Skip to Content

GDS March 2006:"A Dark & Stormy Game" Results

4 replies [Last post]
doho123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Game Design Showdown
March 2006 Challenge - "A Dark and Stormy Game"

Status: Results.

There are only 2 games up for voting this month.

Start Date: Wednesday, March 15.
Last Date for Submissions:Thursday, March 23, Noon E.S.T. (approx.)
Voting Dates:March 23 - March 30.

This month's goal is to design a game with the following two Design Limitations in mind:

DARK: The game needs to have a mechanic and/or rule that allows for the game to be played in the dark at least part of the time. Playing the game in the dark should provide a different experience than if you were playing the game in the light. A game that is partly played in the light and partly in the dark is prefered but not required, so a game totally played in the dark is ok, but only if the game would be played differently if you had the lights on.

Some examples:
Deflexion. While it can be played in the dark, turning on the lights does not change in any way the game is played, or any strategies or rules. So, this game, in my opinion, would not fit the DARK requirement well.

Vampire Hunter. A good example of a game played totally in the dark. With a little rework could possibly be played with a light-time commponent.

Die Nacht der Magier . Another good example of a game played totally in the dark. Push glow in the dark pieces around in the dark, however, non-glowy pieces get in the way.

STORMY: The game also needs a thematic mechanic of letting the players somehow control "the weather" which affect all players in some fashion. It should be noted that day/night changes, while fitting the DARK requirement, does not fit the STORMY requirement, as the day/night cycle is an Astronomical kind of thing, whereas the weather is a Meteorological constant, evolving event.

Some examples:
Everest. A design from a BGDF member (Fastlearner), which had players racing to climb Mount Everest. The weather, which could be changed by the players would affect how well the player's teams could climb.

Bermuda Triangle. In my opinion, this game's gimmick would fit under the pre-tense of weather. However since the "sinister boat-sucking cloud" is not controlled by the players, this would not fit the above STORMY requirement of player controlled.

The above examples are merely shown as some guideline explanations. Ultimately, it will be up to the judges to determine how well the two requirements fit into any given entry.

Comments, questions, and clarifications can be dealt with at this location.

Critique of the showdown entries can be done at this thread:


For more Showdown info, see this thread for background rules regarding entries and voting and other such fiddly things:


doho123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
GDS March 2006:"A Dark & Stormy Game" Results

Entry #1:Divers Alarums by Scurra
The sea bed is covered with all sorts of artefacts. Players will send divers out to find the most treasure, but rocks, erratic weather conditions and the Kraken will hamper their search. Hmmm. I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned the Kraken…
The Lighthouse. 18” high with a light unit on top which is angled downwards to illuminate the board area. The light only revolves when the light unit is pressed down. There is a speed setting to vary the time it takes the light to make a complete 360-degree circuit (never adjusted during a game.)
The Weatherbox™. This shows the current weather and wind direction. The display is illuminated so that it can be clearly seen in the dark and the light.
36 hexagonal tiles.
Treasure cards.
A boat and three pawns for each player.
3 damage counters for each player, kept in a central pool.
The game needs to be played in a room in which the major source of illumination can be obscured, turned off or otherwise removed when required.
Place the Lighthouse in the middle of the table. Place the six Rock tiles around the base. Shuffle the remaining thirty tiles and place them face-up to create two larger rings. Care should be taken not to see the reverse side of the tiles as they are being placed. Turn on the Lighthouse in fixed mode. The light should reach just past the outer edge of the sea tiles and illuminate approximately a sixth of the board at once (three of the outer ring tiles.)

Choose a starting player. They should turn on the Weatherbox and press the button when the screen indicates that the game is ready to start. The game always starts with Sunny weather.
In clockwise order, each player now places their boat (containing three pawns) in one of the spaces between two hexes (i.e. not adjacent to a single outer edge.) Subsequent players cannot place boats such that they are adjacent to any hex another boat is already touching.
If the weather is stormy, then on their turn the player must first move their boat one space in the direction that the Wind Arrow is pointing, unless their boat is already off the edge of the board. The player takes a damage counter if the boat would enter a tile containing rocks, another boat or adjacent to the Kraken. If the player now has 3 damage counters, their boat sinks. They lose all treasure cards and damage counters but may re-enter play on their next turn at the edge of the board. A boat cannot enter the tile containing the Kraken.
On their turn, the player must move their boat into an adjacent hex, as long as it isn’t moving into the wind (i.e. into the direction the arrow on the Weatherbox is pointing. If they move off the edge of the board, they may discard all their damage counters. The boat cannot move into the spaces around the Lighthouse. The player can intentionally incur damage as noted above.
After moving their boat:
If in an unexplored space, they may send down a diver to retrieve an artefact. The player removes a diver from the boat and places it on the hex tile. A player may only have a maximum of two divers at sea at any one time (i.e. there must always be one diver in the boat.)
They may retrieve a diver from the sea bed if they have one in the same tile. The player returns the diver to their boat and turns the hex tile over to indicate that it has been explored. This may add additional rock tiles to the board or may awaken the Kraken (immediately take a damage point and move to an adjacent tile.) They then draw the indicated number of treasure cards.
After they have taken their action, the player presses the button on the Weatherbox. This may change both the wind direction and the current weather status.
If the weather turns cloudy, the player should turn out the light/draw the curtain in the playing area. They then press the top of the Lighthouse to start it moving.
If the weather turns sunny, the player should press the top of the lighthouse to stop it moving and turn the light in the room back on again. Play continues with the next player clockwise.
When playing in the dark, a player’s turn begins when their boat is illuminated by the Lighthouse and ends at the moment it isn’t even if they haven’t completed their action and press the button on the Weatherbox. Several players may therefore be active at the same time.
The game ends when all the treasure cards have been drawn.
The winner is the player with the most valuable treasure collection.

