The Island of El Dorado Unboxing

The Island of El Dorado has just finished fulfilment after its first successful Kickstarter, with another campaign for the expansion, as well as the base game reprint launching today! This unboxing will give you a detailed run through of what’s in the box. Hopefully it will assist your decision of whether or not to back it on Kickstarter (ending 5th August) –  there are no plans for retail copies at this point in time.

2-4 Players*| 25 – 80 Minutes| Designed and Published by Daniel Aronson

*up to 8 players with expansion

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Box Design

When I first saw the box for The Island of El Dorado, I was very surprised as it is not a typical boardgame box. It uses a flip-top lid which is held closed using magnets on the front. The exterior of the box is a nice matte linen finish, but I can see this potentially marking or scratching quite easily, which isn’t ideal.

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The title on the front is in metallic gold, and I do like the simplicity and elegance that this represents. Once you turn over the game to view the back of the box, it is sadly very bland. Simple white text offers a component list, a brief overview and player/time information. This is my least favourite part of the game as it offers me no images of a set up game, or any of the beautiful components housed within the box. I feel like if I saw this at a game store, I wouldn’t know what to expect from the gameplay and would just put it right back on the shelf. Since this game is currently Kickstarter exclusive, it might make sense that images are not required, as backers will know what to expect.

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Once opened, the underside of the lid showcases a beautiful artwork which was not necessary at all for the game, but it adds so much beauty to an otherwise quite simple box design.

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Rulebook

The rulebook itself is not huge, both in size and in length, but it serves its purpose well. It is roughly A5 size, and offers a clear and concise run-through of the components and rules. It also shows several gameplay examples.

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The rules are laid out clearly and in a logical order, which makes learning this game really quick and easy. Text is broken up using nice photographs and artwork, but the length of the rulebook is still quite short considering all the pictures added in.

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There are quite a few pages at the back dedicated to listing all the backers in the Kickstarter campaign which is a nice touch, and I think it has been executed well to not waste too much space and still look really clean and elegant.

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On the back cover, there is a summary of what each of the tiles in the game is, however one tile is excluded from this list as it is a Kickstarter promo tile. This seems like an odd choice, since the game was from Kickstarter and there is no planned retail release.

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Components

The components in this game are superb, especially for the price of the game. Each player colour in the game comes with 2 character choices, all of which have their own custom shaped character meeple. Each player colour also comes with its own linen bag to store pieces in, which is printed with the character names for that colour.

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The shrines in the game are stunning, and I’m impressed they were able to make them so detailed for mass produced products. They are washed with a darker colour to look aged which brings out their detailed textures. They feel amazing to hold as they are reasonably heavy, and their 3D presence on the map makes them really stand out. The double sided player boards are good, with a summary of each character’s ability, as well as the costs associated with each action. I am unsure about how I feel about the resource cards. There is nothing wrong with them, and they are great quality, but I am unsure why they needed to be cards, instead of just resource tokens or similar. I guess so you can keep them a secret from the other players, perhaps? Either way, they are fine and serve their purpose. The game also comes with two D6 dice, which are a beautiful shiny gold, and 11 ‘custom’ D6 battle dice which are either blank, 1 or 2. I would have liked a bit more customisation for the battle dice, as they are a bit plain, but they are good quality and work fine for their purpose.

Insert

The game comes with a vacuform plastic insert which serves its purpose well. Upon opening the box, I was surprised to see that the game comes pre-punched! Each section of the tray features finger slots, so it is easy to grab out all the different pieces. I do not sleeve my cards, but the gap in the card section has a fair bit of empty space which could potentially accommodate sleeved cards (don’t hold me on that though!).  On top of all this, the expansion will apparently fit right into the base game box which is great planning on behalf of the publisher in my opinion.

 Availability

If you are looking to acquire The Island of El Dorado, or add the new expansion to your collection, check out the current Kickstarter campaign, running till August 5th 2018.

Check out the current Kickstarter!

Thoughts

The overall quality of The Island of El Dorado is amazing and has definitely stood out in comparison to other newer games I have seen recently. The Kickstarter itself was a stand out experience and was handled perfectly, especially for a first time creator. Daniel went above and beyond in both component quality/design, as well as communication within the campaign and on social media. I am very glad I was able to back this when I did, and look forward to what the new Thieves expansion adds. I am also keen to see this flip box design utilised more in other boardgames as it’s so beautifully implemented in The Island of El Dorado.

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