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The X marrks the spot

Page history last edited by Kurai 11 years, 11 months ago


The Board

The board  is showing a route on the Caribbean, with the port as start and a mysterious Island with a big X on the sand beach. You'll also need one token for the treasure and a up to four other tokens to represent pirate ships. Oh, and a 6 sided dice for each player.




The Theme

Players are pirates, sailing their way to the treasure and trying to bring it back to the port before the others fire their cannons. Arr, matey!


The Rules

At the beginning of the turn, each player secretly chooses a number on the dice. All players say "One, two, three, ARRR!" and on the "ARR!" count they simultaneously reveal what they chose.

Now, all the players that chose the same number don't move this turn.


The other players get to move their ships of the chosen number of spaces, starting with the highest number and continuing in a descending fashion.


The player can move in the direction he wants, but he must keep moving in that direction for that turn (i.e.: if you got a six, you can't move four space forward and two backwards, but just six spaces in one direction).


If the player reachs the island, she takes the treasure token (if present), then move backwards for the remaining spaces (if any).



When a player lands exactly on a space occupied by a player with the treasure (or vice versa), he immediately steal it, and sends the player right back to the port. The first player reaching the port with the treasure is the winner. The player doesn't have to reach exactly the port space.




After playtesting the following problems were encountered:

  • the game appears to be unbalanced towards the ending (the actual fun is concentrated on the last part, when a ship has the treasure and is about hafways)
  • if you manage to arrive  within 5 spaces to the port, you almost certainly win
  • the game is quite fast (and this couldn't be such a problem)


Challenge #2


Variant 1

You can change the direction of your boat once during the movement phase.

With this rule the game becomes really easy: the treasure bearer can avoid most of the encounters.


Variant 2

To steal the treasure, you just need to cross the space occupied by the treasure bearer. You don't have to exactly land into the spot. If the treasure bearer crosses another ship, nothing happens. You have to stop your movement if you encounter the ship with the trreasure.

With this rule the game collapses. when the treasure bearer is on the last six spaces, it become really easy to block him (you just need to play six, since the player with the higher score is the first to move).


Variant 3

Basically like variant 2, but each time you encounter the treasure bearer, you roll a dice. Then, add to the result the rest of the movement (for example: you have a five, you move two spaces and land into the treasure bearer. Then you may add three to your dice roll).

This one seems to be the best variant. The game here offers a good mix of strategy, deception and luck, and, though far from perfect, it provides fast entertainment. It is best played with three or four players. In case of a two player match, the game works really good if each player controls two ships.

The problem with the most of the fun occurring in the last part, though, remains.


Possible enhancements

  • Adding up extra strategy by providing different routes (and maybe using different treasures, with different values)
  • Using a set of cards, instead dices, to control movement, so to have special cards affecting other players and changing the rules 



Comments (8)

Leana Galiel said

at 5:20 pm on Jun 30, 2009

I like the treasure stealing, question though, if the player with the treasure lands on a space occupied by another player, do they keep the treasure or is it stolen from them? And do you have to actually land on the player (which wouldn't be a very common occurrence unless players could choose to move up to the amount roll), or do you just have to pass the player with the treasure to steal it?

Robert Polzin said

at 8:22 pm on Jun 30, 2009

To add to the excitement you should have a dice roll off between the defender and the attacker for the treasure. In the event the attacker loses they should have their next move halved or some other various form of penalty.

Kurai said

at 2:28 am on Jul 1, 2009

Leana: if the player lands on an occupied space, nothing happens.
In my mind you have to land on the exact space, but that's obviously a feature to be tested. Now that I think about it, it could be like that: if you land on the space occupied by the treasure bearer, you stop there even if you still got moves, steal the treasure and send the opponent back to the port.
Robert: I like the dice idea, but maybe it is possible to simulate the fight with a mechanic involving less luck :)

Thank you for the comments!

Kurai said

at 3:45 am on Jul 1, 2009

Just realized that, if I use the modification stated in my last comment, the game collapses in an infinite loop. Maybe it could be solved by using alternate routes, which could add a strategic element to the game.

Kurai said

at 7:12 am on Jul 1, 2009

Here's the updated rules, according to the suggestions. Every time a ship lands on a space occupied by the ship with treasure (or vice versa) the ship which is moving stops. Then a dice battle starts. The two players roll their dice, and the player with the highest score wins, get the treasure and sends the opponent back to the port.
The player which was moving adds to the dice roll a number equal to the movements he has left when encountered the enemy ship.
For example: red player has a movement of 6. He moves 4 spaces and lands on the ship with the treasure. Now both player rolls the dice and red player adds 2 to the result.

Mike Haverty (SiddGames) said

at 3:34 pm on Jul 1, 2009

I think I actually prefer your original rules. Since players have 100% control over their move die, it adds an element of outwitting your opponents, particularly if you are trying to grab the treasure, and also allows collusion between players without the treasure to try corralling that ship.

Mike Haverty (SiddGames) said

at 3:44 pm on Jul 1, 2009

PS - I can see I have ahead of me weeks and weeks of being annoyed by people with artistic skills. Nice map :)

Kurai said

at 11:56 am on Jul 2, 2009

Thank you Mike. I must say, the mechanic of alliance to grab the treasure was the start for the whole game. I think I will playtest both versions, and see what happens :)
As for the map, the trick is: I started my career as an artist ;)

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