Hey, gang!

I’ve been away from Kickstarter for a solid week (a long time for me!), but I was super pleased to spot a ton of great games when I logged in this morning! What can I say… it’s an addiction.

One game that really spoke to me was The Island of El Dorado… helleuw, Kickstarter Game of the Week! This game looks phenomenal, and it’s a very high-quality looking campaign from first-time KS creator Daniel Aronson. “In The Island of El Dorado, you are a brave explorer seeking to discover and control the island’s four Shrines. You’ll reveal a unique and challenging landscape every single time the game is played which will require you to adjust your strategy as you go. Managing resources and battling the other explorers, it’s a tense and explosive race to control the Shrines first!” The Island of El Dorado promises to be a game of exploration, resource management, strategy, and battling. I mean… sign me up!

But here’s the thing:

I do love a good 4x game every now and then, but if we’re being honest, I need to be in the right mood. 4x games (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) like Scythe and Terraforming Mars tend to be a bit lengthy and heady for my usual gaming tastes. Nine times out of ten (again, depending on my mood), they feel too much like work, requiring hours and hours to set up and play and the weighty decision-making has a tendency to stress me out.

But the truly great thing about The Island of El Dorado–and the thing that made a backer out of me–is that it incorporates all the aspects of 4x games that I love (the exploring, expanding, exploiting, and exterminating) while downplaying the things that can be a drag (the sometimes fixed gamestate, the lengthy setup and playing time, and the super heavy resource management that can feel like an Accounting 401 exercise). The Island of El Dorado features elegant and streamlined gameplay – I can see it being a breakout game for game nights with a mixture of casual gamers and more hardcore gamers. Players’ choices are meaningful, but not easy – and I think this stems from the fact that the game’s overall objective is so clear. Players need to control all four temples. That’s it. This isn’t your typical point-salad 4x game that only serves to add to that awful Accounting 401 feeling. The Island of El Dorado manages to feel epic, while still being casual.

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One of the coolest things about The Island of El Dorado is its built-in replayability. The board is built by exploring – represented with hex tiles that players add onto the starting tile. This isn’t anything particularly revolutionary – plenty of games do this, but it definitely adds to the fun of that first “X” in the 4x slugline: Explore. There’s something inherently exciting about flipping over a tile and revealing what it might be – that ocean of possibilities is far more thrilling than being presented a fixed board from the get-go.

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I’m so excited for this game, y’all! I’ll be following the campaign closely, and if any of what I’ve described tickles your fancy, do Daniel a solid and share his Kickstarter or this post – or, better yet, back the campaign.¬†As of posting this, The Island of El Dorado has 14 days left on Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out!

Until next time, gang! Keep it plucky,
Nick

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