Cargo Noir Rules Clarification

Cargo NoirAs many of you know we recently began selling our newest board game, Cargo Noir. We’ve been testing, playing, designing and readying this game for publication for many months and feel strongly it is one of our best – so it’s exciting to finally see it getting into the hands of others.

A core game play aspect of Cargo Noir is bidding for the right to earn cargo tokens from different ports. You work to collect either matching tokens (all the same), or different tokens (all different). It seems that many who have tried, or even worse taught, the game – have been picking up their “different” tokens randomly, not realizing that the rules explicitly state that they need to be “each of a different type“.

While this may seem like a small, even trivial difference, when you play a game with so few rules as Cargo Noir (about on par with Ticket to Ride), it is essential you play all the rules as designed and written. Otherwise things can – and often will – go horribly wrong.

While the easiest response would be to just shrug our shoulders and say, “Come-on folks, read the d**n rules!” – it’s ultimately our job to make sure that it’s clear how to play the game and it appears we didn’t emphasize this well enough. In hindsight, we should have highlighted this rule and given additional examples. We were wrong and that is our fault. We will address this in future reprints, and in an upcoming downloadable version of the rules, to make sure it is crystal clear for everyone.

So, we hope you get the chance to play Cargo Noir and judge for yourself on whether it is a game for you. And if you do, remember that when you trade in different types of Cargo, EACH Cargo token must be of a different type.

One final note: We’ve been getting complaints that some of the Cargo Noir token bags are tearing and ripping. We’ve already asked our manufacturer to remake new reinforced Token bags that will be made available free to anyone who has a torn bag. Details on how to order your free replacement bag will be posted on our website in April.

Thanks – happy gaming and smuggling,

The Days of Wonder Team

PS: In the early days of Ticket to Ride, almost the exact same thing happened. One guy rated the game really poorly on BGG, harping on how that game was totally broken. He had mistaken the word “Train Cars” for “Train Cards”, played the game for 2 turns, claiming a green route and declaring the game over (in Ticket to Ride, the game ends once you have 2 Train Cars left in reserve or less, not 2 Train Cards). We reworded the rules to prevent any further confusion; we have not had an issue since!


This post is also available in: French

11 Responses to “Cargo Noir Rules Clarification”

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks for the clarification yet. I won’t play my first game until this sunday but it’s still nice to have this clarification before hand.

    And also great job on offering replacement bags. some of the strings are starting to come loose on my but I think I’ll be able to sow it up myself.

    Just wanted to say thanks and you’re doing a great job. Really enjoy your customer service

  2. Mark Jackson says:

    Thanks – not a problem for us but appreciate you guys making sure things are clarified.

    Once again, great customer service on the bags.

    I’d love to have a clarification on the final turn… the rules imply (but don’t state) that you can send your boats back out with any remaining cash to prevent other players from getting cargo from ports. In practice, that seems to favor the earlier players – who are already favored by having the first shot at the vp cards. Is this the way the game was intended to play?

  3. Eric Hautemont says:


    Correct you could use your coins to try and thwart opponents whose final turn come after yours; but… this will usually be at the expense of using your coins to help yourself purchase a bigger Victory card on that last turn. And since your opponents know that, they can/should manage the timing of their own cash accordingly, on the prior turn.

    As for a 1st player advantage, in all our playtests, it’s turned out to be a theoretical one more than an effective one. Because other players can/will compensate for it in how they play. The only undeniable first player advantage that exists is that if you decide to bid all 7 coins in one port (Rotterdam, usually) on the first turn you are guaranteed to win that port that one time.

    if you want to discuss this further, we should probably do it in the forums though… 😉

    eric @ DoW

  4. Jon says:

    I assume from your clarification that players trade in either sets of the same type or sets of a different type. Which I thought was obvious

    However by using the term ‘collecting’ in your clarification your suggesting that players should collects goods from the ports that are all different..

    eg if I acquired 8 goods in my turn they would all have to be individual..

    Which of these statements is true?

  5. Eric Hautemont says:

    You pick up (or “collect”) whatever was in the port(s) you won your auction(s) in. When you trade cargos for victory coins however, you only get points for trading cargos that are ALL the same (eg trading in 6 weapons will allow you to purchase a card that costs 36) or trading cargos that are ALL DIFFERENT (ie you can trade 1 Ivory + 1 Uranium + 1 Weapon + 1 Wild to acquire a card that costs 10 points).

    What you cannot do however is trade in 2 ivory, 2 weapons, 1 uranium, 1 art and 1 automobile and say that’s 7 different cargos. At best it would be 5 different cargos (and yield you 15 points).

  6. Mark Boyd says:

    We have played the game 3 times now (twice as a 2 player game and one time as a 5 player game) and played the right way. It seemed pretty clear in the rule book. It says, “The top line shows the contraband value gained by trading Cargo tokens that are EACH of a DIFFERENT type.” I don’t understand how that is confusing…oh well.

    This is a great game! It is fun and involves a lot of strategy. Thanks for keeping your creativity at maximum.
    As to the bags, mine is fraying quite badly on the inside and will most likely break in the future. Even when I noticed that…I had supreme confidence that your stellar company would come through for their loyal customers as you always do. Thanks for another great game!

  7. Jonathan Franklin says:


    In the example in the immediately preceding post, we played that with 2 ivory, 2 weapons, 1 uranium, 1 art and 1 automobile, you could play set of five different for 15 plus a single ivory for 1 plus a single weapons for 1, so with that batch of 7 goods, you can get a total of 17 points. Right?

    • franck says:

      Actually, the 2 extra Cargo tokens would combine in a “2 different cargos set” worth 3 points, so this would be 15+3 = 18pts

  8. Jon says:

    Thanks for the response, I have got this game on order and looking forward to playing it. This is how I thought it was played. It great that DoW are offering to replace the any faulty cargo bags.

  9. You’re very welcome. Enjoy the game.

  10. Donal says:

    I remember my first play of Colosseum not been very successful with the bidding mechanism; I looked at the DoW forum and found one that explained it perfectly.Since then I had zero issues playing the game.

    I hope this rule clarification helps with the ratings as they are a lot lower than I expected.

    Once again well done for showing respect for your customers. Looking forward to playing this game.

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