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Bad times have hit the experimental gnomish submarine BFGS Red November. The sub has gone crazy, and everything is going wrong all at once.

Fires are burning, the sub is leaking, and critical systems keep failing. Help is on the way, but the gnomish sailors must work together to survive until the rescuers arrive.

Red November is a cooperative survival game for 3-8 players playable in 1-2 hours. Players control desperate gnomish sailors who must work together to fix malfunctioning equipment, extinguish fires, and solve other deadly problems.


Red November includes all of the following:

  • This Rulebook
  • 1 Game Board
  • 8 Gnome Sailor Figures
  • 9 Time Keepers
  • 8 Gnome Cards
  • 56 Event Cards
  • 54 Item Cards
  • 3 Disaster Track Markers
  • 10 Flood Tokens
  • 10 Fire Tokens
  • 15 Blocked Hatch Tokens
  • 4 Destruction Tokens
  • 1 Action Die

Game Elements

Game Board

The game board has several distinct features. The Submarine and the Sea: A map of the Red November is the main feature of the game board. The sub is divided into 10 numbered rooms.

An eleventh space, with the Kraken in the background, represents the sea outside the sub. Interior hatches connect the rooms, and three exterior hatches allow access to the sea outside (from rooms 3, 6, and 9).

A number of rooms house critical systems that must be maintained if the sub is to survive: the Engine Room (1), the Oxygen Pumps (2), the Reactor Room (4), and Missile Control (7). Valuable equipment can be found in the Equipment Stores (8) and the Captain's Cabin (10).

The Time Track runs around the edge of the board, counting down from the space marked "60" to the green space marked "0". which is called the "Rescued!" space. Each space represents one minute. Four spaces are marked with starting positions for different numbers of players (3-5, 6, 7, and 8).

The Disaster Tracks: There are three Disaster Tracks in the upper left corner: The Asphyxiation Track (green), Heat Track (red), and Pressure Track (blue). These tracks monitor the status of the sub's critical systems. Each track has two reset points marked with a star (the first and fifth spaces)

Gnome Sailor Figures and Time Keepers

Each player moves a gnome sailor figure around the sub. He records the time his gnome spends moving and taking actions with a stackable Time Keeper of the same color.

Gnome Sailors

The white Time Keeper, known as the "Ghost Time Time Keepers Keeper", is used to track time during a player's turn.

Gnome Cards

The double-sided Gnome Cards track the gnomes' level of intoxication and also help the players remember who controls which gnome.

Event Cards

Event cards are drawn on most player turns. Events are never good, and are almost always bad. The number in the lower right comer of each card is the Faint Check Number.

Item Cards

The deck of Item Cards represents the gear and supplies available to help save the troubled vessel. Most Item Cards help fix things that have gone wrong. Some aid the players in other ways.

Disaster Track Markers

These wooden cubes are used to track the status of the submarine's primary systems on the three Disaster Tracks of the game board.

Other Tokens

Double-sided Flood tokens, with a low-water side and a high-water side, show how deeply flooded a room is.

Fire tokens show that a room is currently on fire.

Blocked Hatch tokens are placed over the interior hatches of the Red November when they become blocked. Hatches marked this way are impassable.

Four timed Destruction tokens are placed on the Time Track when called for by certain events. If the players cannot solve the problem in time the sub is lost!

The Action Die

The die-in Red November has 10 sides. The action die is usually rolled when a gnome attempts a fix-it action.


  1. Place the game board in the center of the table.

  2. Place each Disaster Track Marker on the left-most space of the matching Disaster Track.

  3. Each player selects a color and takes the corresponding gnome figure, Time Keeper, and Gnome Card.

    1. Each player rolls the die for his gnome and places his figure in the random room indicated.
    2. Place the Time Keepers, stacked in a random order, next to the starting space on the Time Track that matches the number of players (for example, in a 4-player game, place them by the "60" space).
    3. Each player places his Gnome Card in front of himself, sober side faceup (the side without any numbers on it).
  4. Take the Item Cards:

    1. Separate six "Grog" cards from the Item Cards; place them faceup near the Captain's Cabin (room 10).
    2. Shuffle the remaining items and make an Item Deck facedown next to the board.
    3. Deal two random Item Cards facedown to each player.
  5. Take the Event Cards:

    1. Remove the "Kraken" card and set it aside.
    2. Shuffle the remaining Event Cards to form an Event Deck, and place it facedown next to the board.
  6. The game is ready to begin!

Time and Turn Order

Turn order in Red November works a little differently than most board games.

Instead of taking turns in the order players are seated around the table, the Time Track is used to determine who goes next: the player whose Time Keeper is furthest back in time takes the next turn (that is to say, the Time Keeper closest to "60").

