sean johnson(SeanXor)United States
For Christmas in 2009 my wife gave me of the most fun Christmas gifts I think I have ever received. For Christmas that year she placed a game order at coolstuffinc.com, and ordered enough to get to free shipping. When the package came, she wrapped the box up. For Christmas I got a box of games, and it was a lot of fun to open the box, dig through the packing peanuts and discover everything that was in there. Along with some small games and expansions for games we already have, the big game in the box was this one. I had told my wife I wanted Tobago because it sounded like it would be a good family style game that we would enjoy. Plus the components are absolutely beautiful. So was Tobago a good gift or was this a treasure that would have been best kept in the ground?
Tobago is a game of treasure hunting. At any given time there can be up to four different treasures players are looking for on the island. The island is created by putting some very unique board pieces together. There are multiple configurations. On a player's turn they will do one of two things. They will either play a treasure map card to one of the possible treasures or they will move. Players have a hand of treasure map cards and these are played to narrow down where a treasure might be. For example, I might play a card for the "black treasure" that states the treasure is on a mountain hex. The next player may then play that it is next to a jungle hex. This means the treasure can be on any mountain hex that borders a jungle hex. Black cubes are placed on the board to show the possible locations. This continues until the there is only one cube. At that point, a player can move to unearth the treasure.
Moving is a little odd in this game. Players get three moves. Every time they switch terrain types that is one move, but they can move any number of hexes within the type of terrain they are currently occupying. When the treasure is raised, the player who does this gets to place marker at the bottom of the treasure map card chain. Each player who played one of the treasure map cards will get a claim of the treasure. Each player will get to look at one treasure card for each claim marker they have in the chain. One unseen card is also added. Starting with the player who unearthed the treasure and working up, players have the right to claim or pass on a treasure card as they are revealed. Treasure cards are between 2 and 6. There are also two curse cards. These cards come up and deny players treasure and can also take treasure cards from people if they are not protected.
Every time a treasure card is unearthed, amulets show up on the island. Players can pick these up and use them to be protected from curses or to take extra turns. The game continues until the deck of treasure cards is expended. At that point whoever has collected the most points worth of treasure wins.
The Game We Played
I am afraid that without getting incredibly creative and narrative, this game does not make for a very rousing session report. This is especially true in a two player game. The reality is that it would be a poor decision to allow one player to get complete claim on a treasure. This means in a two player game, we tend to go back and forth playing on the same treasure (or two) so that we are both in on it more or less equally. I say more or less, because my wife managed to get a majority of her markers in most of the time. However, I tended to make better picks when it came to passing or taking a treasure card. This meant she might get more cards, but the two "2" value cards she got, would be equal to the one "4" value card I got. We both got amulets to protect us from the two curse cards. I knew my wife had more cards, but I really thought that my cards might have a higher value. At the end of the game we counted up our score. I lost 53-45.
My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: I really like the look of Tobago, and I think the mechanics are innovative and brilliant. My only real problem with the game is that I think it makes for a poor two player game.
Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: The game is very good looking and I like that. I think it is fun, but it is not that good with just the two of us.
Combined Rating: 7
We have played Tobago several times. However, I have only played it twice with more than two and my wife has never played it with more than two. I think that as a two player game only, we might be done with it. However, we both like the game enough that want to hold on to it, and play it with more people.