Fireball Island: Curse of Vul-Kar

It’s April and that means taxes are due, baseball is starting, and more importantly The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast has launched its annual Kickstarter campaign. If you are not already familiar with the fine folks at The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast, they are a member of the Dice Tower network and produce 5 full length podcasts per month covering board games, role playing games and miniatures gaming, as well as producing audio dramas, video blog, live streams and more throughout the year. This year, The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast would like to add periodic programming specials to its lineup, providing its audience a massive amount of content each year.

Like all Kickstarters, there are a mutliple pledge levels to pick up a variety of fun things ranging from pins, challenge coins, bottle openers, promo cards, the Grand Adventures Book, to membership in the Cabal.  The Grand Adventures Book, written by cabalist Jamie Keagy, is a short guide to better role playing, and is available in print or ebook.  The promo card pack includes promo cards for Empires of the Void II, Space Freaks, Terraforming Mars, Evolution, and Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar!  The promo card pack includes promos featuring The Secret Cabal in Brook City, Detective: City of Angels, and Bottom of the 9th.

The campaign runs until May 4th so head over to the Kickstarter page and check out all the content the campaign will support and learn more promos and goodies backers can pick up for supporting the podcast.

Resotration Games is making a name for itself by taking old games from decades past and retooling them to modern standards.  They have had great success so far with the redone versions of Indulgence, Stop Thief!, and Downforce, all of which have gotten excellent reviews.  But now we get to the one that everyone has been talking about, that everyone has been requesting, and one that Tom has personally been asking for, and that is Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar.  Back in the day this game was more toy than game, in that it was just a roll and move game where every now and then you tossed marbles into the Vul-kar idol and they rolled along their designated paths knocking people over.  This may be entertaining for younger kids, but we want and need something more, and Restoration Games aims to deliver.

In the new version of the game you are tourists trying out the new attractions at a dangerous new park (sounds like a familiar dinosaur movie), and as we know, that kind of visit always goes swimmingly.  And by swimmingly, I mean nearly everyone is killed.  So your job is to snap some pictures to show you went, grab some treasure along the way, and get off the island before Vul-kar’s wrath dooms you all.  In this version of the game the dice are replaced by cards, and each card gives you a number of movement points and then a special action you can take.  Some of the special actions let you rotate trees for protection, rotate the Vul-kar idol where the marbles come out, launch some marbles, or even move other players into danger.  Once you snap at least three pictures you can call the hello-copter and get off the island.  But in the end, it’s the most points that wins so you better grab some valuable treasure along the way or you may end up surviving the trip, but losing the game.

The game itself looks epic and the toy factor is still off the charts, but at least the game will play much better and offer choices and strategy instead of just blind luck.  The base game itself comes in at only $60 plus shipping, which is actually a really good price considering.  Also available in this campaign are three expansions, each offering new gameplay elements for the game.  The Last Adventurer can be added for $25 and adds a whip wielding fifth player to the game, player powers, and gives snakes and a giant boulder to Vul-kar for his use.  Wreck of the Crimson Cutlass can be added for $40 and adds a whole new board to the game that allows you to explore a shipwreck, just don’t get shot by the cannon.  And finally Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bees can be added for $15 and adds to the danger of the island with a tiger and swarms of bees.  You can check out more on the Kickstarter page and back for your copy today!

Restoration Games just dropped a big announcement at GenCon, and that is their next restored game is going to be the highly sought after game, Fireball Island.  Those who know about this game know that at it’s core, it’s just a roll and move game (Surprise!), but what made it special was the toy factor.  In this game you are moving over this 3D plastic terrain and the angry idol in the center would sometimes roll “fireballs” down the path, taking out bridges and maybe even some players.  Manage to grab the idol’s ruby and get it off the island and you win!

Restoration Games definitely has found memories of this game, and after a long year of negotiating with the license holder, they have been given the go ahead to create a new version of the game.  Not much has been said about it other than it being worked on by the in house designers, Rob Daviau, J.R. Honeycutt, and Justin D. Jacobson, and will feature plastic elements molded by the talented Noah Adelman.  More information will be revealed as time goes on, and if you are at PAX Unplugged in November you will get to find out more at their “Blueprints” talk.  The rest of us can read the press release below for more information, and then patiently await the launch of the Kickstarter at some point in the future.

Indianapolis, IN – August 18, 2017. Today, Restoration Games announced they are releasing Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar in 2018. The announcement was made in front of a sold-out crowd on the Dice Tower Live Show at Gen Con, the show at which Restoration Games first introduced themselves last year.

First published in 1986 by Milton-Bradley, the game is remembered for its highly kinetic action and unique production. The original game board is a three-dimensional, injection-molded plastic tray, featuring peaks and valleys and chutes for marbles. Atop the board rests Vul-Kar, an imposing idol from whose mouth the titular red marbles careen. In the original game, the players are explorers, seeking to traverse the mountain, steal Vul-Kar’s gem, and return to the dock, all without ending up in a heap of ash and cinder at the bottom of some gulley. However, the game play itself was simplistic, little more than the straight roll-and-move, common in that day, with a little lose-a-turn take-that thrown in.

The restored version of the game, now called Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar, takes the players back to the island some 30 years later. Angered by the transgressors, Vul-Kar laid a dark curse upon the island, rent it asunder, and unleashed a host of terrible threats. What perils await and why the players are there now has not yet been revealed.

The restored version of the game features thoroughly revamped play, designed in-house by Rob Daviau, J.R. Honeycutt, and Justin D. Jacobson. The game will also feature all new art and a new model for Vul-Kar. Noah Adelman of Game Trayz, the man behind the lauded Mechs vs. Minions insert, is the architect of this new version of the island. Restoration Games indicated they would reveal additional information about the game in the following months, including at their “Blueprints” talk at PAX Unplugged, a tabletop game convention in Philadelphia on November 17-19.

The game is being manufactured under license from Lund and Company Invention, L.L.C. and Longshore, Ltd. Under the terms of the license, Restoration Games has complete control over the final design of the game and distribution rights in English for the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Australia. Longshore retains distribution rights for other languages and territories. Other terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Longshore, Ltd. is proving to be the perfect partner too. The project manager, Wai, had this to say, “I had a lot of fun and good memories with Fireball Island as a kid. This game has since become a classic and achieved a bit of “cult” status, and we are really excited to help bring this one back!  I look forward to playing the new version with my own son.”

“When we first reached out to Bruce Lund about acquiring the license, he said our timing was propitious,” said Justin D. Jacobson, president of Restoration Games. “But it took almost a full year to complete the deal. In the end, the hard work was worth it. We’re so thrilled to be able to bring this game back. It’s a cultural touchstone and a true icon of gaming. If ever a game deserved another turn, it’s this one.” 

Jacobson also revealed that Fireball Island was, by far, the most requested game for them to restore in surveys, website submissions, social media, and face-to-face interactions. Restoration plans to run a Kickstarter for the game. The date for the campaign has not yet been set.

About Restoration Games

Restoration Games is owned and operated by attorney Justin D. Jacobson. Design is overseen by their Chief Restoration Officer, the award-winning designer, Rob Daviau. Together, they find old games, modernize them, and bring them back for today’s gamers. Their first games, debuting at Gen Con this year, include Stop ThiefIndulgence, and Downforce.

Additional information can be found at www.restorationgames.com/fireball-island.

Restoration Games and the Restoration Games logo are trademarks of Restoration Games, LLC. Fireball Island is a trademark of Longshore Ltd., used under license.