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[GDS] November 2011 - "Oceans Elevens"

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dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008

November 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Oceans Elevens"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown. Note that voting rules are slightly changed this month (see below). All other restrictions (800 words, three small images) remain in place.

Results are in!

Congratulations to the winner, Brian Andrew (Argebie) with his entry Pistols and Planks. He received eight total medals, four of them gold, the highest number for both counts, for a total medal score of 32 points. DogBoy's Commutiny on the Bounty took second with four medals, three of them gold, for 19 points. Full results are posted in the Critiques thread. All BGDFers (and particularly the participants) are encouraged to post critiques of the game submissions there.

Special Guest Host: Dave Dobson (dobnarr)

Direct your questions and comments to the Comments Thread.

Submissions: Completed Thursday, November 10

Click here to see the nine entries.

Voting: Thursday, November 10 to Thursday, November 17


Submit your top three picks to dobnarr. Be sure to read about the changes in voting this month below:

Showdown Voting Change:

For this month only, I'm trying out a new voting mechanism for the Showdown. Rules are as follows:

  • Instead of allocating six votes, each voter instead awards three medals to the three submissions he/she considers the best entries, allocating them as 1st place Gold, 2nd Silver, and 3rd Bronze. When awarding medals, voters should take into account showdown rules and the theme and mechanic limitations in addition to game design.

  • For purposes of winning the showdown, Gold counts as 6 points, Silver 3 points, Bronze 1 point. Highest total points from all medals received wins the showdown.

  • Contestants are strongly encouraged to vote. Contestants cannot award medals to their own submitted games. Contestants who enter a game in the showdown but don't vote for other games are awarded an Arsenic medal worth negative ten points to balance out the ten points they failed to grant to competitors.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme or Setting Restriction: Oceans
    Your game should include (or be set in) something related to the ocean. This connection can be made in any way you like - ships, exploration, navies, marine life, islands, plate tectonics, whatever you come up with.

  • Mechanics Restriction: Voting
    For likely the only time in the life of anybody reading this, the month is a special November, 11/11, and in the U.S., November is election month. So, your game restriction this month is voting. Your game should include at least one meaningful vote, where players jointly decide on some outcome that affects gameplay. Ideally, this is will be a significant component of gameplay (i.e. just having a vote to see who goes first doesn't really cut it), but voting does not have to be a frequent event or the main game mechanic. You may decide how votes are allocated - they don't necessarily have to be one vote per player - and this allocation may change through gameplay.

Showdown Voting Change:

For this month only, I'm trying out a new voting mechanism for the Showdown. Rules are as follows:

  • Instead of allocating six votes, each voter instead awards three medals to the three submissions he/she considers the best entries, allocating them as 1st place Gold, 2nd Silver, and 3rd Bronze. When awarding medals, voters should take into account showdown rules and the theme and mechanic limitations in addition to game design.

  • For purposes of winning the showdown, Gold counts as 6 points, Silver 3 points, Bronze 1 point. Highest total points from all medals received wins the showdown.

  • Contestants are strongly encouraged to vote. Contestants cannot award medals to their own submitted games. Contestants who enter a game in the showdown but don't vote for other games are awarded an Arsenic medal worth negative ten points to balance out the ten points they failed to grant to competitors.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #1: Island Influence

Entry 1: Island Influence

A voting game for 3-5 players.


  • 1 map depicting 11 islands (see below)
  • 44 cards (4 copies of each island)
  • 60 cubes (20 of each in 3 colors: white, orange, and green)
  • 5 betting spinners (which can be set to show one of 3 colors)


Players take turns holding elections on islands.


Deal each player 3 cards, which they assign to their own color pile. For example, a player could put one card in each color; put all three in the same color, or any such combination. Use cubes to denote which pile is assigned to which color. Each player starts with 6 cubes (2 of each color). Also, put 3 white cubes on Coconut Island, 3 orange cubes on Mandarin Island, and 3 green cubes on Kiwi Island. The remaining cubes form the general supply.


The current player selects an empty island on which to hold elections. The following cubes are added to an initially empty bag.

