Thank you to Arvis Games for sharing the prototype version of their two latest Kickstarter expansions for Board Royale - The Island, which are called Missions and Wild Hunt. Both offer new ways of playing Board Royale without being so much at each other's throats; in Missions you no longer have elimination, and Wild Hunt takes it even further to become a fully cooperative game.
Players: 2-6 Ages: 13+ Game Time: 30-60mins
A quick recap of Board Royale - The Island, for those who haven't played it before... it's a fast-paced take-that card game in which you play as survivors marooned on an island, gathering resources and crafting items and either escape to freedom or kill off your fellow survivors to claim victory.
If you want a more comprehensive look into the base game, then check out our previous review from the initial Kickstarter copy here .
As usual with any game expansions, you will require the base game in order to play both Missions and Wild Hunt.
We have received a prototype only so any artwork are card text is not final and so has not been discussed as part of the review. Given the current standard I would expect the final results to similar to the base game.
Missions changes the core mechanics of the base game by removing escape and elimination from the game altogether. You are now here by design, with secret goals to achieve and prove your worth.
Yes, escape from the island is no longer an option as all the survival equipment is removed from the crafting deck. But fear not, when you run out of resources you no longer have to wait for your fellow gamers to finish killing each other, you re-enter the game with a new set of resource cards. This resolves what is for many the biggest complaint about many take-that games, that an early elimination can leave you sat around bored, waiting for the game to finish.
So if killing each other isn't the objective what is?
The first person to get to 10 victory points is the winner now, and you get victory points by completing missions.
At the start of each turn, you will draw from the new mission deck and will receive either a trait or a mission (more on traits in a bit...). These missions are kept facedown in front of the player and remain in play even if the player is eliminated; in fact some of the missions even require you to be eliminated.
Once you achieve the goal on the mission, you claim its reward as an instant bonus and score victory points as per the value indicated on the top right of the card.
I mentioned traits too. These can also be drawn from the mission deck, and get played faceup as an additional piece of flavour to your survivor. You can have a maximum of two traits active at once, but be careful as traits have both pros and cons and sometimes they can cripple you, if so you can remove an unwanted trait by skipping your turn.
In its current state there's not much more to say about it than that, but personally I like that elimination has been removed from the game, although it does also lose some of its charm too.
Another change to the base mechanics of Board Royale, as it turns the survival element of the game on its head. Wild Hunt changes the aggressive take-that game into a cooperative survival game instead. You no longer need to worry about your fellow man, there are much bigger beasts on this island to worry about!
As with Missions, escape is no longer an option in Wild Hunt. You must now defeat a number of boss creatures equal to the number of players. But if any player runs out of resources and is eliminated, then you all lose.
Some creatures even provide valuable loot to the player who kills them.
Again, in a similar mechanic to Missions, you now start your turn by drawing from the new creature deck, and will reveal a creature who has emerged from the jungle. These will be attached to the player who drew them and, unless stated otherwise, will not attack until the next turn. You attack creatures in the same way as you would previously attack players, with the number of discards being the damage dealt. While creatures may be attached to one player, any player can attack any creature.
Of course, it's not only new enemies included. You may occasionally draw a companion from the creature deck, who will provide a passive benefit to the player. With a limit of one companion per player, make sure you choose wisely.
As a fan of cooperative games this tickled my fancy just a bit, but in our experience so far it is very difficult to win, requiring a good start to keep up with the resource requirements of the regular attacks.
I'm always up for trying out new expansions, especially for a game I love. Did these do it for me? Well yes, and no. They change the game and provide you more options and ways to use your Board Royale - The Island base game, but they don't offer much that excites me and certainly nothing ground-breaking.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with them either and I'm happy they give me new options for enjoying Board Royale
If you're interested in checking these out the Kickstarter is live now in the link here:
I love the original, and I see no reason I should down grade my original 5/6 rating for this lovely little game.
Mr Chris - The Founder