Rise of Island Nations

Divide and conquer your island nation

In the wake of sweeping and decisive action by world leaders at the G20 summit, greenhouse emissions have been reduced so much that the sea level is now rapidly falling. To keep the support of your people, you must keep their islands small to preserve your way of life.


Each year consists of a few phases:

  1. Shallows emerge
  2. Player action: ships move
  3. Drill and dredge ship actions
  4. Shallows turn into land
  5. Party boat actions
  6. Voting


Each turn, for each island one adjacent normal water tile (not the deep sea) turns into a shallow.

Blocking rising land

Ships on top of shallows keep them from turning into land. The shallow stays in place though (except for the drilling ship).

Abilities & Powerups

Each ship starts with its own unique ability at level 1. Abilities may be upgraded by picking up buoys that spawn in deep water.

Ship abilities (unique per ship)

Upgraded with orange buoys.


  • level 1: stopping on top of an emerging seabed removes it.
  • level 2: also make its tile deep water and turn 4-connected emerging seabeds back into water.
  • level 3: turn all land tiles from north to south into water, if none have a town.


  • level 1: turn four neighboring land tiles into water.
  • level 2: also create islands on left and right out of non-deep water tiles.
  • level 3: also remove 8-connected tiles. Islands to the left and right are still immediately created.


  • level 1: make towns within 3x3 party forever. Partying towns do not count towards island size.
  • level 2: also make all towns on its row party.
  • level 3: also connect all islands in its row and column that would vote against you together, so they vote as one.

Mobility upgrades

red buoys:

  • level 1: +1 speed
  • level 2: +2 speed

green buoys:

  • level 1: move diagonally at cost 2
  • level 2: move onto (but don't end on) land

blue buoys:

  • level 1: allows moving to any tile in the same row/column
  • level 2: also allows moving to any tile on the same diagonal

Comments (9)

 • 17 days ago • 

Interesting game idea, unfortunately I had a hard time getting far into it. I couldn't really think of much to do besides place boats on land that was about to rise. Maybe I just didn't understand the mechanics well enough. I did like the pixel art though.

  • 17 days ago • edited • 

@Baconinvader thanks for playing! Admittedly, the game is quite hard and complex/complicated.

Some pointers (also for possible future players):

  1. Read the description + powerup explanation - sadly we could not put this into the UI in time.
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Prioritize! It's fine if some islands grow together - it's just one vote against you.
  4. Resist the tempation to immediately divide islands, less islands means less growth.
  5. Be aware of the deep water. You can use it to isolate small islands, or to predict where the next shallow will be, so you can reach it in time.
 • 17 days ago • 

I really like the concept of the game and how indepth you made the systems! It took me a bit to get the hang of it but it was really cool once I did!

 • 12 days ago • 

This is quite a complex puzzle game. I have to admit I did not fully wrap my head around all of the upgrades, as they are quite diverse and I had a hard time remembering which level of which boat did exactly what. But there is definitely a lot going on. I like the visuals and the sound effects are a nice addition.

One minor thing to improve (which I also missed in my game unfortunately): There are people who cannot visually distinguish between red and green, which you use to show which island vote for/against the presidente. Perhaps adding a pattern to the islands (crosses/stripes) or having a text showing up which islands voted for/against you might go a long way.

Overall a solid entry, that I will definitely go back an play some more.

 • 12 days ago • 

Very boardgame like puzzler. Interesting mechanics that work well but make a really difficult game. I had fun playing it. Good stuff :)

Antti Haavikko
(@anttihaavikko) • 12 days ago • 

Very cool idea but having the instructions only in the game page is an absolute cardinal sin! They would have been mega nice to have on the game itself as tooltips or something. Especially so as the mechanics weren't really clear.

So the scoring was explained and I did notice without instructions that you could block the spreading but the ship actions and all the powerups were just too much to figure out without the description. And once I did read it and after several tries, I still have no idea what partying does. Not sure if it had something to do with some four tile islands still aligning with you. That seemed quite random.

It was also mega difficult. I never got even close to stabilizing on the second term. The spreading just goes so wild then and as the dredger is the only ship that can actually hinder it (and can't be everywhere at once), it gets mighty difficult. Even the dredger doesn't help if right after you manage to split, they merge from the same position back before even the next voting happens. And having to restart all the way from the beginning is not very moralizing. I think this was my closest run…

The game looked and sounded great. Obviously having music too would be nice. And I think having the boats actually move would be an awesome addion. That way you could double task a buoy fetch and repositioning on the same move. One thing I visually would have wanted to see was seeing which ship still had its move left.

Went for few more tries and seems like I really underestimated the leveling up the ships. But that on the other hand just made me switch between studying the descriptions and the actual game even more. And it in the end did not help me beat the second term either. I did get a bit further (I think) than that last pic but still not enough. Now it got way reliant on RNG too, needing those early easy upgrades, especially for the driller.

The boat controls felt awkward too. Why the alternating between left and right clicks for selecting and moving?

 • 11 days ago • 

Full marks for theme and originality; never seen anything like this before.

Graphically, it all looks nice and consistent. Maybe the boats could have been more different from each other.

It's hard to figure out the gameplay; the manual above is quite a bit of text! At first I missed what each ship did, because it's listed under Powerups. Even after a few runs, I had to keep referring to the manual, so more in-game help would have been very welcome. For example, by using tooltips on boats, tiles, buoys and all the icons in the sidebar. Highlighting the tiles that will be affected by a boat would be helpful too. Partying is not explained at all.

There's an interesting choice between upgrading one boat to super power, or upgrading all of them equally, or some opportunistic combination of both. Not sure which is best. The mechanic of creating new but small islands is also quite interesting, because it poses an opportunity as well as a risk, in a way that emerges very naturally from the mechanics. More generally, there is an interesting choice between trying to keep a sprawling island in check, or giving up on it to focus your efforts elsewhere. At no point did I feel that a particular boat or mechanic was over- or underpowered. So, the mechanics are very good!

I would have expected it to be possible to move a boat multiple times until its movement is exhausted, so that you can pick up powerups along the way.

Once, I think a buoy did not get removed after picking it up, or maybe a new one spawned right in the same spot under the boat.

I like the sound effects, especially the non-[bsj]fxr ones. Would have been neat to have some music, but of course there are only 48 hours in a weekend :)

(@xXBloodyOrange) • 10 days ago • 

I streamed your game a few days ago. :D
I really love your pixelart. But it took me a second to understand how the game works.
Unfortunately, it looks like am not a good politician.. xD

 • 4 days ago • 

A complex game, the concept of having to carefully manage a growing map was interesting. It reminded me a bit of the sea-terraforming of the old Alpha Centauri game, trying to manage the landmasses for strategic purposes.

Adding the "manual" to the game description made it a lot easier to refer to during the game.

The other comments have covered most parts, but one thing I had some trouble envisioning was the movement distance, especially for the random detours (i.e. the consequence of going for one of the buoys). Especially since this was a stat upgraded per ship. The ability to undo a move would also have been useful.

It was an fun game to play, especially with the variety and depth of mechanics to test out. Though I did not manage to make it entirely to the end.

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