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Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is one of the most thematic board games, to the point where actually surviving on an island in real life might be just as hard if not easier than winning a round of this heavy cooperative game.

Robinson Crusoe Review

8 out of 10

Is it Good For Two Players? : Great for two if you both are up for a challenge!

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a beast of a game in so many aspects. It’s extremely tough to learn, play and win, but If you’re willing to put in the effort and learn to laugh at your demise it might be a great addition to your collection.

The countless rules, various actions, multiple scenarios, and numerous events create complexity but at the same time also lead to some very unique and one of a kind gameplay, that revolves around the theme extremely well.

Theme: 10/10
Replayability: 8/10
Components: 7/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 6/10

His Rating
9 out of 10
Her Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

One of the most thematic games ever.

Extremely replayable

A true challenge.

Perfect length for this type of game

Creates some very funny, unique, and memorable moments if you’re willing to get into the storytelling

Good components and artwork

Cons

Pretty difficult to learn and play

Setup is quite tedious and time consuming without an insert

Even if you play consistently you’ll likely still forget rules, and need to reference the book or look things up

Gameplay Experience:

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Two Player Review A Pair of Meeples

This game is one of my favorite games even though I’ve had a fairly tumultuous relationship with it.  It was a game that piqued my interest very early on in our board game journey, even though in reality we were nowhere near ready for a game of this weight.

Online communities rated Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island as one of the most complex games, but also one of the best.  I pushed logic to the side and told myself it couldn’t be that bad.

Fast forward to the shock on my face as I tried to make my way through the biggest rulebook I had yet to encounter.  Still didn’t think I had it down after reading it, so made my way to some YouTube videos to try and learn that way.  At this point, I didn’t have the art of learning new board games mastered yet, but I still tried my best.

After a while, I decided to give it a go solo before dragging my wife along with me to this island of doom and I was absolutely destroyed. I was not deterred, even though it was one of the roughest games I had ever played in terms of how terrible I did.  

Every aspect of the game while unforgiving and brutally hard just pulled me in further.  I learned a few new rules along this first perilous journey and decided to try and win this first scenario with my wife in the next play.  

If I had to survive on an island with anybody, I would definitely want it to be her, although she might prefer a “Wilson volleyball”, or better yet, the dog you can have as a companion in the game.

This is probably even more true after our first attempt at the game together.  We struggled as our shelter got destroyed storm after storm, the wood resources that we worked so hard became exhausted and food getting harder to get.  

We weren’t anywhere close to building the signal fire and getting off the island, as she had to struggle to make headway while I sat around camp trying not to die of starvation, but ultimately I let her eat that last piece of food we had just before we lost the game.  

It wasn’t until after this game that I realized that we were using the wrong resource cost for various actions, most importantly the shelter and roof creation making the game significantly more difficult.  

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Shelter, roof and palisades

It would be a while before I could convince her to give this daunting game another go with me but eventually, she agreed.  My wife doesn’t prefer games that beat you down round after round, but what can I say, I guess she loves me.

Even though we were playing with the correct rules now we still failed.  It’s just a fact, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a board game that was designed to make those who play it wish they hadn’t. That’s why I love this game, and why my wife would probably choose any other cooperative game over it.  

We’ve played many more times, occasionally recruiting my younger brother who is a little easier to convince and our feelings on the game have stayed consistent. This game is brutal, but if you’re willing to suffer through, you might just survive and have a great story to tell.

How to Play Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island:

This game comes with a hefty rulebook, one that will take you probably some time to learn, and even then you’ll likely still have to reference rules as odd situations and scenarios come up.  We’re going to do our best to give a brief overview of how to play this game here.

In Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island players will each play as a unique character with their own special abilities, starting item, and health track.  Some characters are more suitable to take risks while others are more specialized and vulnerable.

Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island Characters

Each player starts the game with two action pawns.  These are used and placed on the board in various ways to accomplish different goals.  Often if a player takes an action with one pawn, they must roll to determine how successful the action is, if they use two then the action is usually considered a success automatically.

It is safe to use two action pawns to guarantee a success but if you don’t take risks on the island you’re not likely to survive.  

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Tiles and Exploring

Below are some of the actions players can take with their character.

  • Explore: Players can attempt to try and discover an unexplored space.
  • Build:  Players can attempt to build various items, such as inventions, a shelter, a roof, a palisade, or even weapons.
  • Gather: Players can gather resources such as food and water from already discovered tiles.
  • Hunt: If beasts have entered into the game players can attempt to hunt them to gain various resources.
  • Arrange Camp:  This grants the players money to spend and increases the camp’s morale level.
  • Rest: A player can use this action to heal their health.
  • Events: There are various event cards that players may choose to resolve.

If a player attempts the explore, build, or gather action as opposed to using enough action pawns to guarantee a success they will roll all three dice associated with that action.  One dice determines if the action was successful, one determines if they draw an event card and the other determines if that player takes damage.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Action Cards and Dice

Players plan their actions as a team before actually performing them.  Once all have agreed then they are performed, in a set order.  

After all actions are completed, the weather phase occurs and any required weather dice are rolled.  If the players don’t have adequate shelter and supplies they will lose resources and potentially health.

Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island Weather Dice

If players survive the weather phase they make it to the night phase, where they must have food to eat and shelter if they don’t want to lose more health.  They can also optionally move the shelter to another tile at this time.

That’s a quick overview of the things players can do in Robinson Crusoe, but now to get into the actual “game” part.

