Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Coral Cap Pirates

Ahhhh the Coral Cap Pirates. They may currently be one of my favorite factions in the entire game, but the journey to get there was much rockier than any of the other factions. Initially they weren’t even pirates!

When first ideating expansion material I approach it with mainly one question: “what do I think would be cool or funny to see in the game world we’ve created” And there is one fishy character who has captivated me ever since I first saw him in 2015… Tahm Kench from League of Legends.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Leviathan

My biggest desire for the new 3- and 4-player factions was more interaction, things that mattered for more players at the table more often. Since each piece you place in Ahoy is a potential interaction point I knew they’d need to place more pieces.

From a thematic standpoint I had been interested in exploring a Sea Monster faction and fortunately these things went hand in hand! A monster that grew and was so massive and dangerous that it would block sections of the map was my starting point and this was my first cut.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Shellfire Rebellion

After playing many Blackfish vs Mollusk games I had become much more confident in the viability of alternative factions and felt like I had gained an even deeper understanding of how these factions worked with each other.

For the two player factions it isn't only about having interesting gameplay, it's about being an interesting opponent that will force out interesting gameplay from the enemy.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Blackfish Brigade

Getting to revisit Ahoy wasn’t an opportunity I was expecting to have. This may surprise many but when we originally published Ahoy it was intentionally developed for no further expansion. We wanted Ahoy's rules to be rock solid and dead simple to learn, this meant closing off a lot of design paths would allow for much crazier interactions. Opportunities where the design could spiral into several new things were often cut in favor of a cleaner core experience.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy | Design Diary #3: Trimming the Sails

Every project teaches you something and then taunts you with that knowledge—it whispers, you could always do that part better on the next project! Root taught me that it’s possible that good aids can do more than help players remember rules they already knew, but actually teach large parts of an intricate game: in tests, I often asked players to learn their factions just by reading their player boards, and it paid off. In a perfect world, people could sit down at the table and learn the game without looking at the rulebook or watching a how-to-play video.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy | Development Diary - Diving into Development

The designer, Greg, has already written about the origins of Ahoy and his journeys on the open water.

Today I plan to speedrun you through all of the development — that I can remember — that eventually turned Hyperspace Smuggler into Ahoy. So buckle up, we have a lot to cover!

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy | Designer Diary - Pirates & the Past

I’m so excited to get to reflect on the history of Ahoy this week! In the first part of this piece, I’ll go a bit more into the nitty-gritty of how the game developed between the time I first started conceptualizing and when I turned the prototype over to Nick for development. In the second part, I’ll share a bit about my own life and how it impacted the game’s journey.