June 4, 2009

Seasteading Board Game

How does a German express support for seasteading? By designing a board game, of course!

Marc-Felix Otto, part of a small German-speaking Libertarian group centered around the magazine [eigentümlich frei](, and who translated _Machinery of Freedom_ into German, has created a game called “Pacific – Issue and Defend Your Own Law”. He describes it as:

> Each player represents a “legislative agency”, defining his or her “law” along 8 “paragraphs”. Represented by an 8×8 matrix, 8 groups of potential settlers have varying preferences concerning their optimal law, which leads to the allocation of groups to players. However, the number of groups gained through this process is not relevant for winning the game.

> In the second step, the groups settle the ocean with their hexagonal seasteads (for each group, there is one “home” and one “business” seastead, with the second one having some geographic restrictions). However, they only do so after their respective agency (player) has acquired enough reputation to satisfy their security needs; this again is done through prosecution of crimes, which occur by picking “crime cards”.

> Then, in the third step, the players compete to secure their settlements against pirates – or attacking states … – through buying ships, and also aim to connect their settlement with others through the establishment of bridges.
They pay for both ships and bridges with the income they receive from their settling clients.
The winner is the first to have a completely secured coastline and all inner boundaries connected.

> Since a bridge always concerns two players, these players can negotiate how to share the cost, bringing about the strategic decision when to help others.
A bridge between settlements with incompatible laws is more expensive (since it has to be controlled by agents), and can lead to a loss of reputation.
Finally, unforeseen events can occur, when a player does not have enough money to buy ship or bridge and has to draw an event card.

The rules are only in German right now, and a prototype of the pieces is difficult to build, but Marc is working on translations and prototype simplification, and we will keep you updated on his progress. The current version of the game description [can be found here]( in German, and [here in english]( The english version now includes instructions for building a prototype.