Learn how to play The Shipwreck Arcana in a few easy steps.
The Shipwreck Arcana is about cleverly conveying information. Here's a quick overview of how to play.
Place The Hours card face-up on the table. Place the green score tracker at zero. Place the red doom tracker based on your desired difficulty:
- Zero: Easy
- 2: Normal
- 4: Hard
- 6: Doomed!
Shuffle the deck of arcana cards and place them face-up above The Hours. Deal the top 4 arcana cards face-up to the right of The Hours, forming a row of 5 cards total.
Finally, give each player a set of 7 matching number line tokens, setting aside any unused colors. Dump all 21 black-and-gold fate tokens into the bag and shake it up. Set it within easy reach.
The game is played in turns. While it’s your turn, you are called the active player.
During your turn, you will draw and play fate tokens. The rest of the group will then attempt to predict your hidden fate.
Drawing and playing
Draw fates from the bag until you have 2. Later in the game, you may already be holding a fate from your previous turn, in which case you only draw 1 new fate. Make sure to keep your fate tokens hidden from other players at all times.
Now that you’re holding 2 fates, you must play one of them in front of a card on the table. You can only play on a card if your fates meet its requirements. Make sure to read all 5 cards before playing. Remember that you can only play on The Hours if you are unable to play on any of the other 4 cards in play.
Once you've played, the group must decide whether they want to predict your hidden fate.
They are free to talk amongst themselves as much as they want before deciding to make a prediction, but you should refrain from speaking or revealing anything about your hidden fate.
The group may ask you to change your number line tokens to reflect what they think they've learned. Only change your number line at the group's request, and don't give away information about your fate while doing so, even if the group is headed in the wrong direction. Your number line is an aid for the other players, not yourself.
If the group decides to make a prediction, they'll pick a single value between 1 and 7 and ask you if that is your fate. When asked, reveal your fate and see how they did. A correct prediction is worth 1 point; a failed prediction is worth 1 doom. Either way, your revealed fate is then discarded back to the bag.
If the group doesn't feel they have enough information to make a prediction, hang on to your fate and keep it hidden; you'll need it on your next turn.
Arcana cards fade away over time. At the end of each turn you must check for cards fading.
Each card has a number of moons at the bottom, showing how long it stays around, while each fate has a number of hour marks on its right edge, showing how much of a card’s duration it consumes.
Look at the fates in front of each arcana card. If the sum of the hours from those fates is equal to or greater than the number of moons on that card, the card fades. Discard all fates in front of it back to the bag, flip that card over, and move it below the row of arcana cards. Fill the empty spot with the top card of the arcana deck.
When a card fades, it means you're running out of time. Unless a correct prediction was made this turn, the doom goes up by 2. You should try to avoid making a card fade until you think the group can correctly predict your fate.
Don't forget that while fading can add doom, it does reward you with a power that can help out later.
Now that your turn is over, the player to your left takes their turn, while you get to be part of the group making predictions. If you still have a hidden fate, remember not to accidentally reveal anything about it while discussing things with the group.
YOUR NEXT TURN
If you start a turn with a hidden fate, remember to only draw 1 new fate. When you play a fate, you may not give any indication to the group whether you are playing your new or old fate.
Ending the game
The game ends in victory when the players earn 7 points. If doom reaches 7 first, however, all is lost.