Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Adventurers

"At the heart of the Guatemalan jungle, a group of rival adventurers is about to explore the temple of the ancient Mayan god Chac. The temple is full of priceless archaeological treasures, but guarded by deadly traps and perils! Each player plays an Adventurer represented in the game by a figure and a card. These Adventurers are on a mission to carry away as many archaeological treasures as they can, even if it means facing the traps of this lost temple deep in the middle of the jungle." (from the rule book)

If this sounds like Indiana Jones the board game, you're right. The game even comes with a plastic bolder that rolls down a corridor throughout the game threatening to crush everything in it's path (and it frequently does). The adventures is a light press your luck family game for ages 10 and older. It plays in about 45 minutes and accommodates 2 to 6 players.

When I first opened the box I was very impressed with how everything was laid out. I love game boxes where all the stuff in the game has it's own spot...and this game has a lot of stuff. The components are some of the best quality components I have seen in a game. They even rival the quality of a lot of Days of Wonder games, which is saying a lot. So what do you get? The game comes with the following: A large game board, 12 adventurer figures, 12 adventurer cards, 18 wall cards, 65 treasure cards, 28 lava room and clue Glyph tiles, 2 sun tiles, 1 large masking card, 5 plastic planks and a support forming a "wooden" bridge, 2 plastic walls, 1 plastic bolder, and 5 dice...whew!

To start the game each player randomly selects two adventures to use during the game, although only one adventurer is used at a time. So why would you select 2 you might ask? Well, there's a really good chance your first adventurer is going to die, so you get a replacement right off the bat. The additional adventurer card is also used as a cheat sheet throughout the game. After characters have been selected a starting player is chosen and you are ready to go.

The goal of the game is to carry as much treasure as you can out of the temple before dieing. The problem is, the more treasure you carry, the slower you go and the better chance you have of dieing. The first phase of every turn is to adjust your load level. Every character can carry 0 to 3 treasures for a load level of 2. This means that if a 2 or higher is rolled you get one action for each die roll of 2 or higher. If you're adventurer is carry 4 to 6 treasures, your load level increases to 3. If a 3 or higher is rolled you get one action for each die roll that is 3 or higher. Your load level gets increasingly higher with the more treasure you carry. In phase one you can dump treasure to lighten your load and have the possibility of more actions.

Phase two is what determines how many actions you get for your turn. The current player rolls all five dice, and depending on the load level of the adventurer, you count up the actions for each player. There is a max of 5 actions per turn.

In phase three you get to perform your actions. There are four actions that can be taken during your turn. You can always move one space for one action. You can search for treasure and take the corresponding treasure card for the part of the temple you are in. If you are in the wall room you can take a peek at a special glyph tile and discover a trap in the lava room. Or you can use your characters special ability.

In phase 4 you move the walls and the bolder. To move the walls you flip over the next three cards in the wall deck. If you flip over a card with an arrow, or multiple arrows, you move the walls in the number of arrows. If the two walls come together and you are still in the wall room, you are crushed and die. It's important to not take too much time in the wall room. :) You then move the bolder. For the first turn the current die roller rolls three of the 5 dice. If a 3 or higher is rolled the bolder is moved one space for each 3 or higher rolled. If you are in the path of the bolder you die. For turn two four dice are rolled. For turn three the bolder reaches it's cruising speed and all five dice are rolled. In the last game I played, the bolder caused much death and destruction. It was a lot of fun.

For the last phase of a turn you pass the dice to the next player and they become the new first player and dice roller.

So I've talked a little about the wall room and the bolder, but those aren't the only ways to die. You can also fall through a trap and die a horrible death in the lava room, or maybe you don't make it out of the underground river and you fall off the waterfall. There's always the chance that when you try and cross the rotten bridge that all of the planks give way and you fall to your death. And if all that isn't enough, if you don't make it out of the temple before the bolder seals off the exit, you die in the temple with all of your treasure.

All of this makes for a very fun press your luck game. The game has some strategy, but really it's the type of game that's just fun to play and shouldn't be taken too seriously. There's quit a bit of luck in the game due to rolling the dice and the random selection of treasure cards, but in my opinion this doesn't detract from the game at all. It actually adds to the tension and enjoyment of the game. You just don't know what is going to happen. Is the bolder going to move 4 or 5 spaces? If it moves 4 I'm OK, but if it moves 5 I will be crushed!

I really like The Adventurers. It's not something I will pull out for every game night, but when it does make it to the table everyone has a blast. So if you're looking for a light press you luck game the whole family can enjoy, The Adventurers might be for you. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!