Players are imagined as thieves or pirates, sailing down a river when they hit some rocks and are subsequently flung into a whirlpool. Players must escape the whirlpool through a series of dice rolls and strategic moves through the whirlpool, avoiding floating debris as obstacles. The players' positions are constantly in flux with the whirlpool turning and sucking players towards the center, so players must think ahead in order to reach the boat.
Furthermore, players must also worry about other players, who are also trying to reach the boat and may or may not share the boat (and it's treasure) with them. Once a player has reached the boat, there's only a short amount of time before that player can sail away with the booty, so players are encouraged to "fight" while in the whirlpool to gain the advantage against others.
Maelstrom was designed by Luke Noonan and Adam Liszkiewicz of RUST LTD. The initial prototype was designed in collaboration with John Hodgson at the Humanities Gaming Institute in Colombia SC
- A few six sided dice
- 4 Unique "Thief tokens"
- A Deck of 26 cards:
- 21 water cards
- 4 hazard cards
- and one boat card