Rules: Setup

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A number of coral reef boards equal to the number of players are selected at random. The boards are not owned by any individual player and are each available for use by all of the players.

One of each of the five colors of polyp tiles are placed on each rock in a predetermined start location.

The 10 coral tiles are placed "face up" or "face down", determined at random.

One of the five large spaces on the open-sea board. Polyp tiles are drawn at random and placed as follows:

  • 3 polyp tiles on the selected space
  • 3 polyp tiles on the next space clockwise
  • 3 polyp tiles on the next space clockwise
  • 2 polyp tiles on the next space clockwise
  • 1 polyp tile on the next space clockwise

The start player is chosen at random.

In clockwise order, players are randomly given the following number of polyp tiles (depending on the number of players):

 Number of Players
Start player666
Second player977
Third player98
Fourth player9

Note: The advantage of playing first is that that player has first choice of where to place their polyp tiles and is more likely to be able to obtain a free polyp tile by placing a polyp tile next to an extra growth space. Subsequent players get the immediate advantage of more polyp tiles. At some time during the game all players are likely to choose action 9 (see the 'Turn actions' section below) on their turn and simply obtain more tiles (in action 10). There is likely to be less need to do this if you are the third or fourth player as you start with more polyp tiles. As a result, by the end of the game, all players are likely to have had a similar number of turns laying tiles, even if the start player ends the game - as the start player is likely to have passed - by choosing action 9 - more often than the other players.

Each player now selects one of their polyp tiles from behind their screen and places it secretly into their parrotfish. This will provide nourishment for the parrotfish until it can be fed some more polyps later in the game (and, more importantly, it will prevent players from being able to calculate their opponent's scores during the game!)

Finally, each player chooses two larva cubes after they have looked at their polyp tiles. The colour of the cubes taken are shown to the other players and then placed behind the player's screen.

You are now ready to begin the game!