Cartagena: Escape Diaries is based on the classic game Cartagena and features multiple ways to play.
In the original game, now dubbed the "First Escape", each player has a group of six animal pirates, and you want to be the first to have all six escape through the tortuous underground passage that connects the fortress to the port, where a sloop is waiting for them.
To move a pirate, you need to play a card from your hand. Each card bears one of six symbols, and when you play a card, you move one of your pirates forward to the next matching symbol in the tunnel, leapfrogging over matching symbols where another pirate already stands. The only way to get more cards, however, is to move backwards; more specifically, you move one of your pirates backwards to the first space that holds one or two pirates, drawing one or two cards after doing so. Each turn, you take 1-3 actions, whether moving forward or backward or both.
When you move a pirate to the end of the track, it jumps on the sloop where it must await the other pirates in its crew. With every step toward victory, though, you have fewer and fewer pirates to move each turn, possibly locking you in to actions you don't want, so be sure to plan ahead and not leave yourself empty-handed!
In the "Second Escape", called "Follow the Captain", you get to place a captain hat on one of your pirates and use the powers of this leader. In the "Third Escape", "Risky Rafts", you can take a chance to escape the fortress more quickly on a leaky raft — and risk sinking in the attempt. By combining the Second and Third Escapes, you have the "Fourth Escape" — "All Together Now!"