Exploring and Adventure Board Games

St. Ives Tabletop

Please note: These are just a sample of the games we have - to give you a taste!

Forbidden Island

It is a race against the rising floodwaters for your team of treasure hunters to acquire the four artefacts and make it back to the helicopter. After each turn a card deck controls the rising flood in a similar way to Pandemic so you can determine which areas of the island are the most likely to submerge first.

Forbidden Island game start Forbidden Island waters have risen

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Diamant/Incan Gold

A push your luck game, the further you venture into the temple the more treasure you can acquire but also more chance of being caught in a trap and getting nothing.

Incan Gold exploring the temples Incan Gold card details

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Lost Ruins of ArnakNew entry

Lost Ruins creates the atmosphere of exploring the lost island of the Arnak civilization, revealing new locations and researching artifacts. The game plays over 5 rounds and each round players take actions in turn until everyone passes. At the start with scarce resources actions are limited, but as the game progresses and you build up a hand of items and artifacts that can chain further actions so you can make significant progress in one round.

Actions include travelling to and discovering a new site, digging at a previously discovered site to gain resources, buying cards, or performing research. Only one archaeologist meeple can occupy each space on the board so the sequence of your actions is important before vital sites are occupied or items bought by others before you.

New sites provide an idol (useful as a trade in for missing resources or victory points at game end), resources, and a guardian. If your meeple is still on the site at the end of the round without overcoming any guardian you gain a fear card (minus one victory points and a hand clogger). Overcoming the guardian gains 5 victory points and a boon - these are usually thematic with the art work for the guardian, for example the giant owl guardian grants a flight movement, the monkey king upgrades resources etc.

Board setup with guardian! Near end game exploration

All players start with the same deck of 6 cards (2 fear, 2 funding, and 2 exploration), with cards also featuring movement icons (walk, jeep, boat, or plane) so you choose which icon type to use in a turn. The 6 cards are shuffled and the top 5 make up your hand for that round. Item cards you buy are put face down on the bottom of your deck to be drawn for use in the next round. Artifact cards give an immediate effect and then go in the discard pile. When you pass to end a round your discard pile is shuffled and put on the bottom of the deck before drawing 5 new cards for the next round. Cards can be exiled so hand management to optimise the next 5 drawn is important.

Research requires resources to move up the track, but can also generate funding or exploration tokens, and to recruit assistants who also provide extra effects. If you get to the top of the research track you find the lost temple and can explore it (requiring more resources) to obtain temple tiles worth victory points. At the end of 5 rounds victory points are scored for research track progress, temple tiles, idols remaining, guardians overcome, item and artifact cards, and points lost for fear cards remaining in your deck.

The game and manual are well designed with beautiful artwork, thematic with simple icons and fun. There are a lot of options on actions but resources are scarce, you only have 2 meeples, and your competitors will get in your way so flexible plans are a must. The island is setup differently each game as most components are randomly drawn giving good replayability. There is also a solo option and downloadable expedition to provide more gameplay cooperative options.

Close up of explorer camp with guardians End game board with research track

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Magic Maze

Your team of adventurers needs to explore and locate 4 shops in the magic shopping mall, rob them (equipment for your next adventure) and escape. The catch; Players can’t talk and each player only controls a subset of the adventurer actions. A cooperative heist game with a difference.

Magic Maze 4 player game Magic Maze escape in progress

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Relic Runners

Colourful archeologists, not at all based on characters from popular tomb thieving movie franchises, are on a mission to loot the hidden temples of a long lost jungle. Gameplay is all about building paths through the jungle by placing markers. You can travel along any route in your turn providing there is only 1 segment that is unknown to you. Development of routes requires collecting toolboxes to grant extra powers like adding or rearranging your markers. If you reach a temple you can uncover a layer, different temple types have different types of bonus. When a temple is completely uncovered an artefact is revealed and to collect this you need to run a valid route between 2 completed temples of the same colour. Victory points are based on bonuses from temple layers, artefacts collected and length of the run to collect the artefact. A light hearted theme making it a fun family game but one with quite a bit of depth to the mechanics for more seasoned gamers.

Relic Runners Relic Runners

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Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Renowned for being particularly difficult this co-operative game has a number of scenarios all based around a team of adventurers surviving on an isolated and very dangerous island. Each adventurer has a slightly different skill set, Explorer, Cook, Soldier and Carpenter and making full use of these skills is vital to finding enough food and shelter to survive each night and trying to achieve the scenario objective. Meanwhile the island will be throwing all sorts of challenges at the team including dangerous animals, accidents, cursed items, unfriendly natives and increasingly inclement weather. Gratifying when the team survives, frustrating when a final trivial sounding event like “Otters” is the end of the expedition.

