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Die Schatzinsel» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session: First play, 2 players -- needs 3 or 4 rss

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Gary Pressler
United States
West Lafayette
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I recently purchased a used copy of die Schatzinsel (Treasure Island) in a bundle with three other German games. I had never heard of it, as seems to be the case for most BGGers. It sounded reasonably interesting from the few comments and pictures posted here, I love tile-laying games, and the price was right, so I took a chance.

I had previously read through the rules, which are mostly quite simple, so I knew it would be quick to teach and play. Thus, I played a 2-player game while a friend and I waited for his wife to be free for a larger 3-player game. The rules took about 5 minutes to explain, and we were off. [I plan to write a full review after a couple more games, so I won't give a rules summary here.]

Normally, players hide their unplayed tiles and markers behind a shield. With 2 players, however, we immediately realized this was useless. All unclaimed tiles are placed face-up beside the board, so with only 2, it was only a matter of observing the board, the unclaimed bits, and your own stash to deduce what the other was hiding. Thus, we neglected the shields and continued.

My initial draw included a very nice threesome of consecutive tiles. My friend had all unconnected tiles. He went first and played one to claim 8 "open tile" points and block my ability to do the same. However, I was able to start at the other end of my threesome, get 8 "open tile" points, and then get an additional "connected tile" point when my 3rd tile touched the one that he played.

After that, we started drawing tiles to try to create or block sequences of tiles. My friend took the plunge first with placing treasure chests, hoping that the game would end before I could place my own chests, which were now worth potentially much more. This gave him an early lead, but there was a lot of game left to go. I took the extra guard.

Soon, all the tiles were claimed, and it was primarily a race for my friend to play all of his tiles before I could play my treasure chests and guards. However, I held most of the unplayed treasure locations, so I played them first and foremost. Between his playing tiles, I added 3 chests and 2 guards for a whopping 35 points in two turns. On his last turn, my friend played his final tile for 9 "connected tile" points. That tile contained the final treasure location, which gave me 8 points and a 6-point lead as the game ended (since my friend was now out of pieces to play).

Both of us had similar impressions of the game. Although the rules are very simple, there is good room for tactical plays. The potential to play a series of tiles with chests gives a bit of a press-your-luck feel: if you wait too long, others will play tiles that reduce the scoring impact of your combo. Both of us want to play it again, but never with only 2 players. The ability to know exactly what your opponent holds can lead to min-maxing every play. With 2 "perfect" players, the luck of the starting tile draw decides game. Even with our rookie mistakes, my initial trio of tiles gave me an edge that seemed to persist as game continued. With additional players, I expect the decisions to be much more tense and less tit-for-tat. I hope to find out soon.

Edit: Years later, I just can't let those typos remain. Reading this does make me want to try it again, though.
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