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La Isla is a straight up Euro Style game designed by Stefan Feld. It plays two to four players and runs right around an hour for inexperience players and shorter for more experienced players. This is one of Stefan Feld’s lightest games and but still has those tough decisions. The art work is very well done as is with most Feld games. Artist Alexander Jung did a great job on all of the animals and cards.
Let’s Talk set-up
The jigsaw puzzle board gives way to multiple plays with never really playing the same game twice. Make sure all hands are on deck to scatter all of the billion animal chits throughout the board. Next get your poorly crafted card holder thingy that really doesn’t do much for me as a feature. I would have preferred a small player board. Next shuffle the billion little multiuse cards that make the game so good. Give every player one resource of each type and their starting “explorers.” Also set-up the “captured” animals board. Lastly every player gets to draw a creature that gives you two of that type.
Round to Round
Every round each player will be given three cards and all of them must be placed in the spaces provided. Each card has three parts to it. The power part which is at the top and two icons on the left and right bottom. The left icon is for a resource and the right is going to be for the movement of the animal tracker. The first spaces gives you a special power and is placed into a slot at the top of player board thingy. Next space gives you a resource and the last slot is an animal that has been captured and now needs to be studied. The last slot tells you which animal maker gets moved on the track. When you move an animal tracker that has your animal on it then you get to move points equal to the number you have.
Very simple right. WRONG. The powers are all desirable and after three rounds each player will have to discard one and replace it with a new power. The new power can be similar to the old one and can even have a benefit that allows combos to happen. Doing combo powers really boosts ones chances of winning. Both cards used for resource and animal get discarded at the end of the round. Choosing the correct animal also speeds up or slows down the game.
Play of the Game
Each player places the three cards face down after deciding Power, Resource, and Animal. Everyone reveals Power card and places it into the first slot. Next the second card is revealed everyone claims a resource based on that card icon. Then place Explore/Hunters onto the board. A player must use resources two of the same color resources to claim a spot on the board. However, that spot can be claimed by multiple players. The color resources and spots really cause a colored-blind players to have angst and problems. Turn order does matter here and with the last card too.
Area control from that part of the game is crucial and can award a player points and animals. The third card revealed determines which animal tracker goes up and if the player that played that card has this type of animal then that player scores points equal to the number of that animal. For example if a player has three birds and plays a bird card that player moves up three spaces. After all the cards have been revealed and actions taken then discard the cards used for resources and animals tracking. Deal out three new cards and move the first player token to the right.
End of Game
End of game is reached when the tracker values of the animals is equal to or greater than a preset number based on players. At the end of this round final scoring takes place and a winner is crowned Explorer of the Year. Well, at least in our group. End scoring biggest thing is how many different sets of five different animals you achieved. For each set is worth 10 points. Also points associated to the tracker for each animal. So if you have four birds and the tracker is set at two then you would get 8 points.
The game play is easy and is fun. The game is very nice to look at and the art work is great. If you like Feld games then you will like this one but it won’t come to the table as often as his other works. Rialto or La Isla…not even going to be close call. Rialto!!!! I do really like the multiuse cards. I like the modular board. And I like the art. The biggest grumble I have is the card holder thingy. The more people the merrier with this one. Four makes this a playable game, three is ok and two will not do for me. The reality is I don’t own this Feld game and probably won’t. I will play it bi/tri-monthly at a game night. I give this my lowest Feld rating of 6 out of 10.
Everyone has heard about Imhotep! He build one of the earliest pyramids in Sakkara and build himself a legacy. Inspired by him you, as a young master builder, want to build huge monuments and just got the opportunity to do so. You have being assigned to a new area to build a temple, a pyramid, it's burial chamber and some obelisks. But you are not alone and only the best will prevail. So hurry up to get your stones to the ships. Use them at the given tasks or trade them on the market and create your own legacy!
