Robinson Crusoe isn’t a game I get to the table very often, but when I do I relish the challenge it presents. There is, however, a bit of a learning curve to overcome if it’s been a while since I last played, and the rules don’t make it easy, in fact, they stink!
I find myself thinking about playing, but then I remind myself that, yeah, it’s going to take a few games to get back up to speed and I just don’t have the time… maybe tomorrow, and we all know, tomorrow never comes…
The rules might put you off. They might damp down your initial foray into the game, but take the time to learn it and you’ll find that it’s a really, really good game. The buzz of excitement one gets when it looks like you might just pull of a rare victory is immense, because in this game it doesn’t happen very often – yes, it’s that difficult.
There are some juicy mechanisms that will tickle the fancy of anyone with an eye for clever design, like the way cards give you choices that might lead to it reappearing later and biting you on the proverbial, and it all works so thematically.
Looking back, I’ve managed to get a couple more games in since I reviewed it, and no, I still haven’t won. Neither have I managed to persuade my family to join in, and I can’t work out why. They like co-op games, and I thought the theme would appeal. Okay, it can play on the longer side of its advertised 60-120 minutes, and it isn’t the most eye catching of games, but still, I thought they’d be more willing to play.
Oh well, their loss is my gain, because as a solo game it pushes all the right buttons. I can immerse myself in the puzzles it presents, and it’s all about choices, difficult choices. Do I use my turn trying to improve my shelter, or do I want to go exploring, and if I do, do I want to guarantee success by committing more workers or take the risk of things going wrong by sending only one? Yes, it’s good to make sure, but you soon find you can’t get everything done if you keep using all your workers to automatically succeed, and it comes down to priorities. Unfortunately, you need everything, and you need it now!
Knowing what I know now, would I still have bought it? I got my copy second hand at a bargain price, so I was lucky, but knowing what I do now, I’d happily buy it retail.
Will it still remain in my collection? As a worker placement game it offers something different, as it’s co-op rather than competitive. It’s also one of the most, if not the most, thematic worker placements out there, as every single thing fits in with the story you are creating. With lots of replayability this is a long-time keeper, even if I only ever play it solo.
One Year On – Robinson Crusoe is a favourite solo game of mine, despite the fact I don’t play it very often, and I’ll never get tired of trying to unravel its intricacies. But it isn’t going to please everyone, especially if you lean towards story driven thematics, such as Arkham Horror: The Card Game, as it involves a lot of planning and thinking ahead, as well as a fair degree of resource management. – It falls within the Medium to Heavy weight bracket on BGG for complexity (Actually, that might be why the family were put off!). At the end of the day, it’s a Euro with a marvellous sense of theme, and if that sounds good to you, then you’ll love it.