Days of Discovery – Acts 1 and 2

Dona Isabel, Queen of PortugalPrevious Post: Once More, From the Beginning


In the previous post, I wrote about the long development path for Days of Discovery, and gave a list of items that have remained part of the design along the way. This post will be the first to give details on how the game works.

The first point to get across is that all of the points scored in the game happen during Act 3.  Acts 1 and 2 are there to put you in position to score points as easily as possible in Act 3. Act 1 gives you a sponsor, which impacts how you build your hand in Act 2 (the sponsor you gain in Act 1 also becomes the tie-breaker in what can be a pretty tightly-scored game) … and Act 2 gives you the cards you will use to get past the challenges of the voyage in Act 3.

To secure a Sponsor, you need to provide them with enough evidence that the Land of Danger exists (represented by scrolls) and plans on how to get there (represented by maps). If you look at the picture of the Queen’s card to the left, you’ll see that she requires 4 scrolls and 6 maps to be convinced to sponsor your voyage.

People Card AnatomyThese evidence and plans come from people that you recruit during Act 1.  Each turn, you draft 2 “people” cards from a 5-card pool. Each of the people cards shows their evidence and/or plans in their upper-left corner, and indicates which sponsors they can present those evidence/plans to.

You have a hand size maximum of 7 cards, which you build and hone into a group of people that can give one of the sponsors what they need. Once you are able to do that, you claim that sponsor and move on to Act 2.

Secure a Sponsor ExampleIf you notice the icons in the lower-right corner of the Queen’s card — under what looks to be a hand of cards — you see 3 different numbers.  “Start” is the number of cards you are allowed to start Act 2 with. When you claim your sponsor, you need to discard down to that number.  “Market” is the number of cards you can draft from the pool on your turn. “Max” is your hand size max for Act 2. Each sponsor provides a different set of these numbers.

The purpose of Act 2 is to build up a hand of cards that will be useful during Act 3. All that matters at this point is the items shown in the bottom half of the people cards, under the word “Market …” You will use the things here to pay the costs of the voyage in Act 3.

While each player will move into Act 2 individually, all players move together into Act 3.  This happens once all players have a sponsor, and have built their hand up to the “max” hand size allowed by each of their sponsors.

During Act 3, “we’ll all go down together when we go” … meaning, everyone sets sail on their voyage at the same time. And that, my friends, is a blog post for another day …


Next Post: Days of Discovery – Act 3

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