FAQs
Moby Dick, or, the Card Game

General Questions (3)

SAILOR DECK: When the entire Sailor deck has been drawn, reshuffle the discard pile

SEA DECK: After a Moby Dick card is drawn, and you search through the deck for the next Chapter card, reshuffle the Sea deck, but do NOT shuffle the Sea deck discard pile back in.

WHALE DECK: Reshuffle the discard pile back into the Whale deck after every hunt

Sailor Cards (13)

Blue cards are “Mates”, Red cards are “Harpooneers”, Yellow cards are “Shipkeepers”, Green cards are “Forecastlemen”, and Brown cards are the “Port Captains”. Aside from giving you a visual clue as to their relative strength (hint: Mates and Harpooneers are strong), the Chapter card “The Quarter-Deck” has an effect that bolsters the strength of forecastlemen only, and Shipkeepers specifically play a larger role in the “Melville Mode” variant of the game.

Forcastlemen are any cards in Green. These are the backbone of the sailing expedition – the brave men who make up general crew of a whale boat. The forecastlemen are Archy, Azores Sailor, Belfast Sailor, Cabaço, Danish Sailor, Dutch Sailor, English Sailor, French Sailor, The Handsome Sailor, Lascar Sailor, Long-Island Sailor, Maltese Sailor, Nantucketer, Portuguese Sailor, and Tahitian Sailor.

If at the beginning of your turn you have fewer than 2 Sailors, you can draw back up to 2 sailors for free. After that point, sailors must be purchased, traded for, or bribed.

On your turn in the hunt, BEFORE you draw a Whale card, you can activate Archy to draw two Whale cards, and pick which one will affect you. If you use Archy AFTER you draw a Whale card, his ability will be used on your next turn in the hunt.

While cursed sailors must lower to hunt every whale, they can be removed from your crew as any other sailor – by discarding when you have over seven Sailor cards, or through the effects of a Sea, Sailor, or Whale card.

NO. Due to his enigmatic and infernal nature, Fedallah is in a category entirely of his own…

Only the player controlling Flask loses the ability to negate Whale cards. When Flask is killed, the player loses the +2 bonus, but regains the ability to negate Whale cards.

YES. Ishmael can be activated to copy the ability of any sailor currently in the hunt. Ishmael’s copied ability remains until the end of the hunt, even if the copied sailor is killed.

After those sailors’ respective “Port” Sea cards are drawn, they receive a permanent +1 strength bonus for the remainder of the game. For reference, please feel free to set aside those port cards in a visible spot.

Hunt/Whale Cards (14)

Think of the hunt as “mini-game” within Moby Dick, or, The Card Game. When a whale is drawn from the Sea deck, this initiates a “hunt”, which has its own game rules, and turn order. The measure is not passed during a hunt – the entire hunt takes place during the turn of the player who drew the whale from the Sea deck. After the hunt is over, the measure is then passed to the next player, it is now their turn, and they flip a Sea card.

While there is a maximum number of sailors allowed per player in a hunt (generally 4), there is no minimum. As long as you have one sailor, you MUST lower and participate in a whale hunt.

YES. Even if a sailor has an ability that could conceivably be used outside of a hunt (like the Handsome Sailor) they are limited to use within whale hunts ONLY, and only if that sailor is IN the hunt.

Even sailors with Passive Abilities? YES.

Passive Abilities are marked with Italics on Sailor cards. The sailors with Passive Abilities are Ahab, Azores Sailor, Bildad, Cabaço, Fleece, Ishmael, Nantucketer, Pip, Redburn, Starbuck, Steelkilt, Tahitian Sailor, plus the harpooneers Daggoo, Queequeg, and Tashtego.

Nothing – their abilities remain through the end of the hunt. However they are first in line to be killed dependent on the Whale card drawn.

A sailor can ONLY be activated to serve the purpose listed on their card, or if forced to do so by a Whale card – you cannot activate a sailor for no purpose (in order to get the “Mission” bonus on “The Pacific,” for example). That being said, as long as a sailor is being activated for the purpose listed on their card, they can be activated at any point during your turn in the hunt (before or after drawing a Whale card).

As many as you can (within the guidelines listed in the previous answer).

That is at the players’ discretion. Once multiple sailors have been activated it is up to the player to decide which among the activated sailors is the first to die

The Whale deck is reshuffled after every hunt. Remember to shuffle the Whale deck discard pile back into the Whale deck.

If you have more sailors than are allowed in a hunt (normally no more than 4) the remaining Sailors are stashed away, and have absolutely no bearing on that hunt. They cannot use their abilities, they cannot be sacrificed, etc.

NO. Follow whatever instructions are on the card, then draw another Whale card.

In this context, this means you cannot attempt to strike the whale and you cannot retreat for the rest of that turn in the hunt. You must wait for your next turn in the hunt, then draw a Whale card, before you can attempt to strike the whale or retreat. You lose your turn within the “hunt” mini-game only, and is not related to drawing Sea cards.

Moby Dick (5)

All players must roll a Moby Dick attack. This counts as the Moby Dick attack against the player who drew Ancient Wisdom. They do not have to roll twice.

YES, but only for the player who took Old Tom. All other players must roll a Moby Dick attack as described above.

Other Questions (3)

We completely encourage players to use any house rules they’d like in order to increase their enjoyment of the game.

One common house rule regarding Chapter cards and game progression:
– Shuffle the Chapter cards into a separate deck, after extracting Loomings
– Place Loomings face up on the chapter deck to indicate it is the active Chapter
– Whenever the first whale hunt occurs during a Chapter, rotate the active Chapter card 90 degrees to indicate this; this will also indicate that now Chapter progression may occur
– Whenever a Moby Dick card is drawn from the Sea deck, if a whale hunt has occurred during the active chapter, then discard the active chapter, and draw the next chapter card and place it on top of the Chapter deck; also, transfer Ahab to the player who drew the Moby Dick card. If a whale hunt has yet to occur, reshuffle the Moby Dick card back into the Sea deck.

While the game is designed for 2-4 players, we are currently formulating a 1-player variant, which we will post here and on our website (coming soon)!

While it’s true they are not on board for the Pequod’s journey (and Elijah is never on board, period), we thought we would be remiss in excluding these vital characters from the game. As we crafted the game, we had to take certain liberties to fit the content of the novel into our game mechanics, and vice versa. This was one of those liberties (along with including Redburn, the Handsome Sailor, and Steelkilt, all not directly from the Pequod’s story, but vital nonetheless).

Sea Cards (5)

Ahab is set aside, and once the cards are evenly redistributed, the player who drew The Candles receives him.

You can take any sailor from any other player, and in return must give them any one of yours. The choice in who you take and who you give is entirely up to you!

NO! Your reward for taking a Legendary whale is a persistent ability that occurs regardless of any other game conditions.

This is at the discretion of the players. Perhaps stare longingly into each other’s eyes and the decision will reveal itself.

Sharks are a game condition only in effect while the Chapter card “The Symphony” is in play. When “The Symphony” is in play, any player who is killed during a hunt is permanently removed from play for the remainder of that game. The notes on the Ishmael’s and Ahab’s cards about sharks are in place so that these truly vital sailors can never be permanently removed from the game.