Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
September 29, 2013
Thank you for letting us use your copy of Robinson Crusoe. You had warned me about how it would be easier if someone who had played it could explain the rules, but after looking around the convention hall, I couldn't find anyone, so we were prepared to muddle through the rules. When I opened up the box, there was a big note that said "MISSING A WEATHER DIE". I wasn't sure if that was going to be a fatal problem for the game, and while I was debating what to do about the missing die, you brought over a fourth player, Myke, and a few minutes later, Carlyn dropped by to explain the game to us. Not only that, she took the initiative to find a new set of dice and she did a good job of giving us an overview of the game before going into details. There were a ton of details, and I'm glad she was here since it probably would have taken us at least a an hour and a half to go through the rules. She said the day before that a group of beginners had managed to survive the first scenario.
In player order, Don was the soldier, Gary was the explorer, I was the carpenter, and Myke was the cook. Now Jasen, I won't rehash the jokes Gary said about me showing up on the island sans clothes, and maybe my starting supplies should have been some covering towels or something like that. No Jasen, it would have denigrated the reputation of fallcon to hear those terrible jokes.
Just as the game was starting, some liquid squirted onto my hand. I thought the convention hall was leaking, and it was a premonition about how the game was going to turn out. Actually it was someone was eating a chicken caesar salad with grape tomatoes. You see, Jasen, those juices in the grape tomatoes can squirt a fair distance, in this case about 6 feet, if someone is eating them with their mouth open, or attempting to cut them with a knife. I hope I got hit with the juice from the latter, rather than the former, but needless to say, there was tomato juice over your game board as well. I cleaned up my hand first before cleaning up your board.
So Jasen, with all the preliminaries out of the way, we started the Castaways sceneraio, four ambitious gamers with the sun shining. So the object in this scenario is to build a large enough fire to get rescued before 10 days. Our first day, we did the usual exploring, getting resources and moving the morale up two spaces, which was probably our only good decision of the game.
In the second day, we noticed we were short of wood. But we put the wood into that campfire when we should have been buidling other items. For instance, there is an important item on this scenario card that gives one extra wood per turn. In addition, my carpenter had a snare that gives one extra food, which we were short of all game. The prerequisite of the snare is a rope; the way we played we could have used the rope to make four nooses instead. Which leads to our first lesson:
Lesson #1: Don't worry about the game ending fire conditions which eat up your wood early. The wood can be better used for items to give you more wood per turn.
I know what you are thinking Jasen, that we are not very bright players and we had a bright person explain the rules to us. Well, we did miss a few things in the rules. For instance, we thought that to build a level on the shelter it costs 4 wood AND 3 fur, when actually it is 4 wood OR 3 fur. We didn't rally stop to question the "/" befween the items and we all thought it was both goods required, which makes the game ridiculously harder. Also when we revealed discovery tokens, we played it if an item like a pot was not built yet, the discovery token was discarded. We found out later that you keep the discovery token until it is ready.
Lesson #2: Make sure you verify the rules as you play along. The key rules we missed were roof/shelter costs is wood or fur, not both.
Jasen, we were hungry the whole game. So when we built our weapons level down to five, we decided we had enough starving and went to get the two beasts in our pile. When I went hunting, I got a goat, which gave us 2 food. Then Don went hunting and got a gorilla, which hurt Don severely and gave us someting like 5 food. So then we had to throw out the excess food. Which is ironic, we were short food the whole game, then got it all in one go, and had to throw it away. We couldn't even use the cook's special item to convert food to health since we didn't build it. (See Lesson #1).
Lesson #3: Only hunt one animal per turn. It's likely if you hunt more, you will have too much food which you will have to throw away.
I won't bore you with more of our blunders Jasen, assuming you are still reading this. We died on turn 5. Don was too injured from the gorilla attack, and mixed in with two double rain clouds, where we had no shelter, he mercifully succumbed.
I understand that you and Gary tried this game later that night. I hope you guys had more success than we did earlier in the day.