  • 1 cube of each color from the supply,
  • 1 or 2 cubes from each non-empty adjacent island. You cannot remove an island’s last cube this way. The active player selects how many cubes from each island.
  • Each player adds 0 – 2 cubes of a single color. Each player also bets on a color by setting their betting spinner to that color. This is public information, so everyone can see each player’s bet.

Once all the cubes have been added and each player has made a bet, draw cubes from the bag singly, until the second cube of a color is drawn. This color wins the election. Put all cubes of the winning color onto the island.
The remaining cubes are randomly divided evenly among players who bet on the winning color. If the cubes cannot be divided evenly, supplement the cubes with points. For example, to divide two cubes among three players, give two of the players one cube each, and the remaining player scores 1 point. Players who have the island’s card in the winning color’s pile score points according to the formula (8 - # of winning cubes). For example, if white wins, and there are 3 white cubes in the bag (including those drawn), then each player with the island’s card in their white pile gets 8-3 = 5 points. If there are more than 8 winning cubes, no points are awarded.


Instead of holding an election, a player may do one of the following for their turn:

(a) Campaign: return N cubes to the general supply to take N+1 cubes of any combination of colors from the general supply. For example, you can turn in 2 orange cubes and 1 green cube to take 4 white cubes.

(b) Research: draw a card, and then re-assign all of your cards to any color.

End Scoring

The game ends when 9 islands are scored (the last two islands will not be scored). Each player adds 1 point per cube they have to their score. Highest score wins.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #2: Island Merchanteer

Entry 2: Island Merchanteer

Sail the high seas in search of profit. As an Island Merchanteer your goal is to buy low and sell high. But alas poor lad you cannot yet afford your own ship. Use cunning, guile, and profanity to convince your fellow passengers which Island you should set sail for next. Your profits depend on it!


Randomly determine who goes first. The 1st start player chooses an Island to start at. Place the Ship on that Island. The starting player of each round is known as the Captain. Each player starts with 15 Gold The winner is the player with the most Gold at the end of the game


Lay out a number of Resource Cards equal to the number of players plus one. (3 Players = 4 cards.) There are 2 piles of resource cards. Each pile should have 6 cards. If you are at a Food island (Yellow, Blue and Green resources are on the RIGHT side) deal out Food cards. If you are at a Materials Island (Brown, Gray, Red resources are on the RIGHT) deal out Materials cards.


Starting in reverse order from the Captain players choose a card. They lose gold equal to the number of resources times the cost of that resource at the Island the Ship is on. They place that card face up in front of them.


3 Players: The Captain must block an Island. No player may vote for that Island. 4-5 Players: The Captain my swap his card with any other player.


Players may debate on which Island to vote for until the Captain declares "VOTE NOW". The last player to put his vote face down on the table loses 2 Gold. (If they have any) Island cards are turned up and the Boat is moved clockwise to the Island with the most votes.


Return your card to the correct pile. The Captain shuffles the pile to make a new deck.


The Captain marker is moved clockwise to the next player. Begin a new round.


The Game is over at the end of the 12th Round. The winner is the player with the most Gold. Thank you for playing. In the event of a Tie email me and describe why you should be the winner.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
# Entry 3: Commutiny on the Bounty

Entry 3: Commutiny on the Bounty

A game of collective decision-making on the high seas for 3-6 players. Crewmen of the Bounty! We have deposed Captain Bligh, but sadly Fletcher Christian was lost to that fateful breadfruit accident. Now we must pool our wisdom to found a new utopia on a Pacific island! Incidentally, it seems many of the local people are siding with Bligh.


  • Board showing 24 ports in the South Pacific Islands, linked by Sailing Routes, and a track indicating the number of turns before the Royal Navy catch up with the mutineers.
  • The Bounty token
  • Royal Navy token
  • Chairman’s Cap
  • For each player:
  • 6 x Ally tokens in the player colour (use 6 in a 3-player game, 5 in a 4-player game, and 4 in a 5/6-player game)
  • 1 x 2-sided Course decision coin
  • 1 x 2-sided Action decision coin
  • 1 x cardboard secrecy screen
  • Goods cubes in four types (Cloth, Seeds, Shells and Wood)
  • Goodwill (VP) tokens
  • 1 x 6-sided die


Each turn, the players must communally decide which port the Bounty sails to next, and how to approach the locals. Once in port, the players individually trade goods for profit or Goodwill and make use of their local Allies. The object of the game is to amass the most local Goodwill by the time the Royal Navy arrives.


