At the beginning of the 16th century, the city of Rouen is the main French port. The city's wealth depends on fishing and the trading of salted fish. Salt produced in the mines has to be loaded onto ships and used to preserve herring and cod fished in the Atlantic Ocean. Every week ships full of salt barrels leave Rouen for the fishing grounds of the Atlantic Ocean, and once back, the goods are sold in the city markets. The players represent city merchants, and they invest in ships and city buildings to try to get rich. Who will be the richest merchant of Rouen, when Francis I, King of France, comes to visit the City?
In Upon a Salty Ocean, players start the game with one caravel loaded with three salt barrels, a salt mine and 10-16 money. From this, they must build a shipping empire! The game lasts five turns, with each turn being divided into three phases.
In the event phase, players adjust prices on the market based on the current event tile, take into the account the weather and environmental conditions that will affect them the remainder of the round, and reveal the event tile for the subsequent round.