Tranquility is a one to five player cooperative, hand management card game with limited communication designed by James Emmerson and published by Board Game Hub. Jump on board the good ship Tranquility. Work with your fellow team mates as you traverse the seas to paradise and search for that special island you can call home.
Tranquility: Aim Of The Game
In Tranquility players are trying to complete a 6 x 6 grid of numbered island cards ascending in number from left to right, top to bottom. In addition to this a final island card must be played to the top right of the grid to complete your goal once the grid is complete. The island cards range from 1 - 80 and each play will have their own draw pile. Sounds easy enough right, but the clincher is that you can’t communicate with your fellow players.
On a player’s turn they can either play a card or discard two cards. If you play a card to the grid next to a previously played card then you must discard cards equal to the difference. For example, playing a five next to a three will mean you have to discard two cards. If you have a start card in your hand, you must play this outside of the 6x6 grid in the bottom left hand corner. When a start card is played, players must collectively discard eight cards from their hands. At this point players can communicate the number of cards they can discard but not the specific values. Finish island cards can only be played once the 6x6 grid has been completed.
A player can also discard two cards from their hand if they wish to not play a card or can’t play a card. After a player has performed their action they draw up to their hand of five cards. Play continues this way until the grid has been completed and the finish island card has been played (the players win) or players can’t make any more moves(players lose).
Tranquility is one of those games with a simple rule set with deep and compelling game play. The limited communication is what makes this game stand out.
In the beginning the decision on which card to play and where is simple enough. Low value cards go towards the bottom left and higher value cards towards the top right. But, as the tableau fills out these decisions get harder and more restrictive each round. Having to discard cards to “pay” for placing other cards can be a difficult choice to make. Ensuring that you are not discarding cards that you need is a must. But which cards you do discard and which cards you keep is tough. Also, placement of where to play cards is a big part of the game. The restrictive nature of the game makes it fun and engaging. I often find that some of the choices I have made previously with certain cards discard can sometimes come back to haunt me. Each turn, each card laid and each card discarded can impact you later on.
You do need to plan carefully though to ensure that you don’t end up with a gap that needs to be filled with more cards than is possible. (i.e. laying card 25 six spaces away from a 22). It sounds simple enough but when you are concentrating on the game it can be an easy mistake to make.
The limited communication adds a level of tension to the game that elevates it above other cooperative games and really makes the game stand out. As it is a game that you can play without communicating, I feel that it is a great couples game (as well as higher player counts). You can play some cards, have a chat about your day and still enjoy playing a game.
The game plays well as a solo game, two player and at higher player counts and it is a great game for introducing new people to the hobby. With its simple ruleset, gorgeous looking artwork and quick play time this is a huge hit. It is simple enough to be accessible to a wide range of audiences, yet there is enough “game” to keep enthusiasts entertained and engaged.