SONG of the SEAS

A pirate adventure sandbox game in which you must stake your claim over the islands by building your Lair and earning the most renown by sinking ships of the tyrannical Imperial Navy, plundering merchant vessels, exploring for booty, and encountering legendary perils on the high seas. And don’t forget to choose the right shanty for your crew to sing each day for special boons!

SONG of the SEAS

DESIGNER'S LOG

(Ordered from most recent to oldest)

9/23/2022

It’s been a while since the last entry. Not much to report, other than the major progress of the artwork. Currently, 4 of the player character “captains” art portraits are done. Also, we have art done for the Perils (i.e., Kraken, Maelstrom, Roc, etc.) and the artifacts (i.e., Secret Compass, Wooden Eye, Golden Idol, etc.). Klaudia, the artist, is now working hard on the art for the many Sea Encounter cards, and it’s off to a great start. The art process will continue through the rest of 2022, and a graphic design overhaul will occur in the early part of 2023 to start getting things looking spiffy. Heavier playtesting is planned during 2023 as well, and hopefully we will be able to visit a few conventions if things are more settled from the recent health concerns.

4/13/2022

As planned, artwork has now begun. We have the four initial playable characters’ portraits done, and they look fantastic. I can’t wait to share them with you. We have Ana “Valiente” Cruz, famed adventurer; Pier Janssen, former Imperial sailor and rebel; Louis “Fox” Renard, sly smuggler; and Leilani Roseblade, tribal princess of the islands and captain of her own ship, sworn to avenge the murder of her love by the Imperial fleet.

11/6/2021

Artwork will begin in Q2 of 2022. In the meantime, I am working to get the rulebook completed for feedback, and a reworking of the prototype to clean everything up. The target date for a crowd-funding project will be Q1 of 2023, but a lot can happen between now and then. My aim with my projects is to have the development and art nearly complete before launching on crowd-funding platforms to greatly reduce the long wait in between funding and delivery.

7/24/2021

The cover art is finished, crafted with excellence by a local artist, Hunter Reid. The key concepts that define Song of the Seas are freedom (being an open sandbox game), exploration, sea shanties, and a host of other things, all captured beautifully in the artwork. I love how the turbulent seas surround the ship and its crew, yet their determination is not shaken.

5/21/2021

What a long journey it has been so far! SotS has become more of what I originally envisioned, and increasingly more of a joy to play. I have reworked the player sheet into a much larger mat, and have made many changes such as:

-6 stats instead of 2

-the ability to grow your character the way you want

-more flexibility in accomplishing player goals to achieve the construction of your lair

-changed the way crew works (cards now, and the food/pressing situation is smoother and simpler)

…And simply too much to add here. The next step is to update the graphic design (not so much art, but text and basic layout) to make it easier to playtest for those folks other than me…

3/27/2021


After 3 years of development, I have turned SONG of the SEAS into a second major iteration, a new working prototype that maintains its general core mechanisms and concepts, but with a major shift in identity.

Originally, SotS was conceived as a "pirate sandbox game", a rather streamlined tabletop setting for popular pirate sandbox computer games that have been popular of the past several years. While there are certainly plenty of pirate board and card games in existence, some of which are excellent, I could not find a game that did quite what I wanted it to. Additionally, I had not yet found a game that incorporated sea shanties, and as a musician and fan of music history, I saw this as somewhat unexplored territory.

The first complete iteration of the game surely had many of the pirate tropes, but played more like a strategy game with clear boundaries rather than a sandbox game, in which players should have a lot more freedom to do what they want yet still having a goal that cannot be ignored to win the game. Therefore, after some feedback from playtesters, I set out to adapt the game's existing mechanisms and concepts into what the game was truly wanting to be.

While the game stil maintains many of its former core mechanisms and backbone, players can now take a unique captain and explore the island chain, discovering islands as they goas the island chain opens up differently with every game. Much of the game is now card-based, and even though I have had to set aside some of the neat component ideas I had (meeple pirates for the crew are now cards, and the little bottles for shanties are not even necessary), the game is more streamlined and easy to jump in and play.

The ship combat system has basically stayed the same, as players seemed to enjoy it.

Success in the game relies even more on Tests (formerly success rolls), and instead of only two stats (Command and Ingenuity), there are 6 stats: Seamanship, Marksmanship, Melee, Parley, Ingenuity, and Perception. These all begin at a level of "1", and as players complete tasks (quests), defeat enemy ships, etc., they are able to raise these stats, which improve their potential success in Tests. Reputation is still there, but the random rep-changing that happened so frequently has been reduced to a more comfortable zone.

Now, players discover islands as they sail around, rather than seeing the map already laid out. This was how the game was originally, so I am glad to return to little island tiles each labeled with an island type (Jungle, Ancient Ruins, Old Fort, Caves).

Instead of only one Peril, The Kraken, I have added back in my original 5: Kraken, Roc, Maelstrom, Pirate Hunter, and Siren. These now move around by Evening Event cards, and when a player encounters one, the player moves through a Peril Encounter deck full of tests and events that create a thematic encounter with the Peril. Surviving the encounter will give the player rewards.

After further playtesting, I will prepare the next entry to this journal. Until then!

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