I wear my Halloween costume all year round!
It was a dark and stormy night. Our ship was lost, and the three of us were lucky to find ourselves safe on shore the next day. Our loyal dog had fortuitously managed to weather the storm with us, as did our storm glass and an empty bottle. Despite the lack of supplies, we were optimistic that with our skills in carpentry, exploration, and soldiery, we could make it through. We just needed to gather a huge pile of wood and start a fire to signal passing ships. Easy, right?
We set out right away to carry out the most important tasks: exploring the island, searching the wreckage for supplies, and organizing our camp. Seeing the orderliness of our home, we immediately felt better, and we were relieved to find a bit of food in the boxes that had swept up on the shore. Our trusty dog protected us from some of the hazards and adventures of exploration, but we did come across an interesting cave. Even knowing that mysterious caves often house dangerous animals, we decided to search it for treasure, though with minimal success. We came across some gold, which wasn’t any help in our basic fight for survival, and also an interesting ceremonial bowl that we brought back to camp with us. That bowl must have been cursed, though, because the person who carried it seemed to struggle with the most basic activities in the days that followed.
But considering that we were trapped on a mysterious island, our lives were surprisingly uneventful. There were daily misadventures, certainly; we often became tired, or injured, while going about our regular tasks. And the weather was surprisingly erratic; we met with early frost, and unusual cold, and thunderstorms. Heavy clouds were soon followed by drought. Still, we managed to escape major catastrophe.
As the days passed, we were able to contrive island substitutes for several essential tools: a vine could function as a rope, which could then be formed into a snare to catch small animals for food. We used the clay from the hills to make a pot, and cooked certain island plants within it to create a multi-purpose cure for various ailments. That same clay could also be shaped into bricks and used to create a furnace, which proved very handy when the cold weather came. We even made a clay lantern, once we had figured out how to start a fire using flint from the mountains.
In fact, we were so productive in gathering and processing resources that we soon found we were using up the island’s supply. First one nearby stand of trees was exhausted, then a second. We weren’t in any imminent danger, but the task of accumulating wood for our signal fire began to seem more and more difficult. We set out to explore farther from our camp, pushing ourselves harder than we usually did. If we could only complete the wood pile and send up a signal, it wouldn’t matter how discouraged or injured we were, because we would be rescued soon by a passing ship. So we pushed through this difficult period, and our hard work paid off. We completed the signal fire and our adventure came to an end. Once on board the ship, I was finally able to implement the idea of a diary that I had been thinking of while on the island, and it was in my new diary that I recorded this account.
I hadn’t realized how much easier the 3-player game is than the 4-player game, or we wouldn’t have included the dog while replaying the first scenario. Bringing along the dog while exploring also made the game much less interesting, because we weren’t drawing exploration adventure cards. Morale never fell below one after the first turn, and feeding three people was much easier than feeding four people. There was really just not much of note in this game, which I guess isn’t surprising when replaying the beginner scenario, but we figured we’d get more enjoyment out of the game by playing each scenario more than once before moving on to the next one. I wonder vaguely whether we missed some critical rule, but we struggled enough in the previous game that I don’t really think so. Replaying a familiar scenario with the addition of the dog (and maybe a bit of good luck) is probably explanation enough.