Date: 7th May 2004
Game played: Treasure Island ( Burley Games ) BGG Id: 12788

Mark K had recently received some copies of a new game by Peter Burley, the author of the excellent Take It Easy. This looked firmly in the family game camp and so we didn't have too great an expectation for the game but, on reflection, there are some interesting strategy aspects to the game and we all had fun with it.

The board represents an island where treasure has been buried by all the great pirates and the aim of the game is to find the treasure hoards and end up with the most valuable collection of gold and gems. Your expeditions start on the yellow anchor spaces, each of which has a number on it. By rolling two standard dice, if one of these has a number matching the space you want to embark from, you place a marker on the space and can then expand from there on subsequent turns. Only one marker is allowed on a space and the island has rivers and lakes that restrict expansion and it is, therefore, possible to cut off areas from the other players. Sometimes the dice can be unlucky for you and you can't roll a number allowing you to expand (although with two dice you usually have a choice of two numbers to use), but this is part of the game and by positioning your markers well, you should minimise the chances of having dice rolls that are ineffective. If you expand into a black space you discover a treasure chest and this brings you a number of treasure cards or cannons. There are fifteen types of treasure and only the person with the most cards of each type scores victory points at the end of the game, and the more cards of a type that person has the more VPs. Also different treasures generate different VPs so if the person with the most diamonds has 4 cards he scores 16 points whereas the same number of Pearls only gives 8 VPs. The cannons add an element of piracy to the game, enabling players to steal cards of a type they are collecting, or helping protect the player's treasures from attack. Once the board has been filled with markers, the game ends and the player who has managed to play the most markers receives the treasure from Davy Jones' chest. These cards could drastically change the relative positions in some of the treasure types and any cannons inevitably will lead to a final skirmish. The person who then emerges with the most VPs after all the scoring wins.

In our game, people tried to establish themselves in different regions of the island. John, however, managed a couple of unlucky die rolls early on and nearly got boxed in to just one area with the possibility of being cut off and ending his game very quickly. Through skillful die-rolling, however, he managed to escape. I was at the other extreme and had too many expeditions going on. The other players saw this as bad and set about blocking some of these off. Later on, I suffered by having four consecutive turns when I was unable to expand - ouch! Mark G managed to get into a relatively uncontested area in the South East of the island and was freely able to expand. He also mastered the art of rolling doubles (which entitles you to an extra turn) and it was no surprise to find him getting away with Davy Jones' treasure at the end. The extra cards this gave him cemented his position and he won quite comfortably.

Treasure Island has had very little publicity but is a nice family game with some strategy. Some people will not enjoy it because it is all die-rolling and sometimes luck will play its part. However, those who are able to accept the game for what it is should enjoy it. We certainly got into the spirit of the game and had fun with it. More details can be found on Peter Burley's website: .

Mark G
Mark K

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