Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

La Isla» Forums » Reviews

Subject: La Isla reivew from Chit Talk rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Justin Bost
United States
Kintnersville
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a review of La Isla designed by Stefan Feld. It plays 2 – 4 players. Realistcally, I’d estimate the playtime at 45 minutes.

Mechanics
There are a few simplified mechanics at play in this game that work so well together.

On a turn, all players draw three cards. The card effects vary based on what portion of the turn you use them in, but you have the select how you will use them at the beginning of your turn so this portion is the main action selection portion of each turn. You slot the cards into your holder at this point and the turn begins once everyone has done that.

The first card will grant your a persistent effect (such as gain VPs when certain conditions are met, or collect resources when another condition is met, etc), the second card will give you a resource, and the final card will move the main tracker closer towards end game conditions, as well as possibly scoring you points.

In between the second and third cards, you spend resources to place your explorer piece on the map, potentially collecting animal tokens. When the tracker for an animal moves up, you gain points for the animals you have.

The gameplay is actually quite simple, but damn is this game deeply satisfying – and shockingly so for how light the game is. The mechanics compliment each other elegantly and the order of operations forces some deep analysis on each turn.

Theme
Thematically, the players control explorers who are venturing into the jungle attempting to corner and capture…endangered species? Huh.

But honestly, the theme isn’t too tightly bound to the gameplay. Animal trackers move up, you get resources, and none of that really has any thematic purpose whatsoever.

It’s a mechanics game first and foremost and I don’t see that as a problem.

Art
The art here is a little rough. The board appears very congested and busy as there are a lot of icons, spaces, and colors on the board. It makes sense when you get used to it, but at first glance, it’s a little off-putting.

The iconography was likely what extended our gameplay so much. It’s not super intuitive and the fact that the player cards are small, the reference cards are small, and you only get ONE set of those reference cards, meant a lot of passing the cards back and forth during the phases. I actually ended up snapping a photo of the reference cards on my phone so that I could just reference that.

The color choices weren’t great either, as it’s difficult to tell some resources apart. The yellow and tan cubes look frustratingly similar when piled together, but there is yellow-ish lighting where we play.

Pacing
This game moves along quite quickly. You soon realize that there isn’t enough time to do everything you want, but the game is short enough and easy enough that you can always just start another game.

The main lag in the game comes in the action selection and card allocation at the start of each turn, but everyone is doing this (and the resolution of 3/4ths of their turn) simultaneously, so there is very little down time.

Value
I see this game on clearance sales fairly often. I got my copy as part of a buy two get one sale, so I paid maybe in the mid to high teens for this. At that price, this game is an incredible value, but I could see paying up to $25 – $30 for it. The gameplay is immensely satisfying compared to how simple and lightweight the rules actually are.

Despite my gripes with the artwork, the components are nice, the board is made of large interlocking pieces, and the card holders weren’t entirely necessary but really help keep your player area organized. That was a thoughtful addition, for sure.

Accessibility
As I said, this game is light – I’d say on the lower end of mid-weight at most. I rarely try to teach a game without having learned it myself, but I just read the rules out loud for this one and we had little trouble. The segmentation of the actions make your in-turn decisions very minimal. It’s all about how you setup each turn that counts, so newcomers won’t be paralyzed with options.

I can absolutely see myself bringing this game out to our public game nights and I think the family might enjoy this one as well. I’m eager to play again, for sure.

Longevity
There are a boatload of cards (and you don’t even have to use them all for your first few games) so we maybe worked through half of them in a three player game. There are also about two dozen actions that the cards grant, so strategies can be varied.

We “got” the game after the first couple of turns, as the turn structure replays until the end game is triggered. There were no surprises, as long as you remind players of the few special VP conditions at the end.

Final Thoughts
This game was a huge surprise for me. I bought it on clearance, simply because it was a Stefan Feld game, but had low expectations for it, assuming it to be a simplistic, family game. I was very wrong and realized that almost immediately. There is an elegant depth to this game and I was blown away.

Originally posted to ChitTalk.com
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff M.
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice write up. This is one of my wife's favorites. She loves it so much she got a copy for her non-gamer mom (also bought on the cheap). I like it as well, perhaps not as much. We both love the oh-so-satisfying card combos you can pull off. I really enjoy that the simple hand management mechanic creates such a fun decision of which card powers to keep active turn to turn.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Bost
United States
Kintnersville
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you so much!

Yeah, the ease of this game really sneaks up on you. As I said, I rarely try to teach a game without having read the rules myself, but this one lent itself well to that. Definitely the sort of Feld game you could bring to meetups.

Thanks for reading!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Honey
Australia
Lismore
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review. I agree this is an underrated game that will surprise most who play it.

My thoughts:

Never buy Feld for theme. If its there, that's a bonus. If your games must have solid theme, look elsewhere.
I bought this to try and convince my kids to play (Pokemon Go, the board game was the way I tried to sell it to them in the height of that craze). They liked it, but could only handle the basic version at 8 and 10 years of age.
The reference card is ridiculously small. Have a look at the files on BGG where someone has blown these up. You can print at A5 size and they fit nicely in the box.
It is probably not going to be adored by the serious heavy Eurogamer lover, but I do wonder how much of it being viewed as a light game is because of the theme. I'm sure if the theme, art and packaging was more adult it would be seen as heavier. To me, it has more difficult and meaty decisions than say, Notre Dame, which is viewed as a heavier game overall (at least by BGG weight rating).
I read somewhere that Stefan wonders why this game isn't more loved. Beats me too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Honey
Australia
Lismore
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the interview I was referring to. I interpret the google translate version as meaning he thought it would be a big hit.

https://www.brettspiegel.de/specials/10-fragen-an-interviews...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Bost
United States
Kintnersville
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, Chris, all good calls. The game is, like, bizarrely small and it initially looks pretty busy down on the table. If I had to guess, it looks like the sort of thing where a publisher kinda ran with some production decisions that made the game look light, easy, etc. And while it is likely one of Feld's most accessible games, it's entirely deceptive in how deep it actually is. The mechanics make so much sense and there's not much to dislike about it. Perhaps Feld has just developed the sort of reputation that makes fans of his tend to avoid this game, due to it's perceived lightness? Who knows! Anyway, thanks much for reading!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Honey
Australia
Lismore
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Would be interesting what a Jorvik style re-skin might do? Unlikely I know.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ozzy perez
United States
Hialeah
Fl
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree 100%. I absolutely adore this little game!! Really excellent stuff from Feld.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Holt
Australia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree this game is pretty stellar and super sharp. I've played it many times on Yucata and it never feels stale due to the card combos and desicions you have to make. I love how quick the rounds go and how every minute or so you have a new set of cards to examine (in a 2 player game at least.

My only complaints as far as the components are concerned is how similar the beige/yellow appears. Not just on the cubes but on the card icons. Makes it difficult to play in low light. I have the same problem with Bruges and the brown and purple workers.
1 
 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.