St Ives, Sydney
I quite liked this one in a simple way, exceeding my expectations. You’ve got three explorers, who wander around the map, from volcano to volcano, picking up jewels and special action tokens. Each explorer can only pick up a jewel that is the same colour as itself. You only have two actions, so you’re forced to forego picking up one of the colours each turn. And the scoring, E&T like, encourages you to pick up all colours evenly (a set is worth 10 points, individual gems 1 point). There are even wild treasures (diamonds) that are highly sought as they can fill in for another colour to make a set.
Movement is similar to Viva Pamplona - 3 explorers, 2 dice to allocate to two of them. There’s a high dice (444,33,2 I think) and a low dice (222,33,1 I think), so you’re never quite sure you’ll get what you need, but you’re usually ok given the low variance. Moving from one volcano to the next is usually 5 spaces, sometimes less, generally requiring two moves. Getting a 4 though allows you to do teleportation moves from volcano to volcano if you can deploy the right tokens, which speeds up your gem collecting.
So the game is one of multiple races in each of the colours - to get to a volcano first before another player can get their same coloured explorer there. Hmmm, now that I’m here, do I take the treasure, or the 2 gems, or the token that allows me to call a dragon and teleport later? And will someone teleport here before my next turn to take those gems if I don’t snatch them now? So, see what the dice allow, move and collect, continually weigh up the value of the special tokens and when best to use them. Simple but decent fun, with enough decisions along the way to keep the interest up.
In our game, I forewent red, picking up blue, green and treasures with my blue and green explorers. It would have paid off except for a fluffed move that allowed Rick to beat me to a particularly valuable volcano that allowed him to complete two sets late on in the game. Oh well, there’s always a next time. We all had 3 sets, bar Rick with 4.
Scores: Rick 42, Pat 38, Nick & Warwick 33
A rating of 6 after 1 game; ok game for some occasional fun with nice Basari-type gems, cool dice chute and a nice board. I seem to rate all my games with ‘dragon’ in the title a 6. Do publishers say, here’s an ok game that’s not quite great; if we dress it up with a dragon theme, people will be more attracted to it than the actual play is worth?