Posted by Eisley on 28th October 2009
Ever since I saw the photo of Tobago, I was looking forwards to it. When I read the rules, I was even more certain. Then I played it, and Tobago delivered. I like games that offer a fresh game mechanic and Tobago was great because it’s beautifully diffferent.
The game focuses on determining where treasures are hiddden, primarily by playing an accumulation of clue cards to discern a treasure’s precise location, like “it’s not next to a palm tree” or “it’s in the biggest jungle”. When the location of a treasure (there are always four being sought) is reduced down to just one hex/location, it can be picked up. Instead of adding clues, you can drive your ATV to pick up treasures or amulets. When grabbed, the treasure inside is revealed and shared between the players who helped find it.
There are two really great mechanics. First, the elimination of locations where a treasure is located is a lot of fun, plus adding clue cards means you share in the treasure when found. Second, the way the treasure is shared is very clever. Each person who helped find the treasure (added clues or picked it up) are temporarily given one treasure card for each bit they helped, i.e. 2 treasure cards for adding 2 clue cards. They look at their value then all cards are collected (plus an extra one no-one has seen) and shuffled. Then, players are shown one card and asked of they want to keep it. This is done in order: first the person who picked up the treasue, then the most recent person to lay a clue card, then the next most recent person to lay a clue card, and so on. If everyone passes, the treasure card isn’t claimed – do that more than once and there’s not enough treasure to go around. What’s clever is that this system means you’ll see some of the treasure cards that’ll be offered but not all. So, do you pass and wait for something better? Or, did you see the best of the cards so should take what you can get?
Add to all this that the board is beautful, can be fitted together a bunch of ways for variety and game length, plus the little stone statue heads and palm trees looked great.
My high hopes for Tobago were fulfilled. A really good light game with logical deduction and push-your-luck treasure sharing.
Read my further thoughts in my Tobago Replay article too at: https://thegameofgaming.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/replay-tobago/
[Played with 4 players]
Second Opinion: Read the thoughts of one of the other players (my friend Rick) at: http://www.gamesetupmatch.com/news.htm#10