King of Acrana's annual ship race Plot in Red Sunrise | World Anvil

King of Acrana's annual ship race

WIP (sort of) I had to hurry this to the finish line of Adventure April, it doesn't look like a nice article , but I think the game is playable! Please let me know if something is unclear.

The King of Acrana's annual ship race is coming up, the route is just published, this year it is 144 miles, with plenty of challenges along the way, from reefs to treasures and from coast guard inspections to pirates. Hoist the sails and try to be the first to reach the finish line and win the king's honours!



The King of Acrana's annual ship race is a board game where the (2 to 8) players move around their ships (1 to 3) over 144 squares. The players decide how many miles (squares) their ship can move based on the cards in their hand. When landing on special squares, they may need to roll a dice to find out the outcome.



The pawns that are moved around the board are ships. Every player can have 1, 2 or 3 ships. Depending on how fast you want to play the game, and how much tactics you want to involve. When playing with multiple ship's the group of ships of a single player is called a flotilla.

Players can play for themselves. Or players can team up against other teams and combine their ships into fleets.


Flotilla/Fleet rules

Do you sail with a flotilla of 2 or 3 ships? Then you may divide the number of squares your card entitles you to move any way you like across those ships.

If you team up with another player to form a fleet, then you may divide the number of squares your card entitles you to move, between your and their ship, but one of your own ships should at least move 1 square. Unless all your ships have made it safe to the finish.
If all your ships are stuck in a situation that requires you to skip a turn, you must use one of your cards to sail backwards with a ship from your fleet partner.



A standard deck of cards is used. Every player starts with 5 cards. After all 5 cards are played, a new round of 4 cards is dealt from the remaining cards, until the whole deck is used. Then the deck is reshuffled by the player to the left of the first dealer and again each player gets 5 cards and after 4.

The cards indicate the number of squares a player may move their ship.

  • A - 1 or Cast your lines.
  • 2 - 2
  • 3 - Over the edge you go!
  • 4 - 4
  • 5 -5
  • 6 -6 forward, or 6 backwards of an opponent
  • 7- 7
  • 8 - 8
  • 9 - 9
  • 10 - 10
  • J - Becalmed, stay in your square
  • Q - 12
  • K - Cast your lines, you may leave the dock, and set your ship on it's journey.
  • Cards based on number of players

    Split the deck of cards along the four suits.

  • 2 players = 2 suits in the deck (26 cards)
  • 3 players = 3 suits in the deck (39 cards)
  • 4 players = 4 suits in the deck (52 cards) (one normal deck)
  • 5 players = 5 suits in the deck (65 cards)
  • 6 players = 6 suits in the deck (78 cards)
  • 7 players = 7 suits in the deck (91 cards)
  • 8 players = 8 suits in the deck (104 cards)(two normal decks)
  • Over the Edge

    Any square that touches the sea edge of the board (so not the ones touching land) can be left 'by sailing over the edge' and appearing in another square that is on the edge of the board.

    If you have a 3 card, you can use it to step on the edge next to the square you are on. Then you role a d6 dice twice, the number that you roll, for example a 1 and a 2 will show you where you can step on the board again. on this board these numbers are indicated as 1-2


    Special squares

    The special squares are:
  • Ship yard
  • Reefs
  • Weather
  • Mutiny
  • Coast guard
  • To port
  • Sirens
  • Kraken
  • broken compass
  • Battle

    You've landed on a square that already is filled by an opponent's ship.
    You decide to attack!

    The attacker roles a d6. And the result of the battle is found with the following table:

  • 1. You sink their ship! They go back to their home port and have to restart the game.

  • 2. They sink your ship! You go back to your home port and have to restart the game.
  • 3. You chace them out of the square! They move back 1 square.
  • 4. They chace you out of the square! You move back 1 square.
  • 5. You beat them! You move 2 squares forward.
  • 6. They beat you! They move 2 squares forward.
  • Fleet/Flotilla

    No battle will come between ship's part of the same Fleet or Flotilla.


    Battle in the pirate zone

    If the ship you are attacking is under attack by the pirates, congratulations you are now under attack by the pirates too.

