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Subject: The Adventure that could have been rss

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Sandro Eifert
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Adventure Island borrows it‘s setting and feel from big sisters like Robinson Crusoe and 7th Continent. Instead of being a big long drawn out multiple evening spanning adventure marathon, Adventure Island is a shorter game targeted at exploring families. That being said, it can be enjoyed by seasoned gamers just alike.

Setting
We are ragtag group of people being stranded on a djungle island. How do we secure food and survive? Who inhabits the island and what may they want from us? And most important, where‘s the way off this island? There are few dozen places to explore, people to meet and secrets to unveil.

Material
Opening the box you are greeted by numbered cards of various kinds, more cards packed separately, player boards, wooded figures and a wide array of chips. The material is sturdy although one copy we saw contained a headless meeple.

Gameplay
The game offers a story spanning 5 adventured to be played in succession. Each adventure has a specific goal and setup described in the manual. Different to other chapter based or legacy-ish games, we do not carry our advancements from one adventure to the next. There are very few specific cards (e.g. a friend) which we have available in every game once we solved them. Ticking of specific achievements during the adventures will provide permanent bonuses as well.

Each game round is devided in a day and night phase.
During the day each player has to actions. We can gather resources, explore the island or interact with things we found. This feels very similar to the actions available in Robinson Crusoe. And that‘s a compliment.

When all players have concluded their actions, we enter the night phase. Player need to eat or suffer fatigue. Fatigue lowers our skills and may lead to death. Thus ending the game. Afterwards each player has to draw a Hazard card. We may face storms, get homesick or just suffer from too much sun. The Hazard deck also acts as a round timer. Once the deck runs out, we have lost the game.

Various tasks in the game are connected to dice checks. Such a check requests a color (green, yellow, red) and a type (Knowledge, Skill, Strength). Simply roll the number of dice according to your value in the required type. Each die has 3 green, 2 yellow and 1 red side. Try to roll the number of colors required by the check. We can re-roll ALL dice spending an experience marker. These markers are gained by failing dice checks or various other means to be discovered.

Oppinion
This game could be the perfect afternoon family island adventure. Unfortunately it suffers heavily from unclear rules. Some can be guessed from the book and certain cards you discover within the game. For example, dice checks in the Night phase are not considered dice checks and cannot be rerolled using experience markers. This is not explicitly written in the rules, but can be deduced from card abilities explitly giving you this option.

In other cases the wording of cards should be more distinct and precise. For example, in the first adventure you start with 2 cards telling you „Put X of [resource] on this card.“ Except, one of this cards has a small arrow in front of this line. In this case the resources are not put on the card, but have to be delivered to the card to activate a specific action. A different wording could have avoided this confusion.

After overcoming those uncertainties, the game starts to shine. It is the shorter, more streamlined version of Robinson Crusoe which plays in 30 to 60 minutes per adventure.

But it all falls apart once you reach the last adventure. At least it did for us. All of a sudden the goals feel stretched and less focused. The game provides a red herring leading to an almost automatic loss of the round as it takes too much time to follow through. The luck factor ramps up dramatically as you need to find one specific card in a large deck to solve the goal. If this card is the last in the deck, you almost certainly lose. We encountered a card referring to another card not being in the game anymore. Thus leaving us confused and searching for it way too long.

At this point, we felt like blind testers for the game and got really frustrated. We could have stopped and just conclude it‘s a bad game. Except it‘s not. And that‘s why we were so frustrated. We do see the bright shining game in front of us, ruining itself by avoidable mistakes.

Verdict
Adventure Island feels like it could have needed a few more rounds of testing. A branching story driven games is a beast to proof read and polish. All the points mentioned can be fixed by rule clarification and adjusted cards. Once done, this game offers around 10 hours of splendid island adventuring for the whole family or seasoned game group.

TL;DR: Wait for a 2nd edition to get a wonderful adventure experience.
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Jan AllThatJazz
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A very good analysis of the game.

Pegasus should read it and think of your thoughts next time they publish a game.

Very well written!
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Christian K
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Interesting read. Maybe a faq could help with some of the problems with unclear rules?
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Lukas Zach
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Pegasus plans an FAQ and to rework the card texts and rules for the next printrun.
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Sandro Eifert
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Zoriak wrote:
Pegasus plans an FAQ and to rework the card texts and rules for the next printrun.

That's wonderful news! And I really hope you are already looking into Adventure Island 2... or Expansion... or Adventures in Space!
 
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Ivan Ferré
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Did you play the German or the English version?

Since all your issues with the game seem to be related with text in the game, it is a relevant question.

By the way, how much language-dependent is the game?
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Steve Weber
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do these problems only concern the english version of the game, or is this also a problem in the german version?

if pegasus is changing things in the second printrun of the game, again, only in the english version or in the german one also?
 
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Sandro Eifert
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We played the German version and encountered our issues there. I merely translated the terms for a broader audience here.
The game is heavily language dependent. Every card has text on it telling the story, giving you options for actions or instructions on how to setup/change the game.
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Jan AllThatJazz
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It's the original german version where these problems appear.
 
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Steve Weber
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ok, thanks for clearing that up and for the heads up.
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Jonathan Franklin
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Does this mean all English versions will have the upgraded text and FAQ?
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Jan AllThatJazz
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And what about the German buyers of the first edition?

- Could they download the FAQ for free?

- Will they get the better cards by mail (willing to pay the costs for the stamps by PayPal, don't mind that).

Or are they just beta-testers for Pegasus?
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Steve Weber
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And it would be interesting to know what exactly pegasus are going to change with the rules.

Are they just going to clarify/rephrase
certain things, or are they going to make proper rules-changes, if the last scenario is indeed broken(or close to it)
like the op said.
 
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Sandro Eifert
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didz wrote:
Are they just going to clarify/rephrase
certain things, or are they going to make proper rules-changes, if the last scenario is indeed broken(or close to it)
like the op said.

Just to clarify, I would not say the last scenario is broken. It does have a bigger luck factor than other scenarios and some design choices we didn't like (without spoilering too much). But it's definitely not broken.
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Dave Dazzmo
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AllThatJazz wrote:
And what about the German buyers of the first edition?

- Could they download the FAQ for free?

- Will they get the better cards by mail (willing to pay the costs for the stamps by PayPal, don't mind that).

Or are they just beta-testers for Pegasus?

If there will be FAQ, I can't imagine they will charge for that.

And different cards won't change other parts and will definitely not help the buyers, who already played through the game.

Which leads to your "beta-tester" question: Personally, we feel this way.
And actually, this was mentioned today starting scenario 3.
The game ended with the phrase "Well, the guinea pigs completed another round". I know, this might sound harsh, but it is frustrating on different meta levels.

I posted my (positive) first impressions in another thread and I would have even rated it a 9 or 9.5 (honestly!) after the first game just relating to the idea, artwork, general game play and mechanics.
But after the next games, it was a spiral downwards.
Based on the experience at the moment, we would rate it a 7 (it is still a good game), but it with some minor tweaks it could be really 2 points higher and really be a gateway game for Robinson Crusoe.

On another note:
Since the "next print run" was mentioned by the author:
It was reported that 500 copies were available at Essen and the rest was delayed due to ship-issues. What will be the deal with the "delayed" copies?


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Steve Weber
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i just read this review again and 2 more questions came up:

1. you mention that one card referenced a card that was no longer in the game. why was the card not in the game anymore? could this be house-ruled to keep it in?

2. similar question: you say that one important card near the end could make the scenario almost impossible to complete if you find it too late. could the card be manually be placed about 3/4 in the deck, so that you would definitely find it in time?






 
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Aleš Matas
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Sadly, my opinion and experience are same. When we read rules and start playing I thought: "Whoa, such beautiful concept, I'd like to play it with my wife and child at home."

But few minutes later when we struggled with rules, card effect and especially with preparation of 2nd adventure ... I became really sad and angry at once.

Cause the game concept is really nice and only thing which is totally wrong it that it was not ready for production. It look like the game was not given to someone who was not participating on development before print. There are quite a few things which you meet almost immediately. It is strange that this happens to the game published by such a big publisher.

Hope the game / concept won't die due to that and they will repair all the problems people mentioning here.
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Christian K
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Zoriak wrote:
Pegasus plans an FAQ and to rework the card texts and rules for the next printrun.
Any news on this?
 
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Aleš Matas
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Muemmelmann wrote:
Zoriak wrote:
Pegasus plans an FAQ and to rework the card texts and rules for the next printrun.
Any news on this?

Seems not. I even wrote personal message to one of authors ... but no reply. It is quite sad ... I really like the game concept. But the "care" they give the game is little bit strange.
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Matt Young
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If anyone's interested, the language issues affect the English version as well: there are typos everywhere, and although most rules are clear, there are enough 'impossible' situations to make you think you must have got something wrong, and there are so many instructions to follow on so many different cards that you probably will get something wrong that prevents you completing the game. I really hope a 2nd edition can fix some of the issues! I agree that there is so much potential here; much of the game and story is very fun...
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Qwerty Cat
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I just discovered this PDF published by Pegasus in 2019. I can't tell if this is a second edition or original. This game looks Great but if it is not published with fixes as a second edition, I won't be purchasing. That would be too bad and a loss for other gamers looking for a "fixed" version.

http://www.pegasus.de/fileadmin/Downloads/Verlag/Service/Kat...
 
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