Picked up Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
at Gencon recently and it's rapidly soaring to the top of my solo and coop boardgame GOTY (it's actually overtaking Flashpoint and Mage Knight from previous years too).
It's by Ignacy Trzewiczek, who created one of my other favorite game series, 51st State/New Era
. The best part was that he was at Gencon in the Z-Man area running demos of his games. I got him to sign my copy of RC after grabbing one of the few remaining copies early in the convention.
In a nutshell, RC is a coop game that allows 1 to 4 players to select a character (soldier, cook, explorer, carpenter) and then fulfill a scenario selected before the game starts. Each scenario lists a goal, the number of turns you have to achieve that goal and numerous other scenario specific rules that alter the game slightly. There are six scenarios included in the game and I've played the first about 4 times so far. We won the first time with 3 players...but we got a few important rules wrong. The rest were solo games and I've yet to make it past turn 6 (out of 12) before getting my butt handed to me.
You perform the following phases each turn:
1) Event - draw from an event deck that gives you a card to place in the Threat Action space. Often it has an immediate effect...sometimes bad, sometimes good. Mostly bad though.
2) Morale - Check your morale track. It changes when folks get wounded enough or through other events in the game. If morale is high enough, you'll get Determination tokens. These can be spent to activate your character's unique, special skills. If morale is low enough, you can lose these same tokens.
3) Production - get resources from your camp tile. Food and Wood are the two primary resources gained from tiles. A third type of resource, furs, is gained through hunting or special discovery tokens you get from exploring.
4) Action - The meat of the game. You assign your two pawns to the actions you want to undertake. There are 7 actions total - Threat (deal with the card in the threat space from step 1 above), hunt, build (shelter, roof, palisades, weapons and/or inventions), gather resources from adjacent tiles, explore (reveal a face down tile and place it on the map to reveal new resource locations amongst other things, rearrange camp to gain morale, or rest to heal. If you assign two pawns to the same action when building, gathering or exploring, it's an automatic success. If you assign one, you roll three of the appropriate action dice for the selected action and may have to deal with a card with numerous bad/good effects.
5) Weather - After a certain number of turns, your scenario will dictate what (if any) weather dice to roll. Rain, snow and even storms damage your food and wood stocks if you don't have a decent roof or palisades.
6) Night - You have to eat. If you don't have food, you take two wounds.
It's a brutal game that I absolutely love in spite of constantly losing. I can't recommend it enough. That it plays fantastically solo is just icing on the cake for a game I can't wait to play again and again.
2 big thumbs up for this one!