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Isla Dorada» Forums » Reviews

Subject: More here than I thought. rss

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Don Alexander
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I knew I wanted this. That doesn't mean anything to you......or to my wife since I buy everything. I have a problem. Boy was she pleasantly surprised this time. I sold this as a family game, and she bought right into it.

I see the art work as stunning. Both on the cards and on the board. There are 3 plastic heavy figures that come with the game, that are just begging to be painted. Sadly I have know talent, so mine will remain looking and feeling like ivory keys.

Once the wife saw the art, she was willing to sit down with her brother and sister in law. I had gotten home late from work and only had 5 minutes to read directions. Not only is it simple and intuitive, it also has great cheat sheets that are double sided that have descriptions of every destiny card and every adventure card. Doesn't get any more simple than that.

After a brief overview of how to win (always start with how to win), and a short recap on directions (You can explain this in 1 minute.) we were off to the races.

This game you can teach to anyone. It is so ridiculously simple (in a good way.) It is not a brain burner, and laughs are had. The game breaks down like this.

You have crashed landed on an island. You have a Destiny card that tells you which areas of the island you want to go to. If you go there, you get points. You also have curse cards which tell you where you do not want to go. If you go there, you lose points. You and all your friends share one plastic figure on the board. You then bid adventure cards on which path to take to go where you want to go, or where someone else wants to go. Whomever has the most points at the end wins.

Sounds easy. It is. The strategy comes into play in a few different ways.

1. You get two destiny cards in the begining and you get to pick one. They are not all go here, or go there. Some are quite unique. One of mine needed me to hot 5 different specific areas. My wife's had 2 locations on opposite sides of the board, my brother in law's had extra points if his hand of adventure cards had a specific animal.
2. You are given 3 treasure cards at the beggining of the game and you can keep 2. If you go to a specific location, you can turn each card in and get those points. There are two times in the game where you can get more treasure cards. The trick is, you may not want to go anywhere near where you have to go to get more cards, but the rest of the group might want to. It is a constant tug of war.
3. You get 10 gold at the beggining of the game. You never get more gold again. There are times in the game you can turn in a gold for an extra adventure card, or there are certain adventure cards which cost gold to use. Once it is gone, it is gone.
4. Did I mention ther are adventure cards?!? You are dealt 6 originally. After each round, starting with the leader, everyone can draw one from a pile, or draw one of 4 face up (a la Ticket To Ride). There are 4 basic kinds of travel. Mountains, Desert, Water or Jungle.If you wanted to cross a jungle path to a specific locations, you could bid 3 jungle cards. (doesn;t have to be three, it can be any number you have, or you can pass, or pick another path.) These are the bulk of the cards. However, there are a whole bunch more that do crazy stuff! There is a card that lets you put Big Foot on a path so that nobody may cross that path (1 of the three beautiful figures in the game). The zepplin card lets you fly anywhere on the board for a cost of 3 coins (if you win the bid) and counts as 5 cards. The panda card forces you to pick two players and they each have to get rid of 3 adventure cards each. These are just a few.

We played three games, and each game we became a little more devious. I mentioned placing Big Foot on a path so nobody may cross using that path. Well when you place it, people assume your curse location is on the otherside. When it's not, they are quite surprised. There are many little tricks that you learn....once someone else does it to you.

All in all, I love this game. It is relatively quick, everyone is involved in every turn, and there is no waiting at all. I am so glad I picked this up.

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Derek Thompson
United States
Marion
Indiana
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Very tempted by these positive reviews! But I've found other "pure bidding" games getting a little stale (though drier ones like Ra or Taj Mahal), and I already have several games with the same theme (Incan Gold, Tobago)... how frustrating were the "take that" cards in the deck?
 
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Loose Cannon
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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I'm Sold!

If only I could Get Civilization out of my head...
But this could finally be one of those games to get my wife's side of the family playing.
(I did get them hooked on Bang!)
We made some Bang cookies for our annual cookie baking day!
I'll try and take some pictures before I eat them all.
Joe
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Alex Martinez
United States
Irving
Texas
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Played this game tonight, and second the OP's positive review. A solid game with great presentation. Though it is, at heart, a bidding game, the many possibilities the map, treasure, and goal cards offer mean it's far from predictable. They included a ton of destiny cards as well as a healthy assortment of different adventure card effects. This keeps it fresh.

It plays quickly too, making it a great filler game. And since there's not a lot of pieces to clean up, it just makes this even more appealing.

I will definitely second the presentation, especially the figures, which are far nicer than they have any right to be. The art on the cards is cartoonish and appealing. I had some worries about the portrayal of the natives at first, but then I noticed that all the explorers are broad caricatures with bushy mustaches and pith helmets and decided that it fit perfectly fine.
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Michel Baudoin
Netherlands
Valkenswaard
Noord Brabant
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Thanx!

I kept thinking I wanted this even though alot of people said it wasn't very interesting and too simple.

But I like simple, and I want games that I can play with people that are not into half hour instructions.

because of this review it's moved to the (almost) top of my wishlist!
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Alex Martinez
United States
Irving
Texas
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It's simple, but simple doesn't mean frivolous or empty. It works because it is so easy to explain and yet has enough complexity to make it rewarding. A game should only be as complicated as it needs to be, and Isla Dorada is exactly this sweet spot between ease-of-play and rewarding gameplay.
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Ray Diebel
United States
Phildelphia
Pennsylvania
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Re: the "pure bidding," pleasingly much more to it than pure bidding. The game includes means to stick it to other bidders mid-bid, shut bidders out, allow other peopple to bid you in a direction THEY want to go then force them to keep going to take you where YOU want to go. Many nice elements, great art, simple rules, nice balance...in all, this is a well done game based on a "bid mechanic," but not a pure bid game!
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