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Joined: 01/20/2012
Board layout concept sketch

This is my second game design. This idea has been brewing for a while, and I would love any input/suggestions you have.

This game is cooperative, with players working together to man a lighthouse and guide oncoming ships to safety. The lighthouse will be in the bottom-middle of the board, and ships will come from six trajectories directly at it (see attached mock-up). Players will need to work together to put the ships on a proper course.

My working idea for the flow of play is:

1) Draw a weather card
2) Take actions
3) Move ships

Weather cards will dictate conditions and modify the effectiveness of the light beacon. If the weather card reveals "Fog," the light may only show half as far as otherwise, etc.

The game will include 12 d6 dice used for ship movement. There will be 2 each of 6 colors (2 red d6s, 2 yellow d6s, etc.). Ship movement would work like this: players will put all the dice in a bag and draw two blindly. The colors decide which ship(s) moves, and it moves the amount rolled. Thus, if I were to draw two yellow dice and roll a 5 and 3, the yellow boat would be moving a whopping 8 spaces. If I drew a red and a green dice, the red and green ships would move their indicated amounts. However, after I resolve those ship's movement, those dice would be discarded until I have used all 12, at which point they would go back in the bag to be drawn again.

Some actions players can take include:

1) Illuminate the light - place a long, narrow "light beam" marker on a single ship trajectory, warning all ships on that trajectory of danger (at least those close enough to see the light, if, for example, the weather was foggy and visibility was reduced).

2) Gather fuel - for every turn the light is shining, it costs one fuel cube to keep it lit. If there is no fuel, the light goes out. This action would allow players to add fuel to the supply for future use.

3) Sound the foghorn - if visibility is reduced, the foghorn is another means of alerting ships of danger. Players can spend an action to sound the foghorn, but its sound only reaches a short distance.

4) Play a special card - players will be dealt one or two cards, with effects like "look in the dice bag and remove any two dice of your choice" or "play to cancel a weather condition," etc.

What other actions should I include? From a mechanics standpoint, how would they work?

I am considering having ships have speed modifiers, as well as having them carry cargo which would be worth victory points if guided to safety.


To me, this feels like a solo game, and I don't want that. How could I make this idea into a multiplayer cooperative game? Certainly, I could include individual roles for players, but what would they be? Historically, lighthouses were usually only manned by a single person, maybe two. In order to make the game engaging, I want to have it be for 1-4 players, give or take.

Assuming I can make it multiplayer, I had another interesting idea: what if, rather than each player getting a set number of action points per turn, the entire group had a set number, and players needed to decide how to divvy them up? I feel like it could create some cool interaction and negotiation.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I think...

If you use a pool of action points that a neat idea. I also agree roles make the game more interesting such that each player adds a different contribution to the game.

Here are some role ideas:

-The Weatherman: a ship's radio can communicate valuable information regarding the weather
-Coast Guard captain: a Coast Guard ship patrols the shoreline to keep boats from crashing
-Lighthouse attendant: keeps the lighthouse going and signals ships if he can
-Ship captain: Each player takes a turn being the Captain of a ship

The idea is basically each player controls a PORTION of the information required to make it to safety. If you have 2 players, you have 2 roles (Ship captain and Lighthouse attendant). If you have 3 players, you have 3 roles (Ship captain, Lighthouse attendant and Coast Guard Captain).

Each player has a deck of cards (let's say 20 cards) which are relevant to their role. On a turn, each player draws 3 cards from his pile... Now comes the FUN part:

-Players can CHOOSE to be NICE or NASTY! For example, the Weatherman could CHOOSE to forecast *Clear Skies* or he could forecast a *Monsoon* (Based on the 3 cards he drew). Each card has a POINT VALUE, the more challenging the task of sailing the ship, the more points a player stands to earn.

So the game is cooperative but also competitive...

Still not sure how to get this all working TOGETHER... But I think there are some cool ideas. It's your game, so I'll let you figure out how to get the pieces all working! :)

Note: This game requires a SAND TIMER... Critical/Quick thinking... And some luck!

crenshal's picture
Joined: 09/30/2013

I think questccg covered potential roles very well, my question for you is, what are the dangers of the game? What are the players trying to have the ships avoid and how do you see the mechanics moving ships closer or farther away from danger?

Joined: 10/09/2013
Non-Coop Variant (^_^)

Another way you could do this is that the different color ships are owned by different players. The players are trying to get as many ships as possible into the harbor safetly. You could then have cards that help your ships and hurt the others.

The only problem I have with this is that this would be a "take that" kind of game and I don't know that's what you're going for.

If you have any more details though on the dangers the ships may encounter, we'd love to hear about it!

Joined: 11/06/2013
I like the concept. It's new

I like the concept. It's new (I've never seen a lighthouse game) and it's something you can create a lot of nice artwork for.

What I am missing in this design are the dangers you need to pass and the win condition. Right now all the boats move towards the lighthouse when, to me, it makes more sense to guide them to a harbor.

Please keep us updated. I'd love to see how it turns out.

Joined: 11/14/2013
Maybe a dumb comment, but

Maybe a dumb comment, but wouldn't the easiest way to have it be a co-operative game just to be having more lighthouses? If the scale was adjusted to cover a greater stretch of water, it wouldn't be unfeasible and the game could have actions divided into 'far away' (receiving co-ordinates of ships, telegrams from other lighthouses etc.) and 'nearby' (more along the lines of the initial mechanics).

If not, I like questccg's roles idea but I'm not sure mixing competitiveness and co-operation would work in this format, unless you specifically designated someone whose goal was to ensure the ship had to be destroyed (for whatever Macguffin-y storyline reason!)

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