OBJECTIVE OF LOWLANDS: The objective of Lowlands is to be the player with the most Victory Points when the game ends. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 Players 

MATERIALS: 1 Gameboard, 2 Sheep Market Boards, 3 Resource Markers, 6 Storm Buildings, 12 Sheep Buildings, 46 Expansion Tiles, 1 Appendix, 1 Scorepad, 1 Sticker Sheet, 4 Farmer Tokens, 53 Coins, 30 Dike Breach Tokens, 1 Value Marker, 5 Progress Tokens, 13 Dike Segments, 36 Flood Pieces, 1 Starter Player Marker, 66 Resource Cards, 12 Flood Cards, 1 Phase Marker, 64 Fences, 6 Sheep Tokens, 4 Player Sets including the following: a farmyard, an income board, 2 workers, a reference sheet, a dike point marker, three farmers, and 4 building markers, and Instructions 

TYPE OF GAME: Set Collection Board Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 12 and Up 


In Lowlands, players battle each other and the treacherous terrain that they have decided to settle in. Players must compete against one another in order to become the best sheep farmer in the land, but they must also work cooperatively. Without cooperative work, the dikes that hold back the destructive tide may not be large enough, and everything you have all worked for will be swept away. Are you willing to step away from the money and help, or will it be a risk you are willing to take? 


Game Setup 

To begin setup, put the gameboard in the middle of the playing area. Shuffle the flood cards and place them in their assigned space, face down. Every player will then choose a color to represent them throughout the game. The dike point markers are stacked, using the colors that were shown, in random order on the first dike space.  

On the other dike spaces, a progress token should be placed. The value marker is placed on the middle space on the value track, and the phase marker is placed on the first phase of the phase track. The resource cards are then shuffled and placed on their assigned space on the board. The top four are drawn and placed in various placed on the resource display, facing up.  

The sheep board is placed beside the gameboard. Ensure that the number of dots in the corner match the number of players. Three resource markers are placed on the assigned spaces of the sheep board, and one sheep is placed on each sheep icon. All of the other game pieces, such as coins, flood pieces, and the various other pieces should be placed next to the board, acting as the supply.  

The expansion tiles are then divided depending on their backs. Each deck is shuffled by itself and placed beside the board. Three cards are drawn from the action building stack, the sheep building stack, and the feature stack and placed in columns below their decks, facing up. A number of storm surge cards that equals the number of players is drawn and placed beside the other columns. The rest of the storm surge cards can be removed from the game, as they will not be used.  

Player Setup 

Every player will collect four resource cards, four coins, two laborers, sixteen fences, two sheep, four building markers that match their color, three farmers that match their color, a reference sheet, a farm board, and an income board. The farm board is placed in front of them, with the income board and reference sheet oriented beside it.  

Each player should begin with six fences that form a pasture for two sheep in the center of their board. They will place all of their pieces in their assigned spaces on the board. A laborer will be placed on the bottom action tile.  

The player whose chosen color is on top of the dike point marker pile will begin the game, gathering the starter player marker. The other players will earn one coin from the supply. The game is then ready to begin. 


The game consists of three stages that consist of six phases. The phases are Turn of the Tide, Work, Upkeep, Work, Upkeep, and Hightide. The phase marker will show the players which phase they are currently in. At the end of the three stages, the players will resolve the storm surge phase, which indicates the end of the game.  

During the Turn of the Tide phase the players will ensure that they only have eight resource cards in their hand by discarding any additional. Place three new flood cards from the flood deck on the three sea spaces on the board, face down. Revealing the left card, the players will take that number of flood pieces and place it on the empty flood spaces, left to right. The flood will rise three levels over the course of the game. 

During the work phase, players will place farmers on spaces in order to complete actions. Players spend action points in order to resolve the actions that they have chosen. Beginning with the starting player and rotating clockwise around the group, each player will take turns placing one of their farmers on an action space of their board, continuing until all farmers have been placed. Numerous farmers can be on the same action space.  

During the Upkeep phase, players will breed sheep, adding one for every two that they own, earn income based on the income visible on their board, and retrieve all of their farmers. They will also reset the sheep market by returning all of them to the supply. The player who has moved the furthest on the dike track will earn the starting player piece, and a new flood card is revealed.  

In the High Tide phase, dike pieces are compared to the flood pieces to determine if it holds or breaks. If the dike level is higher, it holds, but if it is lower, then it breaks. If it holds, each player will earn a coin for each point he has that is more than the lowest player. If it breaks, each player collects on breach token for every point that they have that is lower than the player with the most. The value marker is moved to the left one space.  

Storm Surge Phase 

Players will score their buildings and features during this phase. They will check the dike, and if it holds, all breach tokens are discarded, but if it fails, then each player must discard a sheep for each breach token that they have.  

Players tally their points from dike points, sheep, buildings, features, coins, and resource cards. These are all noted on the score pad.  


The game comes to an end when the storm surge phase ends. Players will add up their points, and the player with the most Victory Points wins the game! 

Ellie Phillips
Latest posts by Ellie Phillips (see all)