Review: ILOS – cradle of traders


These islands are said to be the place, where an unimaginable number of treasures are. Until recently, no one knew about the mainland. And yet the coast is littered with the wrecks of many ships, which wanted to leave with an unimaginable amount of wealth. This was the case for emergence of local advanced civilization, which welcomes us, when we moored in the harbor. Our business cells suspect, this will be a successful expedition!

In the vast archipelago, new board game was born in hands of and his work was illustrated by . Game is created with company logo, but , a French firm, is also responsible for its distribution. A colorful box was introduced at the Spiel Fair in Essen.

We are welcomed by one of the enthusiastic locals on the lid. Box is not large, but it is a bit higher. This is because there are a number of interesting components inside. It all starts with the hexagonal tiles, that represent the map. From the first three randomly drawn tiles, player creates an offer while the others are put in stack. Each of the participants will receive screen and production board, but above all five ships and ten pioneers. Participants together then place resource tokens (gold, spice, etc.), ten structures and shift pad with ten marker tokens near the main area.


At the beginning of the game, players will draw five cards from the action card deck. Then one after the other, they may connect one of the tiles in offer to the map and create an archipelago. It is necessary to observe few basic rules during placement, but above all, everything must strictly connect.

One after the other, opponents can play their cards, but they must always pay the price in the form of discarded cards from hand for doing so. Cost for their action is printed in the upper right corner of each card and can be in range between one up to seven cards to be discarded. Higher costs apply, when the pirate boat is next to the island.

Using cards, players can add ships to the map, so they can access it. The islands, however, do not have a clearly defined shape or mineral resources from the outset, so players often have to take risks, when moving with it. Once they have a ship anchored to an island, they can use cards to erect buildings, occupy plantations and mines (with figure of their color) or visit ruins. They get from it both immediate and long-term benefits, avoiding pirates, or gaining opportunity to place the raw material to their production board. It is publicly placed in front of their screen. Only coins and manufactured raw materials from previous rounds are hidden behind. With the help of a raw material card, market can then be influenced by increasing the value of a resource.


Once everyone decides, that they have already taken advantage of all the actions, they have planned for now, the round ends. It is these manufactured raw materials, that the player can pick up at the end of the round and hide them. All the opponents then receive new support in the form of cards – three new as basic income and one more for every ship and fortress they have on the map under control.

When one of the participants places the tenth pioneer, its the final round. Individual products are converted to money depending on the current market price. Richest player is clearly the winner.

ILOS is a business game, exploratory, but above all strategic. Players must skillfully use cards from their hand to control the richest islands. It is their discovery, that is the most interesting element, because the players themselves decide, how the world looks by linking their tiles. They can influence not only their possibilities (which raw materials are where), but also the chances of their opponents.


Once a player has a boat, he can anchor to an island and place one of his explorers there. This will occupy some of the available resources for themselves. At the same time, he also gets the raw materials from the bank itself. And as his collection behind the screen expands, everyone tries to influence the market in their favor. But the price can only move in one direction – upwards – and can not be reversed. There will be no tugging. On the other hand, all participants have only eight options together to change the price and luck decided here. Whoever gets more of these influention cards can also earn more.

Game surprised us above all with its speed. Individual matches, despite their commercial character, last for about thirty minutes, even in a higher number of opponents. The more players, the less predictable is the growth of the islands. However, the experience itself is improving with the increasing number of participants. This is because the turns are really fast and no one longs to wait for another chance to hit the game.

At first, players have only a few cards in their hand and their choice is clear. As time goes on, the selection expands and the game becomes really tactical. The first few turns are more automatic, because it is clear at first glance, what you need to play and which cards you want to keep for the next rounds.


ILOS as such is not complex at all. There are only a few types of cards, that have clear icons and prices. Some require the player to have two boats instead of one on the island. Everything is clearly visible for the first time. Using pirates, it is possible to block opponents and increase the price of actions on the island for future turns.

But despite the fact, that ILOS is doing everything well, his author forgot to do something to distinguish himself from the competition. In the current state, the game is fun, but at the same time very memorable. Everything you’ve seen somewhere. Processing is nice, but it does not have enough weight to eventually justify any enormous enthusiasm.


ILOS is a fun game, that is definitely not disappointing. But the game does not detract from the balance. So, it can entertain very well beginners, but if you’ve ever tried some kind of strategic games, then you will find it hard to find something new. Best about this game is its game time. ILOS is a strategic and trading game for beginners.

DesignerFrédéric Guérard
ArtistPaul Mafayon
Publisher999 Games, La Boîte de Jeu, Evrikus, Funiverse, Gemblo, Inc., Last Level, Mandoo Games, Mercurio, Origames
Year Published2017
# of Players2 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players
(13 voters)
Playing Time40
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(5 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Exploration, Renaissance
MechanicCommodity Speculation, Hand Management, Modular Board, Stock Holding, Take That
Primary NameIlôs
Alternate Names일로스

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: ILOS – cradle of traders
Final word
ILOS is a good game, that combines interesting features. The most tempting is the possibility to explore and connect the islands. Thanks to this, matches are very variable, because the players themselves determine the appearance of the islands. Ultimately, however, it is only about mining and effort to raise as much money as possible. This is, why there are cards, that need to be played at the right time. ILOS know, how to be entertaining.
Reader Rating0 Votes
exploring the islands
ability to influence which raw materials are going to be where
ship placement
choice from a wide range of cards in hand
secret collection of finances
fun in all counts
enjoy time
nothing new at all
in the first rounds a clear choice in advance
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