Build villages for your tribe, raise moai to gain favor with the gods, lead your tribe to greatness!
Publisher: Pendragon Game Studios
Designer: Andrea Mainini
Designer: Luciano Sopranzetti
Artist: Davide Corsi
Artist: Kris Aubin
Artist: Stephen Gibson
Game Type: Area Control
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 13+
Expected Playtime: 30-60 min
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Volcanic Isle brings you to the ancient island of Mu. This is an island of promise and danger. Lead your tribe to establish villages and expand your reach. Build and raise moai to appease the gods.
But the gods are not so forgiving for their unrest will ruin your progress and their wrath will sink the island. Are you ready for the dangers to forge your tribe’s destiny?
The goal of Volcanic Isle is to accumulate the most Victory Points by building Villages, raising Moai, and other end of game conditions.
Assemble the island pieces per the directions in the rulebook. Put out the volcano markers, Lava tiles, Fissure, tokens, and Prayer tokens.
Each player chooses a tribe, getting Settlers, Moai, Villages, Action tokens, Boat token, and VP counter token. Choose a player to get the First Player token. Place the Boat tokens at Landfall Bay.
Each player has 4 Action Points per turn. The available actions cost different numbers of points. You can Move a Settler, Build a Village, Create a Settler, Sculpt a Moai, Raise a Moai, and Obtain a Prayer Token.
When you Move a Settler, the Settler goes to adjacent hexes/partial hexes but they cannot cross Fissure tokens. A Settler can carry an unraised Moai with them to other hexes.
When you Build a Village or Sculpt a Moai, you replace a Lave tile in a hex where a Settler is with the Village or Moai. They are vulnerable to future eruptions destroying them.
When you Raise a Moai, they are placed on top of lava geysers in the same hex. A Fissure token is placed on the border next to the raised Moai. The Volcano die is rolled to see if a volcano erupts. If a section of the island is cut off from the rest by connected Fissures, that section will fall into the sea.
When you Obtain a Prayer token, It costs 1 AP + # number of Prayer tokens you already have. Prayer tokens are used for protecting Villages and Moai from being destroyed by eruptions. Prayer tokens are one-time use and are removed from the game once used.
The game started off a little slow but it takes a bit to establish your tribe. You could go around pestering the other tribes but you won’t have anything to set yourself up later in the game.
Game Build Quality
Components in Volcanic Isle are made up of cardboard tokens and tiles and plastic miniatures. The majority of components are made with a thick cardboard stock, but they were difficult to punch out. The plastic pieces are heavy and well-made. Everything should last through many plays.
Volcanic Isle has a nice Pacific island feel for all of the components. There isn’t much art to the game, though, outside the box cover.
Volcanic Isle is a race to score while the island sinks. Your actions are what hold the fate of the island in the balance. Just don’t forget to score VP along the way.
Age Range & Weight
The age range stated is 13+ but this game is not that complicated, 10 or 8 year olds could pick up the game’s rules and even some of the more subtle strategies.
Volcanic Isle didn’t “wow” me as much as I had hoped but my kids really liked it. It does have good, straight-foward rules and is fairly light in complexity. The game is strategic in nature but, in my opinion, limited in options for strategy.
I could play it a few times and get bored, it isn’t something I would play regularly. Younger players might get a lot of play out of it because of the neat pieces and a bit of the “take that!” of sinking pieces of the island with their competitors on them.
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