H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I originally posted this at Reddit's Game of the Week for RC, so I thought I'd seek input here as well.

I've read a lot up on RC and really love the idea. I love the idea of surviving on a cursed island, and the different kinds of challenges (beasts, infections, etc) it provides. I've watched about 4 or 5 videos on it multiple times and I've read through my fair share of reviews too.

But ultimately, I have these issues with it:
1. Its rules are complicated (and I've read the BGG comic and seen the concise rules page too), so I have trouble following, let alone any friends I play with. (For reference, I top out at around Puerto Rico/Power Grid's level of gameplay weight and TM is too hard for me)
2. Its very fiddly with some rules exceptions for the pieces - I really, really wish they could have simplified some of the ideas in it and not have so many chits/symbols and such. For reference, I've played 7Wonders and Race for the Galaxy and my big issue was memorizing and using the symbols - it was quite a pain.
3. I'm not sure how I feel about a game that is so swingy/difficult. I like challenges, but I also like adjustable difficulty and reasonable chances for my strategy to prevail. With some of the event cards, it seems difficult to properly plan since some can drastically change the state of the game, and I'm not sure I like it being THAT swingy.

Some quick questions, if you experts could please help:
a) Are there any simplified variants of RC with less fiddliness and easier rules and less exceptions?
b) Are there any similar, yet simpler games that give such a thematic feeling of adventure, variability and gameplay? I've played Escape! and wasnt crazy about it, and I dislike timed games. (I'd especially like a game with a theme like this, as I love Treasure Island/Stranded on an Island-esque themes)
c) How truly bad/difficult are the symbols compared to Race for the Galaxy and 7 Wonders (in terms of ease of understanding and amount of symbols present)?
d) BGG says its 2 hours, but I know there are 6 scenarios (and I think 4 extras?), so how long does the game usually take on average for each of the scenarios?
e) Based on everything I've said, should I get this game? Is it for me? Any advice or opinions on this? I hate fiddliness and complicated rules, but I love the theme and ideas behind its gameplay.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jeff
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't have a lot of time to type out something substantial as a reply I'm sure someone will be along soon who will.

All I will comment on is your opinion on your ability to handle the rules and it's complexity.

If you don't push yourself to learn more complex games you are really limiting yourself on the potential of more enriched experiences. Sure if it's your first time stepping up in a level of complexity it can be daunting but it gets easier the more you push. For me learning RC was easy because I have learned and played some really complex stuff. But I remember being completely lost at trying to learn Agricola when I first bought it.

If you think the theme of the game is appealing and you might enjoy it...buy it. If you hate it sell it or trade it off.


7 
 Thumb up
1.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marlene Thornstrom
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played Puerto Rico, but I don't find Robinson Crusoe more complicated than Power Grid. There are several walkthrough videos on YouTube that will help you learn the rules, and the forum is active so any further questions you might have will probably be answered there.

I didn't have any problems with the symbols. The only ones you might "need" to learn/memorize are what the custom die faces represent for the outcome of the grey/brown/green dice and that's only 2 or 3 of them? It wasn't in the same ballpark as RftG.

I've been trying to think of other games with the elements you described (regarding the theme and feeling of adventure and survival) and I can't think of anything! Perhaps Eldritch Horror?

You said you've already watched several videos. Were they reviews? Or walkthrough videos? If you have already watched multiple walkthroughs, you should have a very good grasp of the gameplay. Perhaps watch one again and try to think through it as if you were playing the game; if that seems taxing and more chore than fun, then you probably shouldn't get the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Who
msg tools
mb
can't answer all

but yes, it's challenging, yes, you will lose, quite a bit at that

the rules are not that complicated though
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the responses so far. I do want to note that the step up in complexity is partially also for the sake of my friends, who aren't complicated gamers. Even the family variant of Agricola gives them trouble or PG's rules and phases for example.

I do also understand the logic of learning more complex games, as I'm sure I'd like TM and Mage Knight more if I learned the rules completely...but at the end of the day, I felt like watching reviews and rules for things that complex felt like a chore, and I play board games for fun. Rules shouldn't make your head hurt trying to wrap your head around them, and I always felt satisfied with the extent of games' complexities I've mastered up to this point. That said, I like the idea of RC so much and enjoy it enough that its lower-difficulty-than-TM makes me reconsider it a bit more.

Tikatoy wrote:
I've been trying to think of other games with the elements you described (regarding the theme and feeling of adventure and survival) and I can't think of anything! Perhaps Eldritch Horror?

You said you've already watched several videos. Were they reviews? Or walkthrough videos? If you have already watched multiple walkthroughs, you should have a very good grasp of the gameplay. Perhaps watch one again and try to think through it as if you were playing the game; if that seems taxing and more chore than fun, then you probably shouldn't get the game.