When a player takes his turn, he performs actions that require a certain amount of time. To track this, he moves his Time Keeper along the Time Track. It is possible that a player will take several turns in a row before his Time Keeper passes another player's and he ceases to be the furthest back in time.

If a Time Keeper ends its move on an occupied space, make a stack by placing it on top of the other Time Keepers in that space.

If there are two or more Time Keepers stacked in the same space when the stack is furthest back in time, the player whose Time Keeper is on top of the stack is the first player from this stack to take a turn. This is the case at the start of the game.

Game Play

Everything on the Red November is going haywire, and all manner of problems constantly plague the sub and its hapless crew.

Players must weigh these problems carefully, and methodically send their gnomes to solve the most pressing ones first - either that, or desperately hurl their half-drunk gnomes at whatever seems good at the time.

On a player's turn, he will first move his gnome around the Red No- vember. Movement takes time, and more bad things happen with each passing moment.

When he is done moving, the player must choose one action for his gnome to take. Usually, this will be an attempt to fix one of the many problems on board. Fixing a problem also takes time, and more bad things happen with each passing moment.

After taking his action, the player will find out all the bad things that hap- pened to the Red November while his gnome was dashing about, trying to hold it all together.

Players take turns in this way until the sub is lost or rescued, at which point they all either lose together or win together. Let's hope help comes soon!

Each player's turn is divided into four phases. These phases must be completed in order:

  1. Movement
  2. Action
  3. Faint Check
  4. Updates

The player can also use any Item Cards in his hand at any time during his turn.

Phase 1: Movement

First, the player places the Ghost Time Keeper on top of his own Time Keeper. Then the player can move his gnome around the sub. There is no limit to the number of moves a gnome can make during a turn. Moving is always optional, but some- times not moving can be deadly!

Parts of movement have a minute cost associated with them. Each time a player performs one of these parts of movement, he advances the Ghost Time Keeper that many spaces along the Time Track.

Each move must follow these three steps:

  1. Open a Hatch (costs 1 minute)
  2. Reflow Water (costs 0 minutes)
  3. Move or Stay (costs 0-1 minute)

After completing all three steps, the gnome can move again, or proceed to the Action Phase. Remember to advance the Ghost Time Keeper for each minute spent in this phase!

Step 1: Open a Hatch : 1 Minute

The rooms of the submarine are connected by doors known as hatches. A gnome can choose to open any unblocked hatch in his room.

Usually, he will move through the opened hatch, but sometimes a hatch is opened for other reasons (such as reflowing flood water to put out a fire). Opening a hatch always takes one minute.

A blocked hatch may not be opened until it is unblocked (which is a fix-it action described later).

Interior and exterior hatches are opened in the same way. All three exterior hatches are attached to the sea space outside the sub.

Step 2 : Reflow Water : 0 Minutes

When a hatch is opened, water might flow between the two rooms it con- nects. This takes no additional time.

If one of the rooms connected by the opened hatch contains a high- water Flood token and the other room has no Flood token at all, the water level equalizes between the two rooms: flip the high-water Flood token to the low-water side, and add a low-water token to the other room.

A player cannot enter a room at high water if he is in a room at low water (i.e., the room at low water must be pumped before a player may open the adjoining hatch).

Low water never flows into another room, and water never flows into or out of the sub through an exterior hatch.

If a Flood token is added to a room with a Fire token, the fire is put out: remove the Fire token.

Step 3 : Move or Stay

After the Reflow Water Step is complete, the gnome must choose to move or stay where he is.

Enter the room : 0 minutes or 1 minute if flooded

The gnome may move into the room on the other side of the hatch he just opened. Entering a room after the hatch is opened is optional. Normally, it does not cost any time to enter a room, but if there is a low-water Flood token in the room, this movement costs one minute.

If the other room has a high-water token, the gnome cannot enter the room. In addition, he can only enter a room on fire if he uses certain equipment.

Hatches close automatically after each movement, even if the gnome decides not to pass through it.

Stay : 0 Minutes

A gnome can choose to remain in the room he is in. The hatch he opened in Step 1 still closes automatically.

Leave the Sub : 1 Minute

If the gnome opened an exterior hatch, he can exit the sub and enter the sea space, but only if he uses an Aqualung item. Moving through an exterior hatch always costs one minute.

A gnome outside the sub can reenter through any of the three exterior hatches, not just the one he used to leave. This also costs one minute.

Players should be careful to avoid leaving their gnome outside the sub for too long! The air in the Aqualung is limited.

Phase 2 : Actions

After moving, it's time for action! The player must choose one action for his gnome to take. A gnome is allowed only one action per turn.

There are three types of actions: fix-it actions, item actions, and special actions. Remember to advance the Ghost Time Keeper for each minute spent during this phase!

