Magellan 1: Race into the Great Unknown

Player Rating5.65/8

"#132 overall, #13 for 2016"
based on 166 ratings since 02/23/2016
played 2,150 times (finished 201)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length5/8

"Not going to lose any sleep"

Maturity Level2/8

"choking hazard for children under 4"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 6. To compare to the movie rating system, this would be G.

For hundreds of years your people have lived on The Three Islands completely surrounded by a vast impenetrable reef. Scientific advances and large amounts of gunpowder has finally allowed your people to breach this reef in two places, making accessible for the first time a vast unexplored world beyond your country's borders. The ten greatest sea captains of The Three Islands have been summoned by the King to take part in a great race: to be the first to sail around an unexplored world!
You are one of these Captains and an exciting adventure into the unknown awaits you!

Author's Note: My first foray into Fantasy for teenage readers! Inspired by the incredible first voyage around the world by Ferdinand Magellan if this story isn't universally detested it will be the first of a five-part series of adventures! I hope you enjoy it and as always, thank you for taking the time to read the semi-literate scribbles I like to call my writing :)

Player Comments

I've been reading a lot of storygames this week, and the difference between an engaging start and a not engaging start is so obvious. This game throws me right it with clear story telling, a crisp narrative voice, and a fun character to play. A tough sea captain story told by a great story teller? Sold. The addition of a race, questionably reliable armaments, and the problem of finding and storing food creates additional adventure. I can see where I think this is going, and I'm excited.
The choices were well thought out to make me balance my varying needs and to put them in conflict with each other. Speed or safety? And also the unstated question of Speed or Morality? (will I seriously leave men to drown for the sake of winning a contest--turns out, yes, yes I will.) I think some choices might have been made more enticing (going to visit my friend's grave, for example--why would I do that?)

The game is sometimes hilarious, like an island "of quicksand" or the island "goverened by penguins"; the game plays this all with straight face, which is great.

There were a few times I expected a choice, like meeting Trevers with the woodworm. I expected to be give a choice about him instead of meeting him to be told he was out of the race. It felt funny to have Trevers suddenly out of the race without anything having happened yet. I suppose (as when I also met the wreck of the Dove of the Sea) I wondered whether I had done anything to affect these captains, or whether whenever you get to this part of the sea, you notice what's happened. I don't know what variables are at play here, but I wondered how reactive the other ships are.

Exciting, often with three choices on each page, and with real tactical choices to make, this game is excellent. Yes, there were times when I wasn't 100% sure why north was better than northeast as a choice, and a touch more guidance as to how each choice might affect rations and course would be useful (how good would a map be in this game!) But on the whole, I loved this game and am excited to play more in this world.

Language-wise, this game is so good that it needs to use sentence structure/commas right, because it's distracting.

"Gunpowder is a recent invention and though your ship is armed with four cannons and all your crew carry muskets these are slow to load and highly inaccurate making the sword your crew's primary weapon" is a pretty typical sentence that badly needs commas for clarity.

And dialogue gets punctuation in a special way with quotation marks--that's an issue throughout this whole game.

“Captains” he says quietly.
-- Gower on 9/3/2019 6:21:13 AM with a score of 0
Here I am reading another storygame in the Magellan series. Two stories in two days. Why did I come back for more, you ask? Because I enjoy quality storygames. Don’t you?

As I left a pretty lengthy comment on Magellan III, I’ll try not to repeat myself especially when it comes to formatting. They both are formatted nearly identical. Makes sense as the series should have some sort of universality to it, but I’m still not a big fan of the ship names being bold text.

There is definitely a huge game aspect to the storygame. Will demonstrates his mastery of variables and uses them wonderfully to enhance the overall experience. Having to keep track of my men, food, and days made me consider each choice more carefully. It brought up the question “How will this decision affect my crew?”. It made me more involved and invested into the story which obviously is a huge plus.

Some thoughts generated by the story:

-It was a nice surprise to see Tobias Cuthrew mentioned. He was a huge part of M3.

-The text change after the first two pages is a bit distracting. It becomes less so after clicking a few links and getting used to the new font. I’d like to know what prompted the change since it was clearly done on purpose.