Robinson Crusoe

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You command a team of archaeologists plundering the forest temples of the ancient city of Tikal in Guatemala. Each turn you have 10 action points to spend on exploring, uncovering temples, digging up artefacts and deploying your team to protect your temples. Using a random volcano mechanic scoring rounds are triggered through the game, score is determined by the size of the temples you control and sets of artefacts discovered. A tactical game of cut-throat archaeology.

Tikal midgame Tikal close up

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TobagoNew entry

The aim of Tobago is to find the most treasure by solving clues to find the treasure and getting to the site to claim it. The island is randomly generated each game from 3 double sided map boards, which mixes up the terrain distributions. Clue cards will help eliminate where each of 4 treasures will be; typically “in”, “not in”, or “next to” a certain terrain type or feature (hut, statue, palm tree).

Turns are simple: Add a clue card to one of the 4 treasures to narrow down its possible location or move your jeep. When only 1 hex grid can be the position of the treasure jeeps can go there and raise the treasure. Adding a clue card or raising the treasure gives you a stake in the pay out.

When raising a treasure, each player sees the number of treasure cards (with 1-5 coin icons or 2 curse cards) equal to their stake. These are all gathered in and 1 extra treasure randomly shuffled in, then the cards are revealed 1 by 1 with the player with the last stake choosing first, take the card revealed or pass, and take a later one from the pile. Once you have taken cards equal to your stake you are out for the rest of that selection phase. If you pick up a curse card the rest of the treasure in that stack is lost and that player loses an amulet or their highest treasure card. Then that treasure colour is reset and a new clues trail started.

Amulets can be picked up by jeeps travelling the island and can be used to help solve clues or gain extra moves. The game ends when the treasure card pile is exhausted, and the player with the most gold wins.

It is an interesting mechanic with the aim to narrow down treasure site locations and all players potentially having a stake in each treasure once it has been revealed, together with a push your luck element on taking the treasure based on your knowledge of what might be in the stack.

Tobago setup Tobago midgame

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Trekking the WorldNew entry

A more traditional move a character around the board game, easy to learn and play with only 2 actions per turn. Move then choose to either draw cards, take a tour, or use a journey card.

The world map is randomly populated with cubes of 4 colours (different types of souvenirs). The first meeple to each location gets the cube and starts building sets in their suitcase. The player with the most of each colour cube acquires the victory point card for that colour, but it can be lost if another player exceeds that total later. Filling the suitcase with sets of souvenirs (one of each colour) brings victory points too.

Each world region (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia) has a random region bonus token, and the player to collect the last cube in a region gets the bonus tile. Four destination tour cards are on show during the game, which have variable numbers and types of icons required to claim. If players arrive at that site and hand in the correct coloured cards they can take a tour and acquire the card, then the destination display is restocked.

Players start with 3 cards which come in 5 colours/icons (sights, adventure, nature, history, and water) and the number 1 to 3. Cards can be used for their numerical value to move around the board or their icon to trade in to claim destination tours. Other players meeples can block your path around the board, but stopping on a airport allows a free move next turn to any other airport. The move part of your turn is compulsory (if you have any cards in hand), so planning ahead to land on a destination and still have all the icon requirements is important.

Journey cards (2 randomly selected each game) allow a trade in of 2 cards of matching icons to get a special action, such as needing 1 fewer icon to complete a destination or extra moves or card pickups.

The game ends when 5 of the 6 region bonus tokens have been claimed or a player has acquired their fifth destination tour card. Victory is based on souvenir, region bonus, and victory point tokens collected, destination tour card victory points, and souvenir sets.

A simple game and quick to teach, with nice but accessible graphics (plus a fun way to learn about 48 destinations around the world!)

Trekking The World setup Trekking The World winning travels

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Unlock! is a co-operative card game inspired by escape rooms that uses a simple system which allows you to search scenes, combine objects, and solve riddles. Each Unlock! box contains 3 games with a variety of themes and an increasing difficulty level and there are now a number of versions to buy and some to print and play. Each individual game we have tried (5 so far) has been very different with a wide variety of puzzles, from spotting hidden clues on the cards and solving fiendish codes to using the app to interact with the cards in different ways or even merging the cards to build bigger scenes or going 3D with them.


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