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Adrift

Adrift

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Adrift
Designer: Kevan Davis
Players: 8
Stuff required: Props or cards of some sort to represent: a captain's hat, binoculars, two oars, 20 biscuits. Eight blindfolds. Some printed maps.
Crew required: One narrator.
Preparation: Five minutes.
Time required: About half an hour.
Place required: Chairs around a table.
Activities: Bluffing, deduction.
Discuss this game
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This is an unfinished game. It is still in the design stage, and is not playable.
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This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Just a quick upload of my notes and the player rules handout, in case anyone's looking for them after the Greenwich Sandpit.

Setup

Give Captain his hat. Hand out eight stickers to identify players:-

  • Captain.
  • First Officer.
  • Cook.
  • Engineer.
  • Stowaway.
  • Passenger.
  • Ship's Doctor.
  • Chaplain.

On the table in front of them, lay out:-

  • Binoculars.
  • Two oars. (I just used plain wooden spatulas.)
  • Plate of 20 biscuits.
  • Map.
  • Eight blindfolds.

Hand each player a note, which they read and discard. Two Saboteurs are given "You are a Saboteur. Your accomplice is X."

Gameplay

The game of Adrift takes place over a number of days. Survivors are drifting in a small lifeboat, with limited food – each survivor needs to eat at least once every three days, and to sleep at least once every four. (Survivors were fully rested and fed when they abandoned ship.) The crew of the lifeboat are trying to reach the island in the centre of the map.

Each day moves through the following phases:-

  • New Day. The Narrator announces the new day, and tells the survivors whether anyone is now in danger of starving (if this is their third day without food), or are starting to get tired (if this is their third day without sleep). He also tells the survivors if the lifeboat has moved out into the deep water at the edge of the map, or if it has reached the island. If the lifeboat moves into a square that contains a rock, it returns to its previous square, and the survivors are told that their route was blocked by shallow, rocky water.
  • Going to Sleep. The Narrator asks if any survivors intend to sleep today – if a survivor hasn't slept during the past three days, he or she sleeps automatically on the fourth day. A sleeping survivor puts on their eyemask and skips the rest of this day – they can't take any actions, or join in with any conversations or votes. (If everybody sleeps at once, then the boat drifts in a random direction that day.)
  • Assigning Equipment. The survivors who are still awake may now choose whether they wish to take the Binoculars, an Oar or a Biscuit, as their activity for this day. The day doesn't progress until every awake survivor is happy with the distribution of these items. (If a disagreement cannot be resolved informally, a vote can be called.)
  • Eating / Starving. Any survivor who has a Biscuit can either eat it, or (in the rare case that a starving player is also unconscious from lack of sleep this turn) feed it to a starving, unconscious player. After this, any player who hasn't eaten for three consecutive days now dies of starvation, and takes no further part in the game.
  • Using the Binoculars.The survivor with the Binoculars may now look through them to scout out the area. The Narrator will privately show them a 3x3 section of map, centred on the lifeboat. (Deep water cannot be discerned through binoculars.) The survivor then reports what they can see to the others – truthfully, or otherwise.
  • Rowing. If two people have chosen to use the oars, and agree on which direction to row in, then the lifeboat moves one square in that direction. If they disagree, the boat does not move. (A survivor cannot be forced to row in a direction they don't want to, but can be threatened with being thrown overboard for not doing so.) Either way, the day ends.

At any time during the day, a survivor may call a vote to change the assignation of equipment, or (in extreme cases) to throw a survivor overboard. In such votes, every awake survivor gets one vote – in the event of a tie, the wearer of the Captain's hat makes the decision. (The hat may be reassigned by vote, and is left on the table should the original Captain be thrown overboard.)

Two of the survivors are secretly Saboteurs, responsible for having sunk the crew's original ship! The Saboteurs are attempting to lead the lifeboat off-course, to sow dissent, and to drive the other survivors to starvation. There are two Saboteurs, and they both know the identity of the other. Each Saboteur has their own secret last-resort food stash, meaning that they cannot starve - they will pretend to need biscuits just as much as the rest of you, right up until the point at which they would starve. If a Saboteur uses the Binoculars, they will probably lie about what they can see. (A good Saboteur will pay close attention to where the crew think their lifeboat might be, and react quickly with a plausible lie after checking the Binoculars.) If the lifeboat fails to reach the safety of the island, then the Saboteurs are victorious.

Play history

Adrift ran at the Greenwich Maritime Museum Sandpit in July 2011.