Game Buzz – Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

Another cooperative game from Spiel 2012:

image by BGG user trzewik

Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island is a new game from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek and Polish publisher Portal Games (Z-Man is producing it in the US).  This 1-4 player cooperative adventure takes place in the world of Robinson Crusoe, as originally created by Daniel Defoe.  It’s for ages 10 and up, and takes 2 hours to play.  It’s cooperative, so you’ll be working together, but it was designed intentionally to address the leader problem that plagues a lot of co-ops.

Components in the game include a board, map tiles, event cards, wreckage cards, adventure cards, mystery cards, invention cards, scenario cards, a Friday card with a matching pawn, a dog card with a matching pawn, 4 character cards, 4 player pawns, 4 additional pawns, resource cubes, black markers, action dice, weather dice, white markers, blue marker for achievements or effects, a round marker, and adventure tokens.  Players choose one of six scenarios and set it up as indicated.  The scenario card gives the number of rounds to be played, weather conditions, and goal.

Each round follows the following sequence: event phase, morale phase, production phase, action phase, weather phase, and night phase.

EVENT: At the beginning of each round (other than the first), you’ll draw a card from the event deck and resolve it.  As the game progresses, adventure and mystery cards will be shuffled into the deck, so you may draw one of those.  You’ll resolve the event effect, then keep drawing until you get another event card.

MORALE: The first player will check the morale track and gain or lose determination tokens based on the white marker’s position.  If you have to lose more than you have, you gain wounds for each you can’t dump.

PRODUCTION: The island produces resources based on where your camp is – food or wood.

ACTION: This is the big phase of the game.  There are two stages – plan and resolve.  In the planning phase, you assign your two action pawns to different actions, depending on what the group wants to do.  They will be resolved in the resolution stage.  There are seven types of actions:

  • Threat is based on the event card, and is used to avoid the threat effect.  It costs different numbers of pawns.
  • Hunting costs 2 pawns, and allows you to get food and/or furs.  You draw the top card of the hunting deck and fight the indicated beast.  This could result in you taking wounds.
  • Building costs 1-2 pawns. You can build a shelter, a roof, a palisade, a weapon, or can turn inventions into items.
  • Gathering Resources costs 1-2 pawns, and allows you to gain food or wood on certain explored island tiles.
  • Exploration costs 1-2 pawns, and allows you to explore the island tiles.
  • Arranging the Camp costs 1 pawn.  It gets you two determinations tokens and allows you to increase morale by 1.
  • Rest costs 1 pawn, and heals one wound.

Each of these actions (except threat) can be taken several times in a round.

WEATHER: Roll the weather dice required by the scenario card.  You may have to discard resources, fight beasts, or decrease your palisade level.

NIGHT: Discard one food per player.  If you can’t, players that don’t eat get two wounds.  You also can decide whether or not to move your camp, take a wound if you don’t have a shelter, and unprotected food rots and is discarded.

The game ends in a victory if you fulfill your scenario goal.  The game ends in defeat if a character dies, or if you run out of time to fulfill your goal.

This is a game that it’s hard to really get a grasp on without playing.  Part of the fun, I think, would be seeing what events pop up, and how the scenarios play out.  My interest level in the game is more about the reputation of Ignacy Trzewiczek.  I’ve never played one of his designs, but Stronghold, 51st State, and Pret-a-Porter have all sounded very good to me.  I’m not a huge Robinson Crusoe fan, so it’s not the theme for me.  I like co-ops, but there are plenty out there, so I’m more interested to see what Trzewiczek does with it.  It’s gotten some good buzz from Spiel, so I’m interested to see how it does.  Thanks for reading.

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