Jonathan Hersey
United States
Peoria
Illinois
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I just got this game the other day and am 0/3 (one solo, and two 2 player games). I really like this game but am getting the impression that between the 12 event cards (in castaways scenario), initial items, the characters you draw, and the 5 random items, the scenario can be nigh on impossible. Every round you desperately need wood, food, improved roof, palisade and weapons, and possibly improved morale. You can't have everything so you weigh out the pro's and con's of everything and try to make the best choices you can. Then in the next event phase you realize "oh you should have improved your palisade instead of your roof" or vice versa, but there's nothing you can do about it now.

Much of the game feels this way to me. I came away with my last loss thinking I just wasn't lucky enough. I made the best choices I could but the events were just too harsh for me to win.

For you veterans, how often do you win the various scenarios? Since you have a much deeper understanding of the various probabilities of certain things happening you can make more informed decisions than me. Do you sometimes feel there just wasn't even the possibility for you to win?
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S. R.
Germany
Mainz
Rheinland-Pfalz
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The game can be totally against you!
The island is a cantankerous, moody beast that will kill you if you are not prepared, will kill you if you make too many mistakes, and sometimes will kill you just for sports or the fun of it.

So yes, the cards CAN be stacked against you.
But that is the cards.
One thing that is very important is to weigh your chances against options and risks when you think about throwing those dice. Of course, if you are cursed with extraordinarily bad luck, then you could possibly also lose due to die rolls. But most often, it is the cards.

That said, there is always the possibility of winning, in each scenario. Sometimes, the island will pull you down, but if it seems to happen too often, chances are you are making mistakes in your planning. Or you might even play something wrong, and it is harder due to that...


Let's put it this way:
You have at least a 60% of winning the first scenario, of all games you play with this scenario (meaning 3 out of 5 you can win), if you KNOW what you are doing. However, the first scenario can be harsh if you do not have all your ducks in a row.
The second scenario has about 80% chance of you achieving victory. Again, if you know what you are doing.
...the missing 40% or 20%, respectively, are due to bad luck, and I would say that only 1/4 of that would be due to bad die rolls...


I hope this crude assessment helps.



[Edit]
BTW, the more cards you know (e.g. the Beasts that you could encounter), the better you will be able to weigh your risks and rewards...
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Murr Rockstroh
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Fleming Island
Florida
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We've managed to win the Castaways and Save Jenny scenarios, and have never won the Robinson Family scenario (going on 8 times now that we've lost it). We haven't tried the others yet, but our plan is to try the expansion next.

This game is hard, and we never go into it expecting to win. What we do enjoy about the game is the story it tells as you're playing the game. We read the flavor text and make up the storyline as we go along having a great time experiencing the journey the game provides. If we win, it's gravy.

The last time we played the Robinson Family scenario, our mantra was "Ok, this turn is the turn everything starts to turn around." ... then the hurricane hit. "Ok, this turn is the turn everything starts to turn around." then the insects showed up in the pelts we had found, and that leg injury from building the roof flared up, etc... One of us died in round 5, I think it was me while trying to build the roof again.

Try some of the suggestions in the back of the rulebook to make things easier. Take Friday and the Dog for example.
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Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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My gaming group has both won and lost scenarios 1 and 2, although we tend to add Friday and/or the dog. I'd say my solo plays are about even. There is always a chance that "the perfect storm" will prevent a player win. On our last loss at scenario 1, castaways, we lost when a hurricane destroyed the wood we needed to complete the signal fire on the final turn!

I need to play this again.
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James
United States
Midlothian
Virginia
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I asked the exact question of your thread title a while back and Dumon leveled with me. No, you do not always have at least a chance to win. I almost didn't buy it for that reason as it seems like such a dealbreaking condition, like in some sessions you'd be wasting your time.

I am very glad that I took the plunge. It really does create a story each time that you walk away with. Who knew hopelessness had such an appeal for me? I have a dedicated game room and I leave the game set up and then have another go when I can with the same cards dealt (but a new event deck). I try out different options; I explore the scenario. I muse in between what didn't work because of bad luck; what didn't work because I could improve my approach.

When I finally win it feels like a real victory. I think my relationship with the game works because it minimizes the additional frustration of setup and tear down of a session in which the Event cards were just evil. I have also come to think of each scenario as a series of games, each one getting me smarter and closer to victory. It even works thematically to some extent in thinking of seasons spent on the island but that theme doesn't hold up for every scenario, of course (sorry, Jenny).

I think you're on the right track towards appreciating the game because you're thinking about how you want to relate to it. Above all, find your run and fulfillment. Least of all with this title, few people here are going to tell you the one, right way to enjoy this punishing, beautiful game.
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Guilly Berto
United States
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This is one of those games where results can vary dramatically due group skill, and the fact that once you figure it out there is only a small amount of luck. We have gotten to the point where we win previously played scenarios basically every time. There is a trick to each scenario, some thing or things that need to be optimized. Once you figure it out for each one it becomes rather easy on normal and you can start playing for victory points.
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Antonia
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Wolfsburg
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One addition: I still feel about Robinson that it is not quite balanced between different player numbers.
The additional cost in terms of shelter building costs and food does not seem to balance the 2 additional action the group gets for a fourth player for example. Therefore I prefer to use the dog when playing with four players.
Not sure if anybody has studied this problem any further?
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S. R.
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Mainz
Rheinland-Pfalz
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Every scenario is playable with 4 players. It might not always be easy, but each scenario is as winnable as with 2 or 3. Not sure about scenario #5 in solo mode, though (haven't played it enough).

In fact, I mostly play 4-character games, even when I play alone. And I win scenario 1, 4 and 6, if the cards are not against me. And scenario 2 I hardly ever lose.
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Antonia
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Dumon wrote:
Every scenario is playable with 4 players.

I never doubted this point.
My question was rather: How much easier does it get when only playing with three survivors vs. playing with four survivors?
I know, the question is a little bit off-topic but I feel that the player number made a difference in our games.
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Aleksander Idziak
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Warsaw
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I feel that generally number of players doesn't impact difficulty. There are different things that you need to take care of (f.e. you don't need to do a lot about morale in solo games) but number of actions makes it even.
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S. R.
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I would generally say that the number of players shifts the focus of scenarios or the game in general.
However, how much the difficulty is more or less balanced with different player counts, that is something I cannot comment on.
But then, I was always unsure if scenario #5 is winnable at all in solo mode...
 
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