The Devonian period, dates back to 405 million years ago, is considered the "Golden Era of Fish". All kinds of fish develop themselves to oceans. They shared the same goal of occupying the lush plant-covered land. Finally, by the end of the Devonian period, some fish slowly evolve into having organs such as limbs and lungs, and began to be able to survive on land. But this was not a simple task. There were all kinds of animals competing with them in that same period for example, fish, amphibians, and arthropods who landed as early as the Ordovician time. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out who will be the eventual Overlord on the land in this new era?
In Drifting Lands, players will need to use a carefully planned combination of hand cards, breed their species, and stamp their authority on the continents throughout 4 rounds of gameplay. The player with the highest score will be the eventual winner!
1 Game Board Map
96 Cards (24 for each animal)
28 Land Tiles
1 Starting Player Marker
36 Animal Pawns (9 for each)
Open and place the game board on the table. Use the Devonian map in your first game.
Place all 28 land tiles face-up as illustrated to form 4 continents with 7 land tiles each. All 28 tiles must be used regardless of the number of players.
Each player pick a species, and take all components of it (24 basic cards, 9 pawns and 1 player board). Put all unused components back into the box. Do not use the advanced cards in your first game.
Each player choose one starting continent. Place 4 level-1 pawns on the illustrated spaces.
Player who recently visited a science museum becomes the starting player, and takes the starting player marker.
The game consists of 4 rounds of play. Each contains four phase: Drifting phase, selecting phase, playing phase, and end phase. Game ends at the end of last round, and a scoring will take place.
An effect with this symbol targets any continent on the board.
An effect with this symbol targets one of your pawn on the board.
An effect with this symbol targets any continent with your pawn on it.
Starting from the first player in clockwise order, players take turn to choose a continent with at least one of his/her pawns on it, and move that continent by one space.
When moving the continent, all tiles on it must move together in the same direction. Players shall not move any tiles outside of the map, but could move them adjacent to another continent.
When drifting, if any tile moves into an ocean space with a pawn, that animal unit will be removed due to the earthquake caused by the continent drifting. Put it back to its owner's supply.
After the drifting phase, each player chooses 4 cards from his/her deck. Players could choose any combination of cards except the cards in their discard pile.
Starting from the first player in clockwise order, players take turns to play one card from his/her hand, discard the card after fully resolving its effect. Discarded cards cannot be used again. The playing phase ends after the last card in hand is played.
When you play Drifting, move a continent like the Drifting phase.
When you play Splitting, drift a part of the chosen continent from the rest. You can only split a continent with at least 2 tiles. A continent must be split into 2 separate parts. You cannot move the remaining part.
When you play Orogeny, choose a plain tile adjacent to ocean space, and flip it to the Mountain side. Then place it on the top of an adjacent plain tile. All pawns on both tiles will be rernoved due to the volcanic eruption. Place them back to the owner' s supply.
When you play Moving, move one of your pawns on the board up to 3 steps. You can move the pawns into any empty plain, mountain or ocean spaces. Moving into a same-or-lower-level space cost 1 step. Moving into a higher-level space cost 2 steps (for example, moving from ocean to plain, or plain to mountains). And moves from an ocean space direct into an adjacent mountain space cost 3 steps.
When you play Migrating, move one of your pawns on the board up to 5 steps. Note that you cannot distribute the steps into multiple pawns. Each card can move one pawn only.
During moving, you can move a pawn through another pawn of your own, but you cannot end the move in a space containing your pawn. You can change the direction during the movement.
You cannot move your pawns through your opponents' pawns. However, you can end the move in a space containing your opponents' pawn with a lower-level than your pawn. You will expel that animal and move it 1 space in any direction you like (ignoring the landscape). If there's no adjacent empty space, remove that pawn instead.
When you play Breeding, take a level-1 pawn from your supply, and piace it on an empty space adjacent to one of your pawns on the board. You can breed on any landscape, including ocean, plain, and mountains.
If there's no level-1 pawn left in your supply, make an Evolving instead. See evolving section for more details.
When you play Reproducing, simply breed twice. You could breed twice adjacent to the same or different pawns. You can even breed adjacent to a newly spawned pawn. There's a very small chance that you might have level-1 animal in your supply but there is no empty space available on the board. In this case, you cannot evolve instead.