    If the pirates are busy with another ship, they are now alerted by your presence and come attack you if you roll 1, 3 or 5 in the battle. If you roll 4 or 6 they will attack the other ship that first could've passed undetected. (if any of the ships had coast guard protection, the Coat Guard ran away)



    Two ships who are part of the same flotilla can form a blockade. They do so by occupying the same square. If there is a blockade no other ship can pass that square.

    Players who are stuck behind a blockade have to discard a card from their hand, every turn, until they can pass.

    Fleet partners cannot pass a blockade.

    A players third ship can pass a blockade.



    Two ship's of the same fleet, but from different players, can occupy the same square. Other players can pass this convoy, it does not function as a blockade. But in the case of battle. The options 2 and 6 cannot be rolled by the attacker. In case of the result being 4 or 5, this counts for all ship's in the convoy.


    If player A, adds a ship to a square with a ship of player B, to form a convoy. He cannot also create a blockade by adding a second ship from his flotilla.


    Special squares

    When arriving on a special square, roll a d6 and find out what the result is in the tables below.

    Ship yard

  • 1. Oh no! You got scammed by a corrupt shipyard manager, trow away One of the cards in your hand
  • 2. Any damage you gained got repaired.
  • 3. You cleaned your hull, +1 step on one of the cards remaining in your hand.
  • 4. Fire! Those horrible dockworkers managed to set your beautiful vessel ablaze. Discard all the cards left in your hand.
  • 5. New sails! 2x +1 on the cards left in your hand.
  • 6. You've installed stu'ns'ls 2x +4 on the cards left in your hand
  • Reef

  • 1. You've run aground, who was the look out on duty? You have to wait for the next high tide. Discard all the cards left in your hand.
  • 2. You scraped the reef, -1 step on 1 of the cards left in your hand.
  • 3. You've steered clear of the shallows, and can continue your way with nothing more then a scare.
  • 4. You've breached your hull, all hands to the pumps! Luckily you managed to stay afloat, -1 step on 3 cards left in your hand.
  • 5. You've found a narrow passage trough the reef that proofs to be a shortcut, go 6 squares forward.
  • 6. You got ship wrecked, luckily you survived and with the longboat you managed to get home. Go back to your home port.
  • Coast Guard

  • 1. your paper work is not in order, discard one of the cards from your hand
  • 2. Based on our account, the coast guards manages to sink one of the pirate vessels! The pirates are down a ship from their previous number (Unless there was one pirate left, then they manage to escape the coast guard)
  • 3. You managed to pursuay the coast guard to escort you trough the pirate waters. You can pass squares 66, 92, or 122 undedetected, one time.
  • 4. The coast guard found your ship in extraordinary condition, and you may hoist a flag showing off your good quality. You can pass, zones 49, 83 or 106 without coast guard inspection
  • 5. The coast guard mistakes you for pirates, and chase you over the edge! Roll 2d6 to find out where you end up.
  • 6. What is this, are you smuggling? A big fine for you! Discard all the cards in your hand.
  • Weather

  • 1. The wind is turning, but it turn's to your stern quarter, adjust those sails, and fly along on this favourable breeze! 2 times +2 on the cards in your hand.
  • 2. Doll-drums, you are stuck in a pocket without wind, the sea is like a mirror, not even the slightest movement of air. Discard one card from your hand.
  • 3. Fog, You can't see where you're going, to stay safe you slow down. -5 on a card in your hand.
  • 4. Sun, burning sun. The sailors turn bright red, it's unbearable to be on deck day time. Discard a card from your hand.
  • 5. Typhoon! The wind has wept up a storm of gigantic proportions. You and your crew mates bunker down below, waiting for it to pass. After you can safely be on deck again, you've found that the storm has blown you back 2d6 squares.
  • 6. The current is strong, but heading the right way. +5 on a card in your hand.
  • Harbour

  • 1. You are racing, no time to stop in harbour. +/- 0.
  • 2. Your crew has returned to the ship drunk. They can't operate the sails. Discard a card in your hand.
  • 3. You managed to buy new sails! You will go faster now. +2 on 2 cards in your hand.
  • 4. Sabotage! An opponent has sneaked onboard your ship and has damaged the sails. -2 on 2 cards in your hand.
  • 5. Your crew is well rested, you have fresh foods on board, morale is excellent. +1 on 3 cards in your hand.
  • 6. You end up in a fight with the Harbour master over some certificate. He has detained your ship, discard all the cards in your hand.
  • Mutiny

    Captain what have you done? The crew has rebelled against you.
  • 1. Luckily most of the crew stands with you and together you quickly have the trouble makers keel hauled. -4 on a card in your hand in lost time.
  • 2. You've been detained to your cabin. Discard all the cards in your hand.
  • 3. Swords and Pistols. Battle on deck. Who is with whom no one knows. When the sun sets you find yourself still standing. All the mutineers have died. Discard 2 cards.
  • 4. You are leading the munity! Wait what? but you are the captain? Don't play role play games on the ship! you got everyone confused.
  • 5. The Boatswain has sniffed out the trouble makers and made sure to give them the hardest jobs where he can keep an eye on them. They are to tired to continue the mutiny. You the captain remain unaware. +/- 0
  • 6. A sword to the guts while you were sleeping, such an ungentle-man way to die. Return to your home port and restart the race.
  • Broken compass

  • 1. Ha you are a well prepared captain, the spare compass is under your bed, you have it installed in no time. No loss.
  • 2. Who needs a compass when you have the sun and the stars? just takes a minute to teach it to your helms man. -1 step on one of the cards in your hand.
  • 3. What now? You cannot sail without compass! Discard all the cards in your hand.
  • 4. The boatswain is a magician. An iron nail floating on a piece of wood in a bowl of soup seems to be working too. You better not report him to the church for witch craft. -2 on a card in your hand as it takes a moment before the bos'n has his contraption working.
  • 5. Your incompetent first mate doesn't even notice your compass is broken! You are lost now. -5 on 2 cards in your hand.
  • 6. Compass? a true captain doesn't need no compass. When the mates don't look you secretly check your pocket compass to keep the ship on course. -1 on a card in your hand.
  • Siren

  • 1. You've read the notes on the back of the chart, writing by your great grand father who has sailed these waters many years ago. The ears of your crew are filled with wax, you are tied to the mast. you passed the Sirens safely.
  • 2. The singing, it sounds awe full. These are not the sirens from the stories. To get away from this noise as fast as possible your crew trim the sails just so that you gain a knot. +2 on a card in your hand.
  • 3. It's amazing the sound so pure. you rest your elbows on the bulwark, head in your hands and you relax and listen. Discard all the cards in your hand.
  • 4. Your crew goes wild, but you, you don't like singing or music or fun. Stoic you hold the helm, stare straight ahead. And keep course. +/- 0
  • 5. Luck is on your side captain, it's raining, the sound of the rain drowns out all other sounds, you don't even notice the singing.
  • 6. Succes! For the sirens. You're caught in their song, and your ship has run on the rocks. Head back to your home port and restart the race.
  • Treasure

  • 1. Your crew spent the whole day digging hole after hole, but your treasure map turned out to be a fake, you lost a day sailing, discard one card of your hand.
  • 2. It's a map of the reef! It shows a short cut, Automatically roll a 5 on the next reef square you land.
  • 3. silver! Silver coins. It's not a big box, but it is treasure! +2 on the next card you play.
  • 4. You found the treasure! It is Rum. Your crew is too drunk to sail, discard 2 cards from your hand.
  • 5. Gold! A huge box full of gold! 2x +2 on the cards left in your hand
  • 6. Diamonds! A large chest full of gem stones. Draw two extra cards from the deck, to be played this turn.
  • Navy

  • 1. the navy press ganged half your crew, discard 2 cards
  • 2. WAR, the navy attacks your opponents ships, move all their ships back 4 squares. (if any ship lands in a special square, they first have to play that square playing their next card)
  • 3. The pirate problem is costing the government to much income in taxes, the navy has wiped all the pirates out. (pirates regain one ship next reshuffle of the deck)
  • 4. Is your spyglass foggy? Did you not see the flags? you sailed into a gunnery exercise and lost your main sail. -2 on all cards left in your hand.
  • 5. You're a proud captain and will not let that navy frigate over take you! You are faster. Doesn't matter you are sailing the wrong way, but you will win this race that you've invented in your head! Go back 5 squares
  • 6. You dip your flag in a salute, they dip theirs, nothing happens.
  • Kraken

  • 1. The tentacles raise around your ship from the deep, stunned with fear you watch how the long arms wrap themselves around your ship. Deck planking splinters, ropes break. Your sailors scream. But the beast drags your ship below the waves. Return to your home port and restart the race.
  • 2. Screams from the crow's nest. a ripple has been seen in the water. as fast as possible you turn the helm, to out run the beast. You succeed, but you're manoeuvres has cost you valuable time in the race. -2 on 3 cards in your hand.
  • 3. You're sailors man the guns as the tentacles rise from the water. Shots are fired, water splashes. But the beast retreats. your ship is damaged, but you can continue. -3 on 2 cards in your hand.
  • 4. With your spyglass you see that another ship is dragged below the waves. Luck is with you, as the beast is busy you sneak past. Fear has sped up your crew. +2 on a card in your hand.
  • 5. The tentacles raise around your ship from the deep, stunned with fear you watch how the long arms wrap themselves around your ship. Deck planking splinters, ropes break. Your sailors scream. But the beast drags your ship below the waves. Return to your home port and restart the race.
  • 6. A sacrifice has to be made. you appoint a volunteer to get in the boat and row out to distract the beast while you sail on. The race must go on. The sailors are struggling with their conscious tho and work is slow. -2 on 3 cards in your hand.
  • Pirates

    The pirate area is special, as you can see on the board it spans 9 squares. But at the start of the game there are only 2 pirate vessels.

    Each pirate vessel can only attack one player vessel. The first two players who land in a square in the pirate zone are attacked. Any additional ship that land's in the pirate zone can sneak past.

    If a player rolls 6 on the dice roll to determen the outcome from the pirate-player battle. The pirates gain a ship. With the maximum pirate fleet being 6 ships.

    If all pirates are killed by rolling 3, the pirates gain a single ship the next time the deck of cards is reshuffled.

    Pirate battle dice rolls

  • 1. Shots get fired, you hit their mainsail yard, they hit your rudder, but you manage to escape, -5 steps on on of your cards.
  • 2. After a heavy gun battle, your ship is full of holes, discard 2 cards from your hand.
  • 3. Hurray! You managed to sink the pirate vessel! The pirates now have one ship less. It took a lot of effort, discard all but 1 card from your hand. (or be dealt just one card in the next round if this was your last card)
  • 4. All your sails are shot to shreds, -2 steps on 3 cards in your hand.
  • 5. Boarding! The pirates have made it onto your deck. With swords and pistols you fight them off, half your crew is dead or injured. But you cripple onwards. -3 steps on 4 cards in your hand.
  • 6. You're ship is taken over by the pirates, they pirates now have one more ship. You managed to escape in your longboat, go back to port and start again.
  • The Board

    Cover image: by Johannes Plenio


    Author's Notes

    Thank you those who where in the Discord chat to help me with the ideas.

    Please Login in order to comment!
    May 5, 2023 05:25

    I think a couple things are missing: You never explicitly say how the cards are played. While it can be assumed one at a time I could also see there being optional rules for pairs, 3 of a kind, or straights etc. In that case it would make more sense to draw to replace the played cards as opposed to waiting for everyone to play their hand, it also would add an additional layer of strategy that may not be desired though.   Also the rules for special squares say "when arriving" which to me reads as they take effect even if you are just passing through, as opposed to only having an effect when you land on them.   Lastly, I'm assuming one wins by being the first to get their entire fleet to the last square, but I would include a "Winning the Game" section, just to be explicit about it.   All that being said, great job in getting this fleshed out as much as you did.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.