Sands Of Adventure Indiana Jones Review
Time is running out! Hurry up, Indie!!! Or rather, hurry up everyone! Because in Indiana Jones Sands of Adventure, we are taking on well-loved characters from the brilliant adventure franchise to work together and rescue the Ark of the Covenant before it falls into the wrong hands!
This is a fast playing, strategic, hand management, real-time, push-your-luck, deck building, pattern matching, action selection, worker placement, asymmetrical ability game that is really fun! And if that sounds like a lot to pack in, it is! But they all work really well together.
Played over 3 rounds, essentially what you and up to 3 other players (age 8+) are doing each round is finding a way to reduce the active Villain(s)’ health to zero before the time runs out. You do that by working together to lay attack-based action/upgrade cards down and knocking them back hit point after hit point. But, in almost trick-taking style, you can only lay a card that matches the colour or symbol of the card laid before it. So as a team you need to co-ordinate who has what and who is going to lay what when! And that’s all quite cool, calm and collected during the turn-based part of the round.
During that part, you decide which action is best for your character to activate, bearing in mind their asymmetric ability and that of the Villain’s. You move your character to that tile, activate the action, and then roll one or two threat dice. If the threat dice reveal gems, you have to add them to the top basket of the sand timer. If they reveal an “X”, you have to activate the nefarious Villain’s meanie power! Round one introduces Colonel Deitrich, then round two has Major Toht, and then finally round three welcomes Dr Rene Belloq. And each starts with more health than the previous one….so you know it’s building up to the big boss battle at the end!
But then suddenly, when the sand timer gem basket reaches critical point and swings, play moves into the real-time phase and everything starts going at super-speed! Players still need to lay cards in turn, but now when players stop laying cards they can draw a new action card off the deck…and that might just be the vital linking colour/symbol or another attack card! So the game becomes a fast synapse sizzling session with split second decisions over when to stop laying cards and pass over to the next player!
When a snake card is drawn in the real-time phase, the active player has to roll the red dice and the next player can then only start laying cards if the torch symbol is rolled! If you have been canny during phase one and collected a power token that allows you to ignore the snake (or interrupt another player’s turn or play any card), then this might not slow you down. Otherwise, everyone round the table starts chanting “come ooonnnnnn” as torch after torch gets missed!
If you defeat the Villain before the sand timer runs out they get sent away and the game is reset in readiness for the next one including swapping in a new action tile (although note that any upgrade cards played to the action deck are retained in a light but very effective nod to deck building!!). If you don’t defeat Deitrich or Toht, however, you’ll face a double or triple battle in round 3! It’s wild! Haha
We have an absolute blast playing this game. It’s fun, and the artwork really does bring back great memories of the Indiana Jones films I watched as a kid (and still do!) But it’s also hiding some really neat tricks up its sandy sleeves. It’s also a brilliant game to play with the family. We played as a 2 and also with our 8 year old son and each time it has been great. He loves filling the basket with gems and watching the sand timer slide down. At the moment, we do a bit more of the real-time coordination to help the team through but he’s super smart and considers each action spot carefully on every turn. It won’t be long before he is telling us we are slowing him down! haha
The components are also really nice and evocative of the Indian Jones films and the giant and timer works really well – it suddenly tips and swings and everyone suddenly races into action to try and co-ordinate colours and icons on cards in a chain effect to try and get those villains gone!
Sands of Adventure is easy to learn, fun to play, and a brilliant mix of mechanics. We love the switch between calm and chaos and it’s definitely a game that makes us enjoy co-operative gaming as a family!!
This blog was written by Favouritefoe