I didn't like EH's theme mainly (dislike Cthulhu and horror) and its runtime of 3 hours.

I watched GrumshBGG's, Rahdo's, Tom Vasel's, and I think one or two others. They were a combination of runthrough and gameplay review mostly. Its a little hard to picture myself in the scenario - I definitely feel like I need to play the game before I know whether I'll truly like it. (I've bought many games where I thought I'd like it watching the review and was disappointed with the actual gameplay once I did it myself)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Tikatoy wrote:
I haven't played Puerto Rico, but I don't find Robinson Crusoe more complicated than Power Grid.

I've been trying to think of other games with the elements you described (regarding the theme and feeling of adventure and survival) and I can't think of anything! Perhaps Eldritch Horror?


I think the problem with the comparison with Power Grid is that Power Grid doesn't have variable events. I would agree that in terms of basic rules, the comparison to power grid is fair. However, Power Grid doesn't have an event deck or a treasure deck. To me, it seems like 90% of the rules misunderstandings come from how does card X interact with rule Y. This is probably where the comparison to Eldritch/Arkham Horror might be appropriate. I often compare Robinson to Arkham Horror - the event deck is like the mythos phase, the scenario is like the Ancient One, and you have dice based skill checks, they both have massively huge FAQs that are typically caused because a certain card or scenario breaks the standard ruleset. Its not a perfect comparison; if they were the same game I wouldn't own them both. However, I think its good enough to put them in the same ballpark.

The OP has a low rating for BSG, but doesn't say why. However, I suspect its related to the comments in his profile regarding game complexity. I would put Robinson squarely in the "try before you buy" category for him.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Green
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wouldn't say that the rules for Robinson Crusoe are really very complicated, but there are a couple of things about the rules that make learning the game difficult -

a. The rules are not always clear. There are also many rules on the scenario cards and event cards that are very brief and could use further explanation.

b. There are a lot of small rules and it is easy to forget about them whenever playing the game.

Rather than answer your question directly, I'll provide a personal anecdote of the kind of experience you can probably expect to have when learning the game.


This was my first playthrough of the 2nd scenario (Cursed Island). I started out with a pretty typical opening, gathering food and wood and preparing to build a shelter. My first event card of the game required me to place fog markers on the island. Since I hadn't explored the island yet, I placed fog on the camp tile, which caused my resource production to be severely reduced. About an hour later I died a horrible death from lack of food and resources.

So, on my second playthrough I decided to change strategies. I'd start by exploring the island to clear up space for the fog markers to be placed. This would hopefully prevent the serious lack of resources I'd experienced previously. This playthrough went better, but I also died a horrible death about an hour and a half later after spreading myself too thin.

Some time later I was reading through rules questions on BGG and I learned that I was playing the fog marker placement rules incorrectly (and making things much more difficult for myself in the process). I had assumed that you had to play fog on explored island tiles, while in reality you can place fog on ANY island hex on the board, explored or not. My third playthrough of the scenario was successful and much less frustrating.


In short, if you're okay with making mistakes and learning from them and putting in time to learn the game, then it can be a rewarding experience.
But if this is something that will frustrate you and cause you to lose interest in the game, then it's probably not worth it.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Nopa
United States
Addison
Texas [TX]
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hard to say. Part of where Robinson Crusoe excels is that it's a pure coop by nature. All you really need is one person who knows the game very well, and they can run the more complex and fiddly bits. Because it's pure coop, the fun comes in the planning phase where everyone discusses and plans what to do. Of course, quarterbacking may come into play, but the outcomes of actions are decided by dice unless you fully commit, so a case can always be made, either way.

I think the game is very daunting at first, but after a few playthroughs, it's easier. It's also something you can play solo to wrap your head around until you feel confident enough to teach others.

So...yeah, probably doesn't help you much...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marlene Thornstrom
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NowOrNever88 wrote:
Thanks for the responses so far. I do want to note that the step up in complexity is partially also for the sake of my friends, who aren't complicated gamers. Even the family variant of Agricola gives them trouble or PG's rules and phases for example.


In that case I'd say go with something else, possibly as a stepping stone to more complex games. Perhaps one of the D&D board games (Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon and Legend of Drizzt). It's painful to have a table of people sitting around and frowning trying to figure out rules and how cards work.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
[q="Tikatoy"]However, I think its good enough to put them in the same ballpark.

The OP has a low rating for BSG, but doesn't say why. However, I suspect its related to the comments in his profile regarding game complexity. I would put Robinson squarely in the "try before you buy" category for him.


