Game Overview: As an owner of a resort, you are building vacation attractions while leveraging hired workers to attract tourists to your resort. However, there are monsters abound and you must also attract heroes that are already on vacation to protect both the resort and the tourists that are there. The more attractive and epic the resort, the more likely an attack will occur. To maximize your victory points, you will have to decide between protecting your resort and the tourists or getting the attracted heroes to maximize their health points.
Box Contents: A plastic insert will be found within the box that has plenty of space and compartments for all of the cards and components. There is an abundance of space to add any future expansions, including Villain’s Vacation Expansion that was just released at the time of this review. You will find a mixture of art on the different cards. Some I would consider just average (workers and tourists). Where as the over sized attraction cards and along with the heroes and monsters is really outstanding. The multiple wooden and cardboard token pieces are acceptable for their purposes.
Clarity of Rules: The rules manual is a twelve-page glossy and colored instruction manual. There are multiple pictures providing examples throughout and the game play is addressed step by step. With that being said, after reading through the rules a few times to understand the game we did play some things incorrectly.
There are a lot of things that are going on throughout the game and some rules concerning game play may not be obvious to you, even after reading the rules. After playing through the game at least once, my may need to go back to re-read the rules again to ensure nothing was missed.
Game Play: During game setup, players are given two starting attractions that do not provide any victory points along with a starting deck of 13 cards, which are all basic workers (Apprentice, Street Performer, and Lazy Peon), and two tourists with one will be placed on each of your starting attractions.
The table is set up with three separate piles of attractions that fall into three different tiers, with two cards being displayed for each tier. The skilled workers that you will be using will be placed onto the table. You will always use the Day-Worker cards and then the players select the remaining four or five skilled workers, depending on the number of players.
The monster pile is placed onto the table and the number of cards being used, are dependent on the number of players. And finally, dock cards are dealt to the table which represent tourists and heroes that are visiting which may be assigned to the different attractions.
With the number of cards in play, this game will take up a lot of space so make sure you have a large table to use.
Phase 1-Get To Work
Players all perform this phase simultaneously. You first draw five cards from your worker deck. As is normal with other deck builders, when your deck runs out, you reshuffle and fill up your hand. When you draw your cards, you want to look to see if you have any workers that can be assigned to one of your attractions. Each attraction has a requirement level. If you can not meet this requirement, then tourists will be lost from the attraction. If you assign a basic worker to an attraction, they can not be used later in your turn to possibly hire a skilled worker.
The number of tourists that remain at your attractions will provide you both gold and flair. The more tourists, the more gold you will earn. The attractions with fewer tourists will provide more flair.
Phase 2- Actions: Attract, Train, or Upgrade
The first player has a special card, called the harbormaster which allows them to take all of the actions first in phase 2.
Attract Tourists- You may take a tourist card from the dock area, assuming you have the flair to pay for them. Once purchased, you immediately place the tourists onto your attractions. You will want to pay attention to some of the tourist cards as they will give you extra tourists based on the type of attraction they are being assigned to.
Attract a Hero- If a hero is available at the dock, you may pay its flair cost. Once it is obtained, you assign it to one of your attractions and place one of the wooden hearts onto the hero to show its health level. Most of the heroes will have some type of reward action that you can perform when they are obtained.
Train a Skilled Worker- If any remaining cards in your hand allows you to hire a skilled worker and you have enough gold to purchase a skilled worker, you can perform this action. These skilled workers will provide different abilities. They may count towards multiple requirements for an attraction, they may provide a bonus (gold, flair, health, etc..) if you discard the card to your discard pile. Once you purchase from a skilled worker pile, you remove the basic worker from play and you place a lock token on the one that you purchased, which prevents other players from purchasing them for this round.
Upgrade an Attraction- If you have gold to spend, you can upgrade an attraction. You start with two attractions, but can go up to three attractions. You must always play higher tier card on top of a previously tiered card. However, you do not have to go in order. You can go from tier one up to tier three.
Pass- This signifies that you will be taking no more actions during phase 2. The first person to pass, gets to select who will be the next harbormaster (first player).
Phase 3- A Ship Arrives
During this phase, it represents new cards that will be showing up in the dock area. First, the top card in the row is removed from the game and discarded. Next, you begin to draw cards one by one to fill up the dock until you get to the correct number of cards based on the number of players.
