Designed by Rudi Hoffman
Published by Pelikan (1975) and ASS (Altenburg-Stralsunder AG), 19??
Translated by Lutz Pietschker

For 2 to 4 players 8 years and older.

The rules given here refer to the ASS version (which include the Pelikan rules as "Ogallala II", see below). Texts in Italics and signed "Ed." are my own additions and (hopefully) clarifications. Otherwise, I left the rules as they were written by the publishers though some of them are really confusing.

This is a fast game of card-laying (and card-stealing!), with beautiful cards that make the game table look really lively once a few boats occupy the scene. Lady Luck plays an important role in it, to be sure. Ed.


Contents of the Box

What's It All About?

Each player gets a player mat that represents the river ("river display").

The game is about taking up cards and assembling them to boats (also called canoes). A complete boat must have a bow and a stern. It can be extended by placing additional canoe cards.

How long you build your boats is entirely up to you (within the limits of the river, Ed.).

The player who has completed 3 boats may end the game. At this moment, the points for the boats are scored.

Any completed boat scores one point per card used. Longer boats may score 2 points per card. Additional points are scored for Booty Cards, and you will need those to stand a chance to win.

Ogallala uses 2 types of cards:


Each player gets one river display.

All players participate in sorting out the cards needed; for novice players this is a good way to get accustomed to the cards.

The 134 cards you need are thoroughly shuffled and laid out in 3 face-down stacks. (I am not sure about the significance of the 3 stacks, see overview of cards. Ed.)

Chose a start player. Game will proceed clockwise from there.


The player who scored most points at the end of the game wins.

A player may end the game once he has completed 3 boats. He may, however, chose to continue playing until he has build one or more additional boats.

A boat is completed when it has a bow and a stern, with no empty river spaces between them. In the final tally each complete boat scores 1 point for every card used. If a boat has 9 or more cards it scores 2 points per card. Incomplete boats do not score.

Additional points are scored for Booty Cards. Simple cards score double, the most valuable cards even score quadruple points.

Playing the Game

The active player draws cards and places them onto his river display.

The further actions depend on the type of cards he played:

After those actions have been completed the next player becomes active.

Drawing Cards

The three card decks are face down on the table. Each player becomes active in turn.

When a player becomes active he takes up one card (from a deck of his choice, Ed.) and places it face up on an empty space of his river display.

Placing Cards

Each player puts the cards he has drawn on his own river display, in any configuration of his choice.

Boats can only be built as horizontal rows.

General Rules: The cards may be placed on the river display as the player pleases. They are not required to connect to previously placed cards.

A card once placed may not be moved later for any reason. There is one exception to this: when a Booty Card that belongs to a Booty Card Suite is drawn, cards may be moved to allow assembly of the suite.

A boat is only complete when it has a bow (left side), a stern (right side), and there is no empty river space between them. The length of the boats can be chosen freely by the player (and there may be more than one boat in one row of the river display, Ed.).

Hints for Beginners

Probably you just sit in front of the river display, feeling a bit helpless. 14 or even 16 spaces, and in 3 rows on top of that. What should you do?

You could go and build one boat in each of the rows, but that is probably not wise. You should always take losses and other quirks of fate into account. So, best prepare yourself for them:

When a Boat is Completed

The moment you have completed a boat, i.e. with bow, stern and as many canoe sections in between as you like, but no empty river spaces, you may go a-pirating.

You may take (conquer) one complete boat from another player, or one section (set of adjacent cards) of an incomplete boat.

You may do this only if the combat strength of your completed boat is higher than that of the attacked boat resp. section.

Once you have decided which boat to attack you do this:

Important note: A completed boat only has one attack, and only immediately after its completion.

However, if you can complete another boat using the bits and pieces of a conquered boat you get another attack with that new boat.

Special Red Indian Cards

When you draw and place one of the following cards you may have special actions or privileges:

The Booty Cards

Booty Cards give additional points in the tally, that's why everyone is after them.

Booty Cards have differentiated values.

