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 above flavor text is all Meromorph Games gives you as far as theme goes in their new Kickstarter campaign for The Shipwreck Arcana. What lies beneath is a bit deeper. A light, portable logic and deduction game where the players cooperate to escape doom.
Learning The Shipwreck Arcana takes less than 5 minutes and the basic rules (minus components list, faqs, etc…) are barely a full page long. The game consists of a 20 card Arcana Deck, Hours Card, a bag, Fate Tokens, Number Line Tokens, and tokens for tracking the score and Doom level.
To set up the game each player gets a set of Number Line tokens in a color of their choice while The Fate Tokens are tossed into the bag and mixed up. The Hours card is placed on the table with the Doom Token placed on the appropriate difficulty level and the score tracking token placed at 0. The Arcana deck is shuffled and placed face up. 4 cards are drawn from it and placed on the table so that 5 total Arcana cards are visible.
The goal of the game is to score 7 points before the Doom track reaches 7. You do this by making correct predictions. Each turn a player will draw 2 Fate Tokens from the bag, keeping them hidden from the other players. They then place one in front of an Arcana Card according to the rules of that card. The other players then work together to come up to try and guess the number on the token the active player still has in their hand. A correct guess has the score tracker moves up by 1. An incorrect guess moves the Doom track up by 1. Play continues until the game ends.
Each Arcana Card has a rule and a duration listed on it. The rule states what kind of tiles can be played on it. This might be something as simple as “Match”, which means a tile can only be played on it if a player has a hand of matching token. In this case, the other players would have an easy time making a guess. Some are a bit more in depth. “3-4-5” means that if you have one token that’s a 3, 4, or 5, and one token that isn’t, you play the 3, 4, or 5 down. This means the hidden tile is a 1, 2, 6, or 7. There’s plenty of different rules in the deck with a variety of ways to help the active player try and narrow down the prediction of the other players.
Arcana cards’ duration indicates how long the card stays in play before Fading. If the number of dots on the tokens played on the card are equal or greater than the duration the Arcana card is flipped over and replaced with a new one from the Arcana deck. If the card Faded on a turn with a correct prediction, the players are safe. If Fades on a turn with an incorrect prediction, the Doom track moves up an additional two spaces. Once an Arcana card Fades it activates a 1-time use power that can be used by players to help in their journey to safety.
You may be wondering where the Number Line comes into play. These tokens are basically just used as a visual aid to players when trying to make predictions.
I’ve already listed out the components of the game above. The cardboard tokens (at least in the prototype) are thick and easy to manipulate, whether it’s drawing them from the bag or picking them up off the table. The tarot-sized cards are each richly illustrated with beautiful artwork and contain easy-to-read text and understandable graphic design that fits the theme of the game. Overall it’s an amazing looking game.
The Shipwreck Arcana packs a lot of play in a pretty small package. It’s light, yet deep, always making sure that players are interacting with each other in a way that keeps one player from taking over and running the game for everyone else. It’s easy to learn, portable, and can be setup and played multiple times in a short period of time. The adjustable difficulty level makes the game accessible to new players while creating greater challenges for veteran players. The rules also lend themselves to drop in/out play.
A $15 pledge makes sure you get a copy of the game and all stretch goals if it funds. Shipping is also only $1. You don’t really have much to lose by backing The Shipwreck Arcana, but you’ve certainly got one amazing game to gain.
A prototype copy of The Shipwreck Arcana was provided free for preview by Meromorph Games
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.