Land AHOY! There be treasure to find! It’s time to dig out that inflatable parrot, don the trusty eye patch and get your Swashbuckling on!
Based on the much loved novel of the same name, and with extracts featured throughout the rulebook, Treasure Island (designed by Marc Paquien) is a 2-5 player game of hide and seek, only this time you don’t have to try and squeeze yourself into a cupboard or closet that would of never fitted you in, in the first place. Hiding in this game is as simple as drawing an “X marks the spot” on your own player map.
From the moment you open the game box from Matagot, you find a treasure trove of beautifully themed components, wooden calliper, plastic compasses, rulers, detailed miniatures, a thick cardboard treasure chest and high gloss cards and boards, for you to write upon with your dry-wipe marker pens, also provided.
You can learn more about the components and see them in detail by watched my unboxing video below.
Treasure Island Gameplay
This 45-minute game (expect to play longer but don’t worry, it’s worth it) starts out with a one player choosing to be the incarcerated Long John Silver, with everyone else taking on the role of one of his mutinous pirate crew.
After John Silver has “buried” his treasure, marking an X on his own player board, the other pirates take it in turns to search out and discover the much desired hidden prize.Players move their miniatures around the central board drawing on their movement and searches with marker pens.
As each turn passes by, more of the board is covered with drawings and markings of failed searches, each one adding to the ever-increasing tension of the hunt. Long John Silver serves up hints and clues that could help his crew strike gold or could leave them struggling to decipher which direction was true and which was actually a bluff.
All the while, Silver is counting down the days to his escape on the 17th or 19th (depending on player count) day/turn, and praying that no one will find his treasure before the finally dramatic race for the finish, when Long John Silver gets the opportunity to hightail it to the hidden location and hopefully be the first to find TREASURE!
Final Thoughts on Treasure Island
We Hairy Game Lords absolutely LOVED this game! The rich pirate theme transports you into the fun and frenzied angst of the hunt.
Whoever is playing as Long John Silver gets to control a lot of what goes on through the game; the choosing of what cards to put down, when to verify with truth or bluff, and who to share certain privileged information with, creating suspense and stirring up a storm of mistrust and rivalry, but each time a pirate player plots out their next search, the feeling of dread envelops even Silver as their searches get closer and closer to his precious buried treasure, and there is little he can do about it!
As pirate players you race to be the first, using your exclusive knowledge from hints given you by your Captain and hoping that trusting him was the right move to make, you draw out in plain sight of everyone else where you think the treasure is hidden, whilst working out on your own private map your next few goes to come. Rivalry and mistrust is in the air, you cannot trust another fellow pirate and you need to figure out when is the best time to you your one off actions and other abilities.
Interaction is strong throughout the game and down time between your go is almost non-existent, with everyone studying each other's moves for the revealing of clues and possible hints of where to search next.
As the game progresses the desperation levels increases for the pirates who can see that Silver is soon to escape, and for Silver himself who is desperate to move players away from dangerously close digging excursions so that when he can finally move the area is clear for him to get the head start. If this isn’t so a “merry dance” may need to be had to try and draw those pesky pirates away.
The fun, laughter and banter is aplenty in Treasure Island and we all look forward to replaying this again and again, taking on different roles and characters all who have special unique abilities and actions.
With the ease of learning how to play and teach this from the well laid out rulebook, I would recommend all players both new to the hobby and full-blown Board Game Geeks could and would enjoy this game. The artwork and theme carry you into the fun and enjoyment of this treasure hunt adventure, and I look forward to playing this again soon.