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This is part twenty-four in a series of reviews that I am writing about the games that my family plays, why we love them and what you should know before making a purchase. I have three unique daughters, ages 13, 11 and 8 who love to play games with me, and a wife who sometimes likes to join in. We also have a new addition to the family: one of Kristin's co-workers, Marisa, is now living in our basement and she's made it her goal to play each and every one of my games. Who am I to argue with her? Finding games that we all enjoy can be a challenge, so I am constantly trying to introduce more games to the family to build a collection that we can all appreciate. Today's review:
The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac
Family Fun Factor:
Players begin the game with two characters, each with their own special ability that can be used once during the game. They will choose one character to start with and the second will serve as a reserve character should the first one meet a messy end.
At the beginning of each round, players may choose to drop some treasure to lighten their load. After this, the start player rolls the 5 black dice and each player gains action points based on their encumbrance level. The following table shows how this works:
Level 1 (0-3 treasures): 1 action point for every die ≥2
Level 2 (4-6 treasures): 1 action point for every die ≥3
Level 3 (7-9 treasures): 1 action point for every die ≥4
Level 4 (10-12 treasures): 1 action point for every die ≥5
Level 5 (13+ treasures): 1 action point for every die equal to 6
Once players have obtained their action points, they expend them in turn order to do the following:
Move – 1 AP per space
Decipher Glyph – 1 AP per Glyph
Take Treasure Card - 1 AP per card taken. Multiple cards may be taken from the same space only in the Glyph Room.
Open an Alcove – 1 AP per roll to unlock the alcove. If multiple rolls are made in succession, players may keep any dice that meet the criteria specified before re-rolling the remaining dice.
After all players have taken their turn for the round, two things happen:
• The start player rolls the dice to determine the movement of the boulder. Any die showing a three or greater moves the boulder along it’s track by one space. In the first round, only one die is rolled. In each successive round an additional die is rolled until all five dice are in use. If the boulder ever passes through a space that an adventurer is currently standing on, they are run over and killed by the boulder, losing all their treasure
• Three moving wall cards are drawn and the walls in the glyph room are moved accordingly. If the walls shut together with an adventurer in-between them, the adventurer dies, losing all their treasure.
If an adventurer dies, the player may start anew with their backup adventurer in one of two places:
• They may restart in the glyph room if the walls have not already closed together. This is a pretty risky proposition in the mid-game.
• They may enter in the lava room through one of the sun tile spaces, but only after the boulder has passed the space they would enter at.
The Walls/Glyph Room
Players start by entering the glyph room. This room is dangerous as it has walls that are closing in on you, yet you need to hang out in here for a bit to study some glyphs that might save your life later. Also, there are multiple treasures to be had here. So much to do, so little time to do it before getting squished! This is the only room where players can study glyphs, but be careful! Some of them look very similar to others!
The Lava Room
This room does not get revealed until after one player has move to a corridor space immediately adjacent to the lava room. Once revealed, all players can see the 16 glyph tiles that make up the floor. 12 of them hold treasures, but 4 of them are traps that will lead to a fiery end! Not sure which is which? I sure hope you studied your glyphs!
The Corridor of Alcoves
Should a player choose not to go through the lava room, or if they feel they have enough time, they can go into the boulder corridor and try to unlock the treasures hidden in the alcoves. The treasures are all guaranteed to be good, but it may take several turns to unlock them. The final alcove in the corridor has a very valuable treasure, but also a very difficult lock. Just keep in mind that you have a boulder moving toward you at high speed
The Underground River and Waterfall
Once a player makes it past the lava room, they must choose the move along the boulder corridor or take a swim in the underground river. If they jump in the river, players can search the river for treasure while wading through. The river current runs pretty fast, so search actions can only occur once per space per player before moving on to the next space. Players may never search a space they have previously searched before in the river. The must always move at least one space prior to searching for treasure again. The trick is getting out of the river. Players must roll a die for every three treasures they are carrying (rounded up). If they roll any 1’s, they can drop three treasures to prevent them from falling and re-roll the 1’s. If the re-roll produces any 1’s, the player goes over the waterfall and is never seen again.
The Wooden Bridge
Players not choosing to enter the underground river may instead follow the boulder corridor the long way around (and likely get smooshed) or they can take their chances with the wooden bridge containing five planks. Adventurers crossing this rotted out antique must roll one die for each plank remaining on the bridge. For each die rolled that is less than the player’s load level, one plank snaps. As long as there is one plank remaining after the roll, the player succeeds in crossing. Devious players can spend action “hopping” on the bridge to make it weaker, but every time they do this they must make another die roll to see how many planks snap beneath them.
There’s only one way to leave the temple alive. Players must make it out the end of the boulder corridor before the boulder seals the exit. All players who made it out alive add up the value of their treasure. The player with the greatest value treasure is the winner.
So what’s so great about this game?
Thematically brilliant and fun. Just looking at the game makes you want to play it.
Excellent components. The walls, the boulder, the bridge, etc. are all very well made and add to the feeling of meeting your impending doom at any moment.
It’s family friendly (mostly). The theme is sure to draw in the boys and not a few girls who like adventure. The game is not complex in terms of play and kids as young as six can pick up on it pretty well. The kids seem to especially enjoy doing the wall and boulder movement (and watching their opponents get squished!) We’ll get to the flip side of the family friendly coin in the “not so great” section below.
It takes just the right amount of time to play. Almost regardless of the number of players, this clocks out in about 45 min to an hour. That’s plenty of time to do some death-defying treasure grabbing and then make it out by the skin of your teeth or meet an untimely end.
Variable player powers. I, at first, balked at the rule that each player can use their power only once during the game. That seemed a little too underutilized. I have realized, after playing several times, that some player’s powers would be a little too powerful if they could be used multiple times, so the game works fine as is. The trick is to know when to use your power and when to wait.
Ditching treasure. The treasures are valued 1-6 and if you pick up a few dogs along the way, you can always leave them behind to lighten your load. You’re never stuck with any more treasure than what you want to carry. This definitely adds to the risk vs. reward aspect of the game and helps payers to balance their treasure load with their ability to move quickly.
Risk vs. Reward. As mentioned earlier, this game has a great risk vs. reward mechanism. This is a great concept for kids to become familiar with and manage successfully. It’s a critical thinking skill that may serve them well later in life (especially during their teen years!)
So what’s not so great about this game?
Unfortunately, it’s not for everyone. I have seen people be really excited to play this, and even enjoy the game quite a bit, until they met an untimely end. Even with their backup character, they couldn’t recover ground fast enough to get any treasure and make it out alive. That can be frustrating for some folks. What’s worse is that you may not know what a turn-off this is to some people until you are in the thick of it.
Repeatability. The game is a lot of fun, but multiple repeated plays will make this one feel stale quickly. My advice is to not play multiple games of this back-to-back and only play it once or twice a week to keep the fun factor going. Once you have all of the glyph tiles memorized, it takes away a little from the experience.
A little not-so-family friendly. Okay, this may be a minor gripe to some of you, but it won’t be to some others, so I’m putting this out there: the game has some less than modest portrayals of its female characters, both on the cards and on the minis. If the minis are left unpainted, this is unlikely to come up, because the details are hard to see. If you choose to paint the minis, then you can cover up any immodesty you see fit. The character cards, however, are a little plainer in their imagery. I bought a used copy of the game on EBay, for my daughter who really wanted it, a couple years ago. The copy I got (at significant discount) had some mark-ups on the cards made by a conscientious parent who didn’t want their kids to see pics of a woman’s upper anatomy a little too front and center (if you know what I mean). The cards were marked with black sharpie in strategic locations to fix the problems the parent had with the images.
So what did we think of it?
