I have a love-hate affair with promo cards for games. While I always love getting more content for games I enjoy, chasing down promos can become an exhausting process. Between Kickstarter, conventions, and special editions, I have pretty much given up on being a completionist. Which I have a strong feeling on, but that’s an article for another day.
What we are looking at today is the Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – Treasure Chest. Recently released from Portal Games, this big box expansion reprints all of the promos for Robinson Crusoe that have been released so far into one convenient set. So let’s open the box and see if this is worth it for fans of the game.
The Treasure chest comes with a wealth of new goodies to use in the game. The rulebook divides the new pieces into three categories: component upgrades, things that add variety, and items that add new mechanics to the game.
The component upgrades are wooden resource tokens in the shape of fish and parrots to replace their cardboard counterpart. Using these are a no brainer and will probably be used in every game going forward.
The variety additions include more discovery tokens, beast cards, hunting adventures, event cards, and mystery cards. Also included are blank “design your own” cards. Players can create custom events, adventure, build, gather and explore cards if you are into that sort of customization.
Finally, there are a lot of components with new mechanics. I’m not going to go over all of them, because this is easily the meatiest part of the expansion. But highlights include a hunting dog and crewmen cards that can be used to make the game easier. New trait cards that add characteristics for players, including some secret traits that will have rules that a player must obey without revealing why. Speaking of characters, there is now a gamer and sailor character that can be added to the pool to choose from at setup. And finally, four new scenarios to choose from. Altogether, there is a ton of content in this group.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
The treasure chest is a hard product to review. Because there is so much here and it’s all so diverse, there isn’t going to be a quick answer as to whether you need this. With a $40 MRSP, it’s not cheap for a box of promo expansions, but that is easily offset in my opinion by everything that’s included. Trying to chase down all of these components individually would be a nightmare.
On the other hand, trying to use everything in this expansion in one game would probably turn Robinson Crusoe into a fiddly mess. But the nice thing is that pretty much everything here is modular, so if you don’t like one bit but love another, you can pick and choose what you want to play with. Want to make the game easier? Add in the dog and crewmen. When to up the challenge, use the secret traits.
One of the big draws, at least for me, were the new scenarios in the box. Portal Games has always done a great job of getting creative with the missions, and there is no exception here. The tracing Doctor Livingstone scenario even comes with a foldout newspaper that was giving me a bit of a Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective vibe. Portal has always billed itself as “Board Games that tell Stories” and that mantra definitely shines through with the new scenarios.
As I said earlier, this is a hard product to review. If you are a die-hard Robinson Crusoe fan, you probably already have a lot of what’s in this box. It’s basically reprints of promos, some of which have been around for a while. It’s probably not worth buying the Treasure Chest just to snag one or two.
Yet if you are a new player who only has the core game, there is a ton of options in this box to customize your game. Not only do you get upgraded bits and added variety, but also many new gameplay options. Some of the options you’ll probably use all the time, while others you might only reach for once in a blue moon. As Treasure Chest is truly a grab bag of options, I’d say nothing in here is required, but there is plenty of good stuff for fans of the game.
• You may already have a lot of what’s in this box