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Manage fleet and town in this Euro-style board game for 1-5 players in the era of Moby Dick and historic New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Manage fleet and town in this Euro-style board game for 1-5 players in the era of Moby Dick and historic New Bedford, Massachusetts.
2,316 backers pledged $109,343 to help bring this project to life.
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New Bedford: The Game of Historic Whaling & Town Building



Set in the mid-1800s, the age of whaling, New Bedford gives 1 to 4 players the chance to build the Massachusetts town of the same name into a thriving community. Gather resources to add buildings with new actions, and launch ships to go whaling. Go out longest for the best choice, but wait too long and the whales become harder to catch. And don't forget to pay your crew when ships return! Carefully balance risk management and timing to earn the most points in this medium-weight worker placement and resource management game.

New Bedford is a game for 1-4 players, ages 13 and up, and designed by Nat Levan. New Bedford is a distinguished alum of the Unpub program - a series of public and private playtest events held each year to help designers present, hone, and polish their game designs with the gaming public, as well as board game production professionals.

If you'd like to know more about the design process behind New Bedford, designer Nat Levan has extensively chronicled the game's development on the Oakleaf Games blog. Nat also sat down with the Dice Hate Me crew on episode 74 of The State of Games podcast to talk about the game; the New Bedford portion begins at the 25 minute mark.

A bit more detail: Over twelve rounds, players take turns placing their two workers. The town board and whaling board contain basic game actions: Taking goods (food, wood, and brick), selling goods, constructing buildings, docking ships, and launching ships. These actions can be used multiple times per round, with the first player to do so in a round receiving a bonus of more goods or reducing the number of goods paid.

Most buildings add extra action spaces with new actions, combined actions, and more powerful versions of basic actions. You own whatever you build, with others needing to pay you to use them and you earning points from them at game's end.

You need to spend food to send ships whaling, choosing how far out to send them. At the end of the round, ships move closer to shore and whale tokens are drawn randomly. Ships that are farthest out have first chance to pick the valuable sperm whales, but as they move in, others have the opportunity to launch farther out and get a better pick, possibly leaving you with only empty seas. Over the course of the game, whales become more rare and empty seas more common - an historical reflection of the toll that whaling had on the environment. Once a ship reaches shore, a percentage of the profits (the "lay") must be paid in order to keep the gathered whales.

If you'd like to dive deeper into New Bedford, you can download the print-and-play version of the game right here: (Components and Rules).The PnP includes all the buildings, whales, the town board, the player boards and the whaling board. You'll need to provide bits to represent the wood, food, brick, meeples, ships, and money (cubes, coins, toy boats - whatever you'd like).

New Bedford will offer the same hallmark replay value as other Dice Hate Me titles from Greater Than Games, with high-quality components, thick punchboard bits, and lots and lots of wood. Here's a list of what you'll find inside the box:

Base Game Components
Base Game Components

New Bedford will come in the Dice Hate Me Games "Rooster"-sized box - the same size as Compounded and VivaJava Dice. What's this crazy talk? Take a look here for more information on our box sizes and game categories!

In addition, backers at any level may add $6 to their pledge to receive a copy of Nantucket. This is a small, 2-player game with a whaling theme also designed by Nat Levan.

Nantucket takes you to "The Little Grey Lady of the Sea" during the early American whaling industry. You need just a few cards and coins to play in whatever port you find yourself. Mix and match two cards to form the modular board. Then use your single action each round to carefully build the town and send out ships. After performing your actions, flip the coins on your ship to catch a whale. Play until the town is fully constructed, supplies run out, or the last whales are taken. Between buildings and earned coins, may the best captain win!

It will be available after the campaign for $9.95, but is available to backers of this campaign only for $6, and will not increase your shipping charges. Check out this update for more information, or click here to access the Print and Play!

If this project funds, we will be able to make an incredibly fun game. By way of thanks, we will be sending every single backer a copy of the White Whale Promo! This promo pack adds four super-rare items to the whaling bag, including The White Whale, which destroys a ship if caught!