Hmm, I haven't played AH so I'm not sure how to compare it. As for BSG, it was longer than I liked for a game and I had trouble with the rules for the giant spaceship and fighting it and the smaller ships. I enjoyed it a bit though and still gave it a 6 though - the traitor mechanic was neat and I felt engaged.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
NowOrNever88 wrote:
As for BSG, it was longer than I liked for a game and I had trouble with the rules for the giant spaceship and fighting it and the smaller ships. I enjoyed it a bit though and still gave it a 6 though - the traitor mechanic was neat and I felt engaged.


If you like the traitor mechanic, you should look at Shadows over Camelot. Its a lighter version of BSG and the rules are fairly straight forward. Somebody will invariable suggest The Resistance which is a fine game, but focuses exclusively on the "find the traitor" aspect without anything else tacked on to it. Shadows is an actual board game that takes about 90 minutes. Resistance is a short 15 minute party game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
NowOrNever88 wrote:
As for BSG, it was longer than I liked for a game and I had trouble with the rules for the giant spaceship and fighting it and the smaller ships. I enjoyed it a bit though and still gave it a 6 though - the traitor mechanic was neat and I felt engaged.


If you like the traitor mechanic, you should look at Shadows over Camelot. Its a lighter version of BSG and the rules are fairly straight forward. Somebody will invariable suggest The Resistance which is a fine game, but focuses exclusively on the "find the traitor" aspect without anything else tacked on to it. Shadows is an actual board game that takes about 90 minutes. Resistance is a short 15 minute party game.


Yup, I've played both of those. Love the resistance, and think SoC is alright. Its an interesting game in that SoC is a downhill game - you start with life and no catapults, but as the game goes on, evil grows faster. I still don't like the game that much though - the downtime feels high and I dont feel that I have enough options in the game to control my outcome. I also feel that some things are poorly designed (EX: if you clear excalibur or grail early, it makes the game significantly harder). I actually prefer Dead of Winter over both SoC and BSG as I feel it gives me more options while keeping the traitor intrigue.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
gio palumbo
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
mbmb

a) the rules suck but there are a dozen AWESOME rules posted on the forum to follow. After 1 playthru its clear as day.
b) I HATE ESCAPE, that game is beyond overated. but i LOVE robinson. they are not really similar at all.
c) symbols are symbols, a heart is a heart a cloud is a cloud, its not that hard to understand
d) on average between 2 and 3 hours a game with 4 players.
with 2 players you can get this done in under 1.5 hours.
e) GET IT !
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Didn't mean to imply that Escape is similar, just that the theme is a little close and was looking for more games like that (ex Forbidden Island).

I think I'd like to wait on more opinions, but overall, its sounding like I shouldn't get this game until I at least try it (whenever that'll be - noone brings it to my local meetups)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
keith romstad
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This game is easily by far one of my favorites, so obviously I am going to say loads of good things... but that aside this game is amazing. You can scale the difficulty quite a bit once you've played the game a few times by - A. Taking the dog and friday support cards if you are playing 2 player, or using two role cards solo - B. Choosing more than 2 starting item cards up to how many you feel is not to cheaty - C. I add dungeons to almost all scenarios that don't already have them, and you can make it so you only have to resolve item cards or just trap cards or just monster cards.... anyways honestly there are so many ways you can scale this game down or up, and once you buy the Voyage of the Beagle expansion they add like 5 more support cards... horse, bird, etc. The rules and chits can feel finnicky at first but after 1 playthrough and granted this playthrough was with my wife and my 60 year old mother (we don't have friends that like board games ....) we all had the game understood and couldn't wait the next day to break it out. Even when you lose this game, the journey it took you up until you die eating your friends legs as an alligator is eating yours, is very very worth it in my opinion.

There is a game called "Castaways" that is somewhat similar, I've never played it but it seems like a simpler version of crusoe... tom vasal review is always good! Anyways that's my two cents definitely give this game a try though!!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NowOrNever88 wrote:
I originally posted this at Reddit's Game of the Week for RC, so I thought I'd seek input here as well.

I've read a lot up on RC and really love the idea. I love the idea of surviving on a cursed island, and the different kinds of challenges (beasts, infections, etc) it provides. I've watched about 4 or 5 videos on it multiple times and I've read through my fair share of reviews too.