When you play Evolving, upgrade one of your pawn by 1. Level-4 pawns cannot be evolved. The amount of pawns in each player's supply is limited. If the pawns of a certain level is used up, then no Evolving shall take place.
When you play Mutating, upgrade one of your pawn by 2.
After the last card in hand is played, the round ends. Pass the Starter Mark to the next player clockwise. If it' s the end of fourth round, end the game and start scoring.
You will score from continents, pawns on board. and unused cards. Use the scoring pad to help you.
Scoring the Continents
First, score each continent by adding the points of each tiles. The points of a tile depend on its location. Mountain tiles will score double points.
For each continent, players add their levels of the pawns on it and compare with each other. The first place will score full points of that continent. And the second place will score half (round down). Note that the amount of pawns will not affect the scoring.
If a continent is controlled by only one player, that player will score the full points of that continent and no player win the second place.
In case of tie for the first place, divide the full points of that continent between the tied players (round down). The second place is not scored.In case of tie for the second place, divide the half points of that continent between the tied players (round down).
Scoring the Pawns
For each pawn on the board, the owner scores the same points equal to its level.
Each player reveals 8 unused cards from his/her deck, and scores each card's basic points.
Add up the scores from continents, pawns and unused cards. Player with the highest sum wins the game. In case of tie, tied player with more pawns on the board wins! If still ties, they share the victory.
When playing a 2-player game, follow the basic rules with these additions:
01-When setting up the game, players must choose the continents in 2 diagonally apposite corners.
02-When scoring the continents, your total level must be greater than 2 to win the score of that continent.
When playing a 4-player game, the team variety is recommended. Follow the basic rules with these additions:
01-When setting up the game, players sit at diagonal positions form a team.
02-When choosing the target of effect, your teammate's pawns are not considered as yours. When moving, your pawns cannot move through your teammate's pawn, but you can expel teammate's lower-level pawns.
03-At the end of game, two members in the same team score separately.
04-After scoring, add up scores of the 2, players in the team. The team with higher sum wins. In case of tie, the team with more pawns on the board wins. If still ties, two team share the victory.
Speaking of the animals that landed in the Devonian era, we first thought of Lung Fish. Who would’ve thought these small fish could survive up until modern times! These fish once spread throughout the Earth during the Devonian era, but are now only seen in Africa, South America, Oceania and other regions.
It’s slightly inadequate to call Lung Fish a lander due to the lack of strength to move on land. Their fins are different from other fish and grow more like "foot" of a land animal. Their upper jaws have special tooth plates, which is an evidence of their evolution to terrestrial animals. The size of Lung Fish has a lot to do with its species. For example, the short-finned Lung Fish in Eastern Africa measures about 40 cm, while Coral Fish, a type of Lung Fish who also lives in Eastern Africa, could grow as long as 2 meters and has the largest-scale of genome among animals.
Lung Fish’s movability on land credits to its lung. When in water, they still use gills to breathe. Once landed, they use the "lung" instead. But do note that this organ is not really a lung, but a swim bladder with special functions.
In order to survive through the six-month dry season in Africa, Lung Fish became dormant. During dormancy, Lung Fish will burrow and hide in wet mud, secrete mucus to form a waterproof layer on the body in order to prevent death from dehydration, which leaves only a small hole for breathing purpose. Over this long period of time, Lung Fish consumes their own muscles and fats as nutrients and reduce their metabolic rate to less than two percent of normal levels.
During other seasons, Lung Fish live leisurely in the water, feeding on small fish, krill, bugs, and even small amphibians. Lung Fish has an amazing life span -- one Australian Lung Fish lived for 84 years. Scientists now hope to learn the secrets of dormancy from Lung Fish to use in space travels and medical fields.
Although Lung Fish are not strictly terrestrial animals, we still grant them the title of Honorary Terrestrial Creatures and have them participate in the survival battle of Drifting Land.
What was the earliest animal to land? I know it's definitely not a fish, because land reptiles are much more adaptable to the environment than any fish. Pneumodesmus is one of those.
Since they were first discovered in the Scotland in 2004, they have been considered to be the earliest known animals to land. Interestingly, its discoverer, Mike Newman, is an amateur paleontologist, and his day job is a bus driver.