Decide who first receives the Chairman’s Cap. Starting with this player and proceeding clockwise, players take turns placing their Ally tokens on ports until all Ally tokens are placed. Only one Ally token may be placed on any one port. Randomly place The Bounty on a Sailing Route facing a port. Place the Royal Navy at the end of the Royal Navy track. Randomly assign each player 6 Goods cubes.

The Chairman

When a vote is tied, the decision is taken according to the vote cast by the player with the Chairman’s Cap. In democratic fashion, the Cap is then passed to the next player clockwise.

Steering the Bounty

Each port on the map has three routes leaving it, leading to other ports. The Bounty will not leave a port by the route it entered, and will turn either Port (left) or Starboard (right), according to a majority vote of the players. Players secretly vote either Port or Starboard using their Course coin. All player votes are revealed, and the die is rolled to represent votes from the remaining crew. Results: 1: +2 votes Port 2: +1 vote Port 3-4: no effect 5: +1 vote Starboard 6: +2 votes Starboard The Bounty is then moved according to the majority decision (the Chairman’s vote breaks ties). Any players who voted for the losing decision are rewarded with a random goods cube from the ship’s supply as compensation.

Landing at Port

At port, each player decides secretly using their Action coin either to Talk with the Chieftain, or to Ignore him and go straight to trading. Then all decisions are revealed simultaneously. Roll the 6-sided die. Add the number of players who Talked with the Chieftain. If the total is less than or equal to the number of players who chose to Ignore him, the locals are angry and drive the entire crew away. Each player who Ignored the chieftain loses half his or her goods cubes (rounding down). Otherwise, all players may trade, beginning with the Chairman and proceeding clockwise. The map shows which 2 goods are in demand by the locals in this port, and which 1 good they export. Roll the 6-sided die. Each player may make this many trades. A trade consists of: - Exchanging one different good of each of the in-demand types for three goods of the exported type, or - Exchanging two goods of any type (except the exported type) for that many goods of the exported type, or - Exchanging three different goods (not the exported type) for a VP. Each player who Ignored the Chieftain receives one additional good of the exported type.


When The Bounty lands at a port, if any player has an Ally at that port, that player removes the Ally and immediately receives two Goodwill Tokens.

Ending the Turn

At the end of the turn, advance the Royal Navy token one space on the turn track. When it reaches the South Pacific, the game ends.

Winning the Game

At the end of the game, each player may buy VPs for five goods per token. The player with the most VPs jumps ship and begins a new life in the South Pacific; the rest of the crew are clapped in irons. Ties are won by the player with the most goods remaining after buying VPs.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #4: Beat to Quarters

Entry 4: Beat to Quarters

For up to six players.


Each player is a vice-admiral commanding three galleons in the navy of this small island cluster, which is frequently beset by pirate raids. Your goal is to defend to the towns from pirates in order to earn enough glory to be appointed National Hero.


  • The hexagonal board showing an ocean (blue) containing various islands (green), six Ports (red) each with a small Bay (light blue), and six pirate raiding paths (black, numbered) {Image #1 - board.jpg - goes here}
  • Three six-sided Galleon dice per player (numbered 1-6)
  • 12 round Pirate Ship tokens
  • One extra six-sided die (the Raid die)


Roll to see who goes first; in clockwise order, each player places a Galleon with 6 showing on any Bay hex.

To play with two players, give each six Galleons instead of three.


Each turn, move each of your Galleons up to four hexes. You can't move into green hexes (land) or hexes that contain other players' Galleons.


The number showing on each Galleon represents its remaining supplies. At the end of your turn, reduce the number of each of your Galleons by one, unless it is on a Port or Bay hex, in which case the ship resupplies - turn it to 6.


