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Reaping the Rewards: ‘Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar’

Fireball Island cover
Studying Time: 11 minutes

Fireball Island cover

Welcome to Fireball Island, a stunning tropical getaway the place you’ll discover useful treasures, breathtaking photograph spots, and, uh, flaming balls of lava. Take pleasure in your keep!

In “Reaping the Rewards,” I check out the completed product from a crowdfunding marketing campaign. In Might of this yr, Restoration Video games raised $2.eight million for this reboot of Fireball Island. It’s been delivery to backers this month, and the base recreation and the Final Adventurer enlargement hit shops this week, with further expansions to be launched in early 2019. (Backers can be getting the further expansions earlier.) In right now’s submit, I’ll check out the base recreation and the Final Adventurer enlargement.

What Is Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar?

Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar is a recreation for two to four gamers (as much as 5 with the Final Adventurer enlargement), ages 7 and up, and takes about 30–60 minutes to play. The retail worth is $75, and it’s obtainable instantly from Restoration Video games, in shops, or from on-line retailers like Amazon. The recreation is certainly kid-friendly and you may play with youthful than 7, so long as they’re not going to swallow the marbles.

Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar Elements

Fireball Island componentsFireball Island elements (Prime: as packaged; backside: punched and assembled). Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Right here’s what is available in the base recreation field:

  • Three-part Island recreation board
  • 2 scrims
  • Vul-Kar determine
  • Cataclysm tracker
  • 2 Bridges
  • Ladder
  • 5 Fireball marbles
  • 7 Ember marbles
  • Coronary heart of Vul-Kar crystal
  • 6-sided die
  • 7 Timber
  • Maw token holder
  • Fortunate Penny token
  • Whats up-Copter
  • 2 2-player tokens
  • 36 Treasure tokens (12 every in Three varieties)
  • four participant figures
  • four Reference playing cards
  • 30 Motion playing cards
  • 12 Snapshot playing cards
  • 12 Memento playing cards

Fireball Island scrimsTwo scrims cowl up the openings under the middle part of the island. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The island itself is available in three elements: the center part makes a bridge between the two aspect items, and the two optionally available scrims disguise the hole under that part. The island itself was designed by Noah Adelman of GameTrayz, and I used to be fairly impressed with it. The sections are hole shells, they usually have numerous steps and paths to carry all the treasures, marbles, timber, and Vul-Kar itself. The three-part island signifies that the field measurement is an effective deal smaller than the unique. I used to be half hoping, based mostly on my expertise with earlier GameTrayz, that whenever you flipped the island sections over, they might double as storage trays for the elements. (No such luck: however for those who need assistance getting every little thing again into the field, this Kickstarter replace has some nice ideas.)

The plastic timber match into sockets on the board and have “roots” that look a bit like pinball paddles—these might be rotated to redirect marbles. The bridges and ladder even have particular locations the place they match. I didn’t have any hassle with the indentations for the orange ember marbles, however the indentations for the small inexperienced snake marbles (in the enlargement) are actually tiny, and we had one the place we simply couldn’t get a marble to remain put in any respect, so we simply use one much less snake.

Vul-Kar itself is an imposing hunk of plastic, with a gap in the prime that feeds into three retailers at the backside. These line up with the numerous channels surrounding Vul-Kar’s perch, and Vul-Kar could be rotated to face one of 5 totally different orientations.

Fireball Island figurinesPlastic miniatures operating from hassle. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The plastic miniatures are fairly tiny however nonetheless handle to be expressive. There’s an adventurer, a seashore bum, and two vacationer varieties, all fleeing from their impending doom. (Properly, besides the seashore bum, who has paused to stare in horror.) Observe: You’ll see some of my pictures embrace painted miniatures, which have been a Kickstarter reward. There aren’t presently plans to promote these at mass retail, although you could possibly discover them at conventions or by means of retailers who backed the Kickstarter marketing campaign.

