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In 1913, when the HMS Arden unexpectedly struck 3 icebergs crossing the Atlantic, you were lucky enough to find refuge in a Lifeboat. After surviving a peril filled voyage, land was finally sighted...in the South Pacific. The initial relief of reaching land has long ended and your hope is now to be rescued. Fortunately, among the flotsam and jetsam of the shipwreck are items that may help you survive. There also appears to be evidence that pirates inhabited the island many years ago. What could they have left behind? Amidst all the natural perils of the island, perhaps your fellow castaways may prove to be the most deadly adversaries of all on Desert Island.
Review of the Game by The Undead Viking:
"How To Play" Tutorial
Desert Island is a Character-driven card game where 4-6 players take on the role of Edwardian-era castaways, marooned on a desert island. Playing time is 1 to 2 hours, for passengers and crew, ages 13 years and up.
This is a complete stand-alone game that includes everything you need to play. It uses a secret Love and Hate mechanic to create a web of social dynamics. At the end of the game, you score points for your own survival and that of your secret Love. You also gain points if your secret, hated adversary dies and reap bonus points for whatever Pirate Loot you can find before everyone is rescued.
You get one action each turn and may choose from foraging, preparing the signal fire or taking stuff from other players. Possible things up for grabs include: Food, useful Tools & Weapons, Pirate Treasure, or someone's little corner of paradise. You can also ask nicely, and perhaps your target just might be your benefactor. As part of your action the Fate card you choose will contribute to the outcome of which unfortunate event occurs, what Location is unsafe and who will be touched by the Hand of Fate.
From the sunny Beach to the windswept Cliffs, each Location on the island provides a unique benefit (or curse) so stealing a location might be more valuable than stealing your enemy's treasure or food.
Check out the how to play video here on Youtube:
I believe with Desert Island, you and your fellow gamers will embark on many hours of fun making temporary alliances, trading scavenged items, plotting against one another and scheming to get rescued. In fact, I believe you'll love Desert Island so much, I've included a link to print and play the game in the comfort and (relative) safety of your own dining room. If you are curious, please give Desert Island a try, and if you enjoy playing the game, please spread to word to like minded gamers.
The complete rulebook will be your survival guide through your perilous ordeal on Desert Island and is available here for download: http://www.siadek.com/dirules.pdf
And a set of cards are here for you to Print and Play:
If you've gotten your feet wet and would rather dive right in, download your copy of the Quick-Start rules here:
"Desert Island is a fantastic followup to Lifeboat—the backstabbing and double-dealing from the original, with new dangers to overcome." - Jonathan Liu, Geekdad
"If you like storytelling, backstabbing games, this is a game you must have." - Undead Viking
Steve's art breathes new life into the characters, with so much humor and attention to detail that I wanted a copy before I even learned how to play. Jeff's design pulls off the unlikely feat of retaining all the things that make Lifeboat such a great game while transplanting it to a completely different locale. In particular, the wide range of Fate outcomes should wake up jaded Lifeboat players -- there's a lot more to worry about than just getting thirsty or washed overboard. Desert Island's a brilliant sequel, with plenty of appeal for both experienced Lifeboat fans and total newcomers alike.
- Neal Sofge, Fat Messiah Games (original Lifeboat publisher)
Desert Island draws upon the rich tradition of shipwreck and rescue tales from such sources as "Treasure Island," "Robinson Crusoe," and "Lord of The Flies," to favorites like "Benito Cereno," "In The Heart of The Sea," and "The Cay." I have taken the social deduction and traitor mechanics (present in such games as "Shadows Over Camelot," "Battlestar Galactica," "Werewolf," "Citadels," and "Bang!)" and raised the stakes up a few yards on the mizzenmast. Everyone potentially has a guardian angel looking out for them as well as a nemesis who has them in their sights. Thus, the Love and Hate cards instantly create a web of deduction, second guessing, and temporary alliances, good Samaritans and bad neighbors. These relationships and revelations drive the action. The rules, the cards and the game system work together to make this game about the people instead of about the game. Consider the final standoff of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but set on an island and with six people staring each other down, and you get an idea of what a game of Desert Island is like.
The cards and counters have been carefully crafted so that the gorgeous components set the tone for a fun time with your friends and family. You'll be struggling for survival, coming to the aid of your Love and scheming, bluffing & backstabbing against your enemies. With your support, we can make this first edition of Desert Island the best it can be, by stuffing the box with upgraded components that reflect the theme & charm of the game. If we reach our highest stretch goal, we will also be thrilled to include the Voodoo Volcano Tiki Expansion! with each copy of the game. This set of cards includes a pantheon of Tiki Idols, each with its own mysterious power, the devastating Volcano Fate event, and an old character, returning in a new state of transformation.
How is “Desert Island” different from “Lifeboat”?
