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)

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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