If a Galleon would reach 0 supplies, the crew mutinies. Remove that die from the board; at the end of your next turn, place it on any Bay hex as a new Galleon.


Pirate Fleets, represented by stacks of Pirate Ship tokens, constantly try to raid your nation's Ports. Oddly, they always follow one of the same six paths.


At the end of each round (a round being one turn for each player), move each Fleet four hexes along its path, stopping if it reaches a Port or a hex containing a player's Galleon.


After all Fleets have moved, remove one token from each Fleet that shares a hex with a player's Galleon.

New Fleets

After combat, if there are fewer than two Fleets on the board (this will always be true in the first two rounds), roll the Raid die to choose one of the six raiding paths and place a Fleet of six Pirate Ship tokens at the start of that path.


If a Fleet enters a Port hex, it raids that Port. The Fleet then follows its raiding path in reverse until it reaches its starting point, whereupon it's removed from the board.


Glory represents how highly the people of your nation think of you. Each player starts with 10 glory, and gains/loses glory as follows:

  • Destroy a Pirate Ship: +3 glory
  • Destroy a Fleet (by destroying its last ship) before it raids a Port: +5 glory
  • Destroy a Fleet after it raids a Port: +1 glory
  • Be within three hexes of a Port when it is raided: -5 glory
  • Have a Galleon mutiny from running out of supplies: -5 glory

Any player with 0 glory is removed from the game; all their Galleons mutiny and are not replaced.


At the beginning of every third round, the players elect an Admiral. Each player gets one vote for each of their Galleons that is in a Port or Bay hex. Each player writes down how they will divide their votes among the players, then all players reveal their votes; the player with the most votes wins. If there's a tie for most votes, redo the election with only the tied players; if there's still a tie, the Admiralty doesn't change.

At the beginning of each round, the Admiral may choose a single Galleon owned by another player; that Galleon counts as belonging to the Admiral for that round.

The Admiral gains/loses additional Glory as follows:

  • Any Pirate Fleet destroyed: +3 Glory
  • Two Fleets destroyed in the same round: +6 Glory
  • Any Port raided: -2 Glory
  • Any Pirate Fleet escapes the board: -5 Glory
  • Any Galleon mutinies: -1 Glory

Ending the Game

There are four ways the game can end:

  • If any player ever has 50 glory or more, that player wins.
  • If all players but one have been eliminated (by running out of glory), the remaining player wins.
  • When 20 pirate fleets total have been destroyed, the players with the most glory are jointly named National Heroes and all of them win.
  • When eight pirate fleets have successfully raided Ports, the people of your nation abandon their homes and return to the mainland; all players lose.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #5: Captain's Bounty

Entry 5: Captain's Bounty

A cut-throat game of pirate plunder and daring duplicity. For 3-6.

The pirates of the Cutlass are in a rough spot. They were damaged in a fight with the Navy while treasure hunting on the Isle of Auro. Someone on board must have tipped them off!

To make matters worse, another Navy ship is on the horizon! The damaged Cutlass can't escape, but the pirates can!

Since the Navy will arrive in a manner of minutes, you must grab as much Gear and Treasure from the Island and Ship as possible before time is up. But what of the spy? Surely he'll try to delay escape until the Navy arrives?


Each player is a pirate on the crew of the Cutlass with a secret goal like:

  • Letting time run until the Navy arrives (Spy)
  • Killing the Spy, and have more gold than other players with this goal
  • Bringing a certain amount of Gear and gold to the Escape boat
  • Have three other crew members killed, and have more gold than others with this goal.
  • Etc.

Once a player(s) achieves his goal, the game ends! Or when the Navy arrives in literally nine (real-world) minutes. (NOTE: time pressure to encourage poor decisions!)

Play Summary

The pirate group calls votes for action. On the Cutlass or Island the player who calls the vote claims and assign cards to other players, and then votes to either Move, Kill, or Elect a new Captain.

On the Move, Players can only carry two hands worth of treasure/gear so they will need to either leave some or get a neighbor to "Lend a Hand."