“Lifeboat” has given us years to play with this system to get it right. I didn't want to simply copy Lifeboat or keel-haul it, but there are elements that I love and other facets I wanted to take in a different direction. If you are familiar with Lifeboat, these changes will add a new emphasis to certain aspects of your game. If you are new to the world of Desert Island without ever having played Lifeboat, consider yourself untethered to the past and enjoy the elegant design decisions that make Desert Island streamlined and balanced.
Wanted: Dead or Alive - In LIfeboat, a Character could slip into the dangerous netherworld of unconsciousness, being unable to fight, but still vulnerable to all manner of shenanigans on the part of other castaways. Being in that limbo of unconsciousness (admittedly) wasn't very fun and people rarely recover from it, let alone have a chance at victory. Well, that state of being is gone. Now you're either alive or dead. Also, the dead characters can't be mugged so you still have a chance to win -- IF you've stashed away some treasures and your secret loves and hates work themselves out. Your unlucky death casts such a chill over the remaining castaways, that they are frightened and repulsed away from your haunted grave site.
Carrying laws - Each character can apply a maximum of one weapon to a combat. So while you may have an arsenal at your disposal, you will have to commit to a choice of weapon when going into a "spirited discussion." This keeps in check a runaway power bloc when a character becomes a one man (or woman) army.
Location, Location, Location - Every Location you can inhabit on the Island matters. The player at The Beach controls the Scavenge deck and at the beginning of the round, now passes out the cards at their discretion. This makes this phase go quicker because everybody doesn't have to read and decide over every card. The is also gives the character on the Beach a lot more power over who-gets-what item. Staying at the Spring gives you a benefit when foraging for food, where a food penalty is required for being mired in the Swamp. Maybe you'll decide to hole up in the Cave and receive a helpful defensive edge. These location-specific differences will encourage players to move around to gain advantages, avoid hunger or staunchly defend their beneficial location. Guess who's coming to dinner!
Fate Deck: Collaboration on Calamity - The island is full of natural perils which are manifested in the Fate Deck. This gradual reveal of misfortune replaces the game mechanic of rowing in a Lifeboat. Every Fate card holds a multitude of choices as it represents different benefits and hardships for the player - sometimes competing with one another on the same card! On each Fate Card, you can tell how much Food is gained when foraging, the extra strength you can summon in a fight, who will be touched by the hand of Fate, which Fate Event happens and what location will be cursed with danger. Hoping to have a slight effect on the outcome, everybody plays one Fate card on their turn. At the end of the round, these Fate cards cumulatively cast a connecting shadow over the people, places and events on Desert Island.
Sympathy For The Psychopaths - As in Lifeboat, players are dealt Love and Hate cards before the game begins. If a player was dealt their own Hate card, they were thus cast as a Psychopath and tended to be stuck in a pickle barrel of how to proceed. In Desert Island, there is no longer confusion when you are secretly dealt your own “Hate” card. You still want survival for yourself and your secret Love. Now, you additionally get 2 points per the death of all the other characters. This means that rather than having a psychopath tend to drag things out (as in Lifeboat rules), the game moves faster toward an exciting conclusion.
The base edition of Desert Island includes:
- Game Box (not shown below)
- A short rulebook (not shown below)
- 1 "Sequence of Play" and "Fighting" player aid card
- 40 brown single-food cubes
- 10 yellow "4" Denomination food cubes
- 20 black Fate cubes
- 6 Character Island Location cards
- 6 Character Player ID cards
- 6 Location cards
- 6 Love cards
- 6 Hate cards
- 30 card Fate Deck
- 40 card Scavenge Deck (Food, Tools, Weapons & Pirate Booty)
- 3 Ship tokens
- 30 red wound tokens (plastic winks)
Sample Card Layout: We can see Lady Lauren's Scavenge Items, Food cubes and Secret Love & Hate cards. The red Fate cards laid out are as chosen by the players, and once the event is enacted (here a visit by Rats), the cards are removed with all existing Fate tokens (black cubes) and a new round begins. Note: Location card art is in progress and not pictured here on the cards.
The Voodoo Volcano Tiki Expansion is a 16 card deck including: 4 powerful Tiki Totems, the devastating Volcano Fate event cards, The Prayer Book Card, The Voodoo Doll card, and the Love, Hate and additional Character cards for a returning old friend who has undergone a transformation.
Backer and Social Media Goals
1000 backers will unlock Campaign Mode that links Lifeboat and Desert Island. This variant will be printed in the rulebook.
500 likes on Facebook, Twitter, and BGG will unlock the tournament scoring variant. This variant will be printed in the rulebook.