doho123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
GDS March 2006:"A Dark & Stormy Game" Results

Entry #2:Turbulent Waters by Seo
(A game for 2 to 4 players)

Cargo ships sail across a stormy sea in the middle of a dark night, trying to avoid the dangerous rocks to take their freight safe to the destination port. Visibility is nearly null, and the troubled waters are threatening to make the vessels run aground or sink.


6 Sea tiles (91 hexes in each tile, mostly water, some rocks randomly distributed)
2 Harbor tiles (each harbor has two lighthouses with pale lights that lit the surrounding hexes)
32 Weather markers (30 labeled 1 to 6, 5 of each; 2 blanks)
20 Freight markers (5 in each player color)
6 Cargo ships (with a dim light in the bow that lits only one or two hexes ahead)
1 swell die (d6 with faces reading: NW, NE, E, SE, SW, W)
100 $ 1 coins

Each player receives $ 5 and 5 freight markers in one color.
Lights are turned off (the game is played in complete darkness), and the board is blindly built using the Sea tiles. One port is placed on each end of the board (hence considered North and South), and the lighthouses are turned on. The Cargo ships are placed on the moorings.
Eight Weather markers are randomly selected and placed on the hexes surrounding the lighthouses. The remaining 24 are evenly distributed among the players.

Player can perform two actions per turn. Possible actions are:
- Hire a parked ship on either harbor and acquire goods.
- Move a hired ship.
- Change weather.

Ship hiring:
Hiring a ship for one trip costs $ 1.
Goods (freight markers) cost $ 1 each. One ship can carry up to 2 markers at a time.
Acquired markers are placed on top of the ship through the entire trip.
Players can hire just one ship per turn.

Ship movement:
Ships move in any direction, up to 10 hexes when carrying 1 freight marker, or 8 hexes when carrying 2.
Players drag the ships, using the bow light to explore the board as the ship advances.

Once the movement is completed, the swell die is rolled as many times as the current weather markers for the tile where the ship is placed establish (see below). Die rolls will determine which direction the ship will be moved by the swell. If the swell throws the ship onto a rock hex, it sinks, and the freight is lost. The ship is returned to the harbor when the player ends his turn.

Example of swell-induced drift:

Yellow arrows: die rolls NE, SE (ship sinks).
Red arrows: die rolls: SE, E, W (ship survives).

The two actions of a turn can be spent moving the same ship twice (drifting must be applied after each movement).
When the ship reaches its destination, the Freight markers are removed, and the player receives $ 3 per marker.

Weather markers placed on the board determine how strong the storm is in each Sea tile, thus the swell strength: one die will be rolled per each marker with the tile number.
Players can control the storm replacing one or more of the markers on the board with one in their possession. The player keeps the replaced markers for future use.
The weather change must be the last action of the player’s turn.

Game end and winning condition:
The game finishes when one of the players gathers $ 30.

doho123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
GDS March 2006:"A Dark & Stormy Game" Results

And the winner is in this month's competition....

Oh yes, the competition was fierce. Many came, but ony few survived...

1st place (21 points) -- Entry #2:Turbulent Waters by Seo (points assigned:5/2/3/6/5)
2nd place (19 points)-- Entry #1: Divers Alarums by Scurra (points assigned:4/4/5/4/2)

And so it ends.

Joined: 12/31/1969
GDS March 2006:"A Dark & Stormy Game" Results

Nice one, Seo!

You too, Scurra... I'm proud to say that I correctly picked the two of you for 1st and 2nd place... I'm not sure if I got the order right, though... ahh, whatever. Nice games, boys!

Next month count on a little more competition!


Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut