Shipbuilding Playtest 1


Friday we had a couple people over and rolled out our new shipbuilding game, very tentatively called Timber & Tackle. In the game you control a shipyard in one of seven major European cities in the 17th Century. The gameplay surrounds a couple unique mechanics:

  • A victory point-monopoly awarded every round across four ship-tonnage categories. This award is half-blind, as you add the constantly upgraded port developments to per-round ship builds. So there is an element of surprise every round in what each player has chosen to build.
  • Actions take place based on turn cards with one major and choice between two minor actions. You can add turn cards (and perhaps lose them too) throughout the game to add turn choice and be able to plan your turns accordingly.
  • The player boards take you through a rough approximation of the historical development of the port in that city with benefits and

The game is designed to be mid-weight and we are once again aiming for a large player count, with at least 7 players, so this requires economy of action and time each round so the game doesn't get unwieldy.


  • The right people were playing and have offered great feedback. Not afraid to work through some play-test issues.
  • The game was enjoyed!
  • Although there were some issues with the main game mechanic (monopoly-award), there was at least one moment that captured the goal of the mechanic: "What!? You built whaling boats too! No way. Ughhh." Nice to see.
  • The theme seemed enjoyable. Obviously, we've done a wee bit of work with the design/art already to convey a bit of the shipbuilding theme, and MUCH more remains to be done, but it was a good start.
  • M&M's, BBQ chips, Ginger Ale, and (as it happened) a boy's night. No- this has nothing to do with the game itself. Still positive. LOL

Needs Work

  • Not sure drafting of agents adds much to the game. Need to think it through.
  • Guild and crown cards need to be differentiated
  • Decided to make income based on the every-round port development tonnage, rather than the tonnage built out of your hand.
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