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Flotilla Board Game

Game Information

Game Name
3 - 5
Year Published

1954 - With an explosion over a hundred thousand times more powerful than even the wildest estimates, the Castle Bravo nuclear test obliterated the Bikini Atoll and ruptured the Earth down to its mantle.

As water levels rose in the aftermath, the remnants of humanity fled their homes and took to the sea. World leadership came together to build a massive flotilla, mankind's last bastion of civilization.

In Flotilla, you are a fleet commander who is trying to bring prosperity to humanity's new home. You'll explore the new face of the ocean, salvage whatever you can from the depths, build your crew, and gain influence with the governing guilds. If you do well enough, you might be able to take what you've gathered and add it to the flotilla itself by attaching your watercraft. Your goal is to become the most influential figure in the flotilla and lead civilization into a new era.

Flotilla features two distinct modes of gameplay linked with an innovative system. Players begin the game as Sinksiders, mostly exploring for resources, but can "turn" Skyside at any time to work on expanding the flotilla by flipping many of your game components over to fill a different role for the rest of the game!

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hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #303024 01 Nov 2019 11:46
I haven't played it, but should this really be in the Ameritrash forum?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #303025 01 Nov 2019 11:53
It's definitely not Ameritrash (although there are multiple elements in it that would appeal to folks who like some AT in their Euro).

I'm going to be reviewing this at my site. It will likely be a little while as I will need a few more plays for sure. Happy to discuss it more or answer questions though. One of my regulars and I have been bouncing texts back and forth discussing it since our play.

I also want to be clear though and not overhype this. It's not John Company good, for instance. But I just love discovering these obscure Euro designs that really appeal to me (as it doesn't feel like there's many of them).
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #303030 01 Nov 2019 12:32

hotseatgames wrote: I haven't played it, but should this really be in the Ameritrash forum?

Give the people what they want.

I was looking at all the die rolling and waterworld theme, even though it's an economic game, and thought Ameritrash.

I think what I find interesting is the market mechanisms---the irreversible switching sides decision (am I on the supply or demand side of this market?) behind continuing to build an engine that supplies resources (salvage) vs. moving up to use the salvaged resources to do city building. How is the price mechanism on that? Are there a *big* differences in price if someone down below is/has gotten a lot of some resource (high supply) when you go to buy it in the market to build or is it just a fun little efficiency difference on the margins?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #303038 01 Nov 2019 13:15
It's sort of in between. Goods fluctuate in price from 1 to 8 currency. If the Blue resource is currently at 4 and you sell 3 to the market, it will drop 3 steps after you collect your 12 money. Each value on the track is two spaces, so three steps is a buck and a half.

That sounds a little slim in terms of affect as you're only causing the next person to lose somewhere around 2-5 total depending on how much they offload. But that can be significant, particularly when it keeps dropping.

You need the money as a seller to buy more boats, and both buyers and sellers need more money to build Outposts which basically allows you to claim an objective tile. People Skyside get money through other means relatively easily though and they're more worried about juggling the different types of goods in their stockpile to build on to the Flotilla and expand its structure (for points).

Because the switch over is a hard flip, it does add some risk and a feeling of exhilaration to it. If you switch over before others you can reap the reward of a cheap market with multiple people selling and devaluing goods, but if others start to join you the competition gets more fierce and the cost of goods rises. Trying to hang on and be the last seller seems viable, although it has its own difficulties.

My impression of the optimal strategy for actually gaining points (a downstream element of the market) is finding those spots in the emerging market where you can maximize your efficiency. You need to slip into those positions and exploit them.

It's a longish game (2.5 hours at four, probably 3 on your first play) but it's a bit of a race to those objectives, combine that with the flipping over to Skyside and the tempo is pretty interesting.

In our play the guy who won did so handily. He flipped early and went heavy on the card market, getting stronger and stronger actions at the cost of short term gains. I came in second and was beating him in the mid-game in terms of VP, but he cranked his engine to the max and no one was competing with him Skyside.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #303067 03 Nov 2019 17:02
After playing Reavers of Midgard and really enjoying it, I took a look to see what else the designer has done, because I’m weird and I do that. Turns out he also did Flotilla, so guess I’m interested now?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #303082 04 Nov 2019 09:00
He also did Chiyo's Secret which is weird and underrated.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #304193 14 Nov 2019 08:33
More plays of this and it's still rocking. I wasn't sure how the economy would hold up at 3 players but our play at that count last night was fantastic. It only took us 90 minutes even with one of the players being new (he read the rules though). This was in stark contrast to the 2.5-3 hours it's taken at 4+.

At 90 minutes this is perhaps the best heavy Euro I've played. The thrill of flipping skyside and seeing a long-term plan come together is phenomenal.

Luck is still a thing and can turn some people off. It also has that Puerto Rico thing where poor play from one or more players can help or setup others at the table. That's a result of much of the game being an interplay between the two sides.

I expected to write about this one at my site, but I was able to pitch it to the editor of the upcoming site which is a new tabletop venture being launched by the Gamer Network (owners of Eurogamer). Trying to get in one more play before my deadline. Would love to see this game take off and that should put it in front of a larger audience.

Right now though I do see this one landing in the back half of my top 10 of the year. That list though has become very competitive the past few months and I've kicked off some games I was really fond of. Turning out to be a great year.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #304195 14 Nov 2019 10:13
Definitely on my list now for xmas---thanks for updating me. Really glad it works with 3! It might actually get it played then.
cdennett's Avatar
cdennett replied the topic: #304197 14 Nov 2019 12:34
Friend of mine picked this up at Essen, maybe I'll not actively avoid this one...
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #304646 28 Nov 2019 11:35

Charlest review is very good. The circular supply/demand market sounds great.