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Each player takes 20 pesos starting capital. The 80 land cards are shuffled. Each player draws a hand of 8 land cards. The remaining cards are placed in a face-down pile beside the board. The top 4 cards are turned face-up and placed beside the board.
The 72 animal cards are shuffled. Depending upon the number of players in the game, some of the cards are placed back in the box without further inspection. See the table below to see how many cards are removed.
Each player draws a starting hand of 4 animal cards. 4 further cards are turned face-up and placed beside the board. The remaining animal cards are divided into two equal stacks. One stack is placed next to the face-down land cards, and the second is temporarily set aside (see Scoring).
Size 1 water tiles are put on the starting water fields on the game board. All the other water tiles form the available supply. The neutral Haciendas and the harvest tokens also form a supply.
No of players 2 3 4 5
Animal cards removed 30 20 10 0
Haziendas available 5 7 8 9
Harvest tokens all
Each player starts with 8 land cards, 4 animal cards, 20 pesos.