Talking Sea Change with Conor McGoeyApril 19, 2021
We catch up with the designer, Conor McGoey, (who is also the man behind publishing company Inside up Games) to talk about his game Sea Change.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about your game, Sea Change?
Conor: Sea Change is a trick-taking card game for 1-8 players. The deck contains 80 Sea cards in five suits. The five suits are represented by different colours and icons (to assist with colour vision deficiency). Each suit has one card of each value; a higher card beats a lower card of the same suit — high (15) to low (0).
Depending on the number of players, a set number of cards from a set number of suits will be shuffled together. Players can decide in advance to play as teams, or each player for themselves. Each player will be dealt 10 cards to create their hand. In a clockwise manner, each player will contribute one card, chosen from their hand, to create a trick.
In each trick, one suit will be stronger than others (trump). Any card in this trump suit beats all cards, not in the trump suit. A Sea Change will change the trump suit in the middle of a trick when a player matches the value of the last card played.
Players attempt to win tricks containing cards with positive points and avoid cards with negative points. *Important* During tricks, 0s are not worth any points. At the end of the round, check which suit is trump. The 0 from that suit, and only that suit, is now worth 5 points. All other 0s are not worth any points.
The player with the highest score at the end of the round will earn 1 Victory Point (VP). The game ends when one player has earned 3 VPs.
This is a retheme of Gorus Maximus which is decidedly not a family-friendly game. Why did you decide you wanted to do a family-friendly retheme and why pick the theme you did?
Conor: That’s correct! The idea was suggested to me at GAMA 2019 when retailers fell in love with the accessibility of the gameplay but were worried about the potential difficulty of selling it to families. We had already thought of silly re-themes just off of the name, and Sea Change had originally be called “Porpoise Maximus.”
I am a PADI-certified rescue diver, and I love being underwater. I was working with Rhys ap Gwyn (the illustrator for 7 Souls) and he had a beautiful vision for the artwork. So it all came together perfectly!
Let’s talk about environmental impact and board games. From my understanding, you purposely designed the packaging to use as little plastic as possible, is that correct?
Conor: In Sea Change, the worst card to get stuck with is the “Plastics” card worth -4VP. It works very thematically in a beautiful game of ocean life, and those things that threaten it. So removing as much plastic as possible was the next logical step. It was made easier by the small size of the box, and the fact that it has a “display hook” for retail stores. (Because unfortunately most consumers and retailers prefer the plastic shrink wrap as protection for their purchase.)
The only plastic we ended up using was a small sticker to keep the contents safely in the box, and a tiny ziplock bag to hold the wooden fish (tracks the active trump) because the manufacturer was worried about the wood rubbing against the cards during shipping.
So to counteract those little bits of plastic (and so much more created by the industry), we are donating 1% of the proceeds from Sea Change to organizations working to clean up our oceans!
As we come to a close, where can readers pick up a copy of Sea Change?
Conor: Readers interested in a copy of Sea Change should inquiry at their favorite game shop, and if they can’t grab it there, they can order directly from our website: insideupgames.com
Thanks, Conor, for taking the time out to do this interview.