn, I need to check the siege tracks to see if I’ve won a siege. If I’m the attacker and the Siege Strength marker shows a strength of 2 or more in my favor, I win the siege right away. I remove and keep the opposing cube or disc from the conquered location, and if there’s a Fortification disc, I also remove it and put it back in storage. I can then colonize the conquered location immediately, which doesn’t count as an action. If the conquered location has a settler symbol, I need to play a card from my hand with a settler symbol to colonize it, otherwise I can place one of my village cubes directly on it. If I choose to colonize the conquered location, I take the corresponding location card from my “Available Location Cards” pile and put it in my discard pile. If I’m the defender and the Siege Strength marker shows a strength of 1 or more in my favor, I win the siege and keep control of the location. The player who loses the location still keeps the corresponding location card, but can no longer use it, which will slow them down. After a siege attack is resolved, both players take back their cards from the corresponding “British/French Siege” spaces. The winner puts all their cards in their discard pile, while the loser chooses one card to put back in their “Available Empire Cards” pile or the neutral empire card pile. The loser then discards the other cards, without the option to lose a location card under any circumstances. The French player has the option to choose the Infantry card from their initial draw pile. If the loser can’t choose an empire card to remove, they don’t remove a card. Finally, the attacker gets their Besieged Location marker back.

Hey there, let’s talk about raids! They’re an exciting part of the game where I can launch an attack on a location that I control by rivers, lakes, roads, or Indian tracks (those cool dotted lines on the board).

Here’s what I need:

  • I have to have cards with the “Raid” ability. The number of cards I need depends on how far away my target location is.
  • If I play one card, I can raid a location that’s two connections away from my controlled location.
  • Every additional card I play increases the raid distance by one connection.
  • If I have a Priest or Indian Chief card, it can boost the range of my raid, but I still need other cards to actually launch the raid.
  • When I play Native Americans cards, I have to pay one coin for each card, not just the first one.
  • I can’t raid a location that has a fortification disc. It’s off-limits.

Now that we got that down, let’s get into some action!

When playing the game, the opponent has the ability to prevent your attack. They can do this by playing a “Block raid” card or by discarding the location card you are raiding. If your raid is successful, you will capture one of the opponent’s pieces from that location. They will then replace the captured piece with one of their cubes. This means that the opponent has lost control of the location and it becomes neutral again.

Another move you can make is an “Ambush”. This allows you to eliminate an enemy card. However, your opponent can block your ambush by discarding a “Block ambush” card. If your ambush is successful, your opponent must take a card with the ambush symbol from their hand or reserve and put it back into their “Available Empire Cards” pile. If they don’t have a card with the ambush symbol, they have to show you their hand to prove it.

2.5. Priest / Indian Chief cards:

If you don’t have a neutral Native American card, you have to show me the cards you have in your hand.

Then, if you have a Native American card, you must give it to me and I will place it in my discard pile.

3. Financial Actions:

3.1. Making money:

Choose one location card and play it. The card will show you how much money you can take.

3.2. Merchant:

First, play a card that has a ship symbol. Then, play any number of cards that have a money symbol. You can take the amount of money shown on those cards (except for the card that you played for its ship symbol).

3.3. Dealer:

When I play the Dealer card along with any number of cards that have a fur symbol, I earn 2 money for each card played.

3.4. Piracy

This one’s just for the French player. If I play the Louisbourg card along with another card that has a ship symbol, I can steal 2 coins from the British player. If the British player doesn’t have enough money, I can take the missing money from the bank.

4. Empire Management Actions

4.1. Taking a new Empire card

To take a new empire card, I can either choose one from my “Available Empire Cards” pile or from the Neutral Empires card pile. I’ll need to pay the bank the cost of the card, if it has one (shown in the top left corner). After that, I place the card on my discard pile.

4.2. Discarding cards

If I want to, I can pick and discard one or more cards from my hand. The first card I discard doesn’t cost me anything, but each additional card I discard costs 1 coin.

4.3. Placing a card in reserve

So, here’s what you do: take a card from your hand and put it in your Reserve space on the board. You can do this as many times as you want, but remember, each card you put in reserve costs you one action.

4.4. Recovering the reserve

Okay, now it’s time to get those cards back! Take all the cards from your reserve and put them back in your hand.

  • But wait, there’s a catch – for each card you want to recover, you need to pay 1 coin. If you don’t have enough coins to cover the cost, tough luck, you can’t do this action.
  • Don’t worry though, this action is free and doesn’t count as one of your two actions per round.

4.5. Governor card

Ah, the Governor card, quite a special one. With this card, you get to choose one or two cards from your hand and put them back in the corresponding “Available Location/Empire Cards” piles.

4.6. Intendant card

If you’re a French player, this action is for you. Spend 2 coins to search your discard pile for a card of your choice and add it back to your hand.

Here’s a helpful card. As a free action, draw three cards from your deck to give yourself more options.

5. Other Actions

Withdraw from a siege

  • This is a free action.
  • Use this action if you want to end the siege as if you had lost.



The game will end when one of the following three conditions is met:

  • Siege Victory: The game instantly ends if either
    • the British player captures Quebec City (British victory)
    • the French player captures New York or Boston (French victory)


    At the end of the game, players tally up their victory points.

    • Controlled locations: You earn points for locations that you control. To control a location, you need to have either a cube or a disc on it. If you have a disc, then you earn double the points for that location.
    • Captures: You earn 2 points for each cube you capture from your opponent, and 4 points for each disc.

    The player with the most points is the winner. If there is a tie, then the French player wins.

    A few acres of snow - learn how to play with

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