The sea is less explored than spaceAs a theme for board games, the sea and water are generally not quite as common as space. Nevertheless, the relationship is more balanced here than in science. There are games with and around the cool water for every board game taste. In these you can build cities under water, generate electricity, experience adventures or simply admire nature.

We longed for water for a long time this summer. As a travel destination, the sea and lakes were a welcome relief. These five games prove that you can do a lot more with water in your free time. The topic can be experienced cooperatively or as a tough competition for profits and resources. Even with plenty of thematic (cooling) water, some of the titles can make heads turn for fans of expert games. But it doesn't always have to be complex. The theme is also ideal for a family outing.

Cloudburst - Protects the small flames

Cloudburst board game

Cloudburst is a small game by Dachshund Games. Box picture: publisher

It starts with a game in which water is the opponent. In this card game, which can be played cooperatively or solo, the players have to use umbrellas to protect small match flames from the constantly pouring rain. The rules are easy to learn and with a total of ten selectable difficulty levels, there is a suitable challenge for everyone.

The train is divided into four phases. First, up to 4 action points (AP) may be spent on actions. For example, you can sell or skim off rain cards so that none of the flames go out. To influence individual flames, you can move or jump the piece of wood. With further actions you can activate event cards or personal special abilities. The most important of the 10 possible actions is protecting. For five rain cards of the same color you can open the umbrella over the flame of the same color and protect it. If all four flames succeed before the deck is empty or all flames have gone out, the players win. 

Each round, more and more rain comes into play in the second and third phases. First, the active person must play a color-matching rain card to the flame with the piece of wood. If you don't have a suitable card in your hand, the flame goes out immediately.
Then precipitation falls depending on the downpour indicator. The specified number of cards is then placed on the matching colored flames.

The ten difficulty levels cover everything from very easy to extremely challenging. The two most difficult ones are especially recommended for solo players. There is another restriction in the cooperative game: the players may express their preferences, but they cannot exchange detailed information about the cards in their hand.

1-4 people from the age of 10 have with them Downpour about 30 minutes of fun in a really compact format. The cute artwork is the crowning glory of the great gaming experience. In addition, a small upgrade pack with wooden clouds for the action points and small player boards is available from Dachshund Games. 

Underwater Cities - Underwater is the better Mars

Underwater Cities board game

Underwater Cities is a board game by Pegasus Games - there is also expansion content. Box picture: publisher

Where does it go when the earth can no longer do it but Mars is not yet accessible? In Underwater cities the answer is already in the title. Under water the players have to collect resources, build an infrastructure and try to collect the most victory points. Resources are always scarce and actions limited. With basically easily accessible rules, the expert game with its countless possibilities demands a lot of brain power.

Five different types of buildings can be built with four different resources and money. In the production phases, these buildings generate valuable resources that you can use to expand your city network. Over 10 rounds spread over three eras, the players build their underwater world on their tableau. 

In each round, the players can use their three workers. In total there are only 30 actions available to achieve all goals. The actions on the game board are divided into three colors. If you play a card of the right color after placing the worker, you can use the action of the card as well as that of the location. Mainly you get resources in this way or you can spend resources on buildings or upgrade them. Other actions can be used, for example, to influence turn order, or claim special cards that offer stronger actions when played than cards included in the general deck, or impose victory point conditions. 

At the latest in the third era you realize how tight everything is in the game. You still have so much to do and then you either run out of resources or actions. After every game you notice things that you might have done differently for a different goal. 
Offers for 1-4 people Underwater cities in 80 to 150 minutes an exciting experience to immerse yourself in a fascinating world under water. Seeing how your own production is slowly but surely improving is a lot of fun, especially in the last production phase before the final evaluation.

Oceans - evolution under water

Ocean's board game

Oceans of Gravity was originally published as Oceans by North Star Games. Box picture: publisher

Oceans is a standalone title in the Evolution series. as well as in Changes the players in this game build their species. As the name of the game suggests, these are in the water. The gameplay in oceans is a bit different than the successful first game in the series. So you not only have a new topic here, but also new playful and tactical elements.