Box & Contents
As usual the box is KOSMOS standard size (11.61 x 11.61 x 2.76 inches) that features a master builder that invites you into the the world of ancient Egypt. Once you open the box you get greeted by the rule book. Digging deeper you pass a bit of card board (2 mm) for ships, playing field, very small player boards as well as a scoring board. Finally when reaching the treasure chamber the first thing that jumps at you are the massive amount of huge wooden cubes. Yes, huge as they are 15mm x 15mm x 15mm (~5,9 inch³). Very fitting and awesome quality. Welcome your creative side! Last but not least there is a pack of cards (market and turn cards).
Inside the box after all is punched
Additional Component Shots From top left to bottom right:
All Cardboard - Image from Beatrix Schilke
The Wooden Tokens
Player Boards (Storage Tiles), Scoring Board, Cards
Rules & Game Setup
As we want to play, let's setup the game, should we?
Put all the location cards in the middle of the table. The side on the first game should be all side A according to the rules, in later games you can mix and match as you like.
Put the scoring pad near the location cards but on the side without water.
Create a general supply for ships. Would that be a harbour?
Shuffle the 34 market cards and put them face down near the market. Fill all market spaces with a card from this deck.
Separate the round cards and select the ones according to your player count. Shuffle these seven and remove one at random from the deck. Put the rest face down. Each round you will reveal a card and select available ships as indicated by the card. Yes, we play six rounds correct
Last but not least the needed stones. Create a general supply that is called quarry in the game. We have now set up the game. Quite fast, right?
Now each player needs to be readied as well! Let us set up the player area which is pretty straight forward too, just three more steps:
Each player chooses a color and gets a supply board of the selected color.
Put one stone of each player color onto the scoring pad at 0/40. This stone comes from the quarry.
Now a start player is selected and he takes two stones out of the general supply and puts them onto his supply board. In clockwise order each player takes his stones and each player in clockwise order gets one additional stone. 2nd player = 3 stones, 3rd player = 4 stones, 4th player = 5 stones. You are already ready to play!
2 Player Setup
Now how do we play? All looks so gorgeous! Ok ok, each turn consists of three phases:
1. Preparation phase
You draw a card from the turn deck and it will show the four ships that are available this round. Set these four ships near the locations, still off shore.
Fill the market with new cards as indicated on the market. If the deck is depleted reshuffle the discarded ones and form a new deck.
2. Action phase
The start player will start the round and each player has one action going in clockwise order. You can select out of these four actions:
Get more stones
You take 3 stones in your color from the quarry and pit them onto your supply board. If you have fewer spaces on your supply board, you only take the number that will fit onto the supply board. Note: You can't take this action if you have no stones left in the quarry OR your supply board is already full.
Put a stone onto a ship
Take one stone from your supply board and place it onto an ANY empty space on a ship that has not yet docked at a port.
Move a ship to a location
Each ship has an indicator at the bow (front of the ship), that shows the minimum number of stones a ship needs to load before it can move to a location (As example a big ship with four spaces will need at least three stones). If this requirement is given you can move the ship to any location that doesn't have a docked sh yet, as each location can only be scored once each round.
Once a ship docks at a location the stones on it get moved to the location. The stones are moved one by one starting at the bow of the ship. The owner of the stone moves it to the location and resolves it if possible. Depending on the location each stone scores differently.
Note: You can move any ship, even if you have no stones on it.
Note: Each round you will dock at four from the five possible locations.
Note: Once the 4th ship has been moved to a location the round ends after the stones have been moved to the location.
Result after docking
Play 1 blue market card (action card)
If you own one of these cards from earlier turns you can play it now, resolve its effect and discard it onto the market discard pile.
Action Cards (upper left -> bottom right)
Lever - Move a ship to a location and CHOOSE the order stones get unloaded
Chisel - Place TWO stones onto one ship OR choose TWO ships and put a stone onto each ship
Hammer - Get three stones from the quarry AND put a stone on a ship
Sail - Put a stone onto a ship AND move it to a location (Minimum load rule still applies)
3. Clean Up Phase
Once all four ships have moved to locations the current rounds ends. Follow these small steps before continuing with your next turn:
Score the temple location as indicated on the board itself.
Remove all ships and put them back into the supply.
Discard all remaining cards on the market tile.
Select new start player.
