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West Kingdom trilogy makers return to the North Sea to remake the board game that started it all

Righting the shipwrights.

Shipwrights of the North Sea Redux Kickstarter screenshot
Image credit: Garphill Games

How many of us wish we could go back and do it all again with the experience of the intervening years to better guide us? Aotearoa-based board game designer Garphill Games has fully seized that opportunity by launching a crowdfunding campaign for upcoming board game Shipwrights of the North Sea: Redux.

Shipwrights of the North Sea introduced the Kickstarter community to Garphill Games duo Shem Phillips and S J Macdonald in 2014, along with what would be the beginning of the studio’s Medieval Trilogies - four planned trios of board games following the four cardinal directions and each drilling down into a different core mechanic. Looking back at the original campaign shows just how far along the production, design and signature style of artist Mihajlo Dimitrievski has progressed.

It seems Phillips and the team feel the same, as he wrote on the campaign page that “it feels great to finally be returning to where it all began - to recreate my original concept for Shipwrights, with nine more years of game design experience.”

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Shipwrights of the North Sea: Redux is a fully redesigned game that Garphill claims feels much closer to the studio’s house style and feel on the table. Many of the thematic elements and overarching goals remain intact: players push to collect the most victory points by the end of the game by constructing longships, various buildings, amassing both jarls and heroes to their Viking-era settlement and hoarding valuable gold from conquest and raids.

This new version will support three to five players, along with a “no-fuss solo mode” that boasts four AI opponents, including several at once for the brave or masochistic. Over five rounds, players will draft villagers cards into their deck, gradually sporting a workforce able to construct the largest ships in the North Sea while also investing resources in three separate progress tracks.

The North Sea trilogy continued with Raiders and Explorers, along with a tabletop RPG tie-in. Garphill Games then moved on to developing the West Kingdom trilogy and is currently about halfway through the dice-focused South Tigris. Each of these complex and tightly designed titles have proven Garphill’s bona fides (and are personal favourites of mine), so seeing them return to the beginning of this massive project is an exciting prospect.

The Kickstarter campaign for Shipwrights of the North Sea: Redux runs through July 12th, and backers can pick up a physical copy for NZ$74/ US$45/ €42. Garphill Games currently estimates the first print run will go out to backers in February of next year.

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

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Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.
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