My wife and I love to take vacations to the Caribbean. I love sitting on the beach with a fruity drink in one hand, my kindle in the other, and listening to the ocean roll in. It’s a magical experience… right up to the point where a dragon attacks and burns us to a crisp
OK, maybe that last part never actually happened. But today we are going to take a look at Epic Resort by Floodgate Games. Where do adventurers go after a hard-fought dungeon crawl for a little R and R? No, not Disney World, they head to the Epic Resort. A sun filled location of rest, relaxation, and a little bit (OK a lot) of excitement. Is running this resort for recovering heroes as much fun as slaying monsters in a dungeon? Let’s find out!
Epic Resort is a deck constructing and resource management games for 2-4 players that takes about 30 minutes per player. Epic Resort plays best with any number of players.
The goal of the game in Epic Resort is to acquire the most victory points. During the game, players will take turns staffing and upgrading their resort, attracting heroes and tourists, and also fending off the occasional monster. Players must manage their attractions wisely, as having more tourists will gain them money, but those crowded attractions also attract less tourists and heroes.
As the game progresses, more and more monsters will be attacking your resort. Vacationing heroes can be used to fend off these monsters… or you can just let them eat your tourists. Once all the monsters have been vanquished (or had their fill), the game ends and the player with the most victory points is the winner.
I think that Floodgate Games did a great job of putting together Epic Resort. Even though they are a small publishing company, I’ve consistently been impressed with the quality in the production of their games. With Epic Resort you get a variety of cards, tokens and even some meeples. Everything felt high quality and I have no concerns about it holding up to repeated play.
My favorite thing though has to be the artwork. I really enjoyed the illustration on the cards. From the highly thematic attractions to the vacationing heroes (love the warrior holding the classic ham bone), everything tied into the theme perfectly. So kudos to team of illustrators on Epic Resort.
How to Play:
The game play in Epic Resort is somewhat involved, but once you learn how the game flows, turns should go by fairly quickly. After the game is set up and each player has their starting resort attractions, you’re ready to begin.
Each round, the game is played over 5 phases:
1. Get to Work: Players staff their attractions with worker cards from their hand, and then collect income and flair (both types of currency) based on how many tourists they have at their attractions. Tourists and heroes can be recruited from the dock by paying their flair cost.
2. Actions: Starting with the Harbor Master, each player takes turns taking 1 action.
- Attract Tourists or Heroes: Paying their cost in flair and adding them to an attraction.
- Upgrade an Attraction: Paying its cost in gold, this will most likely replace a current attraction you have, but provide more victory points and resources.
- Train a Worker: You remove one of your current worker cards from your hand from the game and replace it with a skilled worker by paying its cost.
- Pass: The first player to pass becomes the new harbor master (first player next round).
- Free Actions: Playing a card from your hand, using special powers on attractions, staffing attractions.
3. A ship arrives: The Dock (the location where you purchase hero and tourist cards) is refilled. If any “monster attack” cards show up, a monster card is drawn and it attacks one of the resorts (determined by the card).
If your resort is attacked, it will go after one of your 3 attractions. If you have a hero there, he can choose to defend it, but it will delay his recovery (and scoring you victory points). If you don’t have him defend, the monster will kill some tourists at your attraction. If you don’t have a hero or tourists there, the monster will damage your attraction. Too much damage and it’s destroyed.
4. Hero Rewards: All heroes gain 1 health. If their health was already at the maximum, their time at the resort is finished and they are moved to your score pile.
5. Cleanup: This is a standard cleanup phase that gets the game ready for the next round.
The rounds continue in the above manner until the last monster card is drawn from the monster deck. At this point, the game ends at the end of the round and players count up their final score. They earn victory points for their 3 attractions, any scored heroes, and any heroes still at their resort (1 point only for them). The player with the most points wins.
Each attraction you buy will provide more income, flair, victory points and even a special ability!
Epic Resort is a game that’s hard to nail down as to where in the complexity spectrum it falls. While the rules aren’t that complicated, there is still a lot going on. Explaining to someone all the various parts of the game and how they work together can sometimes overwhelm people. Which feels a bit odd because Epic Resort isn’t necessarily a complicated game. But that’s something to think about if you have a group that likes things streamlined.
