Islebound is a resource management game published by Red Raven Games, where you are trying to increase your influence over an archipelago. The board is composed of 8 different sections that fit together to make the seascape. Each person takes the role of a clan that embarks upon the open seas to gain as much renown as they can. The players travel from island to island hiring islanders for chores, conquering islands by war or diplomacy, finding treasure, or completing quests. All these things help you acquire renown and on your way to getting your name written in the record books. Did I mention you also build buildings? This game seems to have it all.
At the beginning of the game, everyone gets one island to start on. You will move and take an action on your turn, and additional free actions. Movement is a must but actions are not.
Something to keep in mind when your move is, you have to move your ship from the island it is currently on, and you can’t visit the same island twice in a row.
When you land on an island you can then take an action. You will start to work on the islands, after you pay the natives coins first of course! By working the island, you will gain the resources and abilities it has to offer. Of course, you may just full on attack the island as well, with either force or diplomacy. If the island has a red flag, you will use force, blue flag will be diplomacy.
The last action that you can take is Hunt for Treasure. When you hunt for treasure you simply take all the money that has accrued on the treasure map into your possession. You basically use a turn to gain money.
After you are done with your action you can then take a free action. The first free action you can take is completing a quest. There are two quests available throughout the game at all times. If you visit an island that has a quest on it you can activate that quest to gain diplomacy. You are giving aid to the island in need. It will cost you something like fish, wood, books or a crew member. The second free action you can take is buying a building. Most of these buildings give special bonuses and abilities throughout the game. Some give you bonus renown points at the end of the game. These are key because the first person to build 7 buildings triggers the end of the game.
You can spend fish to move an extra space or a piece of wood to re-roll a die in combat. There are also different crew members that you can hire that give you extra bonuses when you exhaust them. Whoever can manage their crews and get the most renown points is the winner of Islebound.
The components are well made, nice thick cardboard. The art is what I liked the most, amazing and well done. I do have a minor nitpick though, the player ships. I have no problems with the look and shape of them, but the way you tell them apart is a TINY flag on the top of the mast, I found this sometimes, being hard to pick my ship out, It could be the fact, that I’m almost legally blind in one eye (We have covered this before in my reviews) it’s not a big deal, and might not even effect most players.
The turns are super quick. Move and take an action. Even when someone uses an extra action it does not tend bog down the game, which is a very good thing.
Another minor nitpick I have is, this game suffers from the one player can jump ahead and just own the whole game flaw. If you are the only one building buildings, then you will win in this game. It forces you to build buildings. This was the biggest thing that annoyed be about the game, one player can win by this, while the other players are trying to win by other methods. I’ve seen other games that have similar win condition’s such as this. So it’s not like this is just a problem with this game. Don’t let this be the reason you don’t try this game. Other than this small thing, it’s a very fun game, and plays fast.
This is another game that you will be happy to pull out during your game nights for a change of pace! Oh did I mention that there are pirates? So what’s not to love! Pirates make everything better right?
For more information about Islebound, head over to the official webpage HERE
Islebound is available via Amazon
*A big THANK YOU to Red Raven Games, for providing us with the review copy!
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