Aquamarine: First Impressions

Aquamarine game sheet

Aquamarine game overview

Print-and-play roll-and-write games have become very popular recently on Kickstarter. Postmark Games led the way with this trend with their first game, Voyages, where you navigate a ship around a hexagon-filled map. Now Postmark Games have released their second print-and-play game titled Aquamarine. In Aquamarine, you dive below the ocean surface to make discoveries and, most importantly, score the highest number of points! 

Setting up the game

Aquamarine is played on a single game sheet you print yourself. The only other components you need are a pair of d6 dice and a writing utensil. On the game sheet, a grid of squares is overlaid on top of a cross-sectional illustration of the ocean. In this illustration, you will find an assortment of underwater discoveries, including coral, sea creatures, and sunken ships. You start on the ocean’s surface from one of three ships and dive down through the ocean depths, making discoveries that earn you points.

To begin a game of Aquamarine, you first roll a d6 die to determine what time of day it is. Time of day is important in this game because you can only make certain discoveries during the day or night. After determining the time of day, you’re ready to start playing!

Rolling dice and drawing shapes

Every round, you roll two d6 dice and select the value of one. The value you choose determines what you can do on your turn. All players will use the results from the same dice and take their turns simultaneously. 

Using the value of the die you select, and starting from one of the ships on the ocean’s surface, you draw squares or rectangles equal to the die’s value on the game sheet. For example, if the die value you select is a 4, you could draw a 2×2 square or a 1×4 rectangle. In addition, the shapes you draw must always connect to your previously drawn shape. Drawing specific shapes is crucial because you need to enclose ocean discoveries in these shapes to score points. 

There is still a little more info you should know about selecting which die value you want. If you choose the lower number value, your turn works as described above. However, if you select the higher number value, you must subtract the difference between the two values from your air supply. Run out of air, and you must give up on your current dive and start a new one. You can take one dive from each of the three ships during the game. Lastly, rolling doubles is extra special as it lets you add two to your die value and draw an irregular shape, which can be handy for maneuvering around the game sheet grid.

Aquamarine completed game
These are examples of the types of shapes you can draw in Aquamarine. The irregular shapes can only be drawn when you roll doubles.

Earning points for your discoveries

There are a variety of discoveries you can make during a game of Aquamarine, and each one of them scores points differently. Flags give you a set number of points, fish shoals give you an increasing number of points depending on how many fish you enclose in a single shape, and shipwrecks give you various bonuses to choose from. In addition, stingrays and cuttlefish each give you 5 points, but they can only be seen during the day and night, respectively. 

The game ends after 24 rounds or when all players complete three dives. You then tally up points, and whoever has the highest number of points wins!

Additional information

Player count: 1 to 100 players

Playing time: 20 to 30 minutes

Complexity: Low

Price: £4.00

Link to BoardGameGeek page

Aquamarine completed scoring
All of the different scoring options can be seen at the bottom of this picture.

First impressions: Another print-and-play hit!

I’ve been having a lot of fun with all of the print-and-play games that have been released recently, and Aquamarine is no exception! I love polyomino games, and Aquamarine feels like a polyomino game in a roll-and-write form. Fitting the shapes I draw together and enclosing discoveries is fun and satisfying. During one game, I rolled doubles a bunch of times in a row, which let me enclose a lot of discoveries by drawing unique shapes.

Tracking your air supply is fun

Trying to keep your dive going before running out of air is a lot of fun too! There is often an exciting choice of choosing between using the lower value die or the higher value die. The higher value die lets you dive farther and potentially enclose more discoveries, but you’ll run out of air quicker. 

Vibrant artwork

I also am delighted by the vibrancy of the artwork on the game sheets. The sheets are bright and colorful, which gives the game a lot of table presence, despite it being just a single sheet of paper. 

A variety of scoring options

All of the different scoring options provide you with a variety of strategies to go for during the game. Should I go for the flags, which simply provide a lot of points, or should I explore the shipwrecks, which have powerful bonuses? I could also go for some combination of both! The scoring options all feel equally viable, and one is not better than the other.

Additional maps

I also need to mention that I’ve only played the first map for Aquamarine, and a second one is available that adds a few new twists to the game. There is a third map in development with potentially more on the way. All of the maps are included with the game at no additional cost.

Final thoughts

Overall, I’m excited that more and more print-and-play games like Aquamarine are being released. I find them very satisfying, and the distribution model feels more reliable in our current environment.

This post is part of my First Impressions series, where I discuss my initial thoughts on new tabletop games I have been playing. Click here to read my previous entry in this series: ROVE.


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