Each player starts with a secret goal (goals are printed on the board). Then randomly deal half (rounded up) a single "vote token." Those without a Vote get one of two Roles, and the rest get to draw one Gear or Treasure card.

Place a Pawn on The Cutlass to represent the Pirates.


The Roles are "Captain," who breaks tie votes and may draw a card off the deck instead of from those showing, and "Quartermaster," who gets to assign one extra card when he calls a vote.

A Role is elected when the player is killed, or if an Elect Vote is called.

NOTE: Roles also give incentive to other players to kill them, or delay moving in order to call an Elect Vote

How to Play

  1. Deal three face up cards from the Gear deck and the Treasure deck onto the board.
  2. Start the Timer.
  3. Someone calls a vote by playing a Vote token.

    Call a Vote

    1. If at a location with cards, Player who Called the Vote takes 1 for himself and assigns 1 to another player. New cards are drawn to replace those taken.
    2. This player MAY then Call a Vote to either:
    • Move the group to a new location
    • Elect a new Captain or Quartermaster
    • Kill a player Each of these require a majority vote, with the Captain breaking ties.
  4. Vote is carried out, player gives his Vote Token to first clockwise player that DOESN'T HAVE ONE. Another player may now play a Vote Token


    Player declares location to move to. If vote fails, do not move.


  • The Cutlass - On the ship, the Pirate Gear cards help fulfill player goals, and some have special powers. One type, Weapons, can be used during a Kill vote

  • The Island - Treasure cards here give gold-value, to fulfill player goals.

  • Escape Boat - Players may immediately deposit any cards by placing facedown in front of them. They are now safe (except some special Gear cards).


    Player declares Role to elect, and who it should go to.


    Player names another to kill. If the vote passes, Players may play Weapon Gear cards against the target. The target may play Weapons to defend. Others may add to either side. If the attackers' side has more "Hands" of Weapons, the target is killed. He discards everything and draws a new crew goal.


Players can only carry two "Hands" of cards at a time. Each card takes between 1/2 to 4 hands. If a player has too much when a Move vote passes, he must discard the excess, or find an adjacent player to Lend a Hand

Lend a Hand

Adjacent player may help carry with any empty hands he has. Place the card between the players. Once the Pawn is moved, the first of them to grab the card keeps it.

Game End

Game ends immediately when a Player's goal is reached.

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #6: Fjord Prize

Entry 6: Fjord Prize

You are members of the Committee for Excellence in Planetary Engineering, and you all want the coveted Fjord Prize. While you create your latest masterwork, your “esteemed colleagues” create theirs, and everyone tries to manipulate opinions toward their pet projects.


Construct your planets and influence the committee’s rankings so that your work is deemed the best (highest-scoring).

Structure of the Game:

The game is played in rounds, each consisting of a discussion phase, a politics phase, and a building phase. There should be one more round than the number of players. Each member starts with 8 time chips per round. In each phase, each player spends 1-10 time divided as they choose.

Discussion Phase

Before each politics phase, there is a separate phase for discussion only. Players discuss their recommendations, negotiate, and scheme; no agreement is binding. Away-from-the-table diplomacy should be avoided; role-playing is encouraged. The discussion phase ends by consensus, and then proceeds to the Politics phase.

Politics Phase

In the politics phase, each player declares which axes and categories they will push for, then secretly bids 1-10 time units divided as they choose among the axes and categories they named. They must bid at least 1 unit on each choice they named. Once all players have cast their ballots, each category and axis is totaled. Based on the political maneuvering this round, the committee’s value of each category and axis increases. The subcategories, the elements which will be considered in the total scoring when the award is given, are each composed of one axis and one category. Then those who favored the most popular options gain more time as others help the “accepted experts.”


The axes are the different perspectives on what is considered the objective of “good design” by the committee. They are Form and Function.

The axis with greater votes gains value based on its margin of influence. As the margin increases, the value increases, but more slowly, as seen in the chart below.


The judging categories represent the aspects of the worlds considered by the committee. They are Atmosphere, Oceans, Land, Flora, and Fauna.

Each category is voted separately and compared to each other category. They should be ranked from greatest votes in the current phase to least. Then each gains value based on its position in the list and the margin of influence between it and its successor.