The next player in clockwise order from the player that has moved the 4th ship is the start player of the new round. To keep it simple, you just take a small break cleaning up and continue at the spot where you left off.
Start a new round
Final scoring and End of game
If you have played six rounds aka the round cards are depleted a final scoring set in immediately. Score the given locations / cards as indicated on them:
Score the burial chamber.
Score the obelisks.
Score end of game sets of market cards "Ornament" + "Statue".
Score unused blue market cards. Each card is worth 1 VP.
Optional Variant: Wrath Of the Pharao
Player with the most points wins. Ties (in end game scoring only) are broken with the by the player that has the most stones still on his supply board.
Some stones are still left
End Of Game
Additional Modules / Optional Rules
As with any good vinyl the locations all have a B side. That way you can mix and match as you like. Each combination bringing a new approach on scoring and needs to take care off.
Wrath Of The Pharao
Optional rule that adds an end game objective. Each player that is NOT at all four building locations (Pyramid, Temple, Burial Chamber, Obelisks) will loose 5 VP at the end of the game.
Some More Detail - Location Scoring
Even there are good examples in the rule book, let us shed some light onto how each location scores. I bet that question is on your lips since the end of turn clean up. So lets start!
If a ship moves to the market the stones get traded for cards at the market. These include immediate actions or cards you can play as action. Some also have end of game scoring on them. So a lot you can decide from. The first stone unloaded from a ship selects first etc. The sides only differ slightly:
Each turn it hosts four visible market cards. 1st come, 1st serve. Pretty easy.
This side has 4 slots too but has 5 cards. Three spots with one card visible each and one area with two cards face down. So you can decide if you want to get the pig in a poke
More Market Cards - End Game scoring cards
Statue Set Collection & 1 VP per 3 stones at a location
More Market Cards - Instant Actions
Put a stone of your color from the quarry onto a location
The Temple is scored at the end of EACH round. The specialty here is that only the stones on the top score. So you actually you do not want to be covered. Once a ship docks here the stones are moved onto the temple left to right. Starting with level one and if all are occupied start a new level. The sides only have differ in gains:
The stone(s) on top scores 1 VP at the end of the round. Yep, straight forward points.
Depending on the column you get 2 VP, draw a market card from the deck or choose between 1 VP and 2 Stones moved from the quarry to your supply.
The Burial Chamber
If a ship docks at this location, the stones start at the top left, as indicated by the arrows, and fill up the column top to bottom until moved to the next column. This area is build at on level. The sides only differ in and of game scoring:
Each area of stones is scored. The more stones are in ONE area the more points you score, as example you score 10 points for a group of four. 1 Stone alone is an area too and scores 1 VP.
A more tactical approach as you have a majority scoring in each ROW. So three majorities you fight for. Most stones get 8. If there is a tie you combine the points of the tied positions and each divide them by number of tied players. Each tied player gets this share (rounded down). Points score depending on position. Pos. 1/2/3/4 = Points 8/4/2/0.
The Obelisks build only in one direction. Up! They differ on movement depending on the side two:
All stones of one player build one big obelisk. This is a majority race too. Most stones wins the most points. These vary on player count. 2 Player = 10/1. 3 Player = 12/6/1. 4 Player = 15/10/5/1.
Stones are stored on the location per player. If any player gets a total of three or more stones to this location they build an obelisk. The earlier you build the more points you score. First to build scores 10 points with following scoring a point less until is scores only 5 points. All unused stones are not worthless and score one VP in the end.
Last but not least interesting the premium class, Pyramids! The stones are added to this location as with the burial chamber BUT you score immediately the points the stone covers. The sides do have a different approach and it goes like this:
Level 1 consists of 9 stones and score points as indicated in the basement. Once 9 stones are on the location a second level is build and these score as indicated by the picture "2. Level" (2/3/1/3). Once four stones are seated here there is a level 3 with one stone only that nets you 4 points. Additional stones are not lost and are set aside on the location, each scoring 1 VP.