That being said, at the end of the day, Epic Resort left me with some mixed feelings. There are some things I really liked and some that I wish it did differently.
As mentioned earlier, the theme and the artwork are outstanding. This is truly the only game I own that has me running a resort for heroes, so props to Floodgate Games for breaking out the mold with something unique. And of course, I love the artwork, between the heroes and the artwork on the attractions, everything is both thematic and humorous.
Epic Resort also has an immense amount of replay value. There are many different worker cards and attractions available in the game, and you will only see a fraction of those each time you play. This gives the game a lot of legs because each time you bring it to the table, it will feel just a little bit different, which is definitely a good thing.
But then we get to the hero scoring and the monster attacks. Overall, these two mechanics felt a little clunky to me. You really want your heroes to rest up and score, that’s the best way to earn victory points (except maybe building Tier 3 attractions, but more on that in a bit). Monster attacks happen quite frequently (almost too often) and I found myself letting the tourists get eaten (or the resort damaged) rather than delaying my hero’s healing. It felt really un-thematic to let a hero just walk away while people get eaten, but delaying their recovery wasn’t something I wanted to do as I needed the victory points. So I wish they would have found a way where I could still have a hero be a hero, without having to wait extra turns to cycle them into the score pile.
And then there are the attractions. I think it’s great how many there are and how unique they all feel. The special powers are really clever and I want to use them as much as I can. The one thing I didn’t like about the attractions is how few of them you get to use in a game. In most of our plays of Epic Resort, I never built more than 2-3 new attractions. There usually wasn’t enough time or money to buy more than that. Which is a shame because there are so many cool attractions, it felt really limiting to only ever get to have three of them at once, and rarely did I upgrade an attraction more than one time. This was a bit of a miss in my book.
However, the attractions that you do build are pretty neat. Some even get really thematic like the Canopy Zipline that lets you move tourists around your resort. Or the Slaughter Coaster (really cool name) that lets you basically sacrifice tourists for flair. Each one felt really unique and I really wish more of the game was about building out your resort with many of the attraction cards.
My last gripe with Epic Resort is the way the harbor master works. In theory, it was a great idea. First person to pass gets to be first next round. If you are already the harbor master, it gets a coin on it (to be given to the first new player to take it). However, in practice, it actually ended up being more of a hindrance. There were some games where I really didn’t want to be first player. This is because in case of a tie, when a monster attacks it goes at the harbor master. However, since I was already a little behind, I was regularly the first person to pass (ran out of money or things to do). Which meant I was constantly getting beat up by monsters. I wish they had made it so the first player to pass had the option of becoming the new harbor master.
The play time in Epic Resort is a hard one to nail down. 30 minutes per player feels about accurate. However, there have been times when the end game really rushed up on us. Either we drew a lot of early monster cards or scored a good amount of heroes. Sometimes the end game almost felt too sudden… however other times if felt fairly far off. Perhaps it’s because there is so much randomness as to when the game will actually end. If you churn through monsters quickly, expect a fast game. If not, you could be looking at 2+ hours.
Epic Resort does scale really well. If you are OK with a longer play time, then you shouldn’t have any issues at the higher play counts. The game compensates this by including more monsters. The nice thing with the higher player counts is that you also have more players for the monsters to attack, which should help you get a breather every now and then.
Overall, I think Epic Resort is a good game, that’s held back a bit from a few of it’s mechanics. I think the presentation (artwork and components) is top-notch and I really enjoy seeing it on the table.
It’s definitely not a game you are going to play with your non-gamer friends, but I also don’t think the complexity should be scaring too many people away. Once you get a feel for the rounds, the turns go by pretty quickly.
There is a lot of variety in Epic Resort, so if it’s a game you think you’d enjoy, you can be secure in the fact that you will probably be getting a lot of replay value for your gaming dollar. If you can deal with some of its quirks, Epic Resort is a fairly unique game that should give you a lot to do during its 60+ minutes of play time. For me, while it wasn’t the home run I was hoping for, I still found it to be a good game that can have some really fun moments.
If you’d like to get a copy of Epic Resort, you can pick it up for about $33
Final Score: 3 Stars – A good game with a really unique theme, but it’s held back at times by some of it mechanics.
• Monster can feel punishing
• End game feels random
• Don’t really feel like I’m building a resort