1-4 players, Cooperative, Exploration
Designer: Ludovic Roudy, Bruno Sautter
Artwork: Ludovic Roudy
Publisher: Serious Poulp
Overview of Gameplay-
This is a very unique game where you draw and place card tiles down to create an ongoing exploration adventure. It has a ton of cool ideas and is very exciting the first time you play the game as you are exploring everything for the first time. This is one of the game’s greatest strengths and also one of its greatest weaknesses.
The problem lies with the difficulty and the unknown. The very first time you play the game you won’t know what lies ahead and this makes it exciting! However it also makes it hard as you don’t know what lies ahead. So you end up forging on through expending cards (which also act as your life) all willy nilly because you really don’t know how long this adventure is going to take. Basically the first time you play the game you will not beat it. Only after multiple plays of seeing the same cards over and over will you learn how to progress and beat the adventure.
Now this isn’t a bad thing per say as it is fun to learn from your mistakes and gradually get better and further every time. Also there is SOME difference each play as the fogged out cards are totally random so you will see different events. That said though you will end up playing that same starting island so many times and it gets old really fast. Also these adventures are LONG. Don’t expect to play through and defeat them in one sitting. The game does come with a really awesome save system though that allows you to very easily save your tiles to pick up and play later.
There are 4 curses (scenarios) in the base game and even though they will take you a long time to fully beat, after you have completely defeated all 4….there isn’t much replayabilty to the game. All 4 of the curses are scattered about on the same land so you will see stuff you have seen before regardless of which curse you do. That aspect of the game is pretty samey. That said the amount of time it takes to defeat all 4 takes a very long time so you do get your money’s worth. Also there are a variety of different characters you can play as with different abilities so that adds to the replayability.
Win Condition /Length-
As touched on above this game can run longgggg if you want it to. That’s one great thing about the game, is that it comes with this really cool save mechanic to basically stop playing any time you want. To win you must defeat the curse storyline you are playing. This will more than likely take multiple plays to do. Again, you start out wandering this island of the unknown and only after multiple plays will you properly know how to navigate the island with perfection. Since each curse has you finding different stuff or doing different things the win conditions will vary.
Components/Game board –
The components are really nice with the most of them consisting of the card tiles you will be laying out as you explore the land. There are some small dice to track your number of uses of items and the like as well which are pretty standard mini dice. There are also a few minis of the characters you can play as and my personal fav, the tiny mini campfire. I love that thing. I do kinda wish the land tiles/cards were a bit thicker but there are SO MANY of them I can for sure see why they are not. There is this discard holder thing that is a neat idea but you have to disassemble it every time you put it up for storage and already it’s getting a little frayed around the edges after just a handful of assemblies. I still use it but I can see it not lasting that long.
Setup takes a bit of time, more so if you are continuing a saved game. Not all that long since the save system is perfectly tuned but there are a ton of cards here. Also prepare to play on a large table especially if you are planning to play a multiple hour game. This map is gigantic and you will have cards spread out far and away.
Takedown is a breeze though, well, saving is a breeze. Just grab the spacer cards from your box and stack the cards listed on them under each spacer. Stack all those on top of each other and place them in the box. Boom, done. BUT THEN, you have to deal with all the extra cards that do not save from game to game. This part is a drag. Basically every location tile will be surrounded by a “fog” tile that is random so you don’t know what kinda event you will get every time you play. Which is amazing for the replay ability however for cleanup it suckksssss. These add up and go into a discard pile during your play and at the end of your game or whenever you decide to save, you need to sort these out and place them back in their proper numerical order in the box. A small price to pay for replayability I suppose.
The box basically consists of a smaller to average sized game box that holds a couple smaller card boxes inside along with the other components. The box looks nice and the smaller boxes are of a nice quality as well. Since everything is held in place inside the bigger box there is no worry about stuff getting mixed up if stored on its side.
Visual Appeal /Theme–
The theme is pretty good in this one and visually it’s a really fun game. The artwork on each card is good and there are little hidden things on some of the cards to make you really investigate visually, which I enjoy. The theme surrounds this 7th continent and the exploration of it trying to lift a variety of curses. It’s pretty cool and each curse differs so that you get a little bit of story with each.
I’ll be honest, I struggled with the rulebook. Not sure what it was exactly but this one was just hard for me to grasp. There are a bunch of little rules concerning how you manage items and combine them and the way the stars work on the cards when combined. Oh and the “7” cards were really confusing to me on how they worked exactly and how you could use them. I think more examples would benefit this rulebook greatly.
Table Talk/Fun Factor –
So I had a TON of fun playing this the first few times solo. Here’s the thing, don’t burn yourself out on this game playing the same curse over and over again trying to beat it. The instant you start getting bored restarting the same curse, play a different one! Change it up a bit to keep the game interesting. This game is ALL about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy your time wandering around discovering things and interacting with stuff. Things and Stuff galore in this game.
The table talk can be decent when playing multiplayer as you are working together to explore the island and lift the curse. You can interact with one another and trade items which is nifty. I could see many a couple playing this game and enjoying their time exploring.
Optimal Player Count –
Personally I prefer this game solo all the way. Tried it with 2 players and we both were just not getting into it. I think it was the way that player turns were setup or perhaps the overlap, it just wasn’t clicking with either of us. When I came back to play alone however I was loving it. I was free to do things my own way without having to worry about someone else and coordinating efforts. I could just sit there and sink into the game and completely zone out exploring everything.
Final Thoughts –
It’s a very cool game and very unique. It can be difficult until you figure out the best way to manage resources and the most efficient way to navigate the island but once you have it down it’s all about figuring out the clues. Some of those will have you scratching your head and just wandering around the island looking for something else as they rely on things you may or may not have found.
The main thing I didn’t like about the game was the constant digging through the box of tile cards to find specific ones. Since all the tiles are numbered and in a specific order in the boxes, you do spend a lengthy amount of play time finding cards. I think it’s worse though when you put the game up. Sorting through and putting all the tiles back in the correct spot takes quite a bit of time.
All in all I really like the game. I don’t think it works very well multiplayer personally as it’s seems kinda fiddly with more than one. But solo play is super fun.