It won't be easy. But it can be done.
- Welcome back to Loot Island. Today we are going to talk about the final piece of the puzzle, the reason why we're trying to get our hands on treasure and make it out alive. We are going to talk about money!
- Or rather victory points.
- Yeah, basically. At the end of the game, you turn your treasure into money, pay Madame Sefin for her services, and whatever is left determines if you've won the game or not.
- I had a look at those treasure cards. Seems pretty straight-forward. Bags of gold are worth the price printed on the top left corner, I guess. There's this jewel that is worth nothing, if you only have one piece. Eight points if you have two of them, and a respectable 20, if you end up with three of them. These books are paired with another piece of treasure, and their worth depends on how many curses the other treasure brought you.
- You're quite astute when it comes to appraising these things. Is there any particular reason for that?
- You mean, did I fall out of a plane, get amnesia, became a cat burglar due to my father owning a pet store, was bested by my crime-fighting paramour, only to reveal that I lied about my amnesia to escape this life of crime?
- That is admittedly, a very particular reason, yes. But also your glaring tells me that this may not be the right time and place to pursue this line of questioning.
- Good thinking. What about those relics? They're worth something, too, right?
- Of course, they are. Stolen by pirates these are highly valuable heirlooms of members of the aristocracy. They've agreed to reward you with gold for any lot of relics you bring them. The biggest or most prestigious lot... basically the one with the most insignias on it... will be rewarded with 25 gold, the next biggest one gets 18 gold, then 11 and finally four gold in total.
- These families prove what I've always believed. Wealth is a sign of hard work and good character. Would they really be able to afford paying me this much, if they didn't deserve to have that much money in the first place?
- That sure is a bold take on economics. What is far more unique, though, are these magical golden skulls, that Loot Island is littered with. Once you leave the island they will create coins out of thin air. All you need to do, is lock them in a chest with different types of treasures and once your safely off the island, you may re-open your chest and bathe in the new riches you've found. Nobody knows how that works. There is no rhyme or reason to it. It's simply MAGIC!
- You know, I have this list here. It says one skull creates as many coins as you have different types of treasure. Two different skulls create three times the amount of different treasures. And three different skulls create six times the amount of diffferent treasures. In gold coins.
- I find this encroaching dawn of scientific analysis increasingly frustrating. You have no appreciation of showmanship.
- What's with this glowing stone thing here? Doesn't seem significantly different to a purse of gold.
- Oh, those. Don't worry about them. You won't like them anyway. They have to do with getting rid of curses.
- There are even MORE ways to get rid of curses?
- Like I said, you won't like it. But if you have to know. When you find new treasure and begin to split it amongst yourselves, you may always choose to reject the treasure. To bury it again and thereby show the island you are not as bad as the others. Doing so will let you discard two curse cubes.
- That's a bit like refusing the last bit of cake at a party, and people thinking you must be on a successful diet.
- I never claimed the island was very smart when it comes to social interactions. But for each magic stone you own, you may discard an additional curse cube whenever you refuse a treasure.
- Quite the opposite actually. But with that we've reached the end of our Loot Island tour. I hope this has given you a little more insight into the unique properties of the island. Loot Island invites you in with its seeming simplicity, and when you're not looking you get all those options.
- You're right. I thought this was going to be a tiny little trick-taking variant. But you can shut people out through clever play. You can force them to take risks they don't want. You can even make them lose the game. Where do I find this Carribbean face-slapping-in-a-box?
- That would be at Spiel in Essen, at the What's-Your-Game booth: 3 M-100. Or at the FLGS of your choice.
- Does it retail at three golden skulls and four treasure types?
- Oddly enough, it does!
Loot Island is a medium-to-light card game for 2-5 players. Designed by Aaron Haag, it will be released at Spiel 2017 in Essen by What's Your Game.
Georgios Panagiotidis is host, writer and editor at the Perfect Information podcast. A board game podcast full of inappropriate humour and appropriate amounts of swearing.