The Kid's journey has taken him from his escape on a lifeboat as a lollipop-licking brat to a castaway on desert island as…an adolescent brat. With his conch shell in hand, the kid sees himself as the smartest among the survivors. If the grown-ups would just listen to him, they would have been rescued by now. Even though The Kid went through a growth spurt, he is still one of the smallest castaways. His Special Ability however, is to steal food from his neighbors and it may just help him to stay alive - if he can avoid the wrath that his thieving ways inspire.
Once a proud member of the aristocracy and the most promising debutante of the season, Lady Lauren has undergone an astounding transformation. Back at Higgenbotham-on-Stoat, this sassy lass was unable to boil a kettle of water, let alone start a signal fire. Her Ladyship's most arduous tasks included: manipulating a gaggle of suitors, reprimanding her lady's maid and scorning local villagers. However, something happened between rowing away from the sinking hulk of the HMS Arden and the THUD! of the Lifeboat hitting hard, wet sand. Lady Lauren carries inside of her a new, burning fire of self determination -- and maybe something else. Don’t let her smallish size fool you, Lady Lauren is far from helpless. With the Special Ability to remove a Fate token from herself each turn, Lady Lauren can look after herself and avoid most calamities.
Just barely hanging on to any semblance of his blue-blooded past, he refuses to go without his collar and tie, even if he is wearing little else. Though his mind is a bit addled from his shipwrecked ordeal, Sir Stephen has retained his sense of entitlement. As such, his paranoid and vindictive demeanor gives him the ability to add a Fate token to another player every turn. He'll use it to punish others or tactically to protect himself or his secret love.
Finding himself comfortable in his new tropical surroundings, Frenchy quickly assimilated into the small native population and settled into his new life as a fauve. However, lately he has begun to hear the chansons of the Parisian cafes in his dreams and has developed a craving for Coq au Vin, Soufflé au Fromage and a heady glass of Merlot. It might be time to head back to his beloved homeland and astound the art world with paintings of tropical exoticism! Frenchy is not adverse to protect the Liberty of his fellow castaways, but his special ability allows him the right of first refusal. He can back out of a fight at the last minute - but not without keeping the Fate token for his change of heart. This can be very useful if the fight isn't going his way, and after all, discretion is the better part of valor, mais oui?
In all his manuals of seamanship, the Captain claims he never read anything stating "the Captain is supposed to go down with the ship..." Whatever he was doing (or drinking) that fateful night of the Shipwreck, is a secret better left on the floor of the ocean. For now, the albatross of responsibility hangs heavily around the Captain's neck, compelling him to move onward and care for the lost souls he marooned on this desolate island. Embracing his leadership with a new resolve, the Captain is straight and alert, ever vigilant like a one-man lighthouse. Though dangers and hardship are in no short supply, The Captain 's Special Ability allows him to remove a Fate token from any other character during his turn. He can't change his shameful past, but he can keep a weather eye out for what lies ahead.
The First Mate
A true citizen of the world, the First Mate was born of mixed parentage and has served with many crews in many lands, on all of the Seven Seas. With this shipwreck, he was actually content with putting down some roots on the Desert Island. The Mate's gregarious nature led him to become fast friends with the native tribe, and he soon gained the admiration and attention of both man and woman. In return for his contributions to the village, the tribe is happy to support the massive appetite of the First Mate. Thus, as his Special Ability, he gains an extra food when foraging, to fuel his new responsibilities. All was going tickety-boo with this arrangement, but eventually life on dry land made him feel like a ship trapped in a bottle. Now restless and bound, The First Mate misses the gentle rocking of his hammock, the excitement of a bustling foreign port, and joining in a rousing chorus of "The Handsome Cabin Boy." With itchy feet and eyes on the horizon, he'll do whatever it takes to return to his life, his love and his lady.
Gorilla Games is the proud publisher of: “Battlestations”, “Lifeboat”, “World Conquerors”, “Hunting Party”, “Who Would Win?”, “Monster Derby”, and the soon to be released “The Worst Game Ever”, and “99 chances”. We've been making great games for 10 years and aren't slowing down now.
Jeff Siadek is the designer for all of our games.
After their collaboration on Lifeboat, the art team of Steve Ratter and Fred Davis are reuniting to bring you Desert Island. Artwork you see is still in progress and subject to change as the game approaches completion. However, we are close to finishing at this point, making small decisions to insure consistency, legibility and an enjoyable player experience.
All backer levels include free shipping within the USA.
Shipping to Canada and the EU require an additional $10. Shipping to the rest of the world requires an additional $25
Here's a link to our press kit:
Check us out on Boardgamegeek.com
Risks and challenges
There are the normal risks of weather and printer delays but we feel very confident that project completion is achievable in the time frame described. We have a solid working relationship with our printer, having now completed multiple Kickstarter games with them. The rules and art are nearly finalized. Our biggest holdup will be our custom wooden Skull and Banana tokens, however, we have gone through this process before as well with our custom "Seagull" tokens in Lifeboat.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)