Portugal is the westernmost European country and may be the oldest European nation-state. The land within the borders of today's Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times by a variety of people. Gallaeci and the Lusitanians occupied the area in 29 B.C., then integrated into the Roman Empire until the 5th century; then several Germanic peoples took over until the 8th century when Muslim Moors conquered the Iberian Peninsula.
The Portugal map, released in September, 2007, is a simple map with no special features. With 36 regions broken up into 6 different bonus zones, the map makes excellent play, especially for 3 to 5 players and two-team doubles games.
Size: Small (36 regions)
Bonuses: Balanced Bonuses Complexity: Easy Features Naming challenges (Several of the regions repeat the first part of the region name, which means players need to be careful about where their pulldowns are indicating)
show: STARTING REGIONS
2 or 3 players = 12 regions each
4 players = 9 regions each 5 players = 7 regions each 6 players = 6 regions each 7 players = 5 regions each 8 players = 4 regions each
show: BONUS ZONES
Six Bonus Zones:
Douro: 4 Beiras: 7 Litoral: 5 Anlentejo: 6 Algarve: 3 Ilhas: 4 How to play Portugal
show: Two Player
This map is not best suited for a two-player game as each player starts with 12 regions (i.e. leaving 12 neutral regions). By starting with 12 regions, the player who receives the first turn will receive 4 troops to deploy at the start of the turn, which is a big advantage. It is easy to conquer 1 of the opponent's regions to bring their next-turn deployment from 4 to 3. Your goal is to keep your opponent below 12 regions in the early rounds to reduce the deployment troops to 3 per turn.
Getting control of any bonus zone at the beginning , especially Algarve (+3 bonus), will give you a considerable lead over your opponent. I don't recommend taking neutrals to gain control of a bonus, unless you are leading the game and the bonus is protected by other neutral regions.
A large escalating game (6, 7, or 8 players) is not recommended on this map, as each player starts with very few regions (see the chart above). The only bonus zone to attempt to acquire in multiplayer games should be Algarve, since it has only 3 regions. However, only attempt this if you start with 2 out of those 3 regions. The Douro bonus zone can be another option, but only if you start with at least 2 of those regions as well.
If you decide to create game with more than 6 players, use the fog of war setting to make it more interesting and to minimize early player eliminations. There are no dead ends or bottlenecks, but there are several regions with more reach than others. Vila Real, Viseau, Tomar, Coimbra, and Alentejo Sul all border 6 regions. Building troop stacks on these regions will give you a better chance of successful eliminations.
show: Flat Rate, Nuclear and No Spoils
The only 2 bonus zones that a player should attempt to get are Algarve and Douro, but only of you start with at least 2 regions on any of those zones, otherwise, if you try to get it without having more than 50% of the bonus regions, you might weak yourself trying to control the bonus and end up having small amount of troops to hold the bonus.
Flat Rate: Since Portugal is a Small map, playing with Flat Rate is a bit trickier because you can be lucky to get a mixed set on your first trade of spoils and have a big advantage over your opponents. No Spoils - Nuclear: No spoils and Nuclear are pretty much the same, with the exception that on Nuclear you have the ability to nuke somebody when you trade your set. This spoil setting is the best to use on 1vs1, Assassin, Terminator and Small amount of players. Also, it's a good option to use on Team Games.
show: Team Games
Central Regions like Tomar and Coimbra become extremely important choke points in team games. Also, Madeira and Acores Occidental are important regions to hold because they are interconnecting regions between different areas in the map.
On large team games, especially quad games, the usual strategy is to target someone for elimination. Small zone bonuses (Algarve and Douro) are only relevant for doubles. The good thing about this map on any type of team games is that all players always start with a maximum of 9 regions (Dubs) and with this, getting the first turn is not very important as no players will not be able to get 12 regions in early rounds to get an extra troop deployment. I don't recommend using this map for Trips, Quads and 4 team Dubs, since players will start with few number of regions, making the first turn something important as last player to take turn in first round can be the target for an early elimination. But if you decide to play 4 teams Doubles, Triples and Quads, it is best to have one player try to grow his strength on first and early rounds and be the assaulter while the other players of the team support him.
show: MANUAL DEPLOYMENT
Manual Deployment is not recommended for this map. When playing 2 or 3 players games, the first player to go will get a nice and unbalanced advantage over his opponent(s) with 24 troops on the manual deploy plus 4 more troops for the first turn deployment. With the typical assaulter's advantage and a strategic placement of troops, the player who gets the first turn can wipe out a lot of the other player singles, or annihilate the opponent's stack pretty easy.
If Manual deploy is selected on any type of game, it's likely that the game will only last a few rounds.