You do not build one pyramid with three levels but you build three pyramids with two levels. Each time a stone is moved here you can choose to put it onto any of the three pyramids aka you do not need to put all your stones in one, giving you the option to get the most gain out of it. The pyramids are smaller (Level 1 = 4 stones only + Level 2 = 1 stone) and also have some special scoring like market cards, additional stones to your supply or even put a stone from your storage onto a ship.
This apparently concludes the rules and you are now ready to play!
Pyramid Foundation. Check!
But the temple has started too!
Pyramids have been completed.
Looking trough my eyes
Player count / Playtime / Replayability
The game fits the standard amount of players from 2 to 4 and I have played it in all player counts now. Actually I agree that the game is far more tactical with two and can be more unforgiving if an error is made. With four it feels a bit to random for me as you have three players messing with the game until it is your turn again. I feel most suited when played with three as this gives a good mix of both extremes. Playing time makes it a quick game as it plays fast in all player counts. Different player counts use different cards for ships which does balance the game here as well, in higher player counts you will of course find more of the bigger ships. A far better aspect than playing time is replayability. Due to the high randomness of the turn and market cards PLUS the mix you have available on locations will ensure no game is the same. I found it quite challenging as the side of the temple does play completely different as the A side gives points but the B side far more resources. Very very cool!
The interaction is really high as you can by any means just screw up someone by moving a ship to a location that is no use of them. Still this might feel strong, you do loose the option to place a stone of yourself onto a ship. In the end a stone moved to a location scores you points, even if someone moves you. But I would even say the interaction is higher than the options you have as each player effects the game. So in a two player game that is 50/50, on higher player counts you can be sure the game does look different when it is your turn again.
Difficult & Similarities
The game is a gateway game to be sure and can be taught to everyone without big question marks showing up over the heads. Especially if you use the theme that comes with it makes it clearer to understand the game too. But even it is easy to understand the choices sometimes are not that easy and offer some more depth. Even it is a area control game in its heart I find no similarities in the combined mechanics in my "small" knowledge of board games.
Rules & Mechanics
The rules are not long, easy to read and understand. If a question should still arise the manual does offer good examples as well. As given in the rules I would agree on using the A sides first to get a feel for the game. Mechanic wise this feels a bit like a worker placement as the slots each turn are limited. Only the result you get when you place a stone is not in your hands. Timing is critical here, but one thing is sure, each stone will mostly net you something: A victory point or another unit in the area control battle.
Theme / Language Independence
Language is used on the action cards only which can be easily translated as the icons do help as well. Still an English version is already available, as well as Dutch and Polish editions. The theme is well selected and you see its influence in all aspects from the box up to these wonderful little stones. Due to the tactical aspect it can sometimes shift into the background as you think about your move. But than on the other hand it is just as being an architect thinking about to build his next monument. Latest upon putting these cubes into your hands and onto the big pyramid it does shine, like the burning sun of Egypt.
To wrap it up, the game is rightfully on the nominees for Spiel des Jahres. It features easy rules, good choices and some variety all rounded off with a beautiful presentation. It puts you into a game without the luck effect of a die or a random card. That doesn't mean you have full control, only over your actions. As all the other players you carefully balance your choices to the most gain. This might sometimes result in "damage" limitation as you choose the lesser evil. Maybe you just move a ship to a location that nets your opponents nearly no points, but was it better to miss the opportunity to get something onto the playing field yourself? You need to choose wisely on your action and as all only execute one action it plays smoothly and makes a great game for all involved. It is a well rounded package that has been carefully been put together in all aspects. I do like the game very much!
Temple wars and the base of the pyramid has been doneFinal obelisksGame Two Final Standing
To close this introduction I will end with the Quick & Dirty Overview which summarizes positive aspects under "The Good", negative under "The Bad" and my color handicapped approach via "The Ugly":
Easy to understand and play. All will understand the basics.
Tactical depth and decision making. Will you just put a second stone on a ship and go all in? Just to see it moved somewhere out of your control? It all comes down to choose the most gain or lesser evil. Apart from the 4 actions you have some options via the market cards allowing you "double" or instant actions to finish of structure or just give you the final piece on majority.
