Review – The Adventurers by AEG

please note – the folks at AEG generously provided this game to Boardgames in Blighty for review purposes.

The Adventurers by AEG

Are you a fan of the Indiana Jones films? Are you up to racing through an ancient Mayan Temple, grabbing treasures, avoiding traps like a room that threatens to squash you like a bug and a lava filled room that you can get through but only if you can read the runes to know which slabs are safe to hop across and which will drop you into the molten pit? And then only to race through, being chased by a huge boulder, faced with last ditch choices to go for the largest treasure, shortcut over a rickety bridge or dive into an underground river and risk going over the falls? All in an effort to escape with your booty before the boulder blocks off your escape route?

In other words, just how HARD are you? Welcome to The Adventurers by AEG.

The Temple of  Chac awaits as you and up to 5 other players place your characters in harm’s way as you enter and and try your hand at gaining your fortune. This game, designed by Frederic Henry and Guillaume Blossier,  pits the players against each other to see who can survive with the most treasure. And survival is certainly not guaranteed with the game’s statement of its intent to kill your characters, as each player has a replacement character to use if the first meets his or her demise.

Components

A beautifully produced game, the board and components are very evocative of an ancient temple. The cards are well done and easy to read and understand. The core game comes with unpainted figures which are suitable but you can order painted figures which I highly recommend as they are simply gorgeous and really add a lot to the whole feeling of the game. I would say that AEG should have considered including painted figures in game from the start for a bit higher price. It would have been absolutely worth it as when you look at the game with the unpainted versus the painted figures, there is simply no comparison. And… you get a boulder!!!

Gameplay

The flow of the game sees the players going through a relatively straightforward and simple process involving adjusting load levels to see if their treasures are too heavy and slows them down by reducing their actions,  rolling dice to determine the number of actions available to each character, performing those actions (the choices are normally move and search for treasures, with additional choices and challenges in different parts of the temple),  moving the walls of the wall room and moving the boulder, and bringing on possible replacements for the fallen adventurers. The characters all come with a special ability which can be used in different parts of the temple.

Overall, the game moves along with very little if any down time, even with 6 players. The special rules for each part of the temple are clear and easy to follow and proceed with. The mix of choices as you progress are interesting and varied, giving you alternatives as to strategy so the game doesn’t feel too linear. As the boulder gains momentum, the stress mounts and the press-your-luck nature of the games gets a grip on the players. The choices become tougher to make as the boulder gets closer and you try to hedge the odds on staying ahead.

Most importantly, this game is pure fun! No brain burning, analysis paralysis here. No pretty little cubes and resource management to worry about. No feeling overwhelmed by too many choices and trying to figure out the optimum strategy. This is a game played and felt at the visceral level of gut instinct. How long do you stay in the wall room to see the lava room runes you need to remember to get across the lava room? Do you go for the treasures along the boulder path or cut across the lava room? Do you risk the river and having enough treasurers to try and avoid going over the falls or race for the largest treasure? Gut wrenching stuff!

Did it work for me?

You better believe it. I played The Adventurers with 5 of my game group buddies and I haven’t laughed as much in a long time. It took the first 2 turns to get into the flow of the mechanics and then the spirit of the pulp adventures of the 1930’s took over. Everyone started to roll play their different characters and the hilarity ensued. Lots of shouting and laughter when things didn’t go quite according to plan. Shouts of joy when the dice gave us more actions or scored us a treasure, sighs of relief when we survived a trap.

This game is great if you play it to enjoy a rollicking good adventure. The luck element in the dice makes sense as you would need some luck to survive this kind of adventure. And it adds to the tension which is a key element of the game. Even when characters died, we laughed and just accepted it as part of the story.

I highly recommend this game and rate it as one of my favourites which I didn’t necessarily expect. The only real concern I have is replayability over the longer term although I don’t think this will bother me. Indeed, there are some nice ideas on Boardgamegeek to vary the game play. I also have heard that an expansion is being developed and can’t wait to play it!

Join The Adventurers in the Temple of Chac!

Boardgames in Blighty review rating – 9.5 / 10 Absolutely Excellent!


For more information about The Adventurers and other games published by AEG go to – http://www.alderac.com/

Comments from the Gaming table –


Joseph

This game is Dungeonquest for the 21st century and is great presentationally, and would do really well as an after-dinner game with social gamers. I think the painted mini’s are important here and I reckon it would be a bit of a let down to be playing with the base grey set. Price barriers need to be avoided but it’s a shame the painted set doesn’t come as standard for a higher price. (I assume you need to buy these separately.

The game is great fun provided you’re there for the ride rather than looking to solve a cerebral puzzle. There’s no downtime to speak of, even with six players. Early elimination can be a problem I guess, and our knocked-out player resorted to being the official boulder roller.

I’m not sure how well the game replays with the same players though – ultimately the gameplay felt a bit thin in places so the Horus expansion may be necessary if you are to keep enjoying the game over a lengthy period.
Personally I felt the glyphs in the lava room were a bit fiddly but I doubt there’s an easier way to handle this mechanic.

Overall, a good game and I’d certainly be happy to give it another play to see if it holds up. Will I buy it? Probably not, as I have DungeonQuest
which has a similar theme, although it has aged somewhat. If you don’t have this, and you enjoy lighter games Adventurers is well worth considering.

Alan

And so Dave ( the Arely Tamay character) leaped for the open cave mouth just as the boulder slammed into the entrance behind him. Dave stood adjusted his, overly ornate, headdress, smiled and began to count his treasure; thus ended my first play of the Adventurers.

I have to say I haven’t laughed so much in ages and was still chuckling to myself the next day. The Adventures was great fun but you have to throw yourself into the spirit of the game, do a little role-playing and enjoy the experience. I liked the theme and the fact that the game balanced the chance elements of the moving boulder, lava room and dice roles with enough choices to keep the game interesting. The game ended with three dead, one double death, and three survivors and was close right up to the last minute. The game quality is excellent and the painted miniatures, which come separately from the base game, really added to the overall feel.

I look forward to playing it again and to see how it plays out over a number of games as I wonder about its longevity but with the right group in the right mood it’s great fun.

Richard
As a criticism, though I did feel it lacked player interaction – there didn’t really seem to be any way you could hinder the other players – so it basically came down a a race and risk management and luck on die roll & card pulls.

Having said the above the the game feel was good and we did have some fun.

Tony

Really enjoyed it. Good game that seems like it would suit most crowds, with fun drama, tension, and great application of the theme to the mechanics. Really felt like Indiana Jones, even though that did inspire me to take one too many risks!


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