In the general processes, there are some aspects that have already been explored Changes knows. In this way, the species evolve with abilities played on them and the herbivores or carnivores have to take in food. However, the subtleties in these well-known processes are new. The turns are played in turn and in each one you play one card or, after the Cambrian explosion, two cards. Then you feed a species and they all age. Aging is a whole new mechanic in Oceans. Here each own species loses a population. When it comes to eating, there is another peculiarity. If the population becomes too large, you lose half the population.

The different effects of the two different scenario types are triggered when certain areas of the oceans are empty. These effects are either permanent or one-time. Triggering the Cambrian Explosion after clearing the first ocean area will speed up play as you can now play two cards and the species will lose two populations as they age. Additionally, during the Cambrian Explosion, cards can be played from deep. These offer special effects and abilities against payment of the costs.

Something more complex offers Oceans an artwork that is at least as impressive as Evolution. In 60-90 minutes, the species of the 2-4 players develop and whoever collects the most points at the end is the winner of this connoisseur's game.

Hydropower – Electricity from water

Hydropower board game

Wasserkraft is available in German from the Feuerland Spiele publishing house. Box picture: publisher

It doesn't get any more complex on this list. With Hydropower we are moving in a region that initially seems inappropriate for a water topic. We are in the Alps. In an alternate reality of the 1920s, up to four nations compete for supremacy in energy production. This is where the water comes into play. This flows from the heights of the mountains into the valley. On its way down, it offers lucrative opportunities for players.

Like everything else, water follows gravity. The players now make use of this natural striving of the water for the production of energy. They build dams to control the water. From these, they direct the water through pipe works and the turbines, producing electricity that they can use to fulfill contracts that earn additional points and benefits.

What sounds simple in summary is anything but easy in practice. Money is short. The water is scarce. Machines needed to build the structures are scarce. Places for the workers are scarce and the workers also become fewer over time. If you don't play with two people, the game board is also tight. The other players constantly take places for actions that you would have liked to use. It takes a full turn of the production wheel for the machines to be available again. Speeding this up is expensive. The only thing that abounds in this game are possibilities. 

Anyone who gets involved in these tasks will be rewarded with an excellent expert game that scores with a high level of interactivity that is rare for complex Euro Games. 1-4 nations controlled by people aged 14 and over play a game in 60-120 minutes. 

Jaws - One against all

Jaws board game

Ravensburger got it: without the great white shark, there would be no top list for water board games. Box picture: publisher

One person is the shark. All others are part of the crew of Quint's boat "Orca". However, this boat only appears prominently in the second act. A game consists of two acts, each of which can also be played individually to shorten the playing time. Achievements in the first act bring benefits in the second.

In the first act, the shark tries to eat as many swimmers as possible without being detected. The crew tries to attach two barrels to the shark and save the swimmers. Each round goes through three phases. After resolving the event, it is the shark's turn. He moves secretly through the water and can perform three actions and one additional ability. When the turn is over, the shark announces how many swimmers it has eaten where, whether it has triggered motion detectors and whether (not which) additional ability it has used.
Now the crew members make their moves. They are all allowed to move, save swimmers and collect barrels. Additionally, Quint, Brody, and Harper each have their own abilities that only they can perform. Act one ends when a second barrel has been attached to the shark or the shark reaches space 9 on the float track.

In the second act, the shark wants to eat the entire crew or destroy the boat. The crew wants to kill the shark. From the three available spawn options, the shark chooses one face down each turn and may play a special ability card. Then the crew prepares and selects weapons and places target chips, moves and can use other accessories. After the shark spawns and uses the optional special ability card, any crew member with a properly placed target chip can attack. At the end of a round in act two, the shark will now attack the crew or boat. 

After about 60 minutes the shark is defeated, the crew is eaten or the boat is destroyed. The game is recommended for 2-4 people aged 12 and over. If fewer than four people are involved, some people take on multiple roles.

Last updated on 1.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API