
HOME: The Story of Maine
"They Came By Sea"
Lesson 3: Lobster Roll!
Game Rules
Starting Out:
 Each team begins the game with 1 boat, 200 traps, and
$5000. Enter your beginning totals on your spreadsheet.
 Traps cost $20 each (they are only sold or made in units of
100).
 Maintenance costs for traps are $3 per trap, per year.
 Boats cost $25,000 each.
 Maintenance, gear, and crew costs are $3500 per year, per
boat.
 Each boat can carry a maximum of 600 lobsters. Each trap
can hold one lobster. If you have between 600 – 1200 traps, you
must own 2 boats. If you have between 1200 and 1800 traps, you
must own 3 boats, etc.
 The maximum number of days that a team can fish is 150.
 As teams make money, they have the option of growing their
business by buying more boats or more traps. If teams lose
money, they have the option of having several traps or boats sit
out a year, during which they may catch fewer fish, but they
also pay lower maintenance costs. If a team goes out of
business, it is out of the game.
 A fishing season may be either Unregulated or Regulated. In
an Unregulated season, teams can fish as much as they like, up
to the maximum of 150 days. In a Regulated season, the Maine
State government regulates the number of days each team can
fish, based on the advice of biologists. Biologists decide how
many fishing days will be allowed each year, based on the
lobster population of the previous year. The formula is as
follows:
# fishing days = (# lobsters/# traps)/10
For example, in a regulated season, when each team has 200
traps and there were 930,000 lobster remaining at the end of the
first year, there would be 116 fishing days in Year 2 [(930,000
fish / 800 traps) / 10 = 116].
Rules of Play:
 First, decide whether the round will be regulated or
unregulated. Make sure you play at least one round of each.
 Then, each team rolls the dice to determine its rate of
success for that year. Use the table below:
Roll 
Success Rate 
24 
75% (3/4 of traps are full every day) 
57 
50% (1/2 of traps are full every day) 
810 
25% (1/4 of traps are full every day) 
1112 
10% (1/10 of traps are full every day) 
Using your success rate, figure out how many lobsters your
team caught. For example, if Team 1 rolls a 5, and they have 1
boat and 200 traps, their total catch for an unregulated year is
22,500 lobster (75% success rate x 200 traps x 150 days). If the
year is regulated, the total catch for Team 1 will depend on the
number of open fishing days that season. If Team 1 rolls a 5 in
a regulated year in which there are 116 days of fishing, their
total catch will be 17,400. Enter your team’s success rate and
catch in the appropriate columns on your spreadsheet.
 Choose one person in the class to roll the dice in order to
determine the wholesale market price of lobster for the year.
Use the table below:
Roll 
Price 
24 
$1 per lobster 
57 
$.75 per lobster 
810 
$.50 per lobster 
1112 
$.25 per lobster 
Write the price per lobster on your Class Spreadsheet, under
Market. For example, if the market roll is 6 in Year 1, lobsters
are worth $1 each.
 Calculate your team’s profits for the year, based on the
market price of lobster and the number of lobsters you caught.
Make sure you subtract the cost of maintenance for your traps
and boats. For example, Team 1’s profits in the unregulated Year
1 (market=$1/lobster) would be $18,400 [(22,500 lobster x $1) 
$3500 boat costs  $600 trap costs)].
 Then, calculate how much cash you have by adding your
profit to the amount of cash you began the year with. Depending
on how your team did that year, you may wish to buy more traps
or another boat. More traps will allow you to catch more
lobster. But keep in mind, they will also cost more every year
to maintain.
 After you have made any purchases you wish to make, prepare
your team’s records for Year 2. Enter the number of traps and
boats you now own on your spreadsheet. Enter the cash you now
have (accounting for what you may have spent on traps or boats)
in the column under Cash for Year 2.
Taking the Class Records:
 Calculate the total number of lobsters caught that year
by all teams. Subtract that number from the total lobster
population at the beginning of the year to find the lobster
population at the end of the year. Mark those numbers in their
appropriate columns on your spreadsheet.
 Choose one person in the class to roll the dice in order to
determine the rate of growth for the lobster population for that
year. Normally, the rate of growth (r) is 0.1 (10%). But certain
environmental conditions can affect the growth rate. If the dice
show a 3, environmental conditions have made it a good year for
lobster reproduction, and the rate of growth doubles (r=0.2). If
the dice show an 11, it is a bad year for lobster reproduction,
and the rate of growth is 0 (r=0). Enter the environmental
factor of 1 (normal), 2 (a good year) or 0 (a bad year) under
the column labeled Environment on your Class Spreadsheet. Enter
the rate of growth (r) in the appropriate column.
 Then, determine the lobster population for the beginning of
the next year, using the following formula, where r=rate of
growth:
Lobster population for next year_{ }=
(r) x (lobster population at end of year) + lobster population
at end of year
For example, if there are 1,000,000 lobsters the first year,
and a total of 70,000 are caught, there are 930,000 lobsters at
the end of the first year. In order to figure out how many
lobsters there are at the beginning of the second year, when
r=0.1, use the formula:
Lobster population at end of year = 930,000;
Lobster population for next year = 0.1(930,000) + 930,000;
0.1(930,000) = 93,000;
Lobster population for next year = 93,000 + 930,000;
Lobster population for next year = 1,023,000
 You are now ready to begin playing for Year 2. Repeat all
of the steps above, entering all the information you gather in
the appropriate columns on your spreadsheets.
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