AN OCEAN EXPLORING CARD GAME
Ahoy traveler! Welcome aboard the Shadow of Endurance, a replica ship based on Ernest Shackleton's pioneering vessel. We're setting sail for the Antarctic waters -- hope you brought a camera and attentive gaze. This adventure will be full of animals that breach the ocean surface.
As seafaring guides, we like to up the stakes from time to time. Every trip includes a contest that challenges passengers to spot animals along the way and log them in a ship journal. Creatures earn different points based on rarity, from common species like Krill and Crabs to uncommon species like the mighty Blue Whale. The passenger who logs the highest scoring animals will have contributed the most sightseeing value to the trip, and thus earns the title of Breach Master.
Obtaining this title will not be easy! Animals don't surface predictably and your shipmates are looking for sneaky ways to claim your discoveries for themselves. It's all light-hearted fun until we enter the depths of the deck, where sea monsters dwell and environmental degradation is seen.
Think you have what it takes to win the battle of the breach? It's time to play Splash Down!
Splash Down has 89 playing cards and 1 reference card. We recommend looking through the deck before playing for the first time, then starting with the quickplay version to learn the basic rules through experience. Once the flow makes sense, there are several rules variants to spice things up.
30 WHALE CARDS
These are defined by a half (left or right) tail. When correctly paired together, a full whale is formed, and a two-digit point total is revealed in the corner. Species: Minke (x4), Humpback (x4), Sperm (x4), Fin (x4), Right (x4), Sei (x4), Bowhead (x4), Blue (x2).
4 ENDGAME CARDS
These are distinct because of their red and white design and corner X symbols. They cannot be played intentionally, but if any of them are exposed by rule, the game immediately ends. Types: Monster (x1), Warming (x1), Spill (x1), Waste (x1).
29 NON-WHALE CARDS
These are defined as single cards that belong to a species set and contain a “5” or “?” in the upper right corner. Note how most non-whales share a color with a whale. Species: Krill (x5), Crab (x5), Seal (x5), Seabird (x4), Squid (x4), Penguin (x4), Orca (x2).
26 ACTION CARDS
These are distinct because of their black and white design and action-oriented text. Players elect to use them strategically to affect the game. Types: Breach (x5), Block (x4), Study (x4), Scavenge (x4), Net (x3), Steal (x3), Current (x3).
Be the player with the most points on the table when the game concludes. This player earns the title of "Breach Master." See scoring for more details. There are 2 ways the game can end:
ANY 1 ENDGAME EXPOSED
This condition only happens if a player causes it to surface during the game
ALL 5 BREACHES PLAYED
Eventually, this condition will happen, but an endgame card may be exposed first
Sort through the deck and remove the following cards from play: 4 Endgame, 4 Study, 4 Bowhead, 2 Orca, 3 Net, 2 Blue, and 1 Breach. Temporarily pull out the remaining 4 Breach cards, shuffle the deck, deal 4 cards to each player, and shuffle the Breach cards back into the deck. Breaches are scoring cards and cannot be held in any player’s hand. Place the deck in the center of play. Players may pick up and look at their cards.
PLAYER 1 HAND
PLAYER 2 HAND
SHUFFLE 4 BREACHES INTO DECK AFTER DEAL
Starting with the person who most recently went swimming, players draw 1 card from the top of the deck. Whenever a Breach card is picked, it must be immediately played. Otherwise, fellow players have 2 options:
Say nothing and the next player draws a card, or
Yell “Fluke!” to indicate that the Drawer just picked a Whale card, forcing them to expose it to the group. The first person to say Fluke is called the Fluker.
IS IT A WHALE?
Exposing a card has several potential outcomes:
If it’s actually a Whale card, the Fluker gets the card for their hand
If it’s an Action card, the Drawer must immediately use the action
If it’s a Non-Whale card, the Drawer keeps the card and gets to blindly pick another card from the Fluker. If that penalty card is an action, it's immediately played. If that penalized player is out of cards, then the Drawer may take a scored card on the table. If there is no scored card, then the Drawer instead gets 3 additional cards from the deck.
PENALTY CARD IS ACTION; PLAYED IMMEDIATELY
When a Breach card is played, it’s time for players to score points. They do so by putting cards from their hand into the area in front of them. Every Breach allows a player to score any color card that they have already scored plus 1 additional new color.
For example, if Player A had previously scored pink Minke Whale and Krill cards, then they can add to that color and score another color, such as purple Right Whale and Squid cards. The catch (pun intended) is that players can only score cards from their hand in response to a Breach. Cards left in hand earn nothing.
During the game, players may use Action cards in their hand whenever they choose by placing them in the discard pile. Each has a strategic value, and longer descriptions of what they mean are in the Gameplay section. Upon scoring the 4th and final Breach card, the game ends and players calculate their totals. Whales require both tail halves (left and right) to make a two-digit number when matched. Unmatched whales score nothing. Non-Whale cards score 5 points for each card, and earn a bonus 10 points if a player has a set (3 or more) of a particular species. Examples shared in the Scoring section.
The winner is considered the Breach Master. Keep the Breach cards out, reshuffle the deck, and re-deal to play again.
Building off the quickplay section, follow the same instructions but add the omitted species and desired endgame cards into the deck. There should be 5 Breach cards shuffled in after the deal.
PLAYER 1 HAND