Blue Lagoon* is a game that works for both children and adults. For children it is simple to learn with quick turns. Yet it has depth for adults due to the different scoring options. Each player explores the archipelago, searching the islands to make new settlements. I didn’t know about the game before we got a free copy to review*. After doing some research I was exctied to try it because it is
- designed by the well known designer Riner Kniza (Battles Lines and High Society)
- published by Blue Orange Games whose games include one of our favourites KingDomino and one of my wish list games Photosnythesis
View this post on Instagram
Ad| Even with ice lollies, paddling pool, water pistols and slip and slide the children and their friends got too hot in the middle of the day. So I introduced them to Blue Lagoon so we could pretend we were seafarers exploring Polynesian islands. It was fun playing it with 4 players as it was a bit trickier to move around the board. How have you dealt with today’s heat? @boardgameclubuk #boardgameclub
Blue Lagoon is an abstract strategy games. This means the rules don’t simulate reality, each player’s decisions impact on the game and there is no element of change such as dice rolling.
The aim is to be the person with the most points at the end of two phases. The game is scored twice, after phase one and then totalled at the end of phase two.
Number of players
There are varied views on the minimum age for this game. The box says 8+ and the Board Game Geek community suggests 10+. However my 7 year old son has enjoyed this game (although he may have picked this up easily as he is used to playing a variety of games).
Time to play
The box says 30-45 minutes which fits our experience. However, I think it could be quicker if every knows how to play, and stays focused.
The box is brightly coloured with a picture reminiscent of Moana. If you enjoy the film, this could be an accompanying resource highlighting the island hopping. A nice touch is the spot UV printing meaning the central boat appears glossy.
The plastic insert is well designed. It is obvious where each piece goes and the player tokens are neat, meaning it is easy to set up a new game.
The player tokens are cardboard disks with a land and a water side. With additional wooden huts for each village settlement. The huts have tiny carved doors and roofs to match the player token colour. The huts were a huge hit with the children I’ve played game with.
The resource tokens are wooden, but don’t look like what they represent. However this isn’t important as they are all different colours and shapes so are easy to identify.
I love the fact the pop out cards have a corner cut out to make them easier to remove. This is a thoughtful addition considering you are unlikely to keep the cardboard once you have removed the pieces
How to play
The basic mechanism is very simple. On your turn, you place a token, or a village hut, on to the board next to one of your existing pieces, or by starting a new chain. If the token is on the water it shows the boat side and if it is on an island it shows the land side. And if it goes on a stone circle you take the resource or statue on that space.
However, there are slight variations on how you start a chain depending on the the phase. In Phase one you can start a chain anywhere in the water (huts can only be placed on land). In Phase two you can start a chain from one of the village huts you placed in phase one.
There are lots of choices in the game as there are different ways to score points. Do you build one long chain across lots of islands, or ittles ones that mean you get resources from each island? You can also see what the other players are doing which may change your strategy. Do you aim to maximise your points do you take actions to stop other people collecting as many points? We found it was easier to get blocked in a game with more players, which led to more resource hunting.
As each turn is playing one tile the game should move quickly and keep people’s interest. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened yet, but I hope the more we play it the more focused everyone one will be. However, the second phase has always played quicker than the first phase. Interestingly, the instructions suggest not playing this phase on your first play. I disagree because it will help to reinforce the rules and scoring, as they are almost the same as the first phase. Plus, everyone I’ve played with has enjoyed the second phase more because they know what they are doing.
Ending the game and winning
Each phase ends when either the last resource is picked up or the last player token is added to the board. Scoring takes place at the end of each phase, using the provided score pad. There are different ways to score points:
- have more tokens on an island than any other colour
- have tokens on 7 or 8 of the islands
- have a long chain touching
- different islands
- collecting resources
- collecting statues
I had a problem with the score pad the first time we played as I thought there should be an extra row. This would enable you to total the two rounds and then sum the totals together. On a later play I realised you get the grand total by adding the individual scores from phase two to the phase one total.
The person with the largest grand total is the winner.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I recommend Blue Lagoon*. I think it will be a great addition to our collection, particularly for those days when we want to play something easy and quick. It also introduces area control and set collection mechanisms which will open up lots of new games to play in the future.
- Simple to learn
- Quick turns
- Lots of scoring options
- Well designed box insert
- Cute village huts
- Double sided tokens for use on land and water
- Introduces area control and set collection concepts
- If you make a mistake you can start a new chain
- Opportunity for deeper games as players start watching what other people are doing
- I’d prefer an extra line on the score pad
- Some of the resources don’t look like what they symbolise
Other area control games*
Other set collection games*
? Disclaimer – I received this game through the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club. This was a free game in exchange for an honest review. All comments are my own. This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something I may earn a percentage of the value. However it does not cost you any more.