Located here is a basic strategy for each clan. An overview of the game and its rules is below.
General strategy. In general, the basic strategy for most clans is to put workers down and upgrade them in the first two rounds, focus on production in the third and fourth rounds, and fulfill contracts in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Clan selection should be determined based on the available ports, the end-of-round scoring objectives, and possibly the resources that come with each clan, though usually this is of lesser importance. For example, Campbell can be a very good choice if the end-of-round scoring objective in round 5 is the number of production tiles laid down. MacDonald can be a very good choice if the end-of-round scoring objective in round 1 is the number of workers put down. MacEwen is an excellent choice if there is a 1-for-3 port, you are the first player, and there is a 1-whiskey/1-bread contract available. Cunningham is generally a good choice.
During the initial worker placement, consider the ports that will be of greatest benefit to you to identify where to place your workers. The £10 port is generically useful for all clans and should be prioritized. The £5-and-contract port can be situationally useful for round 1 and is very useful for round 5 and may be prioritized, though you need not upgrade shipping to access it at the beginning. The 1-for-3 port can be very useful for particular clans, as detailed below. The another-port-for-£3 port is situationally useful depending on which other ports are available. The meat port can be useful for fulfilling a contract in round 1, but is generally of low priority. The swap-two-for-two port can be useful for Campbell in particular, but is generally of low priority.
For most clans, having two workers near ports is effective; MacDonald in particular benefits from having a worker in the central loch instead. If the ports are unattractive or if most of the spots near a port are taken, having a worker near the central loch, particularly if the clan has upgraded shipping, can be very useful for early game expansion.
Turns are precious at the very beginning. If you desperately need access to a port, ensure that you can do so. If there are valuable contracts available , generally having a low good cost and a large gold reward, take them. If you have access to a cheap spot that no one else does, you can build something on it later. Prioritize competitive actions: taking contracts, expanding on contested spots, and selling goods that other players have.
Placing workers down is most effective in rounds 1 and 2. Generally, you are doing well if you can get all workers down by round 2; otherwise, you should at least have four of the same worker down and the corresponding worker upgrade at this point. You may consider putting the remaining workers down and finishing worker upgrades in round 3, but there are diminishing returns at this point. Nevertheless, woodcutters can be effective, low-cost pieces to put down for expansion or neighbor-bonus purposes. (MacDonald should have all workers down by round 1. Cunningham should focus on cows first.)
By round 3, you should be building things from your player board based on your clan's specialty and the goods required for the contracts on the board. (MacDonald should be fulfilling contracts at this point. Other clans may start fulfilling low-cost contracts, but it's generally better to build up your engines instead.)
Buchanan. (Two contract slots.) Get two contracts in separate turns in round 1. Note that using a port to take a contract and then taking a contract in the main turn only triggers the round cost for the contract once. In particular, this means you should not take a port contract and a regular contract in the same turn in round 1. In addition, if there are two very good contracts in round 1, you may wish to forfeit £5 to take both contracts on the same turn, though this is unlikely. You will want to build a strong production engine and then fulfill most of your contracts in rounds 4 and 5, when you have the most resources and can save the most money by using your clan power. Note that this power allows you to choose from six contracts upon triggering the contract port or the contract bonus from having four of the same facility.
Campbell. (£3, £4, £4, and £5 cost reduction respectively for same facility purchases.) Expand aggressively in conjunction with putting workers down the first two rounds, but try to ensure that your facilities have enough raw goods to function in the production phase. To this end, purchasing raw goods from neighbor bonuses and using the 1-for-3 port can help immensely. The swap-two-for-two port can be very useful with this clan, allowing you to, for example, put down two cheap bakeries, possibly triggering a contract bonus, then using the port to swap those with two expensive cows or miners, hence giving you more bakeries to put down and refreshing the contract bonus.
Cunningham. (Sells milk for £8 each during production phase.) Focus on cows, then workers. You should have all cows, all workers, and all worker upgrades down by the end of round 2. If there's a 1-for-3 port available, use it in round 1. If there's also a use-port-for-£3 port available, use that in round 1 too. If there are cows near you, purchase milk using the neighbor bonus. In round 3, build production facilities and possibly start fulfilling contracts.
MacEwen. (Sells up to min(3, # hops in contract) grain for £9 each on finishing contracts with hops.) Situational and difficult to play. You should be finishing contracts throughout the game, focusing particularly on those contracts that give 3+ hops, given that you have a corresponding amount of grain. This clan benefits immensely from having a 1-for-3 port in the game and access to the 1-whiskey/1-bread contract that gives 15 gold and 8 hops, providing a much-needed gold boost at the very beginning. Try to purchase as much grain as you can use via neighbor bonuses or, if unable to do so, put down your own wheat fields. This clan is particularly difficult because of the tight balancing act between building up a production chain and consuming goods and grain to finish contracts, but can snowball given a good start.