It is believed that the emergence of Pneumodesmus dates to almost 428 million years ago, 50 million years before the earliest vertebrates landed. This worm is considered to be the ancestor of Myriapod (animals with multiple walking limbs). Their modern relatives, including Millipede have carried on some of the survival traits of Pneumodesmus.
Although many people are afraid of Myriapods, there’s only very little harm it could do with its tiny body. Even during the Devonian period, their average body length was only about 1 cm, which is not much different from modern millipedes. It’s hard to imagine Breathing Worm competing against other animals in real life…. But hey, it’s a game, isn’t it?
How did paleontologist confirm that Breathing Worms are terrestrial animals? The secret is hidden in the small hole on the surface of the body. This structure is called "valve", which only takes effect in the air. Modern arthropods often adopt this structure for breathing purpose.
Recently, scientists are questioning the pioneering status of Breathing Worm. New research has found that the actual formation time of Breathing Worms fossils may be 14 million years later than previously estimated. Prior to this, a large number of mollusks and other soft creatures should have landed already. However, their bodies lacked bones or shells, which makes it difficult to form fossils.
Although many people are afraid of Myriapods, there’s only very little harm it could do with its tiny body. Even during the Devonian period, their average body length was only about 1 cm, which is not much different from modern millipedes. It’s hard to imagine Pneumodesmus competing against other animals in real life… But hey, it’s a game, isn’t it?
How did paleontologist confirm that Pneumodesmus are terrestrial animals? The secret is hidden in the small hole on the surface of the body. This structure is called "valve", which only takes effect in the air. Modern arthropods often adopt this structure for breathing purpose.
Recently, scientists are questioning the pioneering status of Breathing Worm. New research has found that the actual formation time of Breathing Worms fossils may be 14 million years later than previously estimated. Prior to this, a large number of mollusks and other soft creatures should have landed already, However, their bodies lacked bones or shells, which makes it difficult to form fossils.
hole on the surface of the body. This structure is called "valve", which only takes effect in the air. Modern arthropods often adopt this structure for breathing purpose.
Recently, scientists are questioning the pioneering status of Pneumodesmus. New research has found that the actual formation time of Pneumodesmus fossils may be 14 million years later than previously estimated. Prior to this, a large number of mollusks and other soft creatures should have landed already, However, their bodies lacked bones or shells, which makes it difficult to form fossils.
Hynerpeton, meaning "creeping animal from Hyner", is a giant vertebrate that could grow up to 1 to 2 meters in length, which is why we named it Hyner Dragon in the game.
Hynerpeton did not leave complete fossils, besides two shoulder and spleen pieces, and several other bones. But these two pieces shoulder and spleen bones indicate that they had strong limbs, which facilitated crawling and swimming in the water. In addition, they were the first animals to really use lungs to enjoy fresh air, which means that terrestrial animals had since abandoned structures such as gills and could survive on land more conveniently
More interestingly, Hynerpeton did not seem to be able to live completely independent from water. Their skin needed to stay moisturized, and when it’s dehydrated, it could easily lead to their death. And their eggs might not yet have a hard shell, but only a membrane.Therefore Hynerpeton must lay the eggs by the water.
In addition, its carnivorous eating habits also made it difficult for them to travel far from water. At the time, there were still a lack of large creatures on land, besides some tiny bugs. Hynerpeton had to return to the water to prey. Therefore, although there were ready conditions, such as lungs and strong walking limbs, but environmental restrictions locked them to the waterfront.
Hynerpeton’s short appearance in the Devonian period has limited our study. We can only guess what they looked like at the time through fossils. But these do not prevent such beasts from becoming an important link in the chain of life evolution.
Trigonotarbida was the earliest known creature to land before Pneumodesmus was discovered. Their fossils are distributed in Europe and North America, and there have been reports of discovery in South America.
The appearance of this creature is very similar to modern spiders. Strictly speaking, they are not real spiders, rather distant relatives of them. These little guys were only a few millimeters long, and even the larger breeds had only reached the level of few centimeters.
Trigonotarbida usually have 3 to 5 rows of "armor" on their abdomen, called backboards, which had spikes on them.. The head had a pair of eyes, each consisting of multiple small eyes. Scientists believe that Trigonotarbida had not yet developed the signature eight-eye feature (of course, there are other numbers) of modern spiders. These features had protected Trigonotarbida in a necessary extent.
