Nantucket-Whaling Sim


I assume these are 1:1 with your monitor resolutions?


Are impressions or opinions of gameplay as yet?


ACG gives it a buy:


I’ve been reading Moby Dick for the past 6 months… tempted…


My first captaincy lasted eight days. I took a mission to find the fate of a ship and my captain died fighting a war canoe. So yeah that was good for a laugh.

My best run lasted 3-4 years and I’ve not given up on going Ironman for those achievements. I don’t know what kind of legs this thing has. I’ve noticed that the whale hunting grounds don’t really move from game to game, so if you’ve got a good memory/recording of them you can go hunting when those are in season pretty reliably.

Tom Mc


Yes. My monitor died last week and I’ve been using an old one as backup, until my new gaming rig gets here, which should be next week. 1280x1024 is as high as it goes.


I enjoy it so far, but I do not know how long it will hold my interest. The combat is die-based and quick like a board game (this is a good thing), there’s risk and resource management leading to some interesting dilemmas (e.g., do I take less water to make room for more blubber and risk dying of thirst if the winds are unfavorable?), and it has a soundtrack comprised of sea shanties. There’s lots to like, but I am disappointed to hear that the map does not change much from game-to-game regarding the breeding grounds and such.

I am currently saving up my funds to buy a better ship. Early on, I travelled the world doing delivery and investigation (the “learn the fate of…” ones) quests, but I think it’s probably better to stay in one area and hunt whales in their breeding grounds and migration routes initially. I also learned that it is a bad idea to fight pirates when you are starting out, which I sort of suspected but wanted to find out for sure anyway (spoiler: I died).


There are a ton of games out there where this is already happening.


Are the whales just innocent creatures out minding their own business or are they evil Progeny-of-Moby-Dick whales? B/C I might find it sad to kill innocent creatures.


I mean, they fight back after you menacingly approach them in your whaling boat at their breeding ground. Which is to say they’re innocent creatures trying to live their lives until you show up and try to harpoon them. I get conflicted sometimes thinking about my actions when playing video games, so I mostly rationalize it by saying, “well, it’s just a game,” but I understand that that’s not always going to work for everyone.



RPS review by Adam Smith. Sounds intriguing, but maybe a bit too close to Sunless Sea for comfort.


Peg. Preferably ivory.


Aye, aye Cap’n.


It probably goes without saying, but getting a bigger ship with two whaling boats makes life so much easier. Having extra space for blubber and an extra action during combat (you get one action per whaling boat) is fantastic.


I’m tempted by this, if only because Moby Dick is my favorite novel of all time. I’ve presented papers on it at conferences (though by no means am I even close to being anything like a Melville scholar), assigned parts of it to classes, and in general reveled in it for years.

But I kinda like whales, too. Sticking them with harpoons doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe I could play to lose?


I may have some questions for you :/


Maybe we should make a Moby Dick thread? I read it years ago, and really, really liked it. I keep meaning to read other Melville.

On this thread, I’ve bought the game and am looking forward to playing, but I’m in the middle of a Thea game. I can’t remember why I stopped playing Thea, because it is really cool.


So I played several hours of this last night.

The bottom line is it’s very good if you’re into management sims, but also can be terribly grindy.

The theme and presentation of everything in this game is fantastic. You are Ishmael and the game takes place immediately after the book Moby Dick. In the tutorial, you go on Ahabs fated final journey, and then return to port determined to bring down the great white whale yourself. However, you have only a tiny ship, a pittance of money*, and only enough renown to attract the desperate to crew your ship.

The only way to deal with this is to take to the seas. There is much more then just wales out there, and you will spend a good amount of time determining the fate of other ships, finding lost tribes, helping reunite someone with a lost love, or tracking down the pieces of a murder. All of these quests are very interesting and there have been some neat little twists and surprises, though certainly nothing that would support more then a few paragraphs.

The real problem this game has, however, is that it is far, far, FAR more efficient to just go to a whaling spot, drop anchor, and chuck harpoons at those bastards until either your ship is fill to the brim or the whales move on to somewhere else. Ultimately, this is a management sim, and you get more resources per unit time (both in game days and out of game hours) by whaling like a Candy Crush player with a black credit card.

Occasionally you will put back to port to sell off dozens of carcasses and tell the local science people what to research next in shipbuilding. (Ishmael alone drives the entirety of naval research in Nantucket’s universe.) Once you have enough cash, you’ll invest in a bigger boat with a better crew so you can stab those blubbering bags of money until the plot of Star Trek IV happens.

You’ll occasionally get bored with that bit, do some story missions and advance the plot, and take part in some interesting research and intrigue. These parts are all terrific; I just wish they paid better.

Sadly, they pay awful compared to hunting whales. The combat in the game is fine, but it can’t stand up to the amount you end up doing grinding your way to a better boat. By the time I had enough to get the next “tier” of sailing vessel I was already on auto-pilot during those fights and I’m not sure how the game could toss me a curve to make it any better.

It’s a really good management sim, and a fantastic premise, but it really needs to make the core treadmill a little more enjoyable to run on, or at least a lot shorter.

*You actually have a treasure trove by 1851 standards, but it vanishes immediately and ships cost a kings ransom. Inside the context of what you can do in the game with money, you start flat broke.

Chris Woods


Despite the fact that the review compares it directly to Pirates? Haven’t played this one, but from the video I watched yesterday, it seemed much closer to Pirates! than Sunless Sea, at least in terms of the inherent level of hostility of the world.