You know what I hate? Little wooden cubes in game. OK, I don’t really hate them, but they could probably hold their own against the plastic pawn as the most generic game component ever.
I get it. They’re functional and can represent just about anything in a game. Usually, you’ll find them standing in for various resources in your favorite trading game set in the Mediterranean. But using these wooden cubes is kind of like driving a ’97 Chevy Caprice. Yea, it’ll get you where you need to go, but you’re not going to enjoy the ride.
In this installment of Level Up My Game, we’re going to look at an option for boosting the components in a popular, and somewhat deadly, cooperative board game. (I told you we wouldn’t be doing another storage solution this time. You’re welcome.)
Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island is a pretty fantastic board game that will suck you in with its deep theme. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet (sorry, fail I know), but it’s a really well made game that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to trying to beat the players to a bloody pulp.
Originally Published by Portal Games (and Z-Man here in the USA), the components in Robinson Crusoe are pretty solid, if not exciting. The cards are sturdy, the art is great and I love all the scenarios. The four resources in the game are food (temporary), food (permanent), furs, and wood. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that they are represented by a set of colored wooden cubes in the game. To go along with that, the player tokens in the game are wooden discs of various colors. Do they all work? Sure, but can we do better? Absolutely!
Apparently Portal agreed as I discovered that they’ve released an upgrade pack for Robinson Crusoe (well 2 actually). First, lets talk about the token pack. You can toss those wooden cubes in the bin now as we get realistic looking resources to use in the game. Food now looks like loaves of bread and bananas. Furs looks like a white fur pelt. The wood tokens look like wooden planks (sort of, they could probably be a bit more real looking as I don’t think anyone brought a planer to the island). But hey, 3 for 4 isn’t bad. 🙂 Overall they all look great and are a noticeable upgrade over the standard cubes. The token pack clocks in at $10.00.
To go with the token pack, Portal has also released a sticker pack. While sculpted minis for Robinson Crusoe would probably have been overkill, the standard wooden tokens weren’t exactly a happy medium. The sticker pack gives players the ability now to mark their tokens with artwork matching their player card. In addition to that, there are stickers for the bonus worker tokens, the dog and Friday himself. I did find that in addition to looking much nicer, it has the added benefit of making it easier to keep track of whose token is where and what they are doing. Now it’s easy to tell which token is Friday, which is Dog and which is a player, without having to memorize colors. The sticker pack retails for an affordable $3.00 on Portal’s website.
So there you have it. A nice and simple way to level up your game of Robinson Crusoe. Are these sticker and token packs necessary to enjoy the game? Absolutely not. The game plays just fine with the original components. But Level Up My Game isn’t about just getting by. It’s about telling the status quo that we want more. It’s all about making our games better and more fun to play, which is what these upgrades do. I fully admit it, I’m a bit of a component whore. I love a sexy looking game and that’s probably why I avoid print and play games. If I am going to spend 60+ minutes poring over cardboard and wood, I want it to look nice darn it! For me, the $13 was an easy spend to make a game I really enjoy that much better. Now if only there was an upgrade to not make me lose this game so much…