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The Last Labour of Hercules: The English at Tangier versus the Sultanate of Morocco 1662-1684
The Last Labour of Hercules: The English at Tangier versus the Sultanate of Morocco 1662-1684
by Red Sash Games, Blue Panther (2022)
Player Count
1 to 2

Player Ages

Playing Time
3 hours to 6 hours
  • Wargame
  • Arabian
  • Print & Play
  • Pike and Shot
  • Designers
  • Ian Weir
  • Mechanisms
  • Campaign / Battle Card Driven
  • Point to Point Movement
  • Artists
  • Ian Weir
  • Family
  • Country: Morocco
  • Rating: 8.25/10 from 2 users


    The Last Labour of Hercules is a game about the English occupation of Tangier during the second half of the 17th Century. The port was bequeathed to King Charles II as part of a dowry when he married the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. It would be another generation before the English captured Gibraltar from Spain, but Tangier seemed an ideal base for many of the same reasons. It would be a handy staging post for ships bound for West Africa and the Caribbean, it would place a watch upon the Catholic Spanish, and it might facilitate trade with the Moors, the port being one terminus of the ancient caravan route for slaves and gold-dust. There were only two problems. First, the Moors hated outsiders. Second, but more importantly, the port lay open to the worst the Atlantic could throw at it. The anchorage was deep, but it was unprotected. For twenty-two years the English tried to maintain themselves at Tangier, and withstood at least two significant sieges by the Moors, but at last the Government decided they had wasted enough money, though the fact that the Moors had at last forged a unified (and powerful) kingdom might have had something to do with the decision to pull out.

    The Last Labour of Hercules is part card game and part wargame. Covering a period of twenty years, it does not represent a single siege of Tangier but many attempts, some large and some small, by the Moors, to dislodge the English. For long periods the protagonists tolerated each other, and the English even formed the odd local alliance. The Moors spent much of the period of occupation engaged in a brutal civil war — or put another way, they were in the process of emerging from Medieval anarchy. Also, they had to ward off attempts by the Ottoman Sultan to reestablish his suzerainty over the land.

    As the English player you must keep the Moors at bay while gauging how many of your precious resources you can spare to build Tangier’s Great Mole – a breakwater that will protect your ships. As the Moorish player you must endevour to make the English inclined to leave, ideally by sacking Tangier. At the same time, you have two additional problems to deal with. First, there is the small matter of a civil war among the Berber tribes. Then, there is the Sultan at Istanbul. He seems to be under the false impression that Morocco belongs to him. If the Moors ever take the town's Citadel they win outright. If the English ever complete the Great Mole they win outright. If neither side can achieve their main objective, someone might or might not win on points, by comparing the English player’s progress on the Mole against the Moorish player’s ability to secure Morocco for his dynasty.

    —description from the publisher

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