Microgame of the Month: Wreckdivers


You are a proud child of Charolus-By-Sea, a small fishing village on a ragged coast. Equally at home in the water as on land, you’re a Wreckdiver, like your parents and their parents before them. Every day, you and your friends paddle your boat into the waters, and dive into the countless shipwrecks beneath the waves, salvaging treasure. There’s riches to be had, but also great danger!


What You Need

  • 2d6 in one color (white, for example)
  • 2d6 in another color (like red)
  • Timer
  • A pen and paper for each player


Your Turn

The Dive

How deep will you go today? What treasures hide in the wrecks’ dark and fallen passages?

Roll 2d6 for the maximum length of your dive (in seconds) for this turn. Before you roll, choose one die for the 10s and one for the 1s to decide your dive time. (eg. a 4 and 3 would be 43 seconds.) You must hold your breath the entire time you’re Diving. Yes, in real life. Set the timer, take a deep breath, and go.


Find Treasure

You can only stay under as long as your breath holds – find what you can!

While Diving, roll both sets of d6 as many times as you can. Each time you roll, add up the total of the white dice and the total of the red dice. If the white dice total is higher than the red dice total, the difference is how much gold you find. Record this number on your sheet. If the red total is higher than the white, you get nothing on this roll. Keep rolling until you Ascend or Bail Out.

Doubles: If you roll double whites, take 2x as much gold as you normally would (so if the roll is higher than the red). If you roll double reds, you see a shark and drop your gold – reset your gold tally to 0 for this turn, but keep rolling!



You safely make it to the surface, treasure in tow!

You may Ascend at any point during The Dive before the timer runs out. Add the gold you’ve collected this turn to your game total. Signal your Ascent non-verbally to other players: clap, rap the table, flip a token, anything you all agree on before the game starts.


Bailing Out

Something went wrong! Get to the surface ASAP, forget the treasure!

If you’re still Diving when the timer runs out, or you accidentally breathe, you Bail Out. You make it to the surface fine, but leave all your gold behind in your hasty retreat. Mark 0 gold for this turn.


Other People’s Turns

You’re free to talk to them, make jokes, scheme with other players or anything else you can think of without touching the current player. If you make them crack up laughing, that’s breathing and they have to Bail Out (and take zero gold this turn).


Game End

After a predetermined number of rounds (we suggest at least three), the person with the most gold collected wins. But there’s always tomorrow!



Wait, I have to hold my breath for real? Yup.

And I have to do maths while holding my breath? Ahhh, there’s the challenge!

And while these other goofuses try and distract me? Pretty much!

What happens if the red dice and the white dice have the same number? No gold on this roll, roll again quickly.

Do even double 1s on red count as a shark? An itty bitty one, but yes.

What if I roll double reds AND double whites? I’d count that as a shark, but go where your heart leads you.


Optional Rules

Hide the timer from the diver, so it’s harder for them to know how much time is left to Ascend



Tim Barribeau is a lead editor at the US-based site The Wirecutter, where he organises bag and pet coverage. You can follow him on Twitter (@tbarribeau) for dumb jokes and bad puns, or Instagram for pictures of food, cats, and clothing – any further game design he does will find its way to one or both of those places. The art for Wreckdivers was done by freelance artist Matt H Taylor, who you can follow on Twitter (@MattHTaylor), or read his web comic about the Titanic, Admiral, at tapas.io/series/Admiral-Comic

Wreckdivers v0.8 by Tim Barribeau (@tbarribeau). Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. Art by Matt H. Taylor (@matthtaylor)


This game appeared as Microgame of the Month in the April 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue