Bubble Net – rules v1

Here’s my first version of the rules for Bubble Net, which we are submitting to the Game Crafter lunchtime game challenge competition


by Drayer ink

Bubble Net is a simple, meditative, abstract strategic game – with only 18 cards, the more you play, the more you get to know the paths the fish might take. You can play Bubble Net with an infinite number of players – all you need is a player kit for each player (board, fish, bubbles, and two whale pod-mates). The same central pack can apply to as many players as you like. It’s accessible for casual groups and makes a great lunchbreak chill-out session.


You are a pod of hungry Humpback whales. Using your bubble-netting skills, you are trying to drive a shoal of confused fish into the centre of your bubble spiral, so you can lunge up from the depths and consume them!



  • 18 Fish cards
  • 2 Player Boards
  • 20 Glass Bubble tokens
  • 80 wooden Fish tokens
  • 4 Podmate tokens
  • Rulebook


Shuffle the Fish cards and place the deck face-down in the centre of the playing area, where everyone can reach – and see! The game comes with 2 player boards, but you can add as many as you like to make the game multi-player.


Each player starts with one board and 10 bubbles, placing 3 bubbles and 40 fish on their board. Where the segment calls for two bubbles, place 2 fish; otherwise, place 1 fish.



Every turn, you place one bubble on the spiral track, pushing the fish towards the centre.


You also place your two podmate whales, who help block other avenues of escape.


All fish move one space inwards in the segments you block. Only one fish can occupy a spot in a segment at once, so if two fish are driven into a single spot, one moves one space further in. Any fish that reach the centre circle go into your belly!



Once everyone has placed their bubble and whales, the fish try to escape – flip one of the 18 Fish cards to see where the fish try to go!


Fish cards match the board layout and indicate where the fish make a break for freedom.

All fish move one space outwards in the affected segments, unless the segment is blocked, in which case, they do not move at all.


If you have a bubble or a whale in that segment, no fish escape – but if any fish make it outside the spiral, they have made it to the open water and live to be lunch another day.



The big choices are:

1 – where to place your podmates and try to herd fish inwards – go for the bigger payouts by pushing fish into the centre, or prevent the bigger losses by herding fish in from the edges.

2 – deciding when to push the last fish into the Inner Spiral, because when the game ends, everyone gets to keep the fish they have inside that area, so if you wait too long, others might beat you, if you rush, you might not get as many.


Getting to know the 18 Fish cards and paying attention to which ones have been played can help, too.


Play until all the fish are in the Inner Spiral – the first to finish their fish ends the game. The one with the most fish in their belly wins!


Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

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