Alpal introduced me to Tobago a couple of years ago. It was a game I enjoyed but quickly dropped out of my memory. I couldn’t quite remember why until Alpal asked to play it on Board Game Arena this week. Looking for buried treasure again sounded like a lot of fun!
I am going to get one large negative out of the way at the start. First, Tobago on Board Game Arena is TINY. It is hard to see squares, and pieces can disappear into the board far too easily. It’s bad enough when this happens with physical pieces! The Board Game Arena implementation should have highlightable components, like Isle of Cats.
The actual gameplay of Tobago is interesting. The board (not that you can see it here) is made up of various pieces, meaning there is a heap of potential ‘islands’ to explore. You explore the islands looking for buried treasure, but the location of the treasure will always be unique.
The part that makes the locations unique is that all players lay down clues as to the location. It’s a scavenger hunt, and the locations must be narrowed down as you play. A combination of luck of the cards and players weighing in share their way almost guarantees a different experience each time.
Tobago is, to me, a better treasure hunt than Treasure Island and a fun puzzle game similar to Cryptid (if you know it). The physical version has a lot of bookkeeping though. If you make a mistake with the potential treasure cubes, Tobago can fall over.
This is the part that will make games run longest on the table. All players take part in checking potential locations though, meaning the weight of ‘getting it right’ isn’t on one person’s shoulders.
Now a couple of other negatives. Firstly, if you think Tobago sounds interesting and would like to give it a go, Board Game Arena is going to be your best bet. Tracking down a copy will be interesting depending on where you live.
The other issue was in our second game, the Board Game Arena interface glitched on me. For about 4 turns, all I could do was move. Then a message came up saying there was an issue and I should refresh my browser. This is the first time I have ever had this happen, and it was on top of some unintuitive controls up front.
Tobago works on Board Game Arena, and I enjoy the game overall. It’s hard to find games similar to it that work well, as almost all of them are ‘older’ games that are hard to track down. Sleuth, Zendo, and Cryptid all have similarities but are very different games.
So if you like the sound of Tobago, definitely give it a look. If you can track down a physical copy, try and grab Tobago Volcano as well and let me know how that plays!