Overview: Players play as one of nine clans of Caledonia, expanding over land and sea to establish production chains, fulfill contracts, and become the most successful clan of them all. Gameplay takes place over a setup phase followed by five rounds.
Setup. After turn order has been randomly established, each player chooses a clan in reverse turn order. There is always one more clan available than the number of players in the game. Then, in turn order and then reverse turn order, each player puts down two workers (miners or woodcutters) on the map. These serve as starting points for expansion in future rounds; the two workers can be placed anywhere on the map, but subsequent placement in future rounds must be connected to previous units.
Rounds. In turn order, players either (i) place units on the board, (ii) take a contract from the contract board, (iii) buy or sell goods, (iv) buy merchants, shipping upgrades, or worker upgrades, or (v) pass. If a player has access to a port (located at the corners of the map), the player may use the port as a bonus action before the main turn. Multiple ports can be used in the same turn. Each port may only be used once.
Placing units. The total cost of each unit is the sum of a fixed unit cost and a variable land cost from £1-6. Units on land must be adjacent to each other; units next to water may extend their placement range by a number of water tiles less than or equal to their number of shipping upgrades. The first shipping upgrade allows players to cross streams (water along the edge of tiles), the second allows players to cross up to one water tile, and so on. There are five possible shipping upgrades, each costing £4.
Woodcutter - costs £6 - produces £4 (+£2*) each round
Miner - costs £10 - produces £6 (+£2*) each round
Sheep - costs £8 - produces 1 Wool each round
Cow - costs £9 - produces 1 Milk each round
Cheese - costs £8 - produces 1 Cheese from 1 Milk each round
Grain - costs £18 - produces 2 Wheat each round
Bread - costs £8 - produces 1 Bread from 1 Wheat each round
whiskey - costs £10 - produces 1 whiskey from 1 Wheat each round
- The woodcutter and miner can be upgraded to produce an extra £2 each round (see 'Worker upgrades', below).
-- Placing units that neighbor other players' units over land (not crossing any streams or bodies of water) will trigger a neighborhood bonus, allowing the player to purchase up to three goods produced by neighboring units for a £2 (raw goods: wool, milk, grain) or £3 (processed goods: cheese, bread, whiskey) discount over the market price. This is a bonus action that takes place after the main turn. Each purchase requires one merchant. A neighborhood bonus may be triggered for multiple neighboring units in the same turn.
-- Placing four production facilities of the same kind triggers a contract bonus, as depicted on the bottom of the player board. If the player's contract slot is empty, the player may choose from one of three random contracts drawn separately from those of the main contract board. The player must still pay the round cost for taking a contract.
Taking contracts. Players may take contracts from the contract board for a certain cost depending on the round---the costs for each round are, respectively, -£5, £0, £5, £10, and £15. (Yes, you get £5 for taking a contract in the first round.) Players may have at most one unfulfilled contract at once.
Buying or selling goods. Every good bought or sold requires the use of one merchant, which is then locked for the round. Players start out with two merchants, and can unlock up to five more for £4 each. Buying or selling goods respectively raises or lowers the position of the good marker on the market board by a number of steps equal to the number of goods bought or sold. This makes it more cost-effective to buy in bulk in one go. In a single round, a player cannot buy and sell the same good. The same rules apply to the neighborhood bonus (see above, 'Placing units that neighbor other players' units').
Buying merchants, shipping upgrades, or worker upgrades. The purpose of each upgrade has been detailed in the sections above. Merchants cost £4 and allow for more buying and selling from the market. Shipping upgrades extends the reach of tiles adjacent to water. Worker upgrades cost £10 and increase the profit from each worker by £2 per round.
Passing. Once the player cannot or does not want to keep performing actions, the player can pass, stopping them from performing any more actions this round. The order in which players pass determine their turn order for next round; passing early also gives a slight monetary bonus for next round. In all cases, passing gives at least £10.
After all players have passed, the production phase is triggered. Players decide what combinations of goods to produce with the units they have, end-of-round scoring takes place, and the next round begins.
Scoring. The main contributor to points are, in descending order, contracts (hops, sugar cane, tobacco, cotton), glory (end-of-round scoring), longest settlement and most contracts achievements, and goods (raw, processed, and money).
Contracts. Each fulfilled contract gives up to three benefits---0-4 of an import (sugar cane, tobacco, and cotton; the rarest import is worth five points at the end of the game, the next rarest worth four, and the most common worth three), 0-9 hops (each worth one point), £3, £5, £10, or £15, an expansion bonus allowing you to expand once without paying the land cost, or 1-2 free upgrades (worker upgrades are reduced from £10 to £5 instead).
Glory. Victory points are obtained for satisfying randomly drawn objectives after each round, as depicted on the top of the main board.
Longest settlement. Each settlement is a group of units connected by land. The player with the most (then second-most and third-most) settlements gets the points listed at the top of the main board.
Most contracts. The player who has fulfilled the most (then second-most) contracts gets the points listed at the top of the main board.
Goods. Raw goods are worth one point each and processed goods two. £10 is worth one point.