Games at Sea (part 1): What Happens during Night Shifts

At sea, we work 24 hours a day. That means we take turns on survey and dredge watches. Part of the science party do 8 hours of work with 16 hours of rest, while the others do 12 hour shifts (either 12 am – 12 pm or 12 pm – 12 am). These shifts divide us into so-called ‘night shifters’ and ‘day shifters.’ For some, night shifts are the best. A lot of interesting conversations and ideas come up, which always help pass time! To date, the coolest product from the night shifters is the ‘Dredger’s Revenge’ board game. Yes, a four- to seven-player board game. The idea was brought up by, of course, our very own Iker. During a shift, he lamented his under utilized creativity. Ben suggested that he, “create something.” So, he made a sketch of a 6 x 6 block grid, with ‘Start’ on one of the corners and  ‘Finish’ on the four blocks in the middle. From here, the details and design needed to be refined.

Design stage

“Do you want me to digitize the design?” Gaby asked.
“Yes, please”, said Iker.
Scott then joined Iker and Ben’s discussion about various mechanisms that could be applied to the game, while Gaby looked for relevant pictures that could be added to the design.
“When someone lands on the storm we all have to switch places!”
“There has to be a murder mystery component!”
“We should add the catamaran. If a player lands here they should lose a turn!”
When the sun came up, we tested the game and it was one of the coolest board game we’ve ever played in our whole life – no kidding. As Scott put it, that shift “was the best shift ever.”

Testing, removing bugs and glitches and refining the game


The final product with all the components


The dredger “rolls the dice” (safely)!


Ben looks pretty vengeful, doesn’t he?!


Dredger’s Revenge is available to all seagoing scientists around the world at a very small cost–decoding the instructions!


Thank you, Gaby for providing the text for this post!