Dum dah dump dum, dum dah dum, dum dah dump dum, dum DAH DUM DUM DUHHHM.. You may not mean to, but as soon as you looked at the title and as soon as you started reading the sentence above, there’s a chance it magically turned into a theme tune of one of the most iconic film series of all time. Indiana Jones is part of my childhood, from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark at primary school, with some fairly naive teachers who obviously hadn’t watched the film to its face melting conclusion. To much maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which I still watched with much enjoyment regardless of the aliens. One thing I’ve always wondered is firstly why the eminent archaeologist had never been committed to cardboard before that I can remember, and secondly, how the devil do you even begin to do it without causing the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth from the well established fan base. In Sands of Adventure, you distill it down to some of the things Indiana Jones is known for doing best, taking down Nazis and rescuing religious artefacts.
Sands of Adventure is a quick playing hand building game which consists of a set up phase followed by a rapid fire timed action phase.
Sands of Adventure is a little bit gimmicky and you’ll notice this as soon as you open the box and take out the rather impressive sand timer that looks like its been taken from the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The game is broken down into two main rounds, the first part you’ll be exploring adventure tiles based on some of the locations of the film, while trying to both avoid and take small bites out the of villain’s health. Exploration involves you picking an action tile to set your hero character on and take the appropriate action described, then you roll a threat dice. The threat dice is going to either add a jewel to the top of the sand timer and potentially activate the timed phase. Or it will move the villain along the tiles and activate its power if it happens to meet a hero character. Regardless of either you want to try to build up a hand of cards that can then prepare you for the more frantic times phase. Once you’ve added enough jewels to the timer and it tips over, it’s then a mad dash to play runs of action cards that are peppered with hero cards in order to land attacks on the villain and reduce their health. You keep playing cards until you can’t and then you draw a card to finish your turn. If you draw a snake though then it’s time to start dice rolling in order to roll a torch to fend them off. It all acts like a tension builder, with adding the jewels turning into some kind of glorious Buckaroo, where you end up having to balance jewels so the bucket doesn’t tip and start the timed process especially if your aren’t ready for it. Then it’s the crescendo and theme music kicks in and you’re standing there punching away, knocking chunks off health from the big bad.
Once you get the end of the third round and if you manage to defeat Belloq, then you stop him from getting the Ark and you win. But being pedantic, in the film, you kind of didn’t stop him from getting the Ark and he opens it and you win anyways. So the real question, is why Indy went to all the trouble trying to stop them when actually he could have just sat back and read a book and let them go all melty.
This isn’t film length stuff, it’s more an weekly episode on your streaming service of choice. First couple of games are going to take a little bit longer, especially as your not entirely sure how the timed phase will play out but ongoing games will be done well within 45 minutes.
I’m in two minds on Sands of Adventure. On the face of it, it’s got all the making of great game. The presentation and artwork is extremely impressive, and does a great service to the source material. You’re definitely playing a game based around Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks the part and there’s all these little exquisite nods to the source material that will have any fans of the series squealing with the delight. Let’s face it, you’re playing with an Indiana Jones mini. I’ve never seen an Indiana Jones mini. It’s cool and makes me smile. I really like the exploration phase where you are setting up for the big climactic scene, gathering cards and special power tokens to take down the big bad. I like hopping from tile to tile and I like the gamble of trying to grab stuff from right under the nose of the villain. I even like the fact that if you fail in the first and second rounds, you’re adding more jewels to the timer that increase the speed in which it flips. Then your laying down cards and every is loud and shouty and people are trying to tell you what to do and it sometimes works really well because the cards are just there, sitting in order and waiting for you to lay the smack down. Sometimes the cards just don’t seem to gel and then you’re kind of getting into round two and you’re not really going to have the attacks to take the villain down as much as you need to and because Belloq has a decent amount of health you can feel like it’s a bit pointless to continue. That’s a real shame, as there doesn’t seem to be that one thing that is kind of a theme in Raiders in that Indy seems to always find a way to bounce back. There is that one adventure tile that’s pretty cool. Again I’m a bit conflicted over this one. I like what it is trying to do and what it appears to be, I’m just not too sure how many times I’ll pick it out for playing over other games that Funko currently offer in their catalogue.
Lay your cards out on the table face up as no information has to be hidden and it is actually worth organising the cards into runs to get ready for the timed round.
You can find out more about Sands of Adventure by visiting https://funkogames.com/games/indiana-jones-sands-of-adventure-game/
This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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