Isle of Skye
Publisher: 999 Games, Mayfair Games
Designer: Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister
Time: 60 min.
For all of you Carcassonne lovers, Isle of Skye is a fantastic next step game in the tile placement genre. It takes many of the simple things in Carcassonne and adds some twists to make it a more strategic and interactive game.
In Isle of Skye, you play as a Chieftain of a famous clan trying to expand your empire by purchasing land throughout the country. Whoever gains the most points, based on what is needed, after 6 rounds will be the new King of the island.
At the start of the game, all Chieftains will get a player shield, a hatchet, a color marker for scoring, 5 coins and their starting Castle with their color. The center board will hold the scoring counters and the four goals for each scoring round randomly drawn from a pile of 16. These are what drives the scoring for the rest of the game. Some may give points on who has the most boats, or who completes the biggest lake, or for every yak you have connected to your castle by a road gets you 2 points. Each one will score three times each game.
At the beginning of every turn, each player will draw three tiles from the bag and place them in front of their player shield. Then, each player will place either money or the hatchet behind their player shield so the other players can not see them. The tile that has the hatchet behind it will be destroyed for that round while the other ones will have money that you have placed a value on for other players to buy. If no other players buy your tiles, then you will buy them at that price at the end of the round. Once everyone has placed either their hatchet or money to each tile in front of their shield they now have the opportunity to buy other players tiles. In turn order you can then buy someone elses tile in front of them by paying the price that they set on it or pass….you don’t want to pass!
This is the meat of the game and frankly the best part of the game. All the different choices you have to make are so painful. I want to keep this tile so I will put a high price on it. But I need money left over to buy another tile. I want to buy that tile but if I give him more money then he will have enough money to buy my tile that I want to keep. This dynamic is just awesome. How much to set tiles value, how much do I keep over to buy other tiles and who is left to buy tiles this round.
After everyone has the opportunity to buy a tile you then start placing all the tiles you got that round to your kingdom. Placing the tiles in Isle of Skye is very similar to other games you simply place a tile matching the landscapes. Water with water, mountains with mountains, etc. The only difference with this game is your roads don’t always have to match. You can just stop or start a road anywhere as long as the terrain matches.
You play six rounds of this and whoever has the most points at the end is the winner. There are some tiles that have scrolls on them that give you bonus points at the end of the game. And for every 5 coins you get a point.
Isle of Skye is a fantastic family game that teaches kids how to focus on strategies and money. It’s very economic in that you have to budget you money wisely. Its easy to get caught up in setting prices to high and not having enough to spend later. Our kids live it and when my 6 year old has a chance to choose a game, she always says “Let’s play the one where you hide your money!”
Until next time…..expand your horizons!