Review: Lost in R’lyeh – an island full of tentacles
Not every island is a paradise, where you would like to be a cast away. Some have their secrets, whether its cannibals or volcanoes. And then, there are islands, which nobody knows of. These are pure evil and when you arrive there, your lives are already virtually with no future. Chance of escape is so small, that you should not even hope.
But we will still try to escape from the island of R’lyeh. We were given a chance by author Kedric Winks, that created this subtle game under supervision of Atlas Games. Game was illustrated by Kelley Hensing and this entire collective work was published in 2016. Distribution company is then Esdevium Games.
The whole island is located inside a small box and high tide is breaking on its tin walls. The upper lid is wearing a scene of an island full of tentacles. Inside is firmly seated one package of cards. There is a total of 75 cards, of which fifty are horror cards and remaining 25 are events. Cards are set apart by the corner, where is always a lantern: once with printed number (horror card) or with symbol (event). Beneath the card is stored one round marker showing the direction of a turn.
By the beginning of the game, players will get cards from shuffled deck (based on number of players), which are kept hidden from other rivals. Players also get cards to make up their escape route. These five cards are spread in front of each of them face up and their number is completed with one card played face down. This is the card to complete the escape (ultimate escape card). If he manages to play it, player is out of the reach of tentacles. But back to the beginning of the game, where the remaining package creates drawing pile. Somewhere in the middle will be laid token of gaming direction.
Players take turns in playing cards to a common pile in the middle. And while event cards can be played anytime and use its text, horror cards can be played only with a value equal or higher (number in the upper left corner), than currently is on top of pile. But there is opportunity to play not one, but more horror cards of the same value at once.
These sets of same cards bring a twist. Number of cards affects ability, that is activated on the card. Some cards require larger sets of cards to even provide something extra (for example, at least set of three). But even already played horror cards can be used, because next player can expand this set and achieve an even stronger effect!
Played cards should be well considered. If a player gets into a situation, where he has no suitable card in hand to play (escape cards cannot be touched now!), then he picks up the entire deck of already played horror cards and adds them to his hand.
Everyone so far only planned their escape by playing cards. Only, when alternating players empty the whole draw pile, second phase of the game starts. As first, participants must get rid of remaining cards, they have in their hand. Only then can their true escape start and each round, they pick up one card from the line in front of them and try to play it.
As a result of their abilities, cards may allow players to play again, view opponent cards, change the direction of the game or even trash some cards from the game. There are plentiful options to choose from and even offer on individual cards is very interesting and motivates players to collect better sets.
Picking up the pile really fills up players hand. At the same, it can also become a big advantage, because player will suddenly be able to do combos, which he had not yet dreamed of. Card reward him with powerful effects and playing five sets of identical offer strong abilities. This means, that players will sometimes even take it voluntarily to get better starting position for the second phase.
Only when a player manages to discard all cards from line ahead, including the ultimate escape card, he successfully escaped from the island. This does not mean, that he could celebrate victory, only that he survived. There are no one winners in this game, because you escaped with your ears scratched. Instead, players are divided into survivors and one, who could not escape.
Lost in R’lyeh is great fun and exciting card game. Experience glowing from playing it is a bit like Onirim. This time, there is only one loser for each game, while everyone else .. well has not lost. It itself is very unusual concept and gives the players a little more freedom in their efforts to escape.
Game does not avoid randomness, where handing out cards decides, what will be your choice. But then, there is the crucial element of gameplay – you can build combos from your cards (drawn randomly), which will then allow you to acquire more powerful capabilities. So even here, you do not have much control. But if someone does not have more cards of the same type, then he does not stand much chance against others.
This idea of giving multiple-row skills on cards are excellent. Players try to manipulate their cards and often expect a very difficult decisions. But picking up the played pile is a true way to success. It is not easy to determine, which cards you will need as a part of a larger set (and will you even get it?) and which can be safely used now.
Breakout games are very popular today. And here, similar tasks await us in this card game. It plays very well and has really interesting flow. Their levelling is logicak and thanks to picking up the package, even higher levels can really be achieved.
Game offers a truly unique graphics, that are faithful to H.P. Lovecraft’s work. The overall impression of processing is more, than good and everything is already starting with a metal box. It is good, that the publisher went even the small final step forward and added plastic token into the box.
Unfortunately, number of participants is really importnat for your experience. We come to a conflict of interest – the game with more participants is much more interesting, but at the same time, it also prolongs the gameplay. Players are waiting for their turn longer and it all begins to exceed thirty minutes, which is enough for such simple and random card game. This is not good with two and this number should be seen only as an opportunity to try Lost in R’lyeh out, but not to enjoy.
Lost in R’lyeh got to our office more or less by chance, because before that point, we did not know anything about this cthulhu fun. We appreciate fresh gameplay, but especially interesting ideas. It is good, that card games still provide something truly unique. Lost in R’lyeh will reach out to you with its tentacles, that are hot and playful.
Review: Lost in R’lyeh – an island full of tentacles
Lost in R'lyeh is a card game about escaping from the island of horror. Cards can be played only with increasing values. However, each of them has some abilities, that are triggered by playing bigger sets. Players can manipulate all important with their regular abilities. The game is excellent in higher numbers, when tension and surprise align. Game has great potential, which spoils perhaps only randomness and necessity of a higher number of players (at least four). While the game may be a bit of a longer, Lost in R'lyeh is a really fun card breakout game.