Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Curse of the Idol» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A pretty fun old-school role & move adventure rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Having picked this up at a charity shop for only a small amount of money, I thought I'd do a review of it, as it's a classic example of a late-80's / early-90's boardgame but with some fun elements that still hold up today.

Overview
Curse of the Idol is a 1990 Milton Bradley release for 2-4 players. It's a role & move game (surprise!) which is, at its basis, a race game - race the other players to get into the temple, find the "bloodstone", and get out before anyone can steal it from you. It has a few added mechanics that make it a bit deeper and more enjoyable than just a run-of-the-mill role & move. I'll go through these, after giving a quick overview of the theme of the game.


Theme
An ancient temple has been discovered, which hides the precious "bloodstone" - a large red diamond-like stone. A villainous raider has gotten to the temple first though, wanting the bloodstone all to himself, and will attempt to stop anyone else getting to the stone. But a band of adventurers has rallied together to get in, find the stone, and get out before the villain can thwart them!

So, it's basically an Indiana-Jones-like tomb-raid, but with multiple archaeologists/tomb raiders.


Mechanics
The ADVENTURERS
A band of tomb raiders who are bent on getting that bloodstone before the villain. And, if they get it, then... they'll give it to a museum? Not sure - the rules don't say what you'll do with it, but I assume it's not going to be keep it for yourself, as that's what you're trying to stop the villain from doing. And, according to the plot overview in the rulebook, the adventurers have banded together to stop the villain... and then proceed to fight each other to the prize and back-stab each other (throwing your fellow adventurer into the PIT OF BONES if you land on them, AND you steal their stuff), then fight again to get back to base camp first with the stone. I guess they're all working for rival museums. Or something.

So you role & move your way into the temple, following any instructions on spaces you land on (stuff like "a rhino charges you: move back 2 spaces", etc). Your aim is first to get to the sword, which is in the middle of the outer-temple. Once you have that, you try to get into the inner-temple, in which stands the great idol containing the bloodstone. If you get there, you plunge the sword into one of the 6 slots in the idol, hope you push the bloodstone out, then race back to the start with it.

The VILLAIN
The villain is trying to stop you getting to the precious gem (quite why he's not rushing to get it before you, I don't know). He'll block your path, and if he lands on you, he'll throw you into the PIT OF BONES. If you're carrying the sword or the stone at the time, the villain... doesn't steal them, for some reason. They go instead to the player who moved the villain.

The villain is moved by a player, as an alternative to moving their own pawn (except if they are in the inner temple, where they're not permitted to move the villain). This is useful not just to block other players' paths, but also to land him on a gear symbol to make the gears rotate (useful if you're stuck on a gear and can't get off to land back on a gear symbol).

The PIT OF BONES
You'll get thrown in one of the two pits if another player, or the villain, lands on you. It's not that scary though - you just get out on your next turn (apparently no adventurers think to take the ladders away so you can't get back out!). An interesting mechanic to slow down your competitors, but a tad annoying, and it slows the game down somewhat.

The WHEELS OF DEATH
How do you get into the inner temple?... Via the pathways on the gears. These gears rotate whenever a player lands on a gear symbol; if you land on such a space, you get to turn the sword plinth one whole turn clockwise, which rotates not just the pathway on all the gears (sorry, the "WHEELS OF DEATH!") making it harder for you/others to get on/off that bit of track, but also rotating the doorway to the inner temple. To get into the inner temple, you must be standing on that doorway space, then hope another player, or your moving of the villain, will land them on a gear symbol so you get turned again and are then in the inner temple. But you then have to get off that doorway on your next turn. If someone else turns the gears before it's your turn, you'll end up coming back OUT of the inner temple. Lots of room for player screwage here!

The IDOL and the BLOODSTONE
As mentioned above, once you're in the inner temple, you go to the idol, plunge the stone into one of the 6 slots, and hope you guessed right. If not, it's into the PIT OF BONES with you, and the sword magically flies back to its plinth in the outer temple, where everyone now rushes back to fetch it! If you do guess right, the gem falls out of the idol, the sword stays put, and you now have to run (role & move) your way back to Base Camp, where you started (outside the outer-temple walls). You get out of the inner temple via the rotating door again, or through the trapdoors either side of the idol. Then race back, trying to avoid your fellow players from jumping on you, stealing the gemstone, and throwing you back in the PIT OF BONES. (Again. You really can get thrown in the pits a lot).


Run away!

