Looking back #3: Robinson Crusoe and the Dreamy Creature Adventure

It’s time to go back and look at five of the games I reviewed three years ago and add them to The List. Here you can visit the original reviews, find out if I’ve kept or culled them, and what I think of the games in 2021.

The five games today are: When I Dream, Deep Sea Adventure, Get Adler!, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, and Campy Creatures.

#5 Deep Sea Adventure

Original Review

Deep Sea Adventure isn’t a push your luck game, it’s a nudge your luck game. All the mechanics are directed towards making big plays, but the game actively punishes you for trying these big plays. Instead it rewards smaller gestures – to the games detriment.

In terms of the list, I’ve placed it below Escape Plan, which I enjoyed despite having big issues with, and Get Adler! Funnily enough, I think Escape Plan and Deep Sea Adventure share similar design issues. But Escape Plan gets the nod because it’s a bigger and more engrossing game.

Initial Rank: 26

Kept or Culled: Culled

Deep Sea Adventure laid out on the table, meeples positioned at various points of the underwater track. Orange is at the depths.
Don’t worry about Orange, they know what they’re doing.

#4 Get Adler!

Original Review

Looking back at Get Adler!, I feel I went too easy on the game. It was the first game anyone asked me to review, and it was from a small time designer. I ended up recommending the game, but if I were to have my time again I wouldn’t.

It’s a decent game, but at the time I’d probably only played 100 or so board games and not many social deduction games. Now that I’m probably up to 400 or so played games, I’m a lot more selective.

The biggest problem with the game was polish, and its need for a graphic designer. I’ve rated it higher than Secrets, Dinosaur Island, and Deep Sea Adventure because despite its flaws my lunch time group wanted to play Get Adler! a lot. Whereas these other games, no one did.

Initial Rank: 25

Kept or Culled: Culled

The Agent Adler card.
I got him! Now what?

#3 When I Dream

Original Review

I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong on this one.

When I Dream was a fun party game at a time when there wasn’t too many party games available. But the gimmick of the blind fold has not held up. Good party games are now a dime a dozen, and you need to be something special to rise above the crowd.

It sits above Escape Plan as even though it is a game of diminishing returns, it’s still highly enjoyable and just dumb fun. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the enjoyment I get out of a decent Euro game – Concordia.

Initial Rank: 23

Kept or Culled: Culled

A game of When I Dream, on the left the words being Key, Octopus, Policeman, and on the right Airplane and Lemon. The fairies are losing.
Ducks with shower heads…. Sounds like one of my dreams alright.

#2 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Original Review

I wanted to love this game, so much so that I bought it twice. The original Portal Games edition, and then later when they updated the rule book and added wooden banana resources. I also bought most of the promos for this game when I could.

However, in doing all of this list ranking I’ve realised I have a massive prejudice against games that have down time. Games like Agricola, or Galaxy Trucker are going to rate low on my list because even though they’re solid games. You spend too much time watching the board do it’s work, and not enough time playing.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is both an incredibly long title to type out, and perhaps the most offensive game I’ve played when it comes to downtime. I’ve yet to see another game implement a similar deck draw system to the same effect as Robinson Crusoe which makes me sad because that part was awesome.

It starts in the list at 17 just because of how awesome the deck drawing system is at creating a cohesive narrative throughout the game. It’s an game design achievement, and Robinson Crusoe owes a lot of its success to this mechanism.

I still don’t recommend this board game, and would point you towards Spirit Island if you’re looking for a cooperative game with a bit of crunch. Or if you’re specifically looking a Portal Games game, have a look into Pret-a-Porter.

Initial Rank: 17

Kept or Culled: Culled

A game of Robinson Crusoe in play, inventory cards, dice, mystery tokens, player boards, treasure cards, exploration tiles you name it, it's there!
The view from up high

#1 Campy Creatures

Original Review

If I was wrong about When I Dream, I was right about Campy Creatures. It is still a game I want to pull out on a semi-regular basis. It’s simple to play, and elicits a great amount of humour between the theme and the mechanism of role selection. Then it’s small enough that you can put it in your travel bag and take it with you wherever you go.

Campy Creatures is a game that knows what it is, and executes upon its design excellently. However, when it comes to the list, it doesn’t beat out Cockroach Poker.

Since I’ve reviewed it, there has been an expansion for Campy Creatures. It sits on my shelf, but I haven’t felt the need to bring it out, as I’m still not done with the base game yet.

Initial Rank: 11

Kept or Culled: Kept

A round of Campy Creatures, the players played The Beast, The Mummy, The Werewolf, and The Invisible Man.
So a werewolf, a beast, and a mummy walk into a bar

I need you to leave me some feedback! I’ve changed the format of these posts to be more about my journey with the game in the three years since I reviewed the game originally, and where I am placing it in the list. Is this better or worse than my previous Back to the Future post?

David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

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