Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Voodoo Island is a light two-player tile-laying game coming to Kickstarter this week. In Voodoo Island, one player controls an explorer, stranded on a remote island, whose goal is to search the entire island and return to the shoreline. The other player controls the hungry zombies the explorer unwittingly disturbs.

We start with four piles of 3×3 island tiles, face down, to draw from. One tile in each of those piles spawns a zombie. Zombies chase the explorer; the explorer explores. Early in the game, the explorer only has one slow zombie to contend with and, with a large number of unrevealed island tiles, several paths for escape. In the late stages of the game, the island is pretty much well-defined and there are multiple zombies in play, trying to trap the explorer. The explorer also has some 2×2 tiles to place on jungle spaces as he uses his machete to carve new paths.

voodooThe playtest version we used only had the basic scenario: explore the island by placing all 22 tiles, then return to the starting location tile. Voodoo Island is quite clever in what it does with movement around the island, but the overall experience seems a bit simple. By that, I mean that the game plays just fine, but it seems that all one would do is go out, explore, and return – but we were hoping that there would be a bit more with the game. The setting blurb talks about an explorer repairing a boat on the shore while your family wandered off into the jungle and you have to “go explore the island and find them”. Presumably there are additional scenarios that involve actually finding these dumb relatives of yours, but the base set components doesn’t list anything that isn’t used in the “Welcome to Voodoo Island” scenario. (This scenario is the only one in the playtest version we received. I am assuming this scenario is one for teaching the game basics.) But without additional components, our guess is you don’t actually look for missing relatives, go in search of materials to repair that boat, scout around for hidden treasure, nor do anything else on this island other than go out, come back, and dodge zombies. While we did enjoy the game and want to play at least another time or two, I am not sure how often we would return to Voodoo Island.


The bottom line: As a simple fifteen to twenty minute two-player game, it’s just fine. It’s quite nice to lead zombies on a merry chase around the island. The puzzle created as the explorer tries to establish a course with multiple paths back home while the zombie player is trying to block and corner the tasty human is quite fun. But a bit more depth – which may lie in the other scenarios in the final version as with any unlocked stretch goal expansions – would get Voodoo Island out to the table more often.

The image above contains playtest components. Original image source

A copy of Voodoo Island was provided free for review by The Flux Capacity.