About this project
Moby Dick, or, The Card Game is a dynamic and action-packed card game for 2-4 players, lovingly adapted from Herman Melville’s classic novel.
Experience the wonders and terrors of 19th century whaling and interact with some of the greatest characters in American literature in a game that's easy to learn but fathoms deep.
Assemble your crew, hunt whales and try to survive the final chase for the White Whale!
"I am game for his crooked jaw, and for the jaws of Death too, Captain Ahab, if it fairly comes in the way of the business we follow."
In Moby Dick, or, The Card Game players live out the voyage of the legendary Pequod, the whaling ship from Melville’s novel. The name of the game is whaling, but who can say what other mysteries the sea holds? Hunt whales to earn oil and work to assemble a personal crew of sailors; they will be needed as the journey unfolds. Cooperate with your shipmates; the dangers of the sea are less daunting to the sailor with true bosom friends. Oil is the currency of the game and it will prove dear, but what is material worth in the face of the white phantom? When the time comes for the final chase, only one player will earn the right to say “Call me Ishmael”.
The game is played using three custom decks with over 100 unique cards, two dice and 40 oil markers.
The Sea Deck contains adventures, creatures and chapters adapted directly from the book. These cards are drawn at the beginning of every turn and represent what the players encounter on their dangerous voyage - everything from whales and giant squid to foreign ports-of-call and pirates attacks.
The Sailor Deck contains the various sailors from Moby Dick, including Ishmael, Starbuck, Queequeg, and the infamous, monomaniacal Captain Ahab. Three cards from the Sailor Deck are dealt out to each player at the beginning of the game, representing their individual crews. As gameplay progresses, crews grow and shrink through the cunning of the player and the fickleness of the open ocean. Each Sailor has a physical strength and a unique ability that will help players successfully hunt whales and gather oil. Finding sailors with sympathetic abilities is key to crafting the ultimate whaling crew.
The Whale Deck contains the actions, defenses and attacks of the hunted Whales. When a hunt is initiated, players will draw cards from the Whale deck and must react to the raging leviathan. Only after dodging, negating, or surviving the actions of the Whale can a player attempt to strike the beast.
Hidden in the Sea Deck are various key Chapter Cards from the book which modify gameplay until the next Chapter is drawn. These Chapters also serve as a measure of progress through each game; players can decide the length of a game they want to play based upon how many Chapters they want to explore.
Gameplay is a mix of strategic decision-making, social brinksmanship, crew-building, and the sometimes cruel, sometimes glorious hand of fate. In the end, no player truly "wins" the game, but the last survivor of the Final Chase does earn the right to say, "Call me Ishmael."
Just as one of Melville's goals in writing the book was to bring landlubbers like us into the glorious and tragic world of the whaler at sea, our game encourages players to interact with the text in a new, exciting and immersive way.
Even without a knowledge of the novel, playing the game will clue you into the relationships between key sailors and the various perils and processes of hunting whales in the 19th century.
For our art style, we scoured public and private collections for key imagery that would further bring players into the glory days of whaling. Found illustrations, daguerreotypes, prints and other imagery were integrated into many of the cards throughout the game, creating an important visual record of the world that Melville drew from.
As important as the visuals are, the game could not exist without Melville's voice. Every card features a choice quotation from the book, tying the action at hand to the grand tale itself.
The game features:
Anyone that donates the minimum amount will receive a printable PDF version of the game shortly after our campaign is completed. This print-and-play version will come in a common template format so you can easily print, trim and stick onto standard decks of playing cards and get to playing right away!
Pledging at the HARPOONEER Tier will get you the fully manufactured, high quality game with shipping costs included for the US. You will receive the physical game as soon as it arrives from our manufacturer, and you will also receive the print-and-play version of the game shortly after the campaign is complete to hold you over until the physical game arrives.
Pledging at the WISTFUL SAILOR Tier will get you everything listed above and 10 beautiful 5” x 7” postcards of key art from the game, so you can send friends and family word of your adventures on the high seas.
Pledging at the MATE Tier will get you everything listed above AND a screenprinted tote bag featuring key art from the game. We use sustainably produced totes from EcoBags.com, printed by Kayrock Screenprinting in Brooklyn, NY.
Pledging at the BOSOM FRIEND Tier will get you two copies of the physical game AND the postcards.
Pledging at the FIRST MATE Tier will get you everything from the MATE Tier AND a gorgeous 18" x 24" silk-screen print of the Harpoon card from the game (also made by Kayrock Screenprinting), ready for framing.
Pledging at the QUEEQUEG'S COFFIN Tier will get you the full game in a limited edition, handmade wooden box - A limited 75 interpretations of Queequeg's Coffin, lovingly handmade by our expert craftsman and boat builder, Forest Lowry. Each Coffin is carved from Black Maple wood and hand-sprung to mimic the canoe-like features of the coffin that Queequeg demands. The Coffin fits all the game components, will be hand-packaged for all Limited Edition donors, and will last long into the ages. PLUS you get the the printable PDF, postcards, and totes!
Pledging at the PORTS Tier will get you everything from the First Mate Tier AND one of 3 original port illustrations - NANTUCKET, TAHITI, and THE AZORES - by our artist, Havarah Zawoluk, ready for framing.
Pledging at the CHAPTER 56 Tier will get you will get you everything from the First Mate Tier AND one of 10 original whale illustrations by our artist, Havarah Zawoluk, ready for framing. ***SOLD OUT!***
Pledging at the AHAB Tier will get you the physical & print-and play versions of the game, the postcards, the tote bag, the silk-screened print and…. A HANDMADE, 10FT REPLICA WHALEBOAT, with foldout gaming table and etched quotes from the book throughout, crafted by our resident boat builder and design consultant Forest Lowry! Yes, really. 20-ft replica also available, please contact us directly. Shipping or Pickup of the boat is the responsibility of the (seriously awesome) donor.
(A handmade rowboat by Forest Lowry, made for Mystic Seaport)
Risks and challenges
To help ensure realistic deadlines, we have completed the vast majority of our development before launching the Kickstarter. The rules of the game are locked and 80% of the cards have already been laid out and are ready to print. Our manufacturers are also ready and we have updated our expected delivery times on all of our donation tiers to match our most realistic (and conservative) estimation of delivery.
There's always a chance that customs, delivery schedules or other factors in the physical supply chain can change but we are committed to turning each order around as fast as humanly possible to get our passion project to your table within the expected delivery window (perhaps even before it).
We are also committed to supporting our game after the initial launch with constant communication and customer support.
Since some of our art is being licensed from private collections there is a slim chance that there might be some slight art changes to certain cards between the closing of the Kickstarter campaign and the delivery of the games but again we are committed to communicating any changes in art/materials or content in real-time to our growing community of supporters.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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