The marbles are glass, although the opaque coloring may idiot you into considering they’re plastic at first, they usually have a pleasant weight to them. One good contact is that there’s an additional of every marble sort included: you solely use four fireballs and 6 ember marbles for the recreation, so that you’ll have spares in case one rolls away.

Fireball Island Maw and Hello-copterThe Maw and the Hiya-copter, assembled. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

There are a pair of cardboard constructs: the Maw, the place misplaced treasures are saved, and the Hiya-copter, which drops you all off at the island earlier than retreating to a protected distance.

Fireball Island torn cardboardI had just a little bit of hassle whereas punching out and assembling the Maw. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Most of the cardboard punched out simply wonderful, however I did have a bit bit of splitting with the constructs, as you possibly can see in the photograph above. Some of the notches have been a bit tighter than others, and tended to peel a bit of the printed floor off whereas assembling. As soon as assembled, although, they appear high quality.

Fireball Island player reference cardsReference playing cards present your participant colour and switch order on the entrance, and scoring chart on the again. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The playing cards themselves have some nice paintings on them: each the backs and fronts have pretty little particulars, and there’s some enjoyable humor in the illustrations, too (which you’ll see afterward on this publish). The playing cards have a gloss end and are slightly stiff, however appear okay in any other case.

Fireball Island boxThe field has some good UV gloss, and a considerably ironic warning. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The field itself is simply a big empty field—no dividers or something, although Damaged Token is engaged on a licensed storage answer. The field cowl has some good UV gloss that helps the title and characters come out from the background, however there was some disappointment about the field materials. It’s corrugated cardboard, and each the lid and base have some diagonal folds (the type that might allow you to flatten the field), and the inside is unprinted, so it doesn’t really feel like your typical recreation field. Restoration Video games defined that it is sturdy cardboard, the similar type that’s utilized in delivery, so it ought to final simply high quality, nevertheless it’ll look totally different from what chances are you’ll be used to.

Fireball Island: The Final Adventurer Elements

Fireball Island The Last Adventurer componentsThe Final Adventurer elements. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The Final Adventurer is the first enlargement to Fireball Island and is available in a small sq. field, although I put aside the field and saved all the things with the base recreation. Right here’s what it comes with:

  • Three Snapshot playing cards
  • four Memento playing cards
  • 10 Motion playing cards
  • 10 Participant Energy playing cards
  • 2 Reference playing cards
  • Final Adventurer participant determine
  • Golden Idol
  • Boulder
  • 6 Poison tokens
  • 9 Snake marbles

This enlargement provides the fifth participant determine and reference card, together with some elements impressed by Indiana Jones (although, of course, that is clearly not Indiana Jones). There’s a small golden idol, a big foam boulder, and small inexperienced snake marbles. (Why’d it should be snakes?)

GeekDad Approved Tabletop Game 2018

Fireball Island is GeekDad Accepted!

Tips on how to Play Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar

You possibly can obtain a replica of the base recreation rulebook right here, and the Final Adventurer rulesheet right here.

The Objective

The aim of the recreation is to attain the most factors by accumulating treasures and snapshots.

Fireball Island setupThe base recreation arrange and able to play! Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Assemble the island, and switch all the timber so the roots are pointing towards Vul-Kar, who ought to be dealing with the middle of the island. 6 ember marbles are positioned on their beginning places (on the middle board), and 1 fireball marble ought to be positioned in the Scar, the groove on the left aspect of the board. Three extra fireball marbles are positioned on the cataclysm tracker, set close by.

Shuffle the treasure tokens, and place them on all of the treasure places throughout the board, face-up. Place the two bridges and ladder in the designated areas, and the coronary heart of Vul-Kar in the spot proper subsequent to Vul-Kar. Put the fortunate penny in the Maw.

Give every participant a participant reference card, two motion playing cards, and one memento card. Place the participant figures in the Good day-copter close to the helipad.

