Peter Pan (Pan’s Island) is a co-operative game where you play as one: Peter, Wendy, Michael and John, Tinkerbell, or Tiger Lily in the quest to find the lost boys. You do this by giving the teammate to your right a vision with distance and direction cards. You will then try to decipher the vision given to you from your teammate and draw on the erasable board where you believe a lost boy to be. However, it isn’t all fun and games in Neverland, you must beware of the presence of Captain Hook. If you search where he is too often the game is over and you have lost the game.
How To Play
To begin with all players receive a mini-map of the board, that you put in a sleeve which has the location of Hook for the player on their right alongside an open space within which they mark off the position of a lost boy for the player on their right. This makes the replay ability of the game high as the same sleeve and map card will rarely be together, and the position of the lost boy depends on the decision of the players, so it is unlikely to be in the same place twice. You then make up a ‘vision’ for the player on your right directing them to your lost boy. These are made up of direction cards (features, sides, landmarks on the board), and distance cards (from 0- 6+) which you select the strength of directing your teammate to an area of the board. You then select the danger of the move; do you believe that there is a high chance of finding Hook? Will they interpret your ‘vision’ correctly? Or is there no possible danger as your clue was very precise?
Each player will then draw on the board the direction in which they believe the player to their left has tried to direct them, and if they wish to, they may search for a lost boy. They are then told if Hook is where they have searched (he can’t catch you otherwise), if he isn’t you are told if a lost boy is in your circle. If as a team you find four lost boys before Hook finds you four times you win the game! You can then add different challenge cards, which make the game easier or harder depending on what you want -I would expect harder for anyone very interested in board gaming- but that is just my opinion. This then adds another element to the game in that you can continue to play until you can win with all the cards that make it harder in play. You can then flip the board for another variant to be added.
Overall, the components all seem very high quality and durable, appearing to be made to last. The dry-wipe element of the board adds to the high-quality feel of the game and is a nice touch. However, the plastic pieces can be difficult to pick up off the table, and the card holder is prone to falling apart, but these are my only quibbles with the components.
The artwork in Peter Pan is brilliant throughout, and I think that Jérémie Fleury has done an outstanding job in recreating these iconic characters and location. However, the artwork would be appealing to a younger audience which is a slight problem as younger children will probably find the mechanics quite hard to grasp (my 7-year-old brother who has grown up with games around him just manages), but this is just a minor issue, and I don’t believe that this will affect many of the board gaming population.
The mechanics are very unusual for a game as what you set into motion is what your teammates must complete, and you have no control over what is done with your ‘visions’ until the next round when you can change them. Working together instead of against each other is also quite refreshing. So, I believe that an first glance, Mare Paquien has done a very good job at inventing such a different style of game, but the deeper you investigate it, the more flaws you begin to notice.
However, they are easily fixable, and one even has a reason for gameplay, however hard it is to grasp. For example, as a human, it is very easy to remember previous clues that you have had, and this may affect what you decide to do. However, the game suggests that you are only able to use what visions you have been given in the current round, but with some simple self-control, this is quite easy to stop being a problem. Also, as you are constantly doing the same actions go in and out which may become repetitive, but this can be fixed with the introduction of the event cards. Also, the cards you have to create the vision may have no relation to your lost boy location, but this is just part of the challenge of the game, and you need to decide how strong you think that the visions are.
But as I mentioned earlier (this) it is quite hard to grasp that what are quite annoying things in gameplay are supposed to happen. All this said, gameplay can still be quite interesting and is very different and a new concept for many games, so I hope that this can be built upon to create new games that probably utilise that mechanic in a better way without the minor flaws associated with it.
Another very unique aspect of this game is how you interact with the board, and how you move around it. To do this, you need to make an informed decision using the vision that you have been given to decide in what direction and what distance you are going to travel along the board. To decide on direction, if your teammate has given you the same vision as the one pictured above you may decide to move in the general direction of the tiger (half a square on the map in either direction) and around 1.5 or 4.5 miles I that direction dependent on what you come across on your path, you do this by using the path finder -the wavy plastic object with clouds on it, renamed the caterpillar in my house 🙂 – and placing it so the semi-circle surrounds your player base, moving it to your preferred direction, and drawing through the cutout.
You then remove the pathfinder, and cross where your character is now going to stand and decide whether you are going to search. This, to me, is a really fun and inventive way to travel across the board that just adds that extra perk to the game and gives younger children a nice element which they can participate in. So even if the game has what seems to be flaws, I think that the nice elements that make you enjoy the game massively outweigh the flaws presented.
I would easily recommend this game of Peter Pan to any family with children aged around 7 – 11 who are looking for a co-operative family game to play together and teach to grandparents, as it has elements that all of these players would enjoy, but I think that people who are more ‘hard-core’ gamers may find this game a little dull, and would probably be stuck on the shelf gathering dust for them. However, to not end on a slightly depressing note, I believe that this is a lovely game, with brilliant artwork and an interesting, iconic theme that is great fun for the whole family.