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Subject: Playing Islebound and Above and Below together as one game. rss

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Zach Apps
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Posting this here from the Islebound page for the benefit of Above and Below gamers:

The moment Islebound was launched and was shown to be in the same universe as Above and Below, I knew I would want to create a variant that involved playing both together as one experience. Now that I have my copy, and discovered that the crew tiles in Islebound can be used with both games, my task became even more desirable...and easier. So here is my first initial idea as to how to play these two games together. Feel free to comment and make suggestions!

Set up both games as you normally would but don't add any free cider to the reputation board. For this variant, it is important to imagine that your home port in Islebound is the area in which your people are exploring in Above and Below. While your ship is at its home port in Islebound, you may freely transfer gold (you may want to use only gold from one of the games to avoid confusion) and people (usually crew from Islebound since only they can work with both games) at any time between your ship and home board, making sure to follow all rules pertaining to injured and exhausted villagers and crew; meaning any Islebound villagers that are injured or exhausted at the end of an Above and Below turn can be returned to your ship but return injured or exhausted. Fish cannot be interchanged. Also, ciders and potions you own in Above and Below may be loaded onto your ship while at port to be used at any time later during an Islebound turn for the same effect. Buildings each player constructs for each game are kept separate and only affect their respective game. Also, while it may be tempting to use many or all your Islebound crew for your Above and Below actions, keep in mind that you still must follow the rules concerning beds in Above and Below so you may not want to cripple your options for your next Islebound turn.

After both games are set up, play through one full round of Above and Below first. When replacing workers at the end of the round, use a random crew from Islebound for the 5 coin slot. After that round ends, all players play through the first round of Islebound. From this point on, whenever a person docks at a port or at Fel's Garden or Undervall (basically, whenever they do a rest action in Islebound) they also get to take one turn in Above and Below. (Keep in mind that gold and workers are only shared when a ship is at its home port, so you wont be able to use Islebound crew or gold for an Above and Below turn while docked at another player's port or while at Fel's Garden or Undervall.) Since this could cause some downtime, I suggest that when a person is performing their Above and Below turn, the next player may proceed with taking their turn in Islebound since those turns won't affect each other much. . A player's Above and Below villagers don't rest until they have all been exhausted or injured or if a player passes. If a player performs an Islebound rest action but does not wish to take an Above and Below action, they may pass and receive a free cider for their home board. That player may also trigger a rest for their villagers and make them active again based on the normal Above and Below rules for villagers + beds.

This continues until the end of the game is triggered. Since there are no longer consecutive rounds in Above and Below, I suggest using Islebound's trigger of when someone owns 7 Islebound buildings (or 8 in a two player game)

Score each game separately as you normally would for each game and add the totals together. Any Islebound crew or villagers that are at the home port or on an Above and Below player board also add their village point bonuses so you may want to do your best to return your ship to its home port during the final round of the game. If you were already on your home port before the last round and therefore, not able to stay on your port because of normal Islebound rules, I would suggest sending the ship off with one or more crew that have a bonus you don't need (or maybe even just sending Above and Below villagers for that round), or just allowing players to keep their ships at port for the final round only if they so choose.

Alternate option: I also really like the idea of integrating Above and Below villagers into the Islebound game even more. In this alternate variant, Farwold in Islebound becomes the only place where new villagers can be acquired for Above and Below. So basically, you can play the variant above as described, however, the training action can never be taken during an Above and Below turn. Instead, to get new villagers for your Above and Below board, you must have an Above and Below villager with a quill (It must be an Above and Below villager since an Islebound tile with the Above and Below side up on a ship is considered to be injured) on your Islebound ship whenever you dock at Farwold. You may take the Farwold island town action as you normally would in addition to acquiring a new villager. You may acquire multiple villagers if you have multiple Above and Below villagers with quills, but remember that all used and acquired villagers are exhausted immediately. Also, you must still pay the listed gold price to train any villagers you acquire from Farwold. Villagers are only replenished after the end of a player's turn. You may rest Above and Below villagers that are exhausted on your ship whenever you dock at your port or at Fel's Garden or Undervall.

For this version, I suggest skipping the first round of Above and Below at the beginning of the game and starting with Islebound right away. Also, when replacing villagers for Above and Below in this variant, never replace them with Islebound villagers.
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