California Missions

Our second EDGE Boardgame is about the California Missions—a fascinating chapter in California history which resulted in the founding of many of California’s major cities, including San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the mid-1700s, Spain’s King Charles wanted to secure the country’s claim to California, so he ordered his Mexican governor to organize a group to go to Alta California, as it was known, with Father Junípero Serra, a Franciscan Missionary, as the expedition’s religious leader.

Saving the Indians

Father Serra’s directive was to establish Spanish control of the land by teaching Catholicism to the Indians. The Indians would become Spanish citizens and colonists in the new land. The Franciscan Fathers were the driving force behind the California Mission movement, which extend along the California coast from San Diego de Alcala in the south to San Francisco Solano in the north. The Missions became self-sustaining communities. They grew their own food, often grew grapes on carefully tended vineyards, raised livestock and constructed a series of adobe buildings that always included a chapel with a corresponding bell tower of some fashion.

What you’ll learn playing EDGE: California Missions:

Historical mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, California San Diego de Alcalá (San Diego). The first California Mission, founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1769. This Mission was destroyed in an Indian attack in November, 1775. At the time the Mission was restored in 1931, only the facade was still standing.
Old catholic mission in San Luis Obispo, California San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (San Luis Obispo). In 1776 a pagan Indian fired an arrow with a burning wick into one of the dry thatched roofs of San Luis Obispo Mission, starting a fire that nearly destroyed several buildings. This disaster led to the settlers’ learning to make their own tiles, and by 1790 most of the Missions had tile roofs that were not as vulnerable to attack.
EDGE Boardgames_Mission Santa Cruz Santa Cruz. The pueblo was founded with former prison convicts from Guadalajara. The Mission was looted in 1818 by the residents of the nearby pueblo of Branciforte after the Mission’s inhabitants fled under threat of pirate attack.
Old Mission Santa Barbara, California Santa Bárbara. Mission Santa Barbara is noted for its Neoclassic façade and beautiful Moorish fountain in front of the monastery wing. Santa Barbara had a sizeable livestock herd that exceeded 10,000 head. In the peak year of 1821 the Mission had 13,732 animals, including 3,500 cattle and 9,000 sheep.
Altar and Basilica in National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi San Francisco California. Church has relics of St Francis. This church was founded in 1849 and rededicated in 1919 after church was destroyed in 1905 earthquake. San Francisco de Asis. Today the old Mission chapel is part of the Basilica Parish of beautiful Mission Dolores, in San Francisco’s Mission District. The art in San Francisco is among the most sophisticated in the Mission chain–the gilded baroque altar and reredos in the sanctuary are stunning. The Mission church is the oldest intact building in San Francisco.
Mission in Carmel in California San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel). The sandstone for the Carmel church was quarried by Indian laborers, and the walls are 5’ thick at the base. The Carmel Mission Orchard House of circa 1774 is the oldest residential dwelling in California. Fr. Junipero Serra, the founding Missionary of not just the Carmel Mission, but the entire Mission movement, is buried here.
Beautiful Mission at San Juan Capistrano San Juan Bautista. San Juan Bautista offers the best opportunity to see and appreciate the California of 160 years ago. There are some 30 historic buildings in the 12-block area surrounding the Spanish Plaza (the only original one remaining in the state) including the Mission’s original nunnery, renamed Plaza Hall and the former soldier’s barracks retrofitted in 1858 as the Plaza Hotel.