Summary / Thoughts
Cons
My main con here is the length of the game. If you don't guess the correct slot for the bloodstone, you have to go round and try again. You could be doing that 5 times before finding the correct slot the 6th time. That's a lot of time going round and round. Obviously multiple players could be making it into the inner temple and trying this, but having to go get the sword again means it extends gameplay time a lot.

Getting thrown into the PIT OF BONES also slows things down. At least you don't have to throw a certain number to get out, you just get out on your next turn.

Being able to steal the stone or sword from the player who has it by just landing on them seems a little unfair. It certainly helps balance the game from a runaway-leader, but it felt just a little TOO easy for me. Maybe if, once you landed on the person, you then had a 'fight' with them, and had to roll a 4, 5 or 6, say, to steal their stuff, otherwise YOU get thrown into the PIT OF BONES. That would have been slightly more challenging, and perhaps make players question whether or not they really wanted to try stealing the sword or stone.

The sword flying back to the plinth after a failed Idol-stabbing attempt - very annoying! It might have been simpler to just leave it there and the next player just get to that point and try a different slot. That would have sped things up somewhat.

Pros
The villain mechanic is really interesting. He can be used to block other players, to help move the gears to help you into the inner temple, or to steal another player's stuff if you happen to be able to move the villain right onto another adventurer. It's not really thematic (why would the villain not steal the gem for himself? Why isn't he trying to get to the gem before the adventurers? Why doesn't he realise throwing people in the PIT OF BONES isn't actually killing them, when they reappear near him just a few turns later?), but it's such a useful mechanic, I just ignored this small issue. Would it have been better being some kind of "living statue" put there by the tomb's creators, trying to protect the bloodstone? Probably. But it's not annoying enough to detract from the game play.

The gearing system is also very interesting. The fact it changes both the pathways onto the gears AND swivels the door into the inner temple, make it a great way to screw with the other players. Want to stop someone getting into the inner temple? Deliberately move to a space with a gear on so the paths block off and he can't get there! Want to stop other players getting ONTO the gears and catching you? Do exactly the same!

The curse of the role & move, winning only with exact count, is not present here - huzzah! You win by reaching the base camp, but do not need exact count to get there. You also don't need exact count when you hit a dead-end (so you don't spend turn after turn trying to get exactly what you need to get to the Idol in the inner temple, for example, you can get there from the door with a roll of 2 or higher). This makes the game a lot faster, as otherwise it would drag on and on, especially as you may have to go into the inner temple 6 times before getting to the stone.

Will I play this again?
Almost certainly, yes. It was a lot of fun, considering it's age and base mechanic. But I only played it with 2 players. 4 players would probably be a lot more chaotic, though could lead to a lot more interesting interaction between players. I'd like to try it with 4 to see how it fares. AND I'd like to try it with my kids to see what the intended age range makes of it!


Red WINS!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H Oudekerk
Netherlands
Harderwijk
GLD
flag msg tools
Not that bad at all.
Just needs a few minor changes:

HOUSE RULES
1: moving you MUST spend all you points, unless there is a deadend, or you can stop on another player. You cannot pass the black character.
2: when stopping on another players Pawn you may do battle;
Attacker rolls 1d6: 1 is defeat 6 is victory. else the attacker challenges the defender to throw either higher of lower. The loser drops the sword and moves to a bone pit.
3: be aware of the 2 (not so) short cuts that sometimes gives an opportunity to felle from pursuer. Short cut may only be entered after having landed exactly on the Trap field in front of it.
4: When trying to find the ruby throw a 1d6 to see how many tries you have.
5: a short game means finding the ruby and leave the inner temple.
Long game means you have to bring the ruby back to base camp
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hobbeskind wrote:
2: when stopping on another players Pawn you may do battle;
Attacker rolls 1d6: 1 is defeat 6 is victory. else the attacker challenges the defender to throw either higher of lower. The loser drops the sword and moves to a bone pit.
4: When trying to find the ruby throw a 1d6 to see how many tries you have.


I really like these two suggestions, especially rolling to see how many tries at finding the ruby you get. Will have to try that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A quick followup to my review: Having played it a number of times with my kids now, both 2, 3 and 4 player games, it holds up pretty well. In 3 or 4 player games, turns are fast enough that you don't get too bored waiting for your turn; and people get thrown in the PIT OF BONES a whole lot more, which just amuses me no end.

We do house-rule that you can have as many tries as you like to get the bloodstone from the idol though, or my kids just get bored. Basically, whoever gets there first will always get the gem, then it's a race for the other players to catch the leader before they make it out. Plays nice and quickly this way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.