The Quest for El Dorado Game
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The Quest for El Dorado Game

RRP: £44.99
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RRP £44.99
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Dare to search for the Golden City! Assemble your expedition and lead it through the jungles of South America in this deck-building board game. You need to have a good plan, expert explorers, and the right equipment. Will you choose the Scout, the Photographer, or the Prop Plane? It is up to you and your team to find the best route through the wilderness and to win the race to El Do…
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Category Tags , , , , , SKU TRV-27456 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn, easy to set up
  • Quick turns reasonable play length
  • Interesting route decisions
  • Endless variety of map boards
  • Indiana Jones with No Snakes!

Might Not Like

  • Luck of the cards
  • Being blocked by opponents
  • Getting stuck
  • No hazards – like snakes!
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Description

Looking for an exciting adventure game that will keep you on the edge of your seat? Look no further than The Quest for El Dorado board game!

In this thrilling game, you'll embark on a journey through the Amazon rainforest, searching for the legendary city of gold - El Dorado. With a modular board that changes with each game, no two quests are ever the same.

Assemble your team of explorers and equip them with the tools and supplies they need to navigate treacherous terrain, overcome obstacles, and outwit your opponents. Use strategy and cunning to navigate the jungle, build paths, and reach the fabled city before your rivals.

Designed for 2-4 players and suitable for ages 10 and up, The Quest for El Dorado is a game that's easy to learn but challenging to master. With stunning artwork and high-quality components, it's a game that's as visually appealing as it is fun to play.

So why wait? Join the search for El Dorado today and experience the thrill of the hunt in this exciting and engaging board game.

The Quest For El Dorado

El Dorado! Fabled city of gold, in the jungles of South America. Despite many expeditions by the likes of the Spanish Conquistadors and our own Sir Walter Raleigh it was never found. But never fear because now you can strike gold on your own expeditions in this excellent adventure from fabled game designer Reiner Knizia.

Spoiler alert, before you read on, I reckon this is the best game I’ve played all year – or for any year for that matter. Easy to learn and get to grips with but with endless possible board configurations and the constant changing of the cards you always have fresh decisions to make to plot your route to golden success.

Go For Gold

The Quest for El Dorado is a card collecting race game for 2-4 players. Players have to try to navigate their fedora wearing meeple through the jungles, waterways or tribal villages of a changeable set of map board tiles to be first to reach their goal.

Each player starts with the same deck of 8 cards from which they draw 4 in hand. These cards are played to move onwards and depict: a machete to move into the green jungle; a paddle for the blue water hexes or a coin for the yellow village hexes (presumably to bribe the chief!). There are 3 to get you through jungle, just 1 for water and 4 with coins on. This is because not only can you use your cards to move but you can also use them to purchase better cards from the Market Board.

So, use as many of your hand of cards to move your token as you want or are able to, then spend remaining cards to buy any 1 card from the market that you can afford. Cards with coins on are worth their value with all other cards worth ½ a gold coin. The new card goes on to your discard pile and will only come into play when it later gets shuffled into the draw pile.

You can then discard any remaining cards from your hand – generally a good idea – and replenish your hand to 4 cards from the draw deck, shuffling the discard pile in if necessary. As there are only 8 cards to start with you will go through them all in 2 turns and start to be able to gain those shiny new cards you’ve spent your gold on.

Gold Cards

Buying cards to improve your deck is a vital feature of The Quest for El Dorado. White Joker cards with multiple symbols will give you flexibility whilst higher value cards of the basic 3 symbols will grant you the capability to get through some of the tougher hexes which require multiple values to enter.

There are 18 different cards in total and there are 3 of each. To begin with you can only buy 1 of the 6 cards at the bottom on the Market Board: 2 multi green cards, 1 useful Joker, 2 multi yellow coin cards and 1 purple Action card. As play progresses one of the bottom 6 piles may become exhausted. At this point the next person to buy a card can buy any they can afford. If it is from the top 2 rows, they take their card and move the other 2 of that type into the empty space on the Market Board. The higher cards are expensive but very useful. Some are marked with an “X” meaning they are single use. Either way, remember, you don’t get to play them immediately but must wait for the deck to be re-cycled.

Golden Triangle

As well as the 3 main types of hexes: Green, Blue and Gold. There are some specials: grey, Rubble spaces and red, Base Camp spaces. Each of these depicts 1,2 or 3 cards and you must discard the appropriate number to enter them. They differ in that cards discarded to enter Rubble spaces are re-cycled through your discard pile whilst cards discarded in a base camp are removed from the game. This latter may seem drastic but is actually a good way to weed out weaker cards once you’ve bought some better ones and get them to come around more quickly.

The other space type is the black impassable Mountains. These serve as blocks to make some routes trickier than others. They are also used in the optional Caves Variant. 9 of the Mountains have a Cave in them. There are 36 Cave Tokens and these are placed in 4-high, random, face down piles on each of the Caves. If your token finishes its turn adjacent to one of these caves you take the top available token. These tokens are all buffs and can be quite powerful. The Caves themselves are often off the ideal route so it gives an extra choice for you to make. Whilst this is described as a variant, it offers such a lot for so little extra complication, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to play it.

It’s A Jungle Out There

Let’s talk terrain. You’ve got 1 double sided starting terrain tile of 37 hexes. This is linked through one edge to any of 6 other, similar sized, double sided, terrain tiles by any of their 6 edges and on again to the next. These are labelled A to N. There are also two smaller, 15 hex, double sided. terrain strips labelled O to R and finally, the all-important, 6 hex tile of the gate to El Dorado.

You are given the layout of 6 pre-prepared layouts but also given tips on making your own. I reckon just using the main boards that there are 23,887,872 possible configurations! (Note: this number is wrong! But rather than work it out again let’s just say there are lots!).

There’s one more bit to add in. Between each of the main tiles you place a randomly drawn, 1 of 6, Blockade strip. These contain 1 or 2 of the standard symbols and you can’t go past them until you have paid the price to remove it. If you remove one you keep it and it might help determine a tie at game end. This was one area where the rules weren’t crystal clear and I interpreted them as you can only clear a blockade if you can pay its price plus the price to enter the hex beyond it. It doesn’t explicitly say this, however, and the example didn’t help much.

The Golden Shot

The Quest for El Dorado is a truly excellent game that anyone can play and enjoy! You get lots of little puzzles to solve and you can cycle through your cards quickly to get the ones you want. You have to strike a balance between using your cards to buy a better hand or pushing on through with what you’ve got. You can get stuck on the trail but there are no bad events to harm you.

There’s a bit of player interaction, too, where you can use your turn to block other’s optimum route. This is particularly true when you play two-handed as you play two separate tokens so you can use one to stymie your opponent whilst your other races ahead. You do have to get both of your pieces over the line though and it can get very close at the end.

It’s well made and everything about it is the quality you expect from Ravensburger and Herr Knizia, of course, right down to the Indiana Jones style fedora for the player turn marker. There is now a follow up too, The Quest for El Dorado: The Golden Temples which takes you inside the legendary city and I’m very tempted!

But for now, I’m laying out the terrain putting on my old slouch hat and off into the wild.

Doh-Di-Oh-Doh-Doh!

Editors note: This post was originally published on 15th Jan 2024. Updated on 17th April 2024 to improve the information available.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to learn, easy to set up
  • Quick turns reasonable play length
  • Interesting route decisions
  • Endless variety of map boards
  • Indiana Jones with No Snakes!

Might not like

  • Luck of the cards
  • Being blocked by opponents
  • Getting stuck
  • No hazards like snakes!