When I first became aware that there was a Toy Story deck-building game with similar mechanics to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, I knew I must have it! Having been introduced to deck builders through Hogwarts Battle, I expected a similar gentle first game that eases a newer player into the style of the game, before ramping up the difficulty. And the game didn’t disappoint.
Toy Story: Obstacles and Adventures contains six Adventures boxes within the game box. Each box represents a new Adventure (with boxes 1,2,3 and 6 focusing on the movies), and though I’ll mention the other Adventures, I’ll largely focus on Adventure One for this review.
The game is designed for 2-5 players (5 players need to proceed to Adventure Two) and is for players aged 8+ but can definitely be enjoyed by adult players.
You Are A Toy
Opening up the game box you’ll find 5 player boards (Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex and Bo Peep), the game board, 35 insight tokens, 25 imagination tokens, 5 health tokens and six Adventure boxes. It’s advised you start with Adventure One and work your way through, particularly if you’re new to the deck-building mechanic.
Adventure box one contains everything you need for the first Adventure:
- Double-sided game track (the side used depends on the amount of players)
- A track token
- 14 Danger cards
- 4 Hazards
- 34 Adventure cards
- 4 Turn Order cards and 4 Character cards
- 4 Starting decks
Firstly, place the Adventure track and token at the top of the board, making sure you have the correct side face up (depending on your player count).
Then shuffle the Danger cards, and place them face down.
Next you’ll need to arrange the Hazard cards. Escape from Sid must be at the bottom of the stack. Shuffle the remaining three and place them face down on top of Escape from Sid.
Shuffle the Adventure cards and place them face down. Draw 6 cards into the spaces on the board. These will be the first cards you can purchase during the game.
You’ll then need to choose which toy you’ll be on your adventure. You’ll need that character's player board, health token, character card, turn order card and starting deck.
Shuffle the starting deck and draw 5 cards into your hand. Place the rest of the cards face down in your draw pile.
The game board clearly states where to place the various components and the rulebook is extremely concise which makes the game very easy to set-up.
You’re ready to go!
This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Two of Us
Now the Adventure begins!
Each player's turn is broken down into four steps.
Firstly you must reveal and resolve Danger cards. Your point on the Adventure track will tell you how many dangers you must reveal.
Next you’ll resolve the Hazards effect, which may affect the active player (current players turn) or everyone!
After you’ve dealt with the nasty stuff, you can play any adventure cards you still have in your hand. These cards might give you insight tokens, imagination tokens or an increase in health. Once acquired you may spend your tokens by placing insight onto any active enemy and imagination can be used to purchase new adventure cards. Any new purchases must be placed onto your discard pile and unspent tokens can NOT be carried to your next turn.
End your turn by checking the Adventure token has not reached the end of the track. Replace any defeated Hazards. Replace any purchased Adventure cards. Draw 5 new cards into your hand for your next turn (if your draw pile is empty, shuffle all cards from your discard pile to create a new draw pile).
Your turn is now over and play moves on clockwise.
You Have Saved Our Lives. We Are Eternally Grateful!
There are two ways for Toy Story: Obstacles and Adventures to end.
Toys Win: You and your fellow toys manage to defeat Escape from Sid (first adventure only, subsequent adventures have their appropriate villains). Congratulations!
Toys Lose: The adventure token moves to the end of the track and the toys didn’t make it back to the moving van. They’re left behind and the adventure will need to be replayed.
During a game, if a toy's health ever reaches 0 they do not die and are instead shelved, this means they must discard half of their hand (or 1 less should the hand be an odd number - so 2 out of 5), but after that turn they are back to full health.
Reach For The Sky
Once Adventure One is complete, you move on to Adventure Two and so on, often keeping the majority of the cards from previous games in play. The box contains card dividers so you don’t need to return all of the cards to their original Adventure boxes.
The exception to this is, unlike Hogwarts Battle, Toy Story: Obstacles and Adventures has two Adventures that slightly differ in mechanics (Adventure 4 & 5). These Adventures have unique ways to defeat the Hazards, which I’ll let you discover for yourselves, but I found it a welcome addition to the game to have to come up with new strategies.
As you progress new elements are added to the game, such as dice and character powers. The gentle introduction of new mechanics are great for players who don’t have much deck building experience, and for younger players who may need a little longer to get used to the various strategies.
You’re My Favourite Deputy
For me, the best part of this game is it’s cooperative nature. There’s plenty of opportunity for strategising. In fact, it’s quite difficult to succeed without it.
Later on in the game, when each toy gets their unique power, there’s even more need to keep conversation flowing about how every player can use their assets to work together to defeat the Hazards.
To Infinity and Beyond
Like with many other games from The OP, the component quality with this game is really high and you get a lot of game for the price. The tokens, cards and boards are all high quality and feel great to play with. And each Adventure is a journey in itself which makes for a decent amount of replayability.
Each Adventure box also contains a new metal token for the Adventure track, which isn’t a necessity, just a really nice addition that I enjoyed.
The rule book also deserves a shout-out for being clear, concise and easy to follow. Plus each additional Adventure has a mini-rulebook which slots into the main rulebook’s back page and you can track your games too!
Toy Story: Obstacles and Adventures is a challenging and enjoyable cooperative deck-builder for someone who likes the theme. It’s a really great introduction to deck-builders, but can also be enjoyed by those familiar with the mechanics. Though thematically, I had worried this wouldn’t be ‘tough’ enough for an adult audience, I was pleasantly surprised and found the game to be as challenging as Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. Similarly, this game is more difficult at a higher player count.
I also enjoyed the challenges and new mechanics of Adventures 4 & 5. And found this deviation from the usual style of play, quite welcome. Luckily, I don’t mind reorganising cards over and over....others may not agree!
Communication is key for a great coop, and this game really delivers those opportunities to communicate with your teammates.
And it’s Toy Story...It’s a win!