-As far as I can tell, the story doesn’t seem too linear. When faced with choices, it was more than A. Live B. Die.

-Speaking of choices, they do matter in the story. Don’t die of starvation, Cap’n.

It was very interesting to go from reading M3 to the first storygame in the Magellan series. I somewhat expected the quality to be worse based on sheer improvement over time. It wasn’t noticeably worse. In fact, I didn’t come across any part of the writing that seemed lower quality than in M3. It’s probably attributed to Will being one of the most prolific writers on the site. Anyways, I’m now officially a fan of the Magellan series (reading more than one earns you the right to say that) and on my way to read Magellan II. See you there, folks!
-- ninjapitka on 5/15/2019 11:36:31 AM with a score of 0
I enjoyed it, and it was a fun game.

It definitely felt more like a game than a story. My personal bias favors more of a story feel, but the map-able in-game-universe was a cool feature, even more so if you've incorporated it into the sequels.

Something like a subplot that focuses on your interactions, relationships, dynamics, etc. with your crew would be a nice addition for a storygame like this. Anything to make me care about them. Because from this framework, they're just a number that I can't let hit zero. Unless I'm mistaken, it makes no difference if I arrive with 30 happy crewmen or just me and one Mr. No Name that went through living hell.

I was a little confused about how I circumnavigated the globe on a north/south route without ever sailing south, though. I'll just picture it as a flat world that teleports you to the bottom of the map once you hit a certain point.

Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable experience.
-- Bucky on 5/18/2016 10:04:23 PM with a score of 2
love
-- leggomygreggo8 on 11/20/2019 11:52:14 AM with a score of 2
This is very much a game, and less a story. The writing is matter-of-fact, describing where you are and what you see, but not much else. The object is to sail around the world of the fictional world of Magellan -- a feat that is expected to take a minimum of 50 days, although your ship can hold no more than 30 days' worth of food.

This is an amusing read, and easily winnable by judicious use of the "go back" button; the game is even kind enough to tell you how to win should you die halfway around the world. This is an enjoyable and quality storygame for the simple fact that it establishes an internal logic and sticks with it through the end.

As a story, it is lackluster. There are really no characters per se, just names and pairs of adjectives ("Jane Doe is [adj #1] and [adj #2]; Jack Snap is [adj #3] and [adj #4]"). Your fellow sailors are represented by a nameless stat that dwindles as you progress. Commas are so sparingly used you might think they were an endangered species, elusive and seldom seen.

And there is a major logical flaw that I feel obligated to point out.

By circumnavigating this fictional world, you sail north from your homeland. And north, and north, and north, and north until you reach the southern shoreline of your homeland. (For variety's sake, you may at times go northeast or northwest.)

Do you see the problem here? Do I really need to spell it out? If you go far enough north, you eventually reach the North Pole. Every spherical world has one. At the North Pole, every direction is SOUTH. In a circumnavigation you would then go SOUTH to the South Pole, at which point every direction, no matter where you turn, is north.

But in this story, the only options, ever, are north, northeast, and northwest. And in the process you only seem to pass one of the two poles.

Overall, though, this is a pleasing diversion, and I am looking forward to parts 2, 3, and 4.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 9/25/2019 11:05:18 PM with a score of 1
Quite amazing. Took me multiple tries to finish first, but with every attempt i was met with cool, and sometimes, disastrous events.
-- Meteor on 8/15/2019 6:06:39 AM with a score of 2
I can't believe I haven't played this game yet. I play a lot of Will's stories but never scrolled down far enough to find it lol. Glad I did this time.

Also, great story. I liked how adventurous it felt, but then again, that's the name of my ship, so it's to be expected.
Anyway, 8/8.
-- venyanwarrior on 5/20/2019 2:02:25 PM with a score of 2
Short-ish game, but I enjoyed it.
-- InvictusXL on 3/17/2019 1:36:30 AM with a score of 2
Good
-- Starkillerb04 on 3/12/2019 3:43:07 PM with a score of 2
WOW! After 2 turns I came out first :D
It was a great game. Landing on the islands gave you knowledge and you could actually list down the encounters just in case you want to replay.
I had fun
-- TheStoryteller26 on 12/19/2018 1:50:23 AM with a score of 2
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