After feeling lackluster about a solo play from Part I of the review, what do we think now that we’ve played it with more people?
One of the things we were worried about, happened: the binding isn’t great.
After a single play, one of the pages fell out of one of the books! It’s not a deal-breaker: you can still play the game. It’s just sort of frustrating.
After reading through the rules again with a big group, I understand the icons on the edges of the panels a little better now. Sometimes, to make sure you have “solved” a puzzle, the Icon on one panel corresponds to the Icon on the “solved” panel. So, that made more sense after playing some more. The down arrow in the picture below is an example of that … the “K” .. is something else!
What didn’t make sense it why the instructions didn’t include just a few more Icons? For example, in the instructions below, the rules say:
…If a player sees a panel with their character’s initials in the corner of the panel …
So, there are at least 4 things wrong with these instructions!
- Why not show the 4 initials? They are actually very stylized in the game, and don’t “quite” just look like initials (see picture above with the “K”). This is an opportunity to just show 4 Icons in the instructions. When I go looking for Icons in the Instructions, my eye would catch those 4 Icons, and I would know what they are. Instead, I am scratching my head.
- They say “initials”, but they are really more “stylized” Icons, so it wouldn’t catch me the first time (or second) that they are initials … I would just think they were some random Icon!
- Where are the Icons? It should say “in the upper right corner”!
- What are my initials? I know each character is playing a different character, but the name is NOT actually on the front cover!. It’s on the back, but kinda tiny. As we played, I don’t think any of us ever “knew” our characters name. I feel like it should have been more “prevalent”: In bold on the cover? On each page at the bottom? Something to emphasize or more! Or maybe just the Icon on the bottom of each page? The Icon that we don’t know???
Holy cow was the scoring complicated! There were several math majors/minors, engineers, computer scientists at our table and we had to re-read the scoring a few times to get it! And it’s a tiny font!
I like that the scoring tries to adjust for age, number of players, etc. At the end of the day, though, I think this game just probably just be played for “fun” and just compare how many gems you got for last time.
Okay, this is where the game shines: multiple players! When we played, we all interacted, made decisions together, congratulated each other when we solved puzzles, and had fun! This is really the best part of the game, exploring as a team, being excited by finding stuff. It really worked well for that. We felt like we were exploring an island and solving puzzles. And the time flew by! It was a blast!
One of Sarah’s favorite things about this game: there was almost no set-up: you pulled out the books and the maps and you started. That’s it! A few minutes the first time to read the instructions, but then it’s just “jump right in” after that!
Even though the books are “smallish” (not giant tomes), we still don’t feel like we saw too much. I was worried, because the books weren’t huge, that the replayability would be diminished. Nope! After playing through for an hour, there was still a TON of stuff to see!
My group really had fun! We lost track of time for that 1 hour, playing and having fun! Everyone said they would play it again! The cons (lackluster binding, small margins, wonky Icons, weird scoring) brought the group’s rating of this down, but we all ended up between 6 and 7 (on the BoardGameGeek rating). I think in the end, it gets about a 6.8.