One Mechanic Review: Robinson Crusoe

More
14 Jul 2015 09:37 #206239 by Gary Sax

Robinson Crusoe, its Event Deck, and Consequence

Read more...
The following user(s) said Thank You: iguanaDitty, bfkiller, Columbob

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
14 Jul 2015 13:50 #206240 by Michael Barnes
Nicely done- this mechanic is one of the coolest ones ever, such a smart- and simple- way to create narrative _continuity_, which isn't something you tend to see in games outside of campaign systems. It's such a neat arc-decision point, immediate effect, possible long-term consequence. Great stuff. I'm going to play this tonight.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
14 Jul 2015 14:52 #206248 by bfkiller
Great idea for a review series. I'll be keeping my eye out for future installments.

I agree that this is the defining mechanism of Robinson Crusoe, even though the players spend most of the game conducting worker placement actions (shared worker placement is also quite unique, I think.) Most of the fun and drama enjoyed by the players come from those card decks, so they're what I think of when I think of RC.
The following user(s) said Thank You: scrumpyjack

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 11:46 #206314 by Feelitmon
I agree, this is a nifty idea for an article series, and Robinson Crusoe is a cool place to start it.

One thing that I wonder about is how other games might have benefitted from the same mechanic. For example, imagine Dead of Winter using a Robinson Crusoe style "crisis stack" instead of a new crisis card that is drawn and resolved every round. Maybe certain crossroads cards would get placed into the crisis deck for a lingering effect. It would certainly be interesting, I think, and as Michael says above it would improve the game's narrative. But would it make Dead of Winter just a bit more gamey than it ought to be? Perhaps. Dead of Winter benefits from its simplicity and punchiness, and I would bet that the designers stripped away a lot of fluff over the course of the game's development.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 12:04 #206315 by Shellhead
I have only played Robinson Crusoe once. It's an attractive game, with a good theme and setting, and the event deck mechanic is a great innovation. But we struggled with the rulebook. It feels like this game could have been a more straightforward design while retaining the charm of the event deck.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 14:00 #206322 by KingPut
Nice write up. Total agree with what you said here. Even people who hate worker placement games and co-op seem to dig this game.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 15:08 #206324 by Michael Barnes
I played this solo twice over the night/morning- the first scenario as a refresher and the volcano island one. It's been a while - man, this game is complicated! I think it just toes the line of too much so, but the complexity buys a LOT of unique narrative and a highly detailed setting.

The consequences are just so well done. You get some extra wood, but later on you feel uneasy about the construction and lose morale. You can take the eggs out of the nest, but later an angry bird comes and rips the roof off your hut. Ignore the growling out in the woods by your camp and the next turn there's a tiger barreling through your palisades. But it's deeper than that. Do you invest time in making the Cure invention or discard it when you have to lose some items off the display? But then later, something happens and you might be wishing you had kept it. The game requires you, in a way that few do, to roll with the bad decisions because that's how it creates its specific storyline each game.

These event cards are really the #1 thing that other designers need to take away from this game. There's a lot of smart design in them beyond the creation of continuous cause/effect narrative- they way they key to scenario effects and create potential timed crisis situations works so well.

It's a damn, damn good game. I think that of the post-BGG, post-Hybridization "ultra complex Euro" era, it is likely one of the best and likely to be one of the most timeless designs.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 15:16 #206325 by Shellhead
This mechanic might only work well in co-op games. In a competitive game, there would be an incentive to always choose options with future consequences, because the odds are equal or better (depending on number of opponents) that opposing players will suffer the consequences.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 16:43 #206331 by iguanaDitty
I think it being a coop is part of why I don't mind that it's worker placement. In the competitive worker placement games I've played it seems like half the game is jockeying for turn order, or looking ahead to when jockeying for turn order is important.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 17:06 #206333 by Shellhead

iguanaDitty wrote: I think it being a coop is part of why I don't mind that it's worker placement. In the competitive worker placement games I've played it seems like half the game is jockeying for turn order, or looking ahead to when jockeying for turn order is important.


That makes sense. Normally worker placement games are primarily exercises in cockblocking, and I hate cockblocking so much that I stopped going to the bar scene with certain friends. In Robinson Crusoe, the worker placement serves an entirely different purpose, which is to prevent players from focusing too much on specific activities at the expense of others. I also like the worker placement in Sons of Anarchy, because there you get to punch the cockblockers.
The following user(s) said Thank You: iguanaDitty

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
15 Jul 2015 20:42 #206337 by Gary Sax
I'm at a lake with no internet, but it sounds like a lot of you agree on this one! I'm actually playing the cross scenario with my wife up here right now.

I think the Cure which Barnes brings up is essentially the perfect single example of this whole thing in Robinson. It is an invention that had no obvious purpose save the dynamic purposes it is given in contingent events. Unlike a traditional card flipper, though, RC lets you know you may need the cure and gives you (potentially) TIME to get the cure. Is it worth it? You actually get to make choices to decide. Unlike, say, the AH Silver Twilight Lodge membership which you may get and a card will check whether you have it. But the mechanic never works because the game doesn't tell you "in the rest of this game you may need the silver twilight membership!"

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
16 Jul 2015 11:37 #206362 by Gary Sax
PS THE RULEBOOK SUCKS

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
16 Jul 2015 17:33 #206379 by wadenels
I made a one-page aid that covers the sequence of a game round in Robinson Crusoe. It helps with learning the game but doesn't cover all the little fringe rules for tokens and things so you'll still need the rulebook until you internalize that stuff. Same location as always.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Aug 2015 10:43 #207803 by Gary Sax
Looks like Portal is rereleasing Robinson, probably without Z-man this time. I like this game enough that I'll buy a reprint, but I'm very curious to hear about the changes they'll make...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Apr 2016 01:48 #225638 by CranBerries
Robinson Crusoe is back in stock. I can get it for $62 shipped. Someone talk me into this. Can I play it with my kids?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Gary SaxFrohike
Time to create page: 0.196 seconds