In addition to this promo pack, which will be sent to every single backer, we have some additional awesome content that we'll be able to include free of charge to every backer if we exceed our funding goal:

  • $25,000 - Funded! All backers also receive the White Whale Promo!
  • $30,000 - Two-tone ships unlocked!
  • $35,000 - All backers receive the Additional Buildings Mini-Expansion!
  • $40,000 - Custom resource shapes unlocked!
  • $45,000 - Unlocked! All backers receive the Ship's Log Mini-Expansion!
  • $50,000 - Unlocked! All backers receive the Fifth Player Expansion!
  • $60,000 - Unlocked! All backers receive the Solo Gameplay Upgrade!
  • $70,000 - Unlocked! The 5th Player Expansion will be upgraded to include a quad-fold Town Board in addition to new building tiles.
  • $80,000 - If unlocked, the First Player token and Round tracker token will be upgraded to custom, wooden tokens!

Thank you to all of our backers for your support! We've planned stretch goals out through $80,000, which will be the final stretch goal point for this campaign. Thanks for supporting New Bedford!

As with previous campaigns, we unfortunately have to charge shipping on this campaign, but are continuing to work to minimize the shipping cost to you. Shipping on this campaign is priced as follows:

  • US: $9
  • Canada: $14
  • EU: $35
  • Other: $50

For customers in Canada, the EU, and Australia, this includes customs duties and import taxes, but it does not for other countries.

We know that international shipping is annoyingly expensive; believe us, we are just as annoyed as you are! However, to help offset the shipping costs a bit, we have work-arounds.You can add additional copies of New Bedford, including all stretch goals, to your pledge for +$29, and the shipping rates are fixed regardless of the number of games. If you have a bunch of friends who want to support this project, just make one group pledge for as many games as you’d like, and you'll all receive every stretch goal!

By 1848, the city of New Bedford in Massachusetts had become the most powerful city in the whaling industry and was soon to be one of the richest cities in the world. Whale oil exported from New Bedford helped to fuel the world and, eventually, usher in the Industrial Revolution; in time, it would be referred to as "the city that lit the world".

In 1841, Herman Melville sailed out from New Bedford working as a whaler on the ship Acushnet. His experiences in whaling eventually lead him to write the novel Moby-Dick. It was published in 1851, and New Bedford is the initial setting for the novel.

Historic New Bedford
Historic New Bedford

"The theme is wonderful and absolutely fitting. It’s well integrated and unique... The bottom line... New Bedford is a town worth visiting." - John Moller, Cartrunk Entertainment (click to read his full review)

“Before I even had the chance to crack open New Bedford, the game caught my attention because someone had mentioned that it was like a more concise and elegant version of Le Havre. While I’ll agree that the two games do share some similarities, saying that New Bedford is essentially Le Havre light does it a great disservice. New Bedford offers its own unique experience that feels fresh and not borrowed.” - Kyle Chivers, Euro Board Game Blog (click to read his full review)

"New Bedford does a lot of things right - but the best thing about the game is that it is one of those games that is easy to both learn and teach, but will surprise you with its depth after you dive in for subsequent plays." - James Flemming, Board Game Reviews by Josh (click to read his full review)

“Beyond the theme, I like New Bedford for several game-play reasons. I am reminded of Puerto Rico from the standpoint that players can score through the staple process of whaling as well as from buying buildings to augment the town of New Bedford. Likewise, New Bedford includes the worker-placement-building quality of Le Havre with buildings that facilitate collecting materials, constructing buildings, or sending out whaling ships. I actually find New Bedford cleaner and more elegant than Le Havre.” - Paul Owen, Man Overboard (click to see more comments)

“Solid worker placement game. The two different elements to the game, building the village and the whaling, complement each other nicely. I got to play this at Grand Con at an Unpub event. Multiple victory paths and some interesting combos can be made with some of the village tiles. Can't wait for this one to come out.” - David Taylor, To the Table