My Opinion: The adventurers is a great mashup of thematic elements taken from various adventure movies of days gone by and put into a fun family game. This game is very appealing to a lot of boys in the 8-13 age range and some girls in that range as well (including my daughter). Adults will have fun with this casual game too, as it does not have a lot of complex decisions to bog it down and it plays out in less than an hour. The elements fit well together, but the game can suffer from sameness with repeated plays. I recommend pulling this one out once in a while and not playing several games back to back, to keep it fresh. Also, the fun factor of this game can be group dependent. If one person gets killed who does not handle player elimination very well, this could be a not so fun experience for all involved. My rating: 7.5
Kristin's Opinion: I'm not a big fan of this one and wouldn't really care if I never played it again. (She got confused on a glyph in the lava room and fell to her death. Kind of spoiled the game for her) Kristin's rating: 5
Beka's Opinion: I really like the race to grab as much treasure as I can, and I like the different ways to get around the board to find treasure. I don't like getting killed just before the end, though. Beka's rating: 7.5
Lindsay's Opinion: It's okay. Not my favorite. Lindsay's rating: 6
Abby's Opinion: It's pretty fun. I don't always remember what I'm doing, though. The picture thingees are hard to remember sometimes.
Abby's rating: 7
Overall Opinion: This game is very group and/or person dependent. If you're okay with your guys getting killed in the sprirt of a game, then this one won't leave you cold. If you don't like that sort of thing, don't pick this one up. The theme is great and played out very well in a game setting, but the very aspect that makes the game so exciting is also one that causes the most grief. Most players probably won't have their first character killed until it is much to late in the game to do anything very useful. That is a definite detractor for a lot of people. I recommend the following house rule: when a person's character dies, all of their previously gained treasure cards minus one (chosen at random) are then placed on the space their character was on prior to moving to the space where they died. These cards may then be picked up by their second character for one AP when they reach the space where the cards were placed. This helps keep players in the game after they experienced one character death and allow them to have a more enjoyable game finishing experience. I think my wife's rating would go up if she played under this rule. The Adventurers is certainly not for everyone, but if you have some kids that enjoy risk vs. reward games and don't mind getting killed once in a while, then this might be a great game for your family. I get this to the table more often with my friends' kids than I do with my own these days.
Overall Rating: 6.6
You can find my other reviews here. Thanks for reading!
- Last edited Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:24 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:56 pm
Keep up the great reviews!
Very good review! Like you we don't get this game to the table that often; it does get rather stale with multiple plays!
An interesting side note: we have found that younger players adapt much better to losing a player mid-stream in the game than do older players (who often do get quite upset). My guess is that this is a result of their (younger players) familiarity with video game play.
Great review! My daughter and I play the sequel a fair bit, and are looking forward to getting this one soon.
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Thanks for the good review.
The graphical problem of female heroes is, IMO, a cultural one. I don't see any problem with it from my European perspective - even though I do have conservative moral convictions.
- Last edited Sun May 26, 2013 11:27 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun May 26, 2013 7:47 pm
Thanks for the good review.
The graphical problem of female heroes is, IMO, more in the head of people than elsewhere.
One must be quite perverted inside oneself to find them attractive - especially as, when you step outside your home, unless you look at your feet, you will have to be confronted to pretty women.
And what about the guys? They could be incitations for homosexual phantasms.
I am a Christian - and a pastor - but such puritain hypocrisy is apalling.
While I understand where you are coming from, I don't think you understand where I am coming from. I have three impressionable girls who struggle everyday with the idea of modesty, especially when their school friends do not have it to the same level that we expect of our own kids. It's not that the figures are sexy to them (or to me), it is that I don't want to appear to advocate the idea that dressing in that fashion is okay in our home.
Additionally, throwing around terms like "puritan hypocrisy" when you don't have all the facts is not good policy for Christians (or any one else). Seek to understand before you seek to judge.
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
I realised that I was too harsh in my post and downtoned it.
But your answer was posted while I was correcting mine.
Now, as a pastor, I really am confronted to religious moralism so very often - a plague that bears terrible fruits - that I do tend to be irritated when remarks are made about graphics that are, IMO, devoid of any "seductive" power.
And the male heroes would present at least as much "offending" aspects (one is even smoking) : why singularise the female heroes?