The margin of influence:

The margin of influence between two categories (or axes) is the difference in their vote totals in the current phase. Based on the difference, consult the table below to find the increased value to the committee’s eventual judgment..

Position ranking:

In each round, the highest vote total gets +2 point value, and the second-highest +1 value. If there is a 2- or 3-way tie for first, all of those tied get +1 and no other category gets ranking points. If there is 2-way tie for second, both get +1. 3-way ties for 2nd and 4- or 5- way ties for either receive no position points.

Position ranking and time:

Each committee member who voted for the highest-scoring category regains +1 time; if there is a tie for highest, all count for this purpose. Margin / Time Spent Benefit 1 1 3 2 6 3 10 4 15 5 21 6 etc. etc.

Building Phase:

Each player secretly bids 1-10 time divided between any number of subcategories. Then all players reveal their bids, and their score for that subcategory increases by the value shown on the table above based on the time spent. Their overall score is then calculated based on each player’s new subcategory totals and the new values for each category and axis. The player with the highest current score recovers 2 time as sycophants do him favors


In the building phases and the final scoring, there are ten subcategories each scored individually. For each, its value depends on the score of its axis and its category; so the person with the most Functional Oceans receives the from the value voted for Oceans plus half the points voted for Function; the person with the most Well-Formed Oceans also receives points for the value voted for Oceans, but receives points for Form instead of Function.

Ending the game:

After the final round, each player totals his scores for each subcategory and the committee calculates the value of each category and axis. The player with the highest total in each subcategory receives the points for that subcategory; ties are split, rounded down. The planet designer with the highest total score is awarded the Fjord Prize, and rubs everyone else’s face in it.  

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #7: Rubber Duck Invasion

Entry 7: Rubber Duck Invasion


During a savage storm a container carrying nothing but rubber ducks spilled off a ship into the ocean. The goal of the game is to help these ducks find new homes on nearby islands. You do this by using dice rolls, event cards, and the wind. The game consists of movement turns followed by a “Wind phase.” Each player votes to see which way the wind blows. The wind can blow your ducks off course, but they can also bring you that much closer to finding a new home.

Game Play

The board is a 16x16 grid of the ocean. There are 20 tiles to represent the islands and one tile to represent the cargo ship. The island tiles have two numbers of them; the top represents how many points per duck you receive for that island. The bottom number represents how many people on this island want ducks. Players setup the game by taking it in turns to randomly pick a tile from the supply and placing it anywhere on the grid they want. Whoever reveals the cargo ship gets to place it as the starting point. Each player receives a supply of fifteen ducks of their colour, four voting tokens (North, South, East and West) and 5 event cards from the event card pile.
Each round consists of two movement phases, then a “Wind phase.”

Movement Phase:

The starting player rolls the die to see how many squares they will move their first duck. The player moves one of their ducks from their supply pile any direction out of the cargo ship and into the ocean. Ducks can’t move diagonally in the water, and can’t rest on the same square as another duck, however can pass over them. After the player has moved a duck their turn is over and it is the next player’s turn. Ducks are attempting to get to an available island. Once a duck is on an island it remains there until the end of the game. The bottom number on the island represents how many ducks the island can hold. After an island is full, ducks can no longer move onto that island. After each player has moved their first duck, the order of play reverses. The last player gets to use their second turn. They can use it to either move the same duck, or bring a new duck out of the ship. There is no limit to the amount of ducks that can be brought off the ship over the course of the game. Play then rotates counter clockwise around the board so that the player who started goes last in the second round.

Event Cards:

Players can also use one event card per turn, unless specific cards allow for more. Event cards fall into the following categories: Movement, Voting modifiers, Wind modifiers, Actions and Re-actions. Certain event cards are played either before or after you roll. Others (mainly “Voting” and “Wind” modifiers) are played face down in front of you and only revealed after votes have been cast during the next “Wind Phase.” Anytime a duck lands on an island you receive a new event card. Also, after every “Wind Phase” each player draws two new event cards before the next round.

