This page implements an interactive board for playing a sailing race game. The game mechanics mimic the board game "Race the Wind", with minor modifications. Note that what you have here is a barebones playing board along with the rules description below. This lets you play the game with your friends using a single computer or tablet. No network play or single-player option is provided - there is as much functionality here as you would expect from a single evening's worth of work. You are welcome to contribute functionality at the corresponding github repository.
The board has basic functionality to help you follow the core rules of the game, but it does not enforce them too strictly, so you are free to try your own variations.
The rules assume the reader knows basic sailing terms and in general are rather sketchily written, because, as noted above, it's one evening's project. Perhaps I'll find more time to improve on that later.
The game is played by 2-4 players. Each player controls a boat in a regatta race. In a two-player game each player can control two boats.
Boats move along the board with the goal to cross the starting line, follow a regatta course, and cross the finish line first. The simplest regatta course requires rounding the buoy at the top of the board (leaving it to the left) and finishing at the starting line. You can of course choose to make more laps or choose a different course completely (the board lets you position the buoys to your liking).
The gameplay is split into turns. In each turn each boat performs some of the allowed actions. Once every boat has performed the actions, a new turn begins. The order in which the boats perform their actions each turn is fixed before the beginning of the game (i.e. first player goes first, then second, etc).
The arrow at the upper right corner shows the wind direction (the one it is blowing at). At the beginning of the game the wind blows "from the top of the board towards the bottom". Some squares on the board have darker or lighter color. The darker squares are "puffs" (regions with more wind), the lighter are "lulls" (regions with less wind). At the beginning of the game they are randomly distributed along the field.
At the end of each turn the wind, puffs and lulls may change. A 6-sided die is thrown - if the result is 1 all puffs and lulls move one space in the wind direction. If the result is 2, wind is rotated 45 degrees left or right (decided with a coinflip), otherwise nothing happens. The board does that automatically whenever the button "End turn" is clicked.
The actions a boat may perform each turn depend on its orientation with respect to the wind. We distinguish five orientations: in the wind (boat's nose pointed against the wind), close reach (boat nose turned 45 degrees away from being against the wind), beam reach (boat is 90 degrees to the wind), broad reach (boat is 45 degrees away from wind direction) and run (boat's direction is the same as the wind).
A boat can skip any actions (either moves or turns) it wants to. It is possible to not do anything at all.
In addition, a boat may wait, letting other players perform their actions before it. Every boat may wait at most once in a given turn. A boat must wait if its actions would otherwise impose a penalty on a second boat which has not yet made its turn (see below).
Whenever a boat moves into a lull, it is automatically stopped and "blocked" there (an "X" token is placed upon it). A blocked boat will skip the next turn - it's only possible action for that turn will be to "unblock" itself by removing the token.
If, at the end of a turn, a lull moves away from under the boat, the block is also automatically removed. Similarly, if a lull moves to the square with a boat, the boat becomes blocked for the upcoming turn.
If a boat ends its action on a puff, and its last action was a move (not a turn), it is entitled to make another move in the same direction. If after that move the boat again ends on a puff, it may take another move forward and so on.
Each boat has its "wind shadow", which is located one square away in the wind direction. If a boat enters a wind shadow of any other boat, it becomes "shadowed". A special "shadow token" will be placed two squares ahead on the current course of the shadowed boat. It acts like a lull, applicable only to that particular boat. The shadow token will be removed whenever a shadowed boat manouvers (i.e. turns instead of moving forward).
Whenever the square a boat A wants to move to is occupied by another boat B, the outcome depends on which of the boats has precedence.
If the players prefer, they may agree on a "proper course" rule: a boat A may only declare penalties for another boat B if B is preventing A from entering a square which A would want to enter even when B was not there. This prevents situations where A would divert from its proper course with the sole purpose of forcing penalties on B. On the other hand, such a rule diminishes some of the tactical aspect of the game a bit.
For each received penalty a boat has to make a full rotation on a single square sometime before the end of the race. The full rotation may take as few as 2 turns (if started on a beam reach, where each turn lets you rotate 180 degrees) or as much as 4 (if the wind rotates unfavourably during the procedure). The player must declare when starting a penalty rotation, and may not move away from the square until the boat returns to the original orientation. The player may receive additional penalties while performing penalty turns.
The following interpretation of the standard sailing precedence rules is used:
Note that, for example, in the following situation (the wind coming from the top) the red boat (unless it is willing to get a penalty) is forced to sail forward without changing course.
When on a broad reach or a beam reach, the boat may exchange its "manouver" action for a "set spinnaker" action. A 6-sided die is thrown and if 1 comes up, the boat becomes blocked. Otherwise, the boat starts carrying a "spinnaker" token. The board provides this functionality via the "spinnaker" button.
A boat with a spinnaker token may not turn into beam or close reach. If a boat ends up in a beam or close reach due to a wind shift, it loses the spinnaker and becomes blocked.
To take down the spinnaker the boat needs to spend its "manouver" action. This is always successful (i.e. no dice thrown).
On a broad reach or a run, a boat with a spinnaker may, instead of the standard actions, take two moves straight.
A "better spinnaker" alternative rule (to be agreed before the game): on a broad reach or a run, a boat with a spinnaker may take a single "bonus" straight move before or after making the standard action. Using the "bonus" move, however, prohibits the boat from changing its tack this turn.
At the beginning the boats are positioned near the starting line. To begin the race they must cross the starting line at turn number 8 or later. If a boat is present at the starting line at turn 6 or 7 it gets a penalty. A boat also gets a penalty if it manouvers (i.e. stays) on the same square for more than two turns in a row before turn 8 (staying for the third turn in a row at the same square at turn number 8 does not result in a penalty).
A boat finishes when it crosses the finish line (i.e. being on the line does not yet constitute a finish). If several boats finish on the same turn, the winner is determined by applying the Precedence Rules above to the boats as they cross the finish line (i.e. making a sharp turn to the wind after crossing the line does not help increase precedence).
Copyright © 2017, Konstantin Tretyakov. This implementation is subject to the GPLv3 license. The text of the rules is subject to CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.
The original Race the Wind game designed by Saverio Robberto and Domenico Troia.