In addition to defensive armors, Trigonotarbida also had certain means of attack. The first pair of feet around their mouths turned into special limbs that could pop out quickly like a folding knife, and stab the enemy. The end of each leg had three hooks, and the middle claw was relatively larger. Some breeds also had fine spines and fluff on their legs, making it easier to grab prey.
Although they had landed as early as the Silurian time, during the Devonian period, Trigonotarbida still had some tough enemies, such as ants and scorpions. Trigonotarbida must rely on their agile nature to survive in front of these enemies. If it seemed impossible to run away, Trigonotarbida had one last strategy: they could break several legs in order to escape when caught. With these magic features, Trigonotarbida survived the mass extinction of Devonian, and did not withdraw from the historical stage until the Permian.
Although spiders generally cause less damage to people than scorpions, but its hairy legs, agile and weird movements, and horrible eyes, on the contrary, caused greater spiritual fear to people, and became a veritable Messenger of Nightmare.
About Drifting Lands
As the Silver Prize winner of the 1st WODC, Shan Hai Jing was originally created by Mr. Stefan Breuer, and developed by Yoka Games, and finalized as Drifiting Lands. The game's Chinese version was crowd funded in 2019, with the success of achieving over 1400% of its goal.
An Interview with Stefan：
Q. When did you first fall in love with board games?
A：Since I was young, my parents would always play board games with me and my sisters. After I turned 9, they started purchaing annual Germany Game of the Year products for me as Christmas gifts. Then the entire family would play and experience the game on Christmas night.
Q. What is your favorite board game?
A： Puerto Rico is 1st on my list and Terraforming Mars come in 2nd. I think Puerto Rico is a balanced combination of both reaction based and long term strategic planning. The character choosing mechanism is also brilliant, and it also engages the players fully.
Q. Since when did you first want to design a board game?
A： When i was in school, i played a lot of games as i joined board games events on a weekly basis where a lot of designers, producers and publishers will show up with their prototypes. As a play tester, i yeared to design my own game and so far, i have completed 39 designs.
Q. When does the inspiration for Drifting Lands come from?
A：During a famiy camping trip, I was driving my van and the idea of hoping a game tile to move like a van started growing in my head. I built some prototypes based on the idea, and then related this mechanism with land drifting. But this is not enough. I added more competing elements to enhance the fun of the game, and let players enjoy the moment where they get to trick each other.
Q. What difficulties have you encountered during the designing process?
A：Land tiles were definitely the hardest. Initially, i crafted some wooden hexagons with magnets on each side, which caused irregular movement during the game play. Luckily, the folks at Yoka Games were able to optimize the design by switching the material to cardboard with a different land type to enhance playability.
Q. What advice would you offer to board game design beginners?
A：If you like board games, and would love to create something, then I suggest you to start immediately. A try would never drain your energy. Don't expect everything to be completed at the first try. You could start with deciding on one game mechanism or a theme that you love, and then kept on testing it, either with yourself, family memebers, or friends. Eventually, test play with someone you do not know at all. Be open to feedback, whether positive or not. I wish all beginners greatest luck!
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Mr. Stefan Breuer is a German board game designer, who has published a children's game called Ententeich through Noris Spielem and a detective game called Dreck am Stecken in 2011.
In 2009 Hippodice design contest, Ententeich won the Best Children Game Awards.
His party game titled Anagrammeln was honored the 3rd place in the 2010 Steiermark National Game Design Contest.
In 2018, he entered the 1st World Original Design Contest of Board Game, held by Yoka Games, and won the Silver Prize with his original design, Shan Hai Jing. Aside of receiving the reward, the game is now developed into Drifting Lands ('漂流大地' for the Chinese version), which we are proudly presenting to all the gamers around the world.
Official Facebook site：www.facebook.com/officialwodc/
WODC（World Original Design Contest of Board Game）is proudly initiated and held by Yoka Games, to encourage original design by accepting submissions from all around the world.
The competition aims to encourage original game design from game designers and promote the growth of the board games industry. We welcome all designers who have ideas, creativity and enthusiasm to join in and compete for the glory and rewards that may follow!