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Nautilus Island... Explore to survive

Beautiful beaches, clear blue seas and palm trees surrounding you, it sounds like bliss right? Except you've been stranded here on this deserted island after a storm with little in the way of supplies and no way home. The longer you stay here, the more the novelty wears off. You eventually stumble across a grounded submarine named the Nautilus and realise... this could be your ticket out of here!

Nautilus Island Game box and set up

First Impressions

With eye catching artwork and an intriguing description, this game caught my attention as soon as I saw it. The components are of a really nice quality and although the box feels as though it could be made smaller with a few tweaks to the board, it really isn't that big in the first place. The rules read nicely and we were able to get on and play shortly after opening the game and punching out the tokens.

Game Play Overview

Nautilus Island Game board and cards mid game

Nautilus Island begins with each player choosing which castaway they are going to be. On the first turn, the starting player will choose a column of cards on the Nautilus and collect the top card of each stack in the column, the rest of the players then choose an available column and collect the cards. From then on, players will take turns based upon their proximity to the stern of the Nautilus with the player closest to the back going first. On your turn, you will first move your castaway across the submarine to a new column that is available. Then you can either take the top card off of each stack or stash a number of objects into your camp of matching colour and up to the number of stacks in the column you have moved to.

Nautilus Island Game board mid game with Castaway meeples

If you chose to take cards, add them to your hand. If you chose to play cards, you'll take the bonus token of the matching colour to the cards played if it's available and then choose whether you wish to close down the column or not. If you choose to, you'll take the top porthole token for the number of cards in the column and place it on top. Once closed, you can no longer add cards to the column and each camp can only have 1 column of objects of each colour. Once one of the Nautilus columns is empty of cards, the game will end and final scoring will take place. The player with the highest score is the winner.

Pros and Cons

The game is partially luck based with a bit of strategy carefully interspersed, making it a great light to medium weight game or one to introduce a bit of strategy for those getting into the hobby. The component quality is good, although the board itself will need a few plays until it lies flat but the meeples have a really nice amount of detail to them. The addition of a moveable arrow to the game board, allows for easier tracking of rounds and made more of an impact than I thought it would. I'm not sure it's a game that I would play over and over again but I did really enjoy it and have found myself going back to it more often than I thought I would. However, if you like lots of strategy and tactical manoeuvers then this probably isn't the game for you.

Nautilus Island End of Game layout ready for scoring

Final Verdict

Overall, I liked this game alot. It's not overly thematic in playstyle, but it's still good fun and a great introduction to strategic thinking in games.

In conclusion, we would rate this game an 8/10


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