There are multiple scenarios that you can play in the base game.  These will change the rules, goals, and other various aspects.  The first scenario for example has players trying to build fire and collect enough wood to light a signal fire to get off the island. Players must have the wood pile and fire finished before the last round to be seen by the ship.  

Robinson Crusoe Scenarios Board Game Review

While the scenarios are what affect the gameplay the most, players will also construct the event deck.  These cards are drawn at the beginning of the round (starting on round 2) and have ongoing events that players can choose to address often for rewards, or ignore and suffer the consequences.

The event cards are also split into two different types, and certain scenarios will have additional effects that occur when a certain type of card is drawn. Occasionally cards from the gather, build, or explore decks will also get put into this event deck and have secondary effects that happen when they are redrawn.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Event Deck

That’s a very quick and not-so-thorough summary of how to play Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.  

How to Play Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island with Two Players

This is a game where playing with two players does have a few rule differences. When playing with just two, players will also have the character Friday at their disposal. 

How to play Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island with two players

Friday has health and can be killed but gives the players another action pawn to use for various moves.  There are some restrictions but this additional action is crucial in a two player game. Playing with two players also changes the resource cost of some actions.

Conclusion:

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a beast of a game in so many aspects. It has been one of the toughest games I’ve tried to learn, which may be due to our inexperience at the time, but even now I still think it would be a challenge even for those who call themselves avid board gamers.

If you wouldn’t call yourself that, we recommend that you try not to make the same mistake I did and get this game before you’re ready.  I know it’s tempting but maybe explore some slightly lighter coops first before adding this one to your collection.

Even though the rules and learning are daunting, all efforts have been made to ease this problem as much as possible.  The board is designed extremely well to guide you through the game and remind you of the most important things.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Setup

A lot of thought was put into making the rules as logical as possible too.  If you are unsure about something, just think about it and the most logical answer is most likely the correct rule.  Can you bring your snare with you to the next camp if this was real life, most likely and that is exactly how it works in the game.

Those things help a lot but after multiple plays you’ll still likely always need to have the rulebook handy and be prepared to look up rules.  It’s easy to remember the general idea of how to play, but the minor details are easy to forget.

We do wish the game came with an insert as setup can be a little tedious and time consuming.  This was one of the games that led me to learn how to make my own custom inserts because it just seemed that much of a necessity for this one.  

Robinson Crusoe is one of the hardest games we own and depending on who you are, you’ll love it for that reason or absolutely despise it.  I must admit, even if you do love it, the pure challenge occasionally makes it hard to get to the table as you question whether you’re really up for an hour or two of struggle, despair, and unfortunate events.

Once you learn to expect this challenge though it becomes less frustrating as you learn to laugh at whatever comes your way. Whether it’s the worst storm in recorded history or you go on what you thought was a simple hunt and instead run into an extremely dangerous tiger.

Overall these things that will be negatives for some are what make Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island one of the most thematic games of all time.  The countless rules, various actions, multiple scenarios, and numerous events create complexity but at the same time also lead to some very unique and one of a kind gameplay.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Scenarios

This game is very replayable as is but with an expansion or two (or even printable scenarios), if this is a game you actually end up enjoying, it’s one you could play for a lifetime and maybe never get bored of.

If you’re willing to get into what goes down in a round of Robinson Crusoe, embellish the storytelling a little, and laugh at all the misfortune you have while trying to survive, this game can be a lot of fun. If you can’t, being stranded on a real island will likely be almost an equivalent experience for you as we said at the beginning of this review.

So, to sum it all up, don’t underestimate this game in any regard.  It is a difficult game to learn and play in a multitude of ways but if you’re willing to put in the effort and learn to laugh at your demise it might be a great addition to your collection.

Is Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island Good For 2 Players?

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a great game for two players.  If you’re looking for an extremely tough and thematic cooperative game for this player count look no further.

The game does play slightly different with just two players as mentioned above since you will typically use the additional character Friday, which gives you an extra player pawn.  Even though this is helpful, two players is probably still the most difficult player count, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

With more players, you have more actions that you can do each round, so with two you’re just much more limited in what you can accomplish on any given turn.  Even though the game is more difficult at two, it’s so complex that the task of playing is just a little easier when there are fewer players.

The great thing about playing with two players is you also have options available that can decrease or increase the difficulty as wanted.  You can add the dog companion to get another action token for exploring or hunting, or you can play two handed.  Since actions are planned together you could even just use a third character instead of Friday.  

There are so many ways to adjust the game to you and your gaming partner’s needs when playing with just two.  This player count has more freedom and is just easier to manage.  From a fun and storytelling experience though, more players can result in some chaotic, exciting, and memorable gameplay when playing with the right people.

Pros:

  • One of the most thematic games ever.  Actions, rules, components, and gameplay all just make sense and incorporate the theme well
  • Extremely replayable.  The variety included in the base game is enough to keep players content for quite some time
  • A true challenge.  Players will have a tough time beating this game.  Sometimes it comes down to luck, but learning from your mistakes is very important.
  • Perfect length for this type of game
  • Creates some very funny, unique, and memorable moments if you’re willing to get into the storytelling.

Cons:

  • Pretty difficult to learn and play
  • Setup is quite tedious and time consuming without an insert
  • Even if you play consistently you’ll likely still forget rules, and need to reference the book or look things up.

Portal Games Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island Board Game
Portal Games Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island Board Game
Portal Games Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island Board Game

We hope this Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


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