Palm Island is the latest game from designer Jon Mietling published by Portal Dragon it sits 1-2 players, plays in 10 – 20 mins and recommended from ages 10+ however I think you could get away with younger gamers with a bit of help.
This review is based on the PnP play tester version.
Palm Island sits firmly in the portable, play anywhere game category and is a resource management / card upgrade game played over eight rounds. The cards are all double sided and divided in two on each side giving four different states of play per card, the other card sections are accessed by having the resources available to be able to flip or rotate the cards as you play through the deck.
This game features various modes including, Solo, co-op and competitive.
Light Rules Overview
All game modes follow this general structure, this is based on solo play.
Setup is fast you take your core deck of 17 cards and arrange them so that each cards starting position marker is in the top left and then shuffle the deck. You can then look through the deck to take note of card positions if you wish and move the round tracker card to the back of the deck, once you get to this card the round is over.
Play is straight forward, you have the deck in one hand and take the top card you may then choose which card you play with, the now top card of the deck or the one you had taken. If one is a free resource for example, you can then place it to the back of the pack having turned it 90 degrees so the resource that is now available to you is showing out the side of the deck (this is referred to as a store action). You can also discard a card by putting it to the back of the deck. You continue to gather resources and then if you have a card that costs X resources you can rotate your stored resource cards back to pay for the action you want to complete, Store, Rotate (turn 180 degrees) or Flip (Flip the card so the back is now facing forwards).
Play continues for 8 rounds where you will look to flip and rotate cards to gain access to more resources and in turn access the card states with higher point values.
After 8 rounds you go back through your deck and add up the points from the active section of your cards.
– Easy to setup / teach
– Multiple modes of play
– Nice theme and artwork
– Nothing really jumps out at me about the game, however there were a few occasions where cards were dropped and because the card state / orientation is key the game had to be restarted, this was user error but could be a consideration.
It’s no secret that quick to teach and play games are a hit with me and solo mode is another big win in my book, Palm Island certainly ticks them all off so it’s already off to a good start. If looking for a versatile play anywhere game I can’t think of one that checks as many boxes as this number, so I strongly encourage you to check it out.