Review – Paradise Fallen from Crash Games

Paradisecover

Review – Paradise Fallen from Crash Games

Design – Andrew Wright III

Art – Jason L. Carr, Darrell Louder

In Paradise Fallen: The Card Game, 2-4 players take on the role of tribes that are attempting to explore and navigate a fallen paradise through hand management to gather valuable powers that will enable them to survive and continue their journey.

Here is a card game from Crash Games which grabbed my attention as the theme sounded potentially very interesting. Could this game be kinda like the TV show Lost? Now that would be fun and cool too. Card games seem to be on the rise and I think its because there is an appetite for simpler, fast-playing games. Since so many card games are coming out, you need to have something special to stand out so let’s see what Paradise Fallen has going for it.

Unboxing

I’m very impressed with the production quality of the components. The cards are top quality and the island tiles are lovely. And Canoe Meeples? Caneeples? yep they are nice indeed.

Components

  • 85 cards
  • 9 island location tiles
  • 20 kanaloa tokens
  • 4 custom canoe meeples
  • Rulebook

The Island cards are used to travel, to identify islands visited, and also have special powers that can b used when an island is visited.

paradisecards

Apptitude cards are like special events or opportunities that are randomly available and can be very useful.

paradisecards2

Aberration cards are used to effect movement onto and between islands.

The arts is excellent and very evocative of the theme of desperate events happening on the tropical iles. The information and icons are clear and easy to read.

Gameplay

The 9 Island tiles are set up in a 3×3 grid with space between them to place Aberration cards as needed. Players draw 5 cards each and start their canoes in the middle of the grid.

TURN ORDER
Starting with the first player, each player does the following, and play then passes to the next player to the left.

PLAY PHASE
In any order, and as many times as you would like:
 Play cards from your hand. Up to you how many and you can only play Aberration cards as the first cards you play.
 Move your canoe around The Islands. You need to visit a set number of islands depending on how many players there are. Aberrations cards that are played will have effects on movement to and from islands.
END PHASE
1. Discard any unwanted cards from your hand.
2. If you have fewer than five cards in your hand, draw until you have five, otherwise end your turn.
If at any point the deck is empty, immediately shuffle the discard pile to form a new draw deck.

HOW TO WIN
2-Player Game – Explore Eight Islands
3-Player Game – Explore Seven Islands
4-Player Game – Explore Six Islands
The end game is triggered when a player discovers the winning amount of cards but all other players receive one more turn after the end game has been triggered by a player. If there is a tie the player with the most unused Kanaloa Token is the winner. If still tied players share their victory.

Ultimately this is a race as you move and visit islands. Managing your hand of cards is the main engine and it works well. There is a huge “take that” aspect in using the Aberration cards but the movement effects will effect you as well so a lot of the strategy is in placing the Aberration cards but they can come back and bite you.

Yes, there is loads of randomness in Paradise Fallen but I’m fine with that as there is strategy in the use of your cards as in any card game. There are quite a few icons to get your head around and the explanations are most thorough in the rules, not the player aid cards. So there is a bit of downtime and work but as the game plays on it becomes faster and easier.

Did I enjoy Paradise Fallen?

In a word, yes, but I do feel that Paradise Fallen is an opportunity lost as well. The mechanics generally work for me and managing your hand is about optimising the best way to connect cards played to maximise the number of islands visited as fast as you can but the number of icons does add some work and time. So maybe it could have been streamlined a bit but I’m willing to live with it. I like the idea of racing to be the first to visit the required amount of islands too. So, as designed, I liked it and it is pretty solid mechanically. 

But…

The main issue for me is that this is a game crying out for theme. As it stands, the theme rarely makes an appearance. It is painted on in terms of the artwork but doesn’t really feature in the gameplay. The mechanics are there but I so wanted a story to come out of playing it. I wanted to get the sense of a desperate search and race against time for survival’s sake. Even the Aptitude cards were just things unrelated to anything else. There was a tremendous opportunity to make this a very thematic and richer experience but its just not here.

So on the whole, I’d say Paradise Fallen is a nice appetiser. Tasty, but not enough on the plate, teasing me with what might have been.

For more information go to – http://crashgamesaz.com/

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