Wind Phase:

During the “Wind Phase” players select which way they want the wind to blow by placing a voting token face down in front of them. Once every player has voted, tokens are revealed. Opposing winds cancel each other out. For example if there was a North, South and East vote. The North and South would cancel each other out. After cancelling out directions, the wind will blow in the direction of the most votes. If a round results in all directions being cancelled out, no wind is blown that phase. If the vote results in two complementary directions (e.g.: North-West, North-East, South-West or South-East) then the ducks will be blown diagonally. You then roll the die to see how strong the wind is. Each player must move all their ducks in the water that many squares in that direction.
Ducks can be blown onto islands if room is available. The wind can also blow ducks off the edge of the board, in which case they are lost for good and put in the discard pile. Ducks can use the waters around the islands for shelter. Two squares in each direction around an island offer shelter from the opposing wind. For example ducks in the two squares directly to the East of an island won’t be affected by wind from the West.

Game End:

The game ends after eleven rounds. Each duck successfully on an island receives as many points as that island is worth. The player with the most points wins.

Sample Event Cards:

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #8: Jelly Drifters

Entry 8: Jelly Drifters

The humble jellyfish, forever drifting at the mercy of the fickle currents, trapped in a lifetime of random changes, never knowing if the oceans will provide planktonic bounty or deliver this hapless invertebrate to a hungry predator… woe is the jellyfish.


In this 2-4 player game, players will attempt to guide their jellyfish towards the food that best fits its diet while avoiding the predators that will happily bite off any trailing tentacles. Each turn, players vote with their direction cards to determine where the currents will take all the jellyfish. Whenever a jellyfish moves onto a prey, the player keeps the card, trying to complete three out of his five diet cards to win the game.


  • 4x 4 direction cards
  • 20x Diet cards
  • 72x Ocean cards
  • 4x Jellyfish
  • 2x dice (blue and red)


Each player receives a jellyfish, a set of four direction cards and five Diet cards. Shuffle the Ocean cards and place 36 Ocean cards face up in a 6x6 grid to form the board. Assign the blue die to rows and the red one to columns. Each player rolls both dice to determine the coordinates of his starting position (see picture). Reroll if some players have the same starting point. Players then place their jellyfish onto the board, discarding the card already there. Assign North, South, East and West directions to each side of the board.

Voting Phase

Each player chooses a direction card and places it face down on the table. When all players are done, the direction cards are revealed and all jellyfish will move in the direction that received the most votes. If there is a draw, players will move their jellyfish according to the direction card they selected. In a 2-player game, one direction card is drawn randomly from a third deck and added to the players’ revealed direction cards.


Once the direction of the current has been determined, the jellyfish move one space in that direction. If moving would make a jellyfish leave the board, it reappears on the other side (like Pac-Man). For example, if a jellyfish on row 6 has to move North (up), it is then placed on row 1 within the same column. As soon as a jellyfish moves, refill the space just vacated with a new face up Ocean card. If the Ocean deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile to form a new deck. There can never be more than one jellyfish on a given space. If two or more jellyfish are moving to the same space, the players involved must draw randomly a new direction from their remaining direction cards. Jellyfish can use some of their stored food to fight the currents. INSTEAD of following the current determined during the Voting phase, a player may discard two Prey cards from his stash to either move in any direction (orthogonally) OR move one additional space along the same direction decided during the Voting phase.


The Ocean cards the jellyfish move to are removed from the board and either kept by the player (Prey cards) or discarded after applying the corresponding effects (Predators and Events). Ocean cards come in three types: Prey, Predators and Events.

  • Preys cards (krill, copepod, fish eggs and fish) are kept by the players to form their stash and redeemed to complete Diet cards which are then placed face up in front of each player.
  • Predators (Sea turtle, Sunfish and Tuna) negatively affect the jellyfish landing on their cards.

    Tuna: Player discards two Prey cards from their stash.

    Sea turtle: Player discards one Prey card and may not participate in the Voting phase next turn.

    Sunfish: Player discards one Prey card and may not move during the next turn.

