THE BATTLE OF FLEETS & FORTUNES
When I wasn't working for Nike, I was moonlighting as a board game designer – attending bi-weekly board game meets-ups pursuant to one thing: to playest Fleets & Fortunes.
I'll never forget the first public playtest. After 1 year of test runs with friends – the game was intended to run at an efficient 90 minutes, but after a sluggish 3 hours, I let my players off the hook and stood there defeated & embarrassed.
But I didn't quit.
F & F brought out the inner pirate in me and I cut elements of the game without mercy. Wood & iron resource management? Too much math - gone. Bases encourage a "turtling" playstyle? Effective, but at great cost to the playtime – dead. A gold economy allows you to buy ships and maneuvers? Too many cards to track - simplify to a single deck. Removed. Nothing was off-limits.
The pieces evolved. The art style changed. A playstyle emerged. People began consistently laughing and having fun – enjoying the game's pace, style, and tone. But most importantly, people wanted to WIN and to play more than once. They wanted to hit their friends with the insane combos of maneuvers that they had seen played in games prior, or unleash that level 9 maneuver they'd been saving all game and didn't get to play. They didn't see a homebrew experiment anymore, they just saw a game and how they wanted to play it.
2 years after failing miserably, I was at PDX Age and had a table playtesting two games at once (8 players) with a small group of people watching. Everyone was yelling and screaming – completely lost in the experience and having a blast.
I knew it was ready.
With 3 ways to win and no ties allowed,
The Battle of Fleets & Fortunes is the ultimate experience for any cunning strategist and aspiring pirate.
Command Your Fleet
Command a fleet of ships and attempt to conquer territories, capture privateers, battle giant squids, and defeat rival players.
Upgrade custom-designed ship pieces with replaceable flags and build a strong, formidable fleet via combat.
Players battle with a simple rolling mechanic that’s easy to learn and exciting to execute. As ships increase in power so too do the amount dice thrown to determine attack outcomes.
Explore & Expand
When the game begins, random destinations throughout the board are unexplored and waiting to be discovered. As players capture territories, destroy giant squids, and reveal new areas, the game’s rules automatically shift from Explore and Expand to Take No Prisoners.
The Game Changes
With the Take No Prisoners rules in effect, the truce amongst all players ends and the battle royale is on. Players are free to attack, sabotage, and otherwise undermine each other.
Your path to victory? Obtain three Level 9 ships... or be the last player alive.
Execute quick turns of moving, attacking, upgrading, and drawing. A rhythm so natural, that you'll be a master mid-game of your first playthrough.
5 X 8 PLAYER SHEET • TURN SEQUENCE & STATS (Front)
Fleets & Fortunes took a major leap forward when I could explain the rules in 5 minutes and walk away and just let it run. People rarely had questions anymore, and when they did, I referred them to the rule book where they always found answers. The rolling worked. The player sheets made sense. I made fans at my regular meet-up and found people eager to introduce the game to new players.
The game worked mechanically– but beyond that, it was fun. Really fun.
5 X 8 PLAYER SHEET • COMBAT RULES LIGHT (BACK)
Play epic, card-based abilities to improve your odds in battle, or sneakily modify enemy engagements to your advantage. Brutal combinations of maneuvers await any player with a sharp eye and strategic mind. Many maneuvers can be played during enemy player turns, encouraging alliances between rivals to take down common enemies.
All Deck Maneuvers are restricted by a "Required Ship Level." A player must control at least one ship with a level greater than or equal to the level of the maneuver in order to be able to play it. This simple mechanic allows the power of the maneuvers to rise with the pace of the players.
Played exclusively by the player taking their turn, each of the 25 Command Maneuver is one of kind – offering bonuses of attack dice, tactical advantages, and chance.
As ships increase in power, so too do the power maneuvers a controlling player can play – offering greater offensive advantages and combo options.
As the first level 9 ships emerge, the game's tone intensifies. Maneuvers continue to increase in power with substantial attack dice bonuses and unique mechanics.
Playable at the start of any engagement (friendly or enemy) Engagement Maneuvers help tilt the scales of battle to your favor.
Pile on at key moments to ensure victory or sabotage would-be attackers and turn the tables on your enemeis. The choice is yours.
Playable at the end of any engagement (friendly or enemy), Aftermath Maneuvers thrive on chaos & destruction, offering last chance thrills and unique defensive options.
Engagement & Aftermath maneuvers give every player a reason to be engaged in the game at all times. Even if a player isn't attacking your ship, you can still play a maneuver before/after any player's engagement - allowing offense actions even when your ships aren't in play.
Once captured, each territory yields a specific territory maneuver. Unlike deck maneuvers, Territory maneuvers are able to be redrawn and replayed making them a powerful asset to any player.
Veterans of the game will look to control territories that brought them success in the past – especially when paired with key deck maneuvers.
As the game enters its final act, all players may be down to a single ship each. Every roll matters, every maneuver counts, and every bonus is crucial. But only one player can win and there are no ties.
With three victory conditions to win, The Battle of Fleets & Fortunes is the ultimate experience for any cunning strategist and aspiring pirate.
Make Some Enemies
Command a fleet of ships and take on 2, 3, or 4 players in 60 to 90 minutes.
In the Box
1 Game Board
1 Rule Book
4 Player Sheets
70 Maneuvers Cards
60 Ship Tokens
50 Battle Tokens
30 Territory Markers
IF YOU'RE THINKING OF
DESIGNING A BOARD GAME
Do it. I learned so much about design and how to create something others would want – it was unlike any design challenge I've ever taken on. I learned tough lessons about how to say no to good ideas, how to separate subjective feedback from objective feedback, and how to find the polished center.
My special thanks to all those who played at My Father's Place in east Portland. It was an experience I will be forever grateful for.
MEET THE DESIGNER
Explore the career of artist, designer, & creative problem solver Aaron Mebesius.
Meet the Designer
Majin Planet: Origin of a Designer
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