From the announcement:
The wind surges and pushes the boat forward, making the sails billow outward. The waves crash against the side of the boat, spraying the sailors eagerly leaning over the edge. The spot in the distance gets larger. Land ho!
The sailors grab the rowboats and quickly head to the shore. Stepping onto the sand, the sailors marvel at the undiscovered landscape. A flag is driven into the ground, claiming it for their country.
The mightiest nations of western Europe are competing for the riches of this new land. At the beginning of the game, shuffle the player boards and deal them out randomly. Flip the board over to see which country you will be racing for: France, the Netherlands, England, Portugal, or Spain.