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Replay: Tobago

Posted by Eisley on 16th November 2009

TobagoThis is the first of my on-going updates of games which I have already reviewed, have now played again and had some more thoughts about them.

Tobago is a fun, relatively simple game with some fresh gameplay mechanics, a beautiful board and lovely pieces (initial review here).  I’ve even seen talk of it being a nominee for the Spiel des Jahres – I can imagine that coming true but it’s a long way off yet.

On first play, the game may seem fun but shallow; however, this play of Tobago revealed that there are some light tactics to be found within the game, especially in the final turns.  Adding clues to multiple treasure searches is a great way to gain treasure cards without neccesarily needing to move to pick the treasure up – so it pays to co-operate with others.  However, one player will always find it tempting to dominate one treasure by playing lots of their own cards on it.  This is fine early on but doing this late in the game means you’d better be able to pick it up yourself because no-one else is likely to do it for you.

Amulets are starting to reveal themselves as being much more useful than they first appear and we’re still developing ways of using them in powerful combinations.  Sometimes you can have a hand of cards that don’t help any treasure hunt much.  It is tempting to hang on to them and use one where your forced to, but using an amulet to switch your hand of cards can allow you to get back in the game and have more influence and choice.  I had three or four wek turns by not doing this.

It can be said that you can’t do too much planning ahead of your turn because the potential treasure locations (and corresponding cards) can change a lot during a turn, but this is only a light game and some planning is possible, especially using amulets – you might just have to adapt your plan at short notice.  The game flows quickly too so there’s little down time between your turns.

All of these factors reveal there is some further thinking to be discovered in the game the more you play which means greater longevity, and a wider audience appeal because it will appeal to more experienced gamers who want a bit of depth as well as the new/light gamers.  The board has multiple set-up combinations too for longer and shorter games and lots of varied map layouts.

Overall, I really like to play Tobago and find it interesting.  I’m not sure it’s a game you can become really good at due to its light nature but there are some tactics starting to emerge which may separate the players out.

This time I played the game with 3 new players of my regular games group and all the players enjoyed the game and would play it again.  At the games event I went to on Saturday, it was very well received by nearly all of the 15+ players (mostly experienced gamers) that played it too  another encouraging response for a game that deserves to be noticed.

James.

[Played with 4 players]

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