But ultimately, I have these issues with it:
1. Its rules are complicated (and I've read the BGG comic and seen the concise rules page too), so I have trouble following, let alone any friends I play with. (For reference, I top out at around Puerto Rico/Power Grid's level of gameplay weight and TM is too hard for me)
2. Its very fiddly with some rules exceptions for the pieces - I really, really wish they could have simplified some of the ideas in it and not have so many chits/symbols and such. For reference, I've played 7Wonders and Race for the Galaxy and my big issue was memorizing and using the symbols - it was quite a pain.
3. I'm not sure how I feel about a game that is so swingy/difficult. I like challenges, but I also like adjustable difficulty and reasonable chances for my strategy to prevail. With some of the event cards, it seems difficult to properly plan since some can drastically change the state of the game, and I'm not sure I like it being THAT swingy.

Some quick questions, if you experts could please help:
a) Are there any simplified variants of RC with less fiddliness and easier rules and less exceptions?
b) Are there any similar, yet simpler games that give such a thematic feeling of adventure, variability and gameplay? I've played Escape! and wasnt crazy about it, and I dislike timed games. (I'd especially like a game with a theme like this, as I love Treasure Island/Stranded on an Island-esque themes)
c) How truly bad/difficult are the symbols compared to Race for the Galaxy and 7 Wonders (in terms of ease of understanding and amount of symbols present)?
d) BGG says its 2 hours, but I know there are 6 scenarios (and I think 4 extras?), so how long does the game usually take on average for each of the scenarios?
e) Based on everything I've said, should I get this game? Is it for me? Any advice or opinions on this? I hate fiddliness and complicated rules, but I love the theme and ideas behind its gameplay.


Hey everyone! I wanted to report back in about the results of this endeavor and the fruits that manifested from all your collective wisdom.

I bought the game, and I loved the first playthrough of it. I had watched a bunch more videos (rewatched GrumshBGG, watched Ricky Royal, watched Drive Thru review, etc) and read a ton of stuff (like the QuickStart guide) and grabbed a used copy for a couple bucks cheaper (~$51.50 after shipping and tax) but it was nearly new and essentially unpunched and bagged still.

One of the driving forces for me to get this game was most of your words, so thank you all to the ones who recommended it! I was initially going to wait but I was conflicted and eventually caved.

______

For posterity's sake and also for anyone who views this in the future, I'm going to answer my own questions with my own opinion after one game.

1. The rules are indeed pretty difficult. Not recommended for beginners and I highly recommend GrumshBGG's video, Ricky Royal's video, and the QuickStart Guide. I'd say those are the 3 best resources for learning this game relatively accurately. I'd say this is harder than Power Grid, Puerto Rico, and the Family Variant of Agricola and would need a bit more effort to get the rules right (I think this is easier than the full game of Agricola though). Even with all my research, I still made a small handful of mistakes (one mistake was helpful to us and the others were bad so I think it evened out relatively...that's my justification anyway). I think thematic rulings can help speed this up.
2. The bits can be fiddly, especially to set up/find the right pieces for stuff. I don't intend to buy/make boxes so I think I may consolidate some pieces together to save time. From what I can tell, marking items and such with the wrong color cube doesn't actually affect it though, fortunately.
3. I can certainly see how the game is swingy, but what the above poster said about adjusting difficulty is correct. We played with the dog in a 3P game, which isn't absolutely necessary, but I think we would've definitely died without it since we won with 2-4 HP each. I think this is still a flaw of the game, but the swinginess is about what I'd tolerate for a thematic/Amerithrash game. Mitigation is important so I appreciate that.

a) No simplified variants I could find - just grind through it; it can be painful in the beginning.
b) There are no games like RC from my research. Forbidden Island, Escape!, Survive!, Castaways (the board game, not the scenario), and a handful of others might be somewhat close/similar in theme but nothing is close both mechanically and thematically.
c) Symbols are a little annoying but easier than RFTG. For example, both parrot and fish mean food, which can be a little irksome, but it does help thematically. Same for morale arrows.
d) We took about 2.5 hours for explanation and playthrough of first scenario with 3 people. We won in round 10. I see this game being 2-3 hours range, maybe 1.5 hours if fast/fewer players.
e) I think this game is a good buy for me and I'll like it going forward. It met all my expectations and then some. Its probably my second favorite game after Power Grid, but it might rise past that with time. Some parts were a bit irksome but the components, mechanics, theme, etc are all amazing.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aleksander Idziak
Poland
Warsaw
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I didn't find rules difficult to understand at all althrough I read that instruction was improved between editions. I have game-of-the-year polish edition which is GREAT btw. Turn summary on extra sheet is great addition as well and it's not in every edition. Last thing to remember is that you need to read scenarios carefully, they are well written and everything is clear but some things are mentioned only once and you can miss something (f.e. rules for placing fog markers in scenario 2).
Last thing is that at least one person playing should have some experience with board games. It's not difficult but for sure it's not game for total begginers like f.e. basic Carcassonne.
 
 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.