“When I played New Bedford when it was printer paper and glue I fell in love with the concept and game play. Now that I see the final product the game has been brought to life in a whole new way and still sits in my top five to play as two player with my hubby or with a group of friends!” - Lesley Louder, The Chalkboard Gamer

"New Bedford has all the strategizing of a game like Agricola without the stress. It wonderfully meshes worker placement, town building, and tile drawing in such a way that it plays fast without comprising any depth.” - Scott King, game photographer and blogger

"Such a smooth, engaging gaming experience. New Bedford is a great low-cost-of-entry euro that has enough game for game night, but is still completely accessible for my family." - Matt Riddle, co-designer of Fleet and person of no consequence

"When I played this game at an Unpub over a year ago, I was unsure if I would like a game about whaling. That was quickly proven wrong, and I told Nat when he was done with New Bedford I wanted a copy of it." - Derrick Vidal, Baked Fresh Daily Games

“From the moment I sat down with New Bedford and took my first turn, I knew that I was seeing something special. While I’ve had the privilege of playing several games in the Unpub program, only a few of them make me want to drop money on the spot. New Bedford was exactly that. The cool thing is, I’ve only seen it get even better! Take my money now!” - Greg Miller, Baked Fresh Daily Games

"One of those rare occasions where everyone at the table was lost in the world and loving every minute." - Josh Mills, game designer

New Bedford’s design was influenced by a time when whaling was a part of daily life - and that eventually lead to a modern crisis for many species of whales. To make it clear, we don’t condone modern whaling. But we think that the history of New Bedford and the whaling industry is an important subject. Just like our chemistry game, Compounded, we believe that games designed for entertainment can also be educational - and, in this case, foster discussion about a controversial topic. For more information on modern whaling and conservation efforts, please check out this overview from the World Wildlife Fund.

Nat & Chris
Nat & Chris

We knew that the theme of historic whaling could be considered a bit controversial by some, but we believe in New Bedford and in the theme. As Herman Melville once wrote about his novel, Moby-Dick, "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme." We think New Bedford is a mighty little game, and we are proud to present it to all of you. Thanks, as always, for the continued support for Dice Hate Me Games from our Kickstarter family. You continue to amaze and humble us.

Let's keep sailing,
Chris & Nat

Risks and challenges

Before the merger of Dice Hate Me Games and Greater Than Games, a previous version of New Bedford was on Kickstarter, only to see its campaign canceled. There were many reasons for the decision to cancel the project at that time, which was discussed on episode 76 of the State of Games podcast. However, we believe that the most important reason was to make the game much better. We believe that we have done so, and are thrilled to re-launch the game at this time. However, there is a risk that people will not be willing to take another look at this fantastic game.

Additionally, as with any project that involves the production and manufacture of a good to be delivered, there is certainly a real chance for hiccups, delays and more than one or two gremlins gumming up the works along the way. Many boardgame projects on Kickstarter have been seriously hampered by art production delays, problems with an overseas factory, missing units and one shipping snafu after another.

Luckily, we have a few projects under our belt, and have dealt with many of those snags along the way. We try to plan for all contingencies, and we've been fairly successful with that in our past projects.

We won't lie - stuff happens. Delays can occur. Sometimes you have to go back and forth on color samples six times just to get the color right, and even then the color isn't perfect. But what we do promise is that we will hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect from other board game publishers and our previous projects, and we will be completely honest and open with each of you every step of the way.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 29 or more About US$ 29

    TOWN BUILDER – One copy of New Bedford PLUS the White Whale promo AND all unlocked stretch goals. Shipping is extra, and will be calculated with your pledge based on destination.

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    2,199 backers

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 89 or more About US$ 89

    SHIP'S CAPTAIN – One copy of New Bedford, SIGNED by designer Nat Levan PLUS one premium, numbered 24" x 20" canvas print of the cover art, SIGNED by artist Nolan Nasser, PLUS the White Whale promo AND all unlocked stretch goals. Shipping is extra, and will be calculated with your pledge based on destination.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 54 backers

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    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (24 days)