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Subject: Insula [Preview] rss

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Jan Paèes
Czech Republic
BRNO
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I would like to bring you a small preview of Insula boardgame before it is launched at Essen 2009.

My preview is based on countless test hours we have spent with the game. The author is art college student Radim Jurda and it’s his debut as a game designer.

So here we go...

The game is designed for 2 to 5 players. It takes about an 60 minutes to play.

The story and theme

A lot of it is said in the game description so just a quick remainder.

You and your group, start your quest on a small beach of mysterious dark island. Your ultimate goal is to reach the dark Citadel that raises from the island, defeat the citadel master 'Kingosh' and gain his fabled treasure.

As you travel deeper into the island you encounter many dangerous guardians, servants of the Kingosh himself. You realize the island is cursed and its curses affect your actions more than you can imagine. Not all places are creeping with danger. There are quiet ponds where you can rest. Strange flowers grow all over the place and their magical powers help you along the journey.

So the decision is up to you. Do you team up with your fellow adventurers to share the treasure, try to make on your own or backstab your so called allies and posses the mythical reward for yourself?

But beware the night is coming, be hasty or you’ll be swallowed by the never-ending darkness.

Game mechanics

The main stress of the game is to bring you co-operative slash competitive play and test your moral decisions. You can ally, betray or solo, but be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

Its a tile based game

You start on a beach of the isle. Several tiles of unexplored danger divide you and the citadel where the final fight takes place. The time before the nightfall is slowly running out. When night comes the 'Kingosh' and the game wins.
There are several actions you can choose from: Explore/Move, Rest, Play flower card and play curse. Each action is tied with different aspect of the game mechanic so let’s look on them little closely.

Energy and Rest

The game 'currency' is energy. Each adventurer start full of energy. But you use energy on nearly everything, to fight, to perform extra actions and some curses drains it. So it’s important to rest often and effectively manage and strategize the use of single energy point.

The curses and flowers

As you explore the island you gather magical flowers represented by cards. Using these flowers grants you special powers, for example, travel faster, fight better or defend yourself. Some are really rare and quite powerful.
On the other hand as you journey deeper into the heart of the island many curses are laid upon you. Every time you get a curse you must decide which of your actions is cursed and therefore you are unable to perform that action until the curse is lifted. As an action you can lift the curse, and perform its dark action. The curses can affect everyone, you or specified adventurer.

Fighting

If you end up on the same tile as a Guardian you have to fight it. If you have enough energy and decide to spend it, you win.
Sounds easy. But if more than one adventurer end their turn on the same monster, things get little more interesting. This is where the betraying or allying really takes place. The amount of energy you invest into the fight is secret. All players reveal amount of energy spent simultaneously. IF the total sum of energy invested is enough, Guardian is defeated.
If you defeat guardian you gain reward based on the guardian type, and amount of energy invested. Collect enough reward and you gain more energy.

Game components

The major game components are adventurer and guardians tokens, island tiles, deck of curses, deck of flowers, player overview sheet and custom dice. Game has a very unique art style which should help to bring the right atmosphere.

Conclusion

I tried to describe some of the game mechanics so you know what can you expect.
In my experience the game has really nice atmosphere. You can be betrayed anytime. One turn you think you are going to win, next turn you are planning how you can make everyone loose. It really depends of what kind of adventurers travel along side you.


That concludes my small game preview. If I got you interested, check the game out at the Essen 2009 board game convention or the boardgamegeek gamesite for more updates.

Love to hear your opinions,

Jack
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Lee Fisher
United States
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Thanks for giving us some info on this game Jack!

What happens when you lose a fight?
How do you actually win?

How long does this game take to play?
 
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Jan Paèes
Czech Republic
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The game takes about 60 to 90 minutes.

When you lose a fight, you are pushed one tile back, loose flower or gain more curses.

You win the game by defeating the island lord 'Kingosh'. Fighting him is similar to the guardians only he is much more powerful.
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Lee Fisher
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Did Radim also draw the art for the game? It is certainly unique!
 
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François Mahieu
Belgium
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Any dice rolling ?
 
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Jan Paèes
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The concept of the art and some major components were created by Radim. But some of the compoments were created by his friends.

There is one custom 6 sided dice which affects the outcome of the fights.
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Jonathan Franklin
United States
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Could you explain the difference between the two versions of the game. Is it just that one comes in a box and the other comes in a bag? Are all the other components the same?

Thank you.
 
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Radim Jurda
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Lee, thanks.

François, there is one custom dice wiht symbols on it. In the end of each round there is one dice roll. Given symbol effects all players. It can effect outcome of the fights and it tells you, if the nightfall (bad end of the game) is getting closer.

Jonathan, some components in the "bag version" are more compact to fit into the bag.
 
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