Sunday 16 June 2019

'Gronk' or 'Palaeo Diet: All at Sea'

Last month Kurt Bowker posted something pretty great on the Ganesha Games/Song of Blades and Heroes Friendface pageGronk, a whale hunting version of Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten. I have meant to share his ideas here for a couple of weeks now, but just haven't had a chance to post them up.

In Kurt's own words:

I had been playtesting my reskin of Ganesha Games "Paleo diet, kill or be eaten" (paleolithic hunting game) called 'Gronk!' about a year or so ago. Gronk is paleolithic or later tribal whale hunting. Skin boats and spears with wood floats. I had gotten 2 or 3 games in hunting just a whale with two boat crews. Taking notes. I had meant to start adding other sea creatures and work on the rules more but other things took up my time.

Joe Knight has been wanting to playtest the rules himself so after our Roman Civil War game we set up a Gronk playtest. We had two rival islands, one Maori and one Melanesian sitting on opposite sides of a sea channel rich in sealife.

Joe had a lot of great suggestions we incorporated into the game. One was hidden sealife. We used 5 (?) markers to represent 'signs' of sealife that we could investigate with our boats to see what they were if they didn't move. If they were revealed we rolled for what kind of sealife it was, then took action to hunt them down and tow them back to our respective islands.

We had to make stats on the fly starting with my Stats for my big sperm whale, then his smaller whale, then a pod of Orcas and then Sharks. The size of the sealife is represented by a 'bulk' number. This number is how much food they will create. It is also the level of their health. The more bulk, the more wounds it takes to kill, but the more it will feed the hungry villagers.

So the game was a competition between the islands to see who could collect the most points in 'bulk' of food before the game ended. We have not incorporated rules for attacking each other or stealing each others catches. Not yet anyways.

One thing about Paleolithic hunting, weather on land or sea, the prey can sometimes fight back and be very deadly.

This game was a wild ride of all kinds of crazy! I managed to wound two sharks but Joe was able to kill them and tow them back to his island. He thus had 12 bulk points of food.

I had several crewman get knocked overboard. One drowned and another was eaten by a shark that Joe antagonized! (You bastard!)

In one attack, from a Whale's tail, I also took a wound to my canoe. The boats can take two wounds and then they sink.

I had to return to the island to get another crewman. (We had six, three on the island and three going out on the boat)

Finally my luck turned briefly. I killed the small whale! "Whale Ho!' and towed it back to my island. I had help killing the whale in that it was attacked twice by a wounded shark!

So now I had 10 bulk points and Joe had 12. There was only the one shark left and we chased after it! Joe's boat was handicapped as one of his men drowned. It was a crazy race from one side to the other and back again, both of us trying to get that last wounded shark and win the game.

I was attacked by the shark and had a man go overboard and get eaten. Joe then drifted up on the beast and killed it. Three shark bodies hung from his village palms, worth 18 points.

The Maori Shark clan had earned their dinner!