The Shipwreck Arcana: Stars Below
Reprint and mini-expansion for the cooperative deduction card game of impending doom. 2-5 players, 20 minutes.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, February 20 2019 1:00 AM UTC +00:00.
This campaign introduces the 5-card Stars Below mini-expansion. If you're already familiar with The Shipwreck Arcana, jump down to "What's new".
Trapped in a drowned world, you and your allies are doomed -- or are you? Using a mystical deck and a healthy dose of logic, you can predict each others' fates and escape unscathed.
The Shipwreck Arcana is a compact, cooperative game of deduction, evaluation, and logic, combining simple, speedy play with incredibly deep strategy. Players take turns playing tokens according to rules found on an ever-changing tableau of cards, in order to convey information to the rest of the group before their doom arrives. 2-5 players, 20 minutes, recommended ages 10+.
- Create and solve complex deduction puzzles. Players take turns having and deducing information.
- Communication mechanics encourage participation. The active player can't speak, so no single player can carry the group to victory by themselves.
- Plays well with any mix of veterans and newcomers. New players have the opportunity to learn and discuss strategy openly with more experienced players.
- Accommodates drop-in/drop-out play. Gameplay easily supports adding or removing players on the fly, without interrupting the pace of the game.
- Complex strategy, simple gameplay. During your turn, you draw two tokens and play one. Easy!
- Compact. The whole game fits into the token bag.
All tokens are screen-printed wood. All cards have linen finish. Bag is embroidered.
Want to try it for free? Check out the print-and-play files for the base game and mini-expansion here, or play online at Tabletopia:
The Shipwreck Arcana is about cleverly conveying information. Here's a quick overview of how to play.
To set up the game, The Hours card is placed in the central play area, and a row of 4 arcana cards is dealt to the right of it. The fate tokens are placed in the bag, and each player arranges a set of number line tokens in front of them. The arcana deck is kept nearby.
Each turn, the active player draws 2 fates from the bag (without showing the rest of the group), and plays 1 of those fates in front of a card, according to that card's ability.
After this, the rest of the group may try to predict the value of the active player's hidden fate (the one they still have) by evaluating where they played (and where they did not play). If the group chooses not to make a prediction, the active player keeps their fate hidden and only draws 1 new fate on their next turn. Number line tokens track information between rounds.
Play proceeds clockwise to the next player, with points being earned for correct predictions, and doom advancing for incorrect predictions. Arcana cards also fade over time, which changes the tableau, advances the doom track, and unlocks special powers.
The game ends when the players earn 7 points or their doom reaches 7.
Learn to play in 4 minutes flat:
Stars Below is a new mini-expansion for The Shipwreck Arcana. It adds 5 new arcana cards that can be shuffled into the arcana deck for more variety. These cards introduce a new gameplay element: mandatory effects!
The underlined gold text is mandatory, and must be followed regardless of whether you play on that arcana card. This means some cards can convey additional information, manipulate visible fates, or even fade, despite not being played on!
You may also notice that The Ash and The Fall have no moons on the bottom of their cards; they only fade based on their mandatory effects. If you leverage them well, they could end up with more visible fates than any other card!
These 3 novel arcana cards are rounded out by 2 straightforward and useful cards:
Each of the new arcana cards has 1 of 4 new faded powers. Turns out mandatory effects aren't limited to the fronts of the cards:
Because mandatory effects lead to more arcana cards fading and more powers accumulating, some of the new powers are more expensive, requiring you to discard an additional power in order to use them.
- Rahdo Runs Through (runthrough and final thoughts)
- Zee Garcia (Dice Tower)
- What's Eric Playing?
- Gameosity (preview and Game in a Minute)
- Sprites and Dice
- Everything Board Games
- A Pawn's Perspective
- Co-op Board Games
- The Thoughtful Gamer
- That's What Jenni Said
- A Crazy Couple's Co-op Guide (BGG)
- Boardgame Generations (BGG)
The Dice Tower's Zee Garcia had The Shipwreck Arcana at #95 on his "Top 100 Games of All Time" list in 2018, and at #3 on his "Top 5 Unique Cooperative Games of 2018" list; check out the videos below!
We make games because we love doing it, but it's not a full-time gig. Our games are not in distribution, and likely to stay that way. Particularly for gamers outside the US, the bulk and exposure of Kickstarter allows us to coordinate much better shipping rates than we could otherwise. We've also built in a $1 discount to the pledges which include the base game.
We are not doing stretch goals for this campaign. The new print run will include all the component upgrades unlocked last time around, and we've put our time and energy into creating 5 fun cards for the mini-expansion, all of which we wanted available regardless of how high this funds.
As always, the most difficult part of making a game is making people aware of it (even the second time around). So please consider sharing this campaign with anyone you know that might like The Shipwreck Arcana, whether on twitter, facebook, BoardGameGeek, reddit, or elsewhere. It makes a great gift for teachers, math-lovers, programmers, consulting detectives, etc!
Meromorph Games consists of twin brothers Kevin and Matthew Bishop, from Annapolis, MD. They love board games enough to make them in their spare time. Norsaga was their first game, funded in 2015 via Kickstarter. The Shipwreck Arcana, whose first print run was funded in 2017 via Kickstarter, is their second game.
Risks and challenges
This will be our fourth Kickstarter campaign. Our campaigns so far have all delivered on or ahead of schedule.
For this project we're using the same manufacturer and shipping company as we did for the first print run. We've already signed our manufacturing contract and approved the initial Pre-Production Copy, so if nothing changes during the campaign, mass production will commence within a few weeks of the campaign closing.
There's always the risk of something unexpected happening, but there's not many unknowns this time around.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!