Timing is critical. Keep an eye on your and you opponents supply. Having to take stones might just miss you the action you need.
Awesome Material. Nice and chunky blocks. Nuff said.
Good play length and actually you seldom play only one time.
High replay value. Mixing all location sites adds lots of variants plus the round card randomness helps as well.
You will get screwed, a lot. You need to be resistant to that. Don't be vengeful!
With rising player count the game gets more random or better you have less control as more actions are taken before you are able to react on to them. So if you are a thinker it might be to random for you. But see the good side, it does happen to all of you. Embrace the chaos
With the black boarder the cards do show weariness more easily. A well known fact so nothing critical.
No color issues have been "seen". All blocks fade well into different shades of gray if you are totally color blind. So you can still show these amateurs builders what a real pyramid looks like
Creative Shots Area
My First Shot At the Nürnberg Fair
With all that I close my post about IMHOTEP and hope you enjoyed the overview. As always questions, feedback, notes, critics, hugs, etc. just drop me a note in the comments! Thumb it if you like the post and/or if it should be seen by more people. Thanks!
Hope you enjoyed it and may the games be with you!
2. BerlinCon - 16.-17.07.2016 - Save the date!!!
Get more Meeplepeat:
BGG - Blog: Shades Of Boardgaming
BGG - Games List 2016: Peats Lookout 2016 - Games on the horizon!
BGG - Games List 2015: Peats Games To Look For Until Essen 2015
BGG - Peats Nürnberg 2016 Experience: Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Fun Stuff
BGG - Peats Essen 2015 Madness: Pre-Post - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Lootpic
External Social Media Links:
Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
In this week's show I give my thoughts about the Origin's Game Fair, discuss my failures as a Escape Room designer, and introduce you to VR.
If you want to see previous episodes of The Chalk head over to YouTube:
Ze Masqued Cucumber
Protze et Chniaque !
C'est le Gomazio à crête mordorée, dont le cri annonce le soir...
(cheese golem go cheese golem)
Go cheese golem, you've been maturing for a while
(cheese golem go cheese golem)
You are supreme, the cook'll scream, for cheese golem
(go go go, gogogogogogogo)
Grease ligthing is not my favorite from the musical, but it's a classic.
- Painted a test 3D-print of my (now old) custom Mice & Mystics cheddar golem model.
I wanted to try the new shapeways' designer material, currently in evaluation (hi-def acrylate from a DLP machine).
It's sturdier than the ultra/extreme detail resin, but requires more prep (detailed resin typically doesn't need any filing/sanding).
The main issue is that sets of muliple models get tremendously more expensive. Hopefully they'll solve this when they'll make the material "public".
Anyway, once prepped & painted, the result is quite close to the existing Ultra/Extreme Detail.
Pic of the same mini in Ultra Detail material, for comparison:
- Finished painting the last 3 Cthulhu Wars gates.
One per faction, the others will stay plastic for now.
Group shot + the last 3:
- Went to "Paris est Ludique" game convention. It has now become pretty big.
Drank beers, etc. Said hello to the Conan team.
Was explained Mythic Battles: Pantheon on a 3D board. Didn't play a full game. If you're into skirmish games and/or gorgeous minis, watch out for the KS launch.
Played some full games: Les Poilus (The Grizzled) (published), Hope (KS ongoing), Fleet Commander (2nd ed. KS finished), Les Inventeurs (The Inventors?) (soon-to-be published).
While I enjoyed all, the ones that impressed me the most were:
- Fleet Commander. I was aware of the KS but couldn't convince myself to pledge. I was wrong. I'll get a copy one way or another, I just need to find a place on my (already crowded) shelves.
- Les Inventeurs (The Inventors?). Has the potential to be a hit, IMO. Should be released before Christmas. Will be mine. Should be yours too.
Proud writer for iSlayTheDragon
I had a very full weekend of working on my photography. At one point I managed to squeeze in a game of Catan but something seemed a little off...
Up first was a reshoot of this Histrio arrangement that I did previously but wasn't happy with how the shot was framed. This time around I made sure to provide more white space on the top and placed the white pieces in the middle to allow for better color balance. That was my final shot for Histrio so now I can actually play the game!