All other cards, i.e. non-booty cards like Red Indians and empty canoe sections simply score 1 point each (2 points if the boat is long enough, Ed.). Opposed to that, Booty Cards may score an additional 2 points each.

The following Booty Cards may score double value:

But there are also Booty Card combinations that score triple or quadruple points.

The following cards score 3 points if they are placed together (adjacent to each other), i.e. the couple scores 6 points (2 times 3 points):

If you are able to add the person that goes with these cards they even score 4 points, i.e. 12 points (3 times 4 points) for the complete suite. (The persons are Soldier, Bear Hunter, Buffalo Hunter, Lumberjack, Gold Digger, Cowboy, Ed.)

Important note: The higher value is only scored if the cards of a suite are placed in the same boat and in correct order. (I assume the person may sit fore or aft of the booty, Ed.)

Because it is hard to place suites so that they count fully, there is a special rule:

Special Rule: In general, cards may not be moved once placed.

Here is an exception to this:

End of the Game

A player may end the game once he has completed 3 boats. If he chooses to do so and announces it the game ends immediately.

The player is allowed to continue playing, but he may only end the game immediately after completion of a boat. If he passes the chance on his third boat he must complete a fourth boat to end the game, or a fifth after that, etc.

The game also ends when all 3 card decks are empty.


In the final tally only completed boats count. To make tallying easier remove incomplete boats before counting. Tally is by boat, each completed boat scores:

(of the additional scores, only the highest applicable is taken into account. Ed.)

Example of Tallying

If those 3 boats were boats of the same player, his final score would be 55 points.

More Examples of Tallying

Examples for points in addition to those for the boat cards:

Variant: Playing With 2 Tribes

This variant divides the Red Indians into two different tribes which makes the game a lot more tricky.

During game preparation you must now make sure that of each Red Indian Card, the same number is provided of each colour. For example, you must have 6 cards with 2 Red Indians, 3 of them with a red number and 3 with a blue number.

In any one boat only Red Indians of one colour may be placed (but different boats of the same player may have different colours, Ed.).

A completed boat of one colour may only attack a (complete or incomplete) boat of the other colour. That is, a "red" boat may only conquer a "blue" boat and vice versa.

Boats and boat sections without a colour (i.e. without Red Indians) may be attacked by any boat.

Apart from that, the rules remain unchanged.

Overview of Cards

The rules do not give any hint what is meant by the "three sets of cards" mentioned in the summary. We may take it that those sets correspond to the 3 draw stacks, but this also is an assumption. A logical conclusion that allows a tactical play of the game seems to be the division into "Bow and Stern Cards" (with or without Red Indians, and including empty boat sections if used), other "Red Indian Cards", and "Booty Cards". If we assume this, the three stacks must of course be sorted out and then shuffled separately, not together as the "Preparation" section of the rules seems to imply. Ed.
Total Cards Type of Card C = Combat Value
B = Booty
Ogallala I
(red + blue)
Ogallala II
(red + blue)
10 Bow, empty - 8 6
10 Stern, empty - 8 6
4 Canoe section, empty - - 4
12 Bow + 1 Red Indian 1 C 8 (4+4) 6 (3+3)
12 Stern + 1 Red Indian 1 C 8 (4+4) 6 (3+3)
10 1 Red Indian 1 C 10 (5+5) 6 (3+3)
10 2 Red Indians 2 C 10 (5+5) 6 (3+3)
10 3 Red Indians 3 C 10 (5+5) 6 (3+3)
8 Chieftain 5 C 8 (4+4) 6 (3+3)
4 Shaman 10 C 4 (2+2) 2 (1+1)
8 Red Indian with Lasso 1 C 6 (3+3) 6 (3+3)
8 Red Indian with Bow and Arrow 1 C 6 (3+3) 6 (3+3)
4 Crazy Axe 0 C 4 (2+2) -
2 Totem Pole - 2 2
12 Furs B 12 6
2 Fire Water B 2 1
2 Gunpowder B 2 1
2 Tobacco B 2 1
2 Tent B 2 1
2 Eagle B 2 1
2 Rifles B 2 1
3 x 1 Gun (2) + Soldier B 3 3
3 x 1 Bear (2) + bear hunter B 3 3
3 x 1 Buffalo (2) + buffalo hunter B 3 3
3 x 1 Wood (2) + lumberjack B 3 3
3 x 1 Gold (2) + gold digger B 3 3
3 x 1 Horse (2) + cowboy B 3 3
3 x 4 Info Cards for Ogallala I 16 -
166 Cards Needed: 134 98

