Treasure Island

Pencil First Games has announced The One Hundred Torii, a new Kickstarter project from designers Scott Caputo (Whistle Stop) and Eduardo Baraf (Herbaceous), with artist extraordinaire Vincent Dutrait (Treasure Island, New York 1901 and many, many others). The One Hundred Torii is a zen tile laying game, where 1-4 players take turns adding to an ever expanding garden, calling for help from the characters living therein, and scoring for paths between matching landmarks.

“Step into tranquility as you pass through the torii gates, traveling from fountains to flowers to shrines while meeting vendors, poets, and even samurai along the way… “

On their turn, the players take one tile from their hand of 2, and expand the garden. Every tile piece has paths and at least one of the 6 features – Lotus, Bridges, Lanterns, Water Basins, Inari Statues, or Sekimori Ishi (stone features). If a continuous path is created between two matching features, the player scores a landmark token for that feature. If multiple paths are created, the player only scores for the shortest one. If the path passes through one or more Torii gates, bonus tiles are earned; Red Torii give the player multiple matching tokens for the feature, while blue Torii earn tokens for other, different features. When a player earns 5 of the same token, they must be cashed in for a larger 5-point piece. Similarly, 5 more tokens create a 10-point piece. Fully isolated areas of the garden with 2 or more features score special Enclosure Tokens. Other achievements are earned for being the first player to earn all six 5-point tokens, or three of the 10-point tokens.

Another important aspect of the game is the ability to ask for help from one of the five characters who live in the garden. Characters cost coins, or single tokens, but never the larger 5- and 10-point pieces. The Samurai prevents players from placing a tile in a specific location. The Poet covers a single feature, preventing it from completing pathways, or possibly allowing for longer pathways. Both the Samurai and the Poet stay out until another player asks for their help. The Vendor allows players to discard a tile from their hand, and replace it with 2 new ones. The Geisha lets a player place 2 tiles into the garden, although only the second tile scores for a path. Finally, the Gardener allows a player to place a tile on top of another tile. The first and second time a player summons a character, they collect that characters’ token, earning 2 points. However only one player may collect the points for summoning a character for a third time.

At the end of the game, the 5- and 10- point tiles score their points, as well as tiles earned from working with the characters, tiles from creating enclosures, and achievements for being first to earn the larger tokens. The One Hundred Torii also comes with a single player mode, where the player battles against Onatsu, the pilgrim. Onatsu takes the player’s unused tiles, and scores her own points throughout the game.

The Kickstarter Campaign for The One Hundred Torii continues through June 10, and the game is expected to deliver in April 2020.

Pirates and buried treasure will be evergreen themes forever and it’s easy to see why – They’re really cool! The Robert Louis Stevenson ones are, anyway.  Those pirates embody romanticized adventurism, individuality, and freedom, albeit fueled by debauchery and greed, and their intrigue makes them charming. It shows in how many prominent board games exist with the theme, but one game, Skull Tales, stood out in trying to capture every inch of it back in 2015. Now there is a second edition of the game on Kickstarter, and after having shown off it’s fantastic new miniatures and rules updates it has blown far past it’s funding goal in less than a day! As described on the campaign page:

“Skull Tales, created by David Illescas, is a semi-cooperative game for 1-5 players aged 14 and up. The approximate playing time in Campaign Mode is between 60-90 minutes for one scenario and about 150 minutes for a complete chapter (Voyage, Adventure and Port). The game also includes 52 miniatures – not counting stretch goals!  Set sail on the Southern Lady and explore the beautiful Caribbean sea, ripe with fearsome enemies and amazing treasures. Fame and fortune await you!”

It’s exciting to see Skull Tales: Full Sail! funded with such enthusiasm so quickly and it really speaks to how satisfyingly thorough the game seeks to be. You really do have the opportunity to adventure like a pirate of fiction, embarking on voyages to abandoned islands, following a story of treasure and fame, fighting other ships, braving supernatural horrors, and unloading your ill-gotten gains at the nearest port. The game has also certainly come a long way from it’s first edition as well, and the backers of the original have certainly taken notice and their support for this project after 3 years speaks volumes. If you are interested in learning more about Skull Tales: Full Sail!, check out the Kickstarter page and the publisher’s website for gameplay videos, rules, community feedback and reviews!

While there have been a number of good pirate themed games in recent years there simply isn’t enough of them for fans of the genre. Treasure Island, by Matagot, would be a welcome addition.

“Treasure Island is a game of bluffing and adventure in which one player embodies Long John, trying to mislead the others in their search for his treasure. The hunt reaches its climax with Long John’s escape, when he will make a final run to get the booty for himself!”

Designed by Marc Paquien (of Yamatai fame) and illustrated by Vincent Dutrait (known for Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, Broom Service), the game will support 2 to 6 players. Each 45-minute game involves exploration of the island and deception. Some players play as Long John Silver‘s crew who have committed mutiny while another player acts as Long John Silver himself who directs (or misdirects?) the other players to his treasure. Round after round, players question Long John Silver while he tries to escape their clutches. The game reaches its climax when Long John Silver tries to escape his crew and make a run with his treasure.

Currently, there are no details regarding the game’s release, but we expect more news soon.