Saturday, March 14, 2015

Game Profile: La Isla

Explore the island of mystery.

Classification Strategy Game
Mechanics Area Enclosure, Hand Management, Modular Board, Action Programming
Publication Ravensburger, 2014
Ages 10+
Time 45 - 60
Players 2 - 4

La Isla is a game about finding and capturing 5 different extinct species of animals: Dodo, Giant Fossa, Golden Toad, Sardinian Pika, and Owlet Moth. The winner is determined by most points at the end of the game. Even though La Isla is a relatively short game for a Stefan Feld design, it still requires players to make good decisions in every round.

The game sets up with a compact modular board that is randomly populated with one animal in each section. Board sections are denoted with a 2, 3, or 4 indicating how many of a player’s explorers it takes to capture the animal and how many victory points it is worth upon capture. On each turn, every player will draw 3 cards. Each card has 3 sections. One section gives a special action. Another section claims a resource cube. Another section moves the scoring marker for one of the animals. Each player must use 1 of their 3 cards for each of the 3 sections, keeping one for its special action, one for its resource cube and one for moving a scoring marker ahead. This decision process is the heart and soul of 
La Isla. The special action can be used for all turns where it is visible. Players can have 3 special actions visible at one time. By turn 4, players will have to cover one action with
another from their current cards. The resource cubes gained with the 2nd section of the card are used in the next phase of the round to place explorers on the board to surround and capture animals. It requires 2 cubes of 1 color to place an explorer on that color section of the board. There are 5 different color resources with matching sections on the board. The 3rd card section moves an animal’s scoring track up one spot. The scoring track determines the point value of each animal captured during the game. It takes 4 moves on the track to make an animal worth 1 point, 7 for 2 points, on up to a maximum of 5 points. The movement up the track also yields victory points of 1 points per type of animal you have already captured.

Game turns are fairly quick, draw 3 cards, determine the 3 different uses, reveal cards simultaneously with other players, place one card in a special action slot, take a resource cube, pay to place an explorer, and move up a scoring marker. Game decisions are really interesting. The end game trigger is unique. As the scoring markers move up for the various animals, it is the total value of the animals added together that signals the end of the game. In a 4-player game that total is 11. End game scoring includes points for sets of all 5 animals and the number of animals of each type captured times the number reached on the scoring track for that animal. May the best explorer win!

We have an open copy of La Isla available in our Demo Games Library for you come in and try.

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Come and visit us at 30 NW 2nd Street in Historic Downtown Gresham. We have a full range of family games, strategy games, Euro-style games, war games, card games, dice games and more. Also for the puzzle enthusiasts we carry quality puzzles from Ravensburger, White Mountain, Cobble Hill, and Dowdle.

We proudly serve Gresham and the greater Portland and Vancouver area.

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