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Thames & Kosmos - "The Adventures of Robin Hood"

Updated: May 2


Photo above is property of Thames & Kosmos


Company: Thames & Kosmos

Game: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Country: USA 🇺🇸

Language: English

Type of Game: Tabletop Games (Board Game) 📬

Genre: Folklore, Heroic Outlaws, Sherwood Forest

Date Played: December 31, 2022

Difficulty (based on 2 players): Varies by Chapter - 6/10

Size of Team: 2-4 Players (Ages 10+)

Time: 1-1.5 hrs/ chapter (most of ours were on the longer side)

Price: $44.99


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Immerse yourself in Sherwood Forest, as you play the roles of legendary characters: Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Little John, and Will Scarlet. The core story may seem familiar, as the band of merry folk face off against the Sheriff of Nottingham in a series of challenges.

Video above is property of Thames & Kosmos


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This is a beautiful game and, with the main board being 20.5 x 38“ plus plenty of pieces nearby, it will likely take over a good chunk of your table! The artwork itself is highly detailed and draws you into the land of Nottingham, and we loved how new artwork was revealed whenever you got to flip a tile. While the inset tiles themselves are quite a thick and sturdy cardboard, we did see some lifting of the edges as we progressed further in the game, with repeated prying up and replacement of them. At times, you even completely removed tiles, revealing a 3rd variation on the artwork underneath. The wooden components all feel very durable and high quality, and the main book itself is particularly impressive - a 216-page tome with luxe faux-leather cover and two attached ribbon bookmarks to help you keep your place. I definitely did not anticipate such a cool book at this price point. Overall, we found the game both visually impressive and tactile-y satisfying.

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


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"The Adventures of Robin Hood" is a campaign-style, story-drivien, cooperative board game, with a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) feel. A full play through the overarching story entails 7 chapters, though you make a major decision at the end of Chapter 4 that will send you down one of two possible paths for Chapters 5-6, before a common ending in Chapter 7. It does a great job of starting quite simply and gradually adding new elements to the game play as you work through the first few chapters, reducing the initial cognitive load and time spent poring through rules. You can dive right in!

At the start of a chapter, you pick your characters and get a brief prologue, as well as specific setup for that scenario. While you can play with just two characters, we found we preferred playing with all four, even when just the two of us were playing. You will be working to accomplish a specific mission before you run out of time, though you don’t always know exactly what the ultimate goal is when you begin. There is often a searching element, where you will be moving to interact with specific tiles. Once there, you will refer to the story book (dramatic reading opportunities!) to see what happens, and you may have a choice to make. There is also combat, where you attempt to defeat the enemy by drawing sufficient white cubes out of a bag. While hand-to-hand combat requires close proximity, use of a bow (if you have one) naturally can be done from a greater distance. This creates a trade-off between actions that help you to accumulate white cubes versus other things you might prefer to do. You can accumulate items as you play, each of which provides a specific benefit - like weapons that improve your fighting ability or gold that allows a character to take an extra turn.

Each character’s turn consists of movement, followed by combat, inspection of a person/place object, or passing of an object to another character. There were several mechanics that we really appreciated for their combination of simplicity, innovation, and realism. Character movement occurs by stacking the character’s pieces end-to-end, ensuring that they are not passing through any objects in the landscape. You can either conserve your strength by using just some of your pieces (and gain a white cube) or use them all to go further. Optimizing movements of the various characters thus becomes a key aspect of the game. Turn order varies each round, as you pull discs out of a bag symbolizing each of your characters, as well as extra turns, the movement of opponents, and passage of time. As mentioned earlier, there are also many inset “tiles” within the gameboard, which can be flipped over. Depending on the scenario, different tiles will be in play, and interacting with the same tile may have different results in different chapters or even when replaying the same chapter. This variation adds complexity and also realism - people don’t say the same thing every time we talk to them in real life, nor do we always find the same objects or critters when walking through the woods.

In terms of minor criticisms, we sometimes ran out of specific cubes and wished that a few more had been provided. There was also one chapter in particular early on that seemed to require a lot of luck and generated a lot of frustration (and replays) until we ultimately succeeded. While we don’t mind some element of luck, and that was true to some degree in all chapters, it felt a bit out of scale in that one, and it was especially unfortunate to have it so early on in the experience. However, these were but small bumps in the epic journey!

Finally, we were incredibly surprised by the extent of replay-ability! Of course, you can go back through, making the opposite decision after Chapter 4 to try to alternate scenarios. On top of that, however, there are a whole slew of additional challenges and side quests that get introduced when you play through the campaign additional times. We still have not accomplished them all! This makes even replaying the same campaign multiple times an intriguing option.

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


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This not a puzzle game, though there is one minor puzzly bit included. However, there is good cooperative strategizing to try to accomplish each mission.


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We had a fabulous time playing this game! In fact, after playing through to the end the first time, we immediately wanted to start over to try the other path and the provided variations. And when we finished THAT, we went online to see if any other scenarios had been created. It has WAY more replay-ability than we anticipated, and we won’t be passing it along as we originally planned…we still have quests to complete and items to uncover! Plus, we were stoked to hear that there was an expansion coming out…stay tuned to hear our thoughts on that one! In the meantime, we’d call the base game innovative, engaging, and great value given the quality of the components and variation in gameplay provided. It was right up our alley. If you’re down for a new twist on a cooperative board game that is heavy on story, we absolutely recommend picking up The Adventures of Robin Hood and embracing your inner (good-hearted) outlaw!

 

Check out our interview with the creators to understand more on the development side of the game:

Video above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers

 

(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank Thames & Kosmos for providing us with samples of the game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.


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