Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King – Guide to Strategy, Rules & Play Tips


Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King is a tile-based strategy game that has captured the hearts of many board game enthusiasts. It’s a game where players take on the roles of chieftains of famous clans and aim to build their kingdoms to earn the most victory points. The game was designed by Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister and published by Lookout Games in 2015. It has won several awards, including the prestigious 2016 Kennerspiel des Jahres for best connoisseur game of the year.

The game is set on the Isle of Skye, one of the most beautiful places in Scotland (I can personally attest to the cold in winter, too!). Players buy tiles with different types of terrain and objects to expand their own territories. Each game is different because the scoring tiles change every game, which means you need to adapt your strategy every time you play. The game ends after six rounds, and the player with the most victory points is declared the King or Queen of the Isle of Skye.

Quick Tip for Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Always keep an eye on the scoring tiles and plan your moves ahead. It’s not just about expanding your territory; it’s about expanding it smartly!

Rules for playing Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Understanding the rules is key to enjoying and winning at Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King. The game is played over six rounds, and each round consists of four phases: Income, Buying Tiles, Building, and Scoring. Players earn income based on their holdings and then use that money to buy tiles from other players. The tiles have different types of terrain and objects, such as mountains, pastures, water, and special buildings. Players then add these tiles to their territories, trying to match the terrain types to form larger areas and complete objectives for scoring.

One unique aspect of the game is the pricing mechanism. Players set prices for the tiles they offer, but they also have to buy tiles from others at the prices set by their opponents. This creates a dynamic market and requires players to think carefully about the value of each tile. After buying tiles, players add them to their territories, trying to match terrain types and complete objectives. Scoring happens after the building phase, and it’s based on the scoring tiles drawn at the start of the game. These tiles dictate what configurations or collections will earn players points in each round.

Equipment and Setup for Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

To play Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, you’ll need the game box, which includes a variety of components. There are tiles with different terrains, such as fields, mountains, and lakes, as well as special buildings like breweries and lighthouses. Each player gets a player board representing their home castle, and there’s also money in the form of coins, scoring tiles, and player screens to hide your money and tiles from others.

Setting up the game involves laying out the scoring tiles, which will be different each game, giving each player a player board, a screen, and some starting money. Players also get a starting tile that connects to their castle. The rest of the tiles are placed in a draw bag from which players will draw during the buying phase.

How to Play Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King and Game Mechanics

  1. Income Phase: Players receive money based on their territory and any income-generating tiles they have.
  2. Buying Tiles Phase: Each player draws three tiles from the bag, sets prices for two, and discards one. Then, players buy one tile from another player.
  3. Building Phase: Players add their new tiles to their territories, trying to match terrain types and fulfill scoring objectives.
  4. Scoring Phase: Points are awarded based on the scoring tiles for that round. This could involve having the largest connected area of a certain terrain type, for example.

How to Win at Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

To win at Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, you need to score the most victory points. Points can be earned in various ways, such as completing objectives on the scoring tiles, having the largest territories of certain types, or collecting sets of objects like sheep or whiskey barrels. It’s important to balance short-term gains with long-term strategy, as the scoring tiles will guide what’s valuable each game.

Best Strategies for playing Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King game

One of the best strategies for success in this game is to be adaptive because the scoring objectives change each game, so players must adjust their tactics accordingly. I recommend that you focus on acquiring tiles that align with the current game’s scoring tiles and keep an eye on your opponents’ kingdoms to anticipate their moves.

Early on, try to build a strong economic base so you can afford valuable tiles in the later rounds. Also, watch what other players are doing and try to block their strategies if you can do so without hurting your own progress.

To do that, managing your money effectively is crucial—know when to save for future rounds and when to spend to outbid your rivals or keep tiles you need. It’s also beneficial to diversify your kingdom, as different terrain types and structures can offer various scoring opportunities.

Blocking your opponents by purchasing tiles they need can be as effective as building your own kingdom. Lastly, remember to leverage the unique powers of your chieftain, as these can give you a competitive edge if used wisely. Balancing short-term gains with long-term strategy, being flexible with your game plan, and keenly observing the evolving market and your opponents’ actions are keys to claiming the title of King in the Isle of Skye.


Common scenarios include being short on money or having a territory that’s difficult to expand. In these cases, focus on small, achievable goals that give you points or money, and try to plan for better opportunities in future rounds.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King game

Q: Can I move tiles once I’ve placed them?
A: No, once a tile is placed, it cannot be moved.

Q: What happens if I can’t afford to buy a tile?
A: You must always buy one tile if you can afford it. If you can’t, you just don’t buy a tile that round.

Q: Can I pass on buying a tile even if I have the money?
A: No, you must buy a tile if you can.

Additional Tips for Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Remember to keep an eye on your opponents’ territories and adjust your strategy accordingly. Sometimes it’s worth buying a tile just to prevent someone else from getting it. Also, don’t forget about the end-of-game bonuses for having the most money and for completing your castle area.

For more information on Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, check out the official rulebook and other resources: