Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Mediterranean Convoy - a complete minimalist game

 Mediterranean Convoy

About 10 years ago I whipped up this game for a minimalist game contest. 21 pieces were the big constraint. It resulted in some really creative games, this one is Stratego-like but doesn't have the fluidity and intricacy of Pacific Convoy or Doomstar (latter published on STEAM 2015 as video game).

This is a copyrighted work. All rights reserved.

This game represents the situation in 1941 in the Mediterranean Sea, when Allies and Axis both were convoying through the same area, Allies to Malta, Axis to Africa.


5 rows by 7 columns long-rectangular grid filling a 10" by 10" surface (players sit on the "5" sides).

21 plastic pieces each 2 by 1.16 inches (fit the individual rectangles of the board):

10 pieces per side, colored blank red or blue on one side.  On the other side:

Cruiser, three Destroyers, four Merchant ships, two Submarines

One piece, "Air Strike" on both sides, red on one side, blue on other


Flip the Air Strike piece to determine first mover.  First mover sets up first.  Partially conceal the Air Strike piece under the board.

Set up with seven ships in the row closest to you, three anywhere in next row, all face down (owning player can look whenever desired).

Game End, and Winning:

A player wins when one of his/her Merchant ships is in the row furthest away.

If all Merchant ships of one player are destroyed, the player who still has at least one Merchant ship wins.

If a position on the board is repeated three times consecutively (same as Chess rule), the game ends and pieces are all revealed.  The player with a Merchant closer to their goal wins; if same, then the one with more surviving Merchants wins; if same, the game is a draw.

Sequence of Play:

Move one piece at a time, players alternate.  A piece can move one orthogonally (up, down, and sideways), not diagonally.  Only one piece may be in a rectangle except when one player attacks the other.  A player must move a piece (except when using Air Strike).

When a ship moves into the same rectangle as an enemy ship (attacks), both are revealed and stay revealed remainder of game.

When the moving ship (attacker) cannot destroy the target, the attacker bounces back to where it started the turn.

When ships are same type, both are destroyed, except when both are Merchants, then the moving ship bounces back to where it started the turn.

A Cruiser eliminates anything when attacking anything except a Submarine.

A Destroyer eliminates a Merchant or Submarine.

A Submarine eliminates a Merchant or Cruiser.

A Merchant eliminates nothing.

Air Strike:

Instead of moving a piece, a player may call in an Air Strike, only once per game per player.  Choose one rectangle in any of the two rows farthest from you.  The Air Strike destroys whatever ship is there!

Also, reveal the Air Strike piece and turn it face up for the player who hasn't used his/her Air Strike.  When that one is also used, put the piece underneath the board.

Optional Rules (can be used together or separately):

1. Flip the Air Strike piece (like flipping a coin) when both ships are the same type (other than Merchants, which still bounce), color shows winner, other ship is eliminated.

2. Flip when Air Strike is called in, Strike succeeds only when calling player's color results.

3. Treat the board's center square as land, impassable to any ship.

4. (Radical change).  When the attacker can be destroyed by the target, then it is eliminated rather than bouncing.

5.  Play with three Merchants and three Submarines per side.  One Merchant piece is marked so that it can be a Submarine for this option.  This piece can be used for other combinations, for example as a second Cruiser or fourth Destroyer along with three Merchants.

6. A ship cannot move backwards (toward its player)!

7.  When a Merchant attacks another Merchant, both are eliminated.

8.  When a Destroyer attacks a Submarine, flip the Air Strike piece.  If the color of the Submarine comes up, the Sub survives and Destroyer bounces.

Further playtesting should solidify rules, and may show that one or more of the Optionals must be used in the standard.

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