Information Card Texts

Unfortunately, the texts on those cards contradict the rules in some points. I would recommend to use the rules as a reference and forget about the information cards. Ed.

Ogallala II

This variant is very much the same as the first rule version published by Pelikan, 1975.

We will keep those rules relatively short because we think that you will play "Ogallala I" first anyway. The flow of the game is not so very different from our version, but there are some differences nevertheless.

You need only 98 cards for this version as detailed in the overview of cards section, and the tally is done very much differently.

Preparation of the Game

  1. Each player gets a river display. All players must use the same display (14 or 16 spaces)
  2. The 98 cards (see the overview of cards section) are shuffled and placed in one stack face down.
    The player to the left of the dealer is the start player.
  3. The Game:
    The active player takes one card from the stack and places it on his river display. He repeats this until he draws a card that is already on his display. He places this card, too, but then it's the next player's turn.
  4. How the cards are placed on the river display:
  5. Cards once placed on the river display may not be moved afterwards.
  6. When a newly-drawn card can not be placed it is discarded face down, and the next player takes his turn. This discard stack will be shuffled and used once the original stack is empty.
  7. The "Red Indian with Bow and Arrow" card lets you take one Red Indian Card out of another player's boat. The card taken is placed face down on the discard stack. The player may do this even if he cannot place the Red Indian with Bow and Arrow on his own dispaly, but in this case of course his turn ends after taking and discarding the cards, according to 3.
  8. The "Red Indian with Lasso" card lets you take a card of your choice from another player's boat and place it on your own display. See 7. for the way rule 3. is applied.
  9. Once a boat is completed, it can attack one incomplete boat of another player. The attacked boat must have a combat strength less than that of the boat just completed.

    Special Rule: If a Shaman (combat value10) is present in the attacking boat the player may attack two different boats which may also belong to different players. The attacker may divide his combat strength between the attacks as he desires.

  10. A boat with the Totem Pole is immune to all attacks, even if incomplete. There is one exception to this: The lasso thrower may take the Totem Pole itself from an incomplete boat.
  11. The following 6 cards (left of the colon), whether drawn form the stack and placed, or placed after an attack or lasso throw, allow a special action to the player: he may now immediately take the corresponding cards (right of the colon) from other players' boats and place them in his own boats.
    Bear Hunter : 2 Bear Cards
    Buffalo Hunter : 2 Buffalo Cards
    Cowboy : 2 Horse Cards
    Gold Digger : 2 Gold Cards
    Lumberjack : 2 Wood Cards
    Soldier : 2 Cannon Cards
    You are not allowed to move cards. Booty Cards that cannot be placed on the own display may not be taken.
  12. There are two ways to end the game:

    Points are scored and noted for all complete and incomplete boats. For details, see below. Whoever scores highest wins the game.
    Scoring Points:
    Each card on the river display: 10 pts.
    Each Booty Card: 20 pts.
    Each 2-card-suite of booty: 50 pts.
    The Totem Pole: 50 pts.
    Each 3-card-suite of booty: 150 pts.
    Additional Bonuses:
    First player to complete 3 boats: 300 pts.
    Every complete boat with 5 to 7 cards: 50 pts.
    Every complete boat with 8 to 10 cards: 100 pts.
    Every complete boat with 11 to 13 cards: 150 pts.
    Every complete boat with more than 13 cards: 200 pts.

Hints for Using the Reserve Cards

With these surplus cards you can change the game.


In the rulebook these examples are graphics. I give the examples as text, with "-" indicating an empty river space and "RI" a Red Indian Card. Ed.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell