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Jonah & The Whale

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Joined: 09/16/2013

Hey guys.

So - I have never made a board game before, but I am currently working on 2 or 3 designs.

I wanted to post my first design, so that I could get some feedback on it and see whether it sounds like something you guys would want to play. It is based on the Bible story of Jonah and the whale (which is actually a fish, but I think whale rolls off the tongue better).
I have playtested a VERY basic prototype once so far with my wife, who liked it - but I think she was bound to say that!

The game is as follows:
Jonah & The Whale

One long game board, featuring 4 'player rows' one above the other. Each row has 3 locations - at one end, Nineveh (the land location), and at the other end Tarshish (the sea location).
The third location is Gath Hepher, positioned 20 spaces from Nineveh and 10 spaces from Tarshish.
40 player figures, 10 in each colour - blue, red, green, yellow.
80 land/sea tokens - these have a land symbol on one side, and a sea symbol on the other.
80 coin tokens.
80 land cards, each detailing various actions to be taken.
80 sea cards, 40 as 'whale cards', 40 detailing various actions to be taken.
1 wooden whale.

Each player chooses a row and places their 10 Jonah figures in Gath Hepher on that row.
10 land/sea tokens are placed on both end locations in all rows which are being played - Nineveh tokens are shown with land side up, Tarshish tokens with sea side up.
The wooden fish is placed above column 7 on the sea side of the board.
3 land cards are placed face down by the board beneath the land side of the board.
3 sea cards are placed face down by the board beneath the sea side of the board.

Aim of the game:
To be the person with the most coins at the end of the game.

The players take turns trying to get their figures to either location, Nineveh or Tarshish.
A turn consists of the following:
1. A player may play any number of cards from their hand, and completes the associated actions accordingly. Playing a whale card allows the player to move the wooden whale along a column. Whenever the whale wakes and moves columns, it eats figures in any columns through which it passes - these are placed back in Gath Hepher.
2. A player rolls the die.
3. A player may move a Jonah figure towards an end location the same number of steps as is on the die. A Jonah figure which has chosen which location to head for may NOT move back towards Gath Hepher, unless required by a played card.
Alternatively, a player may take a number of cards. This number is also determined by the die roll - a roll of 1-2 = 1 card, a roll of 3-4 = 2 cards, a roll of 5-6 = 3 cards, a roll of 7-8 (using a card) = 4 cards. The player can choose whether to take land or sea cards, or a combination of both.
4. When a Jonah figure reaches either end location, a land/sea token is taken from that location and put in front of the player. The Jonah figure is also placed on the token, and a coin token is placed just below it.
5. The game ends when all of one player's figures are off the board, either having been removed from the game or taken a land/sea token.

When the game ends, players calculate the difference between their land and sea tokens, and are awarded extra coins accordingly. For example, a player with 9 land tokens and 1 sea token is awarded 8 extra coins, but a player with 6 land tokens and 4 sea tokens is awarded 2 extra coins.
These extra coins are added to each players coins, and the player with the most coins wins!

Please do let me know what you think. The idea is to be a fairly simple game, but with the risk dimension of choosing the shorter route to Tarshish, with the danger of the whale, or the longer but safer route to Nineveh. Players are also encouraged to continue using the same location because of the 'difference scoring' system.
I would love to get some helpful and useful feedback.
Would you play this game? What won't work about it?


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