Keeping Time

The Ghost Time Keeper is used to track the time a gnome spends during his turn. At the beginning of the Movement Phase, the player places the Ghost Time Keeper on top of his own Time Keeper.

The Ghost Time Keeper is moved forward one space (towards "Rescued!") for each minute spent during the turn, both when moving and when taking actions.

The player's Time Keeper does not move until the Updates Phase. During that phase, his Time Keeper moves along the Time Track until it reaches the same space as the Ghost Time Keeper.

Time Keepers cannot move past the "Rescued!" space. A gnome can never take an action that requires more time than he has left!

Environmental Impact on Actions

If a gnome is in a room that is on fire, the only action he can attempt is Extinguish Fire. If a gnome is in a room with a high-water token, the only action he can take is No Action. A gnome stuck in a room at high water after his action dies at the beginning of his Updates Phase. To prevent this grim fate, the gnome needs to open a hatch during his Movement Phase in order to reflow the water.

If a gnome is in a room with a low-water token, all actions except Pump Water and No Action cost two additional minutes.

This two-minute penalty must be paid first, before determining the chances of successfully completing an action. In other words, the two- minute penalty does not increase a gnome's chance of success on a fix-it action.

Tracking Intoxication

Players use their Gnome Cards to track the level of intoxication their gnomes have achieved. If the gnome is not intoxicated, keep the "sober'' side face-up (the side without any numbers is the "sober" side).

When the gnome uses a Grog card, turn the card over to the intoxicated side. Each Grog used increases his intoxication level by one.

The intoxicated side shows four levels of intoxication. The card is turned so the current level is closest to the player. As the gnome ingests more Grog, rotate the card to the next higher level of intoxication.

A gnome already at level four can continue to drink Grog. His intoxication level does not go any higher, but he still must make Faint Checks each turn that he drinks Grog.

Once a gnome becomes intoxicated, his intoxication level never goes down unless he uses the Coffee item.

Action Summary

The chart below lists all the different actions a gnome can take during his turn, and the amount of time each action requires.

Click here for more detailed information about the Actions.

Phase 3: Faint Check

Gnomes like Grog, and it can give them the courage they need to overcome many obstacles. Unfortunately, it also makes them drunk, and drunk gnomes occasionally faint. If the active gnome has used any Grog cards this turn, he must make a Faint Check.

Turn over the top Event Card and look at the Faint Check Number in the lower right. If the card shows a dash instead of a number, the gnome automatically succeeds and does not faint.

Otherwise, compare the number shown to the gnome's current intoxication level: if the number is less than or equal to the gnome's current intoxication level, he faints. If the number is higher, the gnome is not affected. Either way, ignore the event on the card and discard it.

If the gnome faints, lay his figure on its side and move the Ghost Time Keeper forward 10 additional minutes. When the player's next turn comes around, he stands the figure back up. A fainted gnome is in danger of death if his room catches fire or floods.

The gnome's intoxication level does not change when he faints. Only the Coffee item can sober up a gnome.

Phase 4: Updates

There are two steps to follow in this phase:

  1. Check to see if the active gnome kicks the bucket, then
  2. Advance the Time Keeper and resolve Draw Event Icons and Draw Item Icons.

Step 1: If the active gnome is in a room that is on fire or at high water, he is killed. If he is outside the sub and runs out of air, he is killed.

Step 2: The player's Time Keeper now "catches up" with the Ghost Time Keeper. During his turn, the player has moved the Ghost Time Keeper along the Time Track to record the time he spent moving and taking an action.

Now he must move his own Time Keeper until it reaches the same space as the Ghost Time Keeper as follows:

The Time Keeper moves forward one space at a time, stopping when it enters any space with a Draw Event Icon or Draw Item Icon.

Some spaces show both a Draw Event Icon and a Draw Item Icon. When a Time Keeper reaches one of these spaces, resolve the Event Card before drawing the Item Card.

If a gnome uses a Lucky Charm during his turn, he ignores the first three Draw Event Icons his Time Keeper lands on. This item must be used before any Event Cards are drawn.

End of the Game

There are many ways to lose a game of Red November, but only one way to win. The players win the game only if all Time Keepers of all surviving gnomes reach the "Rescued!'' space at the end of the Time Track and all pending events have been resolved without causing the sub to be destroyed.

The players lose the game if:

  1. Any Disaster Track Marker reaches the end of its track;
  2. The players fail to prevent a Timed Destruction event; or
  3. If all gnomes are killed in the line of duty.

If all players' Time Keepers pass a Destruction token on the Time Track, they have failed to prevent that disaster.

Remember, a player who abandons the sub loses if the other players win, and wins if they lose

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