I also took a short video to show off the arrangement. It would be neat to eventually incorporate videos in order to provide a better viewing experience for my more elaborate arrangements but for now I'll have to stick to quick videos from my phone.
Moving along to Mysterium, I really wanted to highlight the beautiful artwork on the dream cards. Something I enjoy doing is taking the components from a game and arranging them in such a way that it no longer resembles that game any more. I tried to capture a sense of receiving fragmented dreams that start to blur together. The hex-based card layering was a nice alternative to the circular patterns I normally do.
Here's another video that shows some close ups of the card artwork.
Last up was another reshoot, this time of a simple arrangement I did for Biblios. This one in particular reminds me that I don't need to throw every last component into a shot in order to convey the game's feeling.
Here's the older shot to show how much cleaner and sharper my newer pictures have become.
Updating Old Arrangements
I've enjoyed redoing some of my previous shots now that I'm confident in getting the pictures that I want. I'll be slowly working through some of my favorite arrangements from the last year between my commissioned work. Perhaps for a calendar or something in the future, we'll see. If there's a shot that I've done previously that you'd like to see a higher quality version of let me know and I can prioritize it! Here are some of the ones I intend to redo.
Every year I take a trip to Japan and every year I try to think of ways to take games with me. Last year it was The ultimate travel package and the year before that it was pen and paper games (a lot of Y and Go-moku was played). This year I'm interested in focusing on a few specific games with some travelicious extras thrown in for good measure. Therefore I will focus my attention on games that neatly fit into the box for the game Fjords.
So far, I've packed the following into the Fjords box:
* Monsoon Market
* Trick of the Rails
* Hex and Y
* Blockers! 2 in 1 Schnupperspiel
As you can tell from the image there is space for a little bit more, so if you have any recommendations for that last little bit of space please feel free to comment below. At the moment I'm leaning towards Homeworlds (via the amazing pyramids deck of cards), Land Unter, Mythos, Friday, or Just Desserts, but am open to new ideas.
: Bear in mind that I could put a pack of cards here, but there are cards readily available in Japan, so I don't feel the need to take any with me on my journey.
The 11th Interview Episode of The Final Roll!
A Fun talk I've had with Tricia Roskelley Harmon (Alpha Ginger Studios) about their game "Canine Chaos", Now on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alphagingerstudios/cani...
Alpha Ginger Studios Can Be Found Online at:
From now on, this podcast will also be available in the Itunes store:
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W. Eric Martin
• My lack of knowledge about Dungeons & Dragons is on full display in this overview of Tyrants of the Underdark, the first D&D board game from Wizards of the Coast publishing partner Gale Force Nine — although as Jean-Paul Brisigotti explained at Origins Game Fair 2016, much of the design came to GF9 via Lords of Waterdeep designers Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson.
• Ignacy Trzewiczek' Imperial Settlers from Portal Games had a new faction announced for it during Origins 2016 — Aztecs, with this announcement by way of Poland — but at Origins itself one day prior to that announcement we took a look at the 3 Is a Magic Number Empire Pack.
• Aron West from Elzra showed off the disc-flicking game Catacombs & Castles and explained how it compares to their similar-but-not-that-similar Catacombs.
• I love real-time games, but I've found few people in my area who dig them as much as I do, so it was with great relish that we welcomed Mike Selinker to the BGG booth to give us a taste of Sausage Party from Lone Shark Games. Click on the link below for a spicy preview.
• Selinker also presented the much anticipated Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk, which Avalon Hill will release in October 2016 in time for holiday spooking and playing.
A recent game of Formula Dé rekindled my love for this game.
I'm a fan of the yearly 24 hours race at Le Mans (France). There are many expansion tracks for Formula Dé, but they never made Le Mans. And I really want to race this legendary track!
So I had to make one myself.
Several A4 prints to make one large gameboard:
With lanes and corner sections in pen:
I miscalculated the width of the track, that's why some sections only have two lanes instead of three. One day I'll reprint with correct width...
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