When drawing the cards, if an attack card is drawn, you need to resolve the card. The attack card will show which attraction will be attacked and then you flip over the top monster card. The monster card will dictate which player will be attacked. It may be based on the number of tourists, the number of heroes, or the amount of gold. If a previously attracted hero is at the attraction being attacked, you can choose to either battle with your hero or dodge the attack by moving to another attraction. The moving of a hero is only allowed once per turn.
If only tourists reside at the attraction, you lose all of the tourists. If no hero and no tourists reside at the attraction, then the attraction is attacked. The attractions are only allowed so many hits before the entire stack of attractions are destroyed and all victory points are lost. If a hero is protecting the attraction, he will lose one health. If his health goes to zero, he is discarded and no victory points are awarded. The number of tourists lost will be based upon comparing the shield number on the hero card versus the shield number on the monster card.
If a monster attack will occur on a player’s attraction and they have one of their lazy peon cards in their hand, they can remove it from the game to immediately end the attack as the monster instead feasts on the poor lazy peon.
Phase 4-Hero Rewards
For this phase, you first look to see if any heroes are currently at full health. If they are, they are removed from the game and placed into the player’s victory points pile. For each hero moved because of full health, a monster card is discarded.
Finally, all remaining heroes are given one additional health by moving it one space further to the right on the hero card.
Phase 5-Clean Up
This phase prepares the game for the next round. All workers at a resort are discarded. All remaining cards in your hand are also discarded. If any of the card piles have a lock placed on them, they are removed. All flair is reset to zero. However, gold will continue to carry over up to its maximum amount.
Once the monster deck is exhausted, and the hero rewards have been given in phase 4 you then determine the final score. Players earn victory points for all attractions they have built, including ones that have been upgraded. They also count up the victory points for each hero that was moved to their victory point’s pile. In addition, you gain one victory point for each hero that is currently at an attraction. The player with the most victory points has indeed built the most epic resort!
Replay Ability: There is a mixed bag with the replay ability that can be found within the game.
Having 14 different skilled workers decks available to you and only five or six being used each game, there is plenty of replay ability here with the mixing and matching that will be done. We wish the game provided an easy way to randomly choose them. We have gone the route of taking one card from each worker type and selecting them from there.
With the workers giving a lot of replay ability, the monsters don’t provide much replay ability from game to game. You will see the same ones each game and you have duplicates of some of the monsters within each tier.
Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 13+ to play. However, you can go lower than this. We think that a 10-year-old can easily play the game and understand its rules and strategies that come into play.
What We Liked/Didn't Like: We really like the mixture of game mechanics (deck building, worker placement, and resource management) that you will find. In addition, the challenge of finding the right balance where you earn enough gold to purchase the upgraded resorts, earn enough flair to get the tourists and recruiting the heroes, as well as managing the skilled worker cards in your hand by upgrading them based on the attractions you are building.
One area that the game could have really been better was the battle between the monsters and the hero that you may have at your attraction. It plays out that the hero takes their hit and then the monster does his part based on the strength of the hero versus the monsters and then the battle is over and the monster goes away.
There is simply no interaction and it comes down to the player deciding, do you want the hero to lose a health heart or dodge the attack and let the monster attack the attraction instead?
Sometimes within the game, we have noticed that the game seems to stall out. Either when monsters aren’t showing up for a few turns or near the end of the game where the players have built up their attractions and have used up their actions with upgrading their skilled workers.
We wish that there were some game guides that reminded players which steps to take as you progress through each phase. This is included as a Gameplay Quick Summary within the rules manual. Unless this game comes out on a regular basis, we tend to leave the rule book open on the table to ensure we are remembering all of the required steps.
One thing that was a pleasant surprise was the way another Floodgate game, Vault Wars, incorporates some things from Epic Resort into it. Vault Wars is based on heroes that have been slain and their treasure storage vaults are up for auction. You will find many of the same heroes and skilled workers along with some of the same iconography on the game cards. I wish that more game publishers would use this same marketing strategy.
Add-ons/Other Releases: Epic Resorts: Villain’s Vacation was released in January 2017 and includes new skilled worker cards, monster hunters which will allow you to add to your victory points, new tourists, new attractions, a new Kraken monster, and Villains that will visit our resort. However, the villains will not protect your resort but are worth more victory points.
**A review copy was provided to us.
Does the expansion fix any of the issues you have with the game?
We don't have the expansion. It is pretty inexpensive, but just haven't gone there yet.
It doesn't appear to change the monster battles, which was probably the biggest disappointment for us.