Disclaimer: Colorblind Games received a pre-release press copy of Aquamarine for this preview.
Aquamarine is a roll-and-write game designed by Rory Muldoon and Matthew Dunstan and published by Postmark Games. Players have 24 hours to explore the depth of the sea, discovering beacons, ship wrecks, and marine life while avoiding potential dangers. Divers must also keep an eye on their air supplies, returning to the boats as needed to refill.
Aquamarine is a print-and-play game that plays 1-100 in about 30 minutes, as all players use the same two dice during gameplay. The solo mode is closely aligned with the multiplayer game.
Aquamarine reminds me of two of my favorite recent roll-and-write games: Second Chance by Uwe Rosenberg and Super-Skill Pinball by Geoff Engelstein.
- Polyominoes. Aquamarine’s take on polyominoes is more vertical than horizontal. Players must “go linear,” traveling to the ocean depths to discover as many point-earning items and creatures as possible.
- Dice Math. My favorite Super-Skill Pinball mechanism is the Cyberhack mini-game that uses both the sum of two dice (to gain points) and the difference between them (to limit the number of rolls). Aquamarine introduces this press-your-luck element by allowing players to choose the higher of two dice, but at the cost of that difference.
Approachable Design. Roll-and-write games have become a favorite, as they lend themselves to simplicity and quick play – both individual turns and overall game time. I found the rules easy to understand, and I played my first solo game without watching a video or needing to check the rulebook very often. End-game scoring, which can sometimes be complex or confusing, is straight-forward.
Approachable Production. Aquamarine is a print at home game, meaning there is no physical copy produced or shipped. In a world of $300+ deluxe versions, a $5 option with zero shipping is a nice alternative. The low-ink version in black & white makes Aquamarine print-and-playable on any printer. The only additional components needed are two dice and something to write with.
Another benefit of the print at home model, Aquamarine’s offering will continue to grow, with new maps released over time via Discord, similar to Voyages. This occurs in two ways:
- Official Maps. After the initial release of Voyages with two maps, Postmark released three more official maps and rules over the past year.
- Community Maps. Postmark made all art assets available to Discord community, which led to dozens of user-generated maps and custom rule sets.
I found both the full color and low-ink versions of Aquamarine to be 100% colorblind friendly.
- Time of Day. A day/night cycle affects some scoring, and it is clearly indicated.
- Coral. The two different colors of coral are double-coded by color (“tomato” and “plum” via my accessibility tool) and direction – one “facing” right, the other left. In the low-ink version they are black and white, respectively.
- Color Not Required. Given my own color vision deficiency (and my mediocre ink jet printer), I prefer the low-ink version. I enjoy how clean and beautiful the game is in black-and-white.
Aquamarine checks so many boxes for me: Fun, low-cost, quick-play, approachable, and colorblind accessible. It’s available now (as of July 2022) on Kickstarter!
Image Credits: Postmark Games
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