And it’s pretty much just what I hoped it would be.
Palm Island is a game about developing an island village. What it really is is a game about upgrading cards. The whole game is a small deck of cards and you play it with the deck in your hand, hence the whole _Palm_ Island bit.
One paragraph explanation: Every card has four spaces, one on each end and they are double sided. The active side is whatever is up and facing you. You have access to the top two cards of the deck. Some cards have materials you can store (turning sideways) so you can use the materials. You can upgrade cards, paying stored materials to either flip or turn the card. You can also discard the top card to the back of the deck. Go through the deck eight times and the. Count the points on your upgraded cards.
Huh. That was a longer explanation than I expected.
I first heard of Palm Island when I looked into a PnP prototype called I Am Lynx and learned that it was helped inspire that game. And, for whatever reason, I couldn’t find the PnP on Boardgame Geek or anywhere else so I was waiting for it to come out. Literally two days before writing this, I saw the files. I immediately downloaded, printed, crafted and played it.
The two no-surface games I’ve been playing lately have been the nine-card version of I Am Lynx (really need to try the 18 card version) and Down. Both have been good but very light. Itty bitty plays that take a few minutes. Palm Island actually feels like a ‘real’ game with its longer, deeper play.
There’s definitely some real decisions and development as you go through the deck, managing resources and trying to both improve those resources and end the game with points. It’s not heavy but it’s not fluff either. That’s not bad for seventeen cards that never leave your hands.
The PnP version is one deck and only for solitaire play. The full, published version will have another, different deck for two-player and achievement cards. More than twice as much stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing that.
This is truly a first impression. I just finished crafting the game yesterday. But, man, what promise it has!