Saturday, March 16, 2024

Barely scratching the surface of Island Alone

After months of really planning on learning Island Alone, I have finally sat down and played a game. It’s been on my list for what feels like forever and I’m glad to finally cracked the ice.

And I knew it wouldn’t be a hard game to learn. The basics are quite simple. However, the simple actions of movement, collecting resources, and building stuff unfold into a heck of a decision tree.

Island Alone is one of Radoslaw Ignatow’s designs. I have become a big fan of his work and Island Alone feels like a watershed game for his work. It is a step into creating a system that can sustain a wide variety of scenarios and content, something he has kept on doing.

The idea behind the game is you’re on a desert island and you have to do stuff to survive and accomplish other goals. Let’s be honest, the basic idea is not anything new, but it’s also very easy to understand and a classic. Hey, I still love games about trains and trading in the Mediterranean.

Island Alone is a Roll and Write since it’s dice powered and you annotate the player sheet constantly. You do have a pawn that you’re moving around so I can see an argument that it’s not a ‘pure’ Roll and Write. But when nobody wins when it comes to purity tests so that doesn’t matter to me.

Where the game kind of explodes is the amount of content. The base game comes with more than thirty different scenarios and seven different maps. And then there are three expansions that are campaigns.

I have played what is clearly an introductory scenario and I haven’t even scratched the surface of Island Alone. You could spend some serious time with this game system before getting bored.

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