5 Nautical Board GamesYou Should Give a Go

Ahoy, matey! The ocean is vast, and lots of things are going on both above and below the surface of the big blue. Our new game The Sound of Sirens was inspired by the sirens of the salty sea, and by some of the games we love in the nautical category. Here are 5 titles we think you should play! All games are ideal for families or groups of friends at a party. Check ’em out!

Deep Sea Adventure

Let’s start off with a straight-up party game! Small box, minimal components, just the way we like it here at Monkeyshine. Deep Sea Adventure is what we call a ‘push your luck’ type of game.

You dive in with you submarine, which only has a single tank of air, trying to get to treasures at the bottom of the ocean. The deeper you go, the more valuable the treasures you’ll find, but the more you risk running out of air. And if you don’t make it back up top, that’s all she wrote!

nautical board game deep sea adventure

The game fits snugly in your man purse (don’t worry, we won’t judge you… too much) and only takes a minute to set up. Ideal to bring along on the plane or possibly on a wild river kayak ride. Obviously, we deny all responsibility for lost components.

Captain Sonar

While we’re on the subject of submarines, let’s keep going. Captain Sonar was a smash hit in the party game category a few years ago! Think of it as a meatier version of Battleship that supports up to 8 players.

You play in two teams, and the goal is to find and sink the other team’s submarine. Each player on your team has a role. The captain is our favorite, as you get to tell the navigator where to go, and you get to yell orders at the others. The Engineer has to make sure that your rusty bucket of bolts doesn’t fall apart while you’re blindly firing torpedoes at each other, and the Radio Operator tries to keep their calm while listening to what the other team is doing.

nautical board game captain sonar

If you love a bit of tension in your games, and you’ve got a large crowd to entertain on a Saturday evening, this is your game!

Survive: Escape From Atlantis

Few games get to say that they have stood the test of time, but Survive is definitely one of them. This game dates all the way back to 1982! That’s definitely older than most of the Monkeyshine crew members, we can tell you that much.

Players are trying desperately to get their meeples, which are stuck on an island in the middle of the board, safely to one of the smaller islands on the corner of the board. All the while, the central island is slowly sinking into the ocean, and sea creatures like squids, whales, sharks and sea monsters are trying to devour you whole. Perhaps it could have used a few mermaids, but that’s just our opinion.

nautical board game escape from atlantis

Anyway, hop your tooshy into one of the lifeboats and say your prayers as one of your opponents steers the vessel towards the outer islands. If all else fails, you can always jump out of the dinghy and make a swim for it. Our advice: don’t look back.

Port Royal

Port Royal is what you’re after if you don’t like a whole bunch of tiny components and are looking for a simple card game with a size that’s portable enough to take with you anywhere.

A light filler game supporting up to 5 players, Port Royal is a push your luck game. You’re trying to flip over cards from a face-down deck without running into pirate ships and busting. The more cards you’re able to draw, the more cards you can take from the center of the table when you decide to end your turn. Some cards give you money, while other cards cost money but give your special abilities and victory points. First to 12 points is the winner.

nautical board game port royal

The game is easy to explain, plays fast, and introduces the popular game mechanic of set collection to children or non-gamers with 20 or 30 minutes to spare.

Black Fleet

Last but not least, let’s tackle one of the most popular themes in nautical board games: pirates! It’s hard to pick just one game in this category, as there are so many excellent titles to choose from. But Black Fleet is a lightweight family style game with stellar components, so we didn’t want to keep it from you.

The goal of the game is to collect cubes with your ships on one end of the board and deliver those cubes to the other side of the board. The longer your route, the more cash you’ll earn for your cubes once your reach your destination. Collecting gold helps you to unlock special abilities for your ships, and once you’ve unlocked all of your abilities, you win the game.

But there are many perils to face along the way! Your ships might be attacked by one of your opponents’ ships. That’s right, they can steal cubes from you! What’s more, there are also two Navy ships that for some strange reason aren’t really into pirates and are out to sink your vessel!

nautical board game black fleet

Black Fleet plays in about an hour, and represents the chaos and interactivity of life on the open seas beautifully. There’s a fair bit of luck involved, but who cares when you get to loot your opponents and send them to Davy Jones’s locker, right?


It’s understandable that the nautical theme is very popular in board gaming (just look at all these ‘Nautical Board Games’ on BoardGameGeek). Few things speak more to the imagination than the mysteries buried at sea. With The Sound of Sirens, we wanted to experiment with a theme that for some reason has been underused in board games up to this point.

Want to learn more about our party game The Sound of Sirens and how our mermaids will bring your friends and family lots of fun? Check out how it plays right here! (PDF with all the rules)

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