  • Events (Whirlpool, Strong current and Random currents)

    Whirlpool: Player rerolls dice and places their jellyfish on the new location

    Strong current: Player moves his jellyfish two spaces in the same direction he moved onto the Strong current card. Cards the jellyfish travelled through are collected and their effects applied (if any) from the destination space.

    Random current: Player draws one of his remaining direction cards at random and moves his jellyfish in that direction.

Winning the game

Diet cards represent Prey items a jellyfish must eat in order to grow. Each card lists three items that a player must obtain before discarding them to complete a Diet card. The first player to complete three of his Diet cards wins the game. In case of two or more players completing their third Diet card in the same turn, whoever among the players tied for the win has the most Prey cards in his stash is the winner.  

dobnarr's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Entry #9: Pistols and Planks

Entry 9: Pistols and Planks

A game for 3 to 5 swashbucklers A group of pirates must split the loot from their latest plunder. Of course they do it the only way they know how, thievery and treachery.


  • 48 Chest Cards
  • 40 White Marble Beads
  • 40 Black Marble Beads
  • 2 Bead Containers
  • 5 Fold-up Stashes
  • 1 Black Velvet Bag
  • 1 Captain Token
  • 1 First Mate Token


Shuffle the Loot deck of 48 Chest Cards and place them in the center of the playing area. Each player receives 2 Black Beads and 3 White Beads to be placed in their stash. Each player's stash should be closed and stay hidden from the other players. The remaining Black and White Beads are separated and placed in their respective containers in the center of the playing area. Randomly decide who will receive the Captain Token. The player who receives the Captain Token selects a First Mate and gives them the First Mate Token.


Each round consists of two phases:

Lot Phase

The Captain takes the top four Chest cards from the loot deck. These cards will be divided into one or more Lots of any size the Captain chooses. The Captain then places these Lots face down in front of one or more players, including himself. If the captain has apportioned a Lot to himself he must turn at least one of the cards in the Lot face-up for all to see.

Secret Vote Phase

Each player may look at the Lot apportioned to them, these cards should remain hidden from other players. Starting with the Captain and going clockwise, each player secretly places up to three beads of any color combination from their stash into the velvet bag. When the bag reaches the Captain he removes the beads and counts the results. If a majority of the beads are white, each player reveals the Lot apportioned to them and places it in their stash. If any beads are shown on the bottom of the card(s) received these are also taken from the supply and added to the player's stash. If there are an equal number of white and black, all Lots are collected and put into the discard pile. If the majority of the beads are black, a mutiny occurs. All Lots are turned face up and placed in the center of the playing area. Starting with the player who had the lowest victory point value Lot (or no Lot) and going clockwise, each player selects one Lot and adds it to their stash, also receiving any beads shown on the card. Selection continues until all Lots are claimed. The Captain does not receive a Lot this round. If two players are tied for the lowest value Lot, the player closest to the captain's left chooses first. If a mutiny occurred, the First Mate takes the Captain Token and chooses a new First Mate, giving that player the First Mate Token. Players begin a new round.


If during the Lot phase a player has no tokens with which to vote, they may choose to sit out the current round and receive no Lot, even in the case of a mutiny. This player must reveal their stash and show that they have no beads, they may then immediately take 2 Black and 3 White Beads.

Ending the Game

If the Loot deck runs out, the discard pile is re-shuffled and becomes the new Loot Deck. If there is no discard pile, the game ends. Players total the victory points shown on the cards in their stash, additionally each bead they have remaining is worth one victory point. The player with the highest victory point total is the winner!

Special Cards Appendix

In addition to cards with victory points and beads on them, there are a few cards that allow the player who receives them some special abilities. These are a few examples. Spyglass – Once Lot selection has been resolved after the voting phase, you may look at one player's stash, take up to two beads of your choice and add them to your own. If there is more than one spyglass this round, they are resolved starting with the Captain and going clockwise. Treasure Map – You may look at the top four cards of the Loot deck and select whether each card will be placed on the bottom or top of the deck. Walk the Plank – You may take the First Mate Token for yourself or give it to the non-Captain player of your choice. If a mutiny occurred this round you become the Captain instead of the First Mate.

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