Sailboat Regatta

Players 2-10
Length 60 minutes
Equipment Required standard piecepack
Designer ClarkRodeffer
Version 1.0.0
Version Date 2003-01-26
License originally GNU Free Documentation License 1.1, re-licensed CC BY 4.0


Sailboat Regatta is a tactical sailboat racing game for 2 to 10 players (or up to 14 if your piecepack has 8 suits).


Reviews & Comments

Further play testing on version 0.1.2B has revealed a (fixable) flaw in that the bottleneck created by the NE marker buoy is too tight, and navigation around it is too difficult. A few possible changes to the tableau and buoy positioning are currently undergoing more play testing. A big "THANK YOU" to the play testers for pointing out the problem. -- ClarkRodeffer

The NE buoy bottleneck has been loosened, and several other comments from play testing have been implemented in version 1.0.0 to improve the playability. One complaint was that the game, as originally written, could become long and tedious with less than four players. To speed things up, all four dice may now be rolled (and potentially used) to sail your boats. The additional choices offered by rolling four dice actually increases the tactical possibilities while simultaneously reducing the luck factor. In an effort to improve theme integration, I have also changed some of the wording to be more in-line with common sailing terminology. Thanks again to the play testers, and as always, I am interested in any players' experiences. -- ClarkRodeffer

I've played the game twice so far, once solo and a two player game. The first time I didn't realize the diagonal movement from the wind was required, so the lap was quite easy and even then I enjoyed the game. But the second time, after I finished translating the rules to Spanish, we played with the correct rules. I must say the game became much more difficult, and I enjoyed it much more.

This game has been compared to Parcheesi and Backgammon. I must say that it's a bit unfair (especially comparing it to Parcheesi) because this game is more complex and interesting (to me) than both. Backgammon is all about probabilities, and Parcheesi about luck, but Sailboat Regata has a lot of tactical play and interesting decisions. The seemingly simple circuit has some tough parts where you have to decide to risk it and possibly make a fast turn (I'm talking about the NE buoy) or play it safe but spend some turns maneuvering. Of course, risking it might not be so profitable if the needed 5 doesn't show up or if someone lands on top of your boat...

I also think that this game manages to feel like the real thing, especially when you're fighting the constant wind to the NW, trying to move your boat East or South without going out of bounds.

Ultimately, the game is mostly about taking the most advantage of your die rolls while at the same time trying to hinder the other players with your movement (and not be hindered by them). It's nice that landing on another boat doesn't mean starting again (I hate that...) so it's not so bad, you just concentrate on the other boats that turn...

There's just one thing that might become a problem: In our game, I managed to end the lap with all my boats except one (stuck in the NE turn waiting for a five). My opponent had a boat on top of mine and I couldn't move. If she would have been very "unsporting" :) she would have just moved all her boats easily to the end, securing them before releasing me, thankfully she didn't but that meant a win for me (4 dice and 1 boat angainst 4 dice and 3 boats to move). In a two player game it's ok because the players can agree to "fast forward" to the future and just play the duel, but in a multiplayer game it might be a pain for the player that has to wait there... Maybe a solution would be, like in Parcheesi, that you have to release someone if you roll doubles? :)

Anyway, I really like the game, and the fact that it has short rules but not so simple gameplay makes it perfect for my Spanish piecepack sets (soon to be released!)


Thank you for your kind words about my game, Jorge, and thank you for translating it. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that you felt it captured the feel of a regatta. Believe it or not, an earlier version of the game (as play tested by some of the people credited at the end) was somewhat of a disaster due to the NE buoy being too tight to turn at all. I changed the tile layout as a result of their comments, and while it's still a very tough turn, it's much more open now than it was before. And with four dice, odds are good that you'll roll a five within a couple of turns. The key to negotiating the NE turn successfully is, as you found out, timing it such that your opponents will not have a chance to blanket you. --ClarkRodeffer

Well, the NE buoy is still a challenge, I'm glad I didn't have to play the harder version of the rules :) --JorgeArroyo


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