Fireball Island riverThe final adventurer ended up taking a swim, because of a fireball charging down the river. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


In your flip, you stand again up (when you’ve been knocked over), play an motion card, refill your hand, after which reset the board. At the begin of the recreation, your first step is onto the helipad from the copter.

There are some guidelines about standing up, however they’re pretty simple: you rise up in the nearest area to the place you’re knocked down, until you’re in a river or lava chute, during which case you slide to the backside and get up.

Fireball Island action cardsShifting slowly has its benefits. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

If you play an motion card, you will need to transfer the full motion, and you can’t backtrack. The solely exception is for those who encounter an unstable place (the bridges and ladder), through which case your motion ends. Alongside the approach, chances are you’ll cross via treasure areas and snapshot areas. A treasure area lets you take one of the adjoining treasure tokens, and a snapshot area lets you take the corresponding snapshot card. (Stealing the coronary heart of Vul-Kar additionally provides a fireball marble to the Scar.) You skip over occupied areas, ignoring them each for counting and their results.

Fireball Island movement cardsMotion playing cards might allow you to launch an ember marble or rotate issues. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

After motion, chances are you’ll optionally use the “after moving” impact in your card. Launching an ember marble allows you to push (not flick) one of the orange marbles together with your finger, as exhausting as you’d like—however don’t go overboard, as a result of if the marble leaves the island board you’ll endure a penalty. Some playing cards allow you to rotate issues—you might rotate Vul-Kar one notch, or you might rotate a tree to any orientation.

There are additionally some caves, numbered areas which are round the island. In case you step on a cave, you roll the die after which come out of one of the caves with the similar quantity (until they’re all occupied). Then when you nonetheless have motion, you could proceed shifting.

Fireball Island cataclysm cardsCataclysm playing cards launch the fireballs. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

There are a number of cataclysm playing cards in the deck—after shifting, you get to take all of the marbles in the Scar and drop them, separately, into Vul-Kar, which can ship them down one of three pathways. After utilizing a cataclysm card (even for those who opted to not launch the fireballs), the card is discarded to the cataclysm tracker. When the third card is added, you add a fireball marble to the Scar.

Should you knock down a participant throughout your flip, they’ve to offer you a treasure of their selection. For those who knock your self down throughout your flip, you lose a treasure of your option to the maw. Anybody who will get knocked down additionally will get a memento card as a comfort prize.

You possibly can steal the coronary heart of Vul-Kar for those who cross someone who’s carrying it.

After resolving your motion, you draw again as much as 2 motion playing cards.

Fireball Island souvenir cardsMemento playing cards have numerous results. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Memento playing cards say when they are often performed, and you may play as many as you need when relevant, discarding them after use.

At the finish of your flip, you reset the marbles, bridges, ladders, and so on., however you do not get up any gamers which might be knocked down. (That approach, you possibly can solely get knocked down as soon as between turns.)

Fireball Island snapshot cardsSnapshot playing cards. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

There are six snapshot places on the island, two per part, although you’re solely allowed to take one of every shade. When you get to a snapshot area, you could take the corresponding card, and place it in entrance of you. The playing cards present a map of the island on one aspect (with the snapshot location marked), and a stunning “photo” of flying fireballs on the different. Every of the playing cards additionally has an icon that matches the particular location on the board.

Recreation Finish

There are two circumstances that may set off the finish of the recreation: the final fireball is added to the Scar, or the Howdy-copter has been summoned. The Hey-copter is summoned when a participant steps on the helipad whereas carrying all three colour snapshots—they could enter the copter if they’ve any motion remaining. As soon as the Hiya-copter has been summoned, it stays close to the helipad and any participant (even when they don’t have all three snapshots) might enter. Once you enter the copter, chances are you’ll take one token from the Maw, if there are any current.

Fireball Island miniature in helicopter“Get to da choppa!” Safely on board the Hiya-copter. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

If you’re on the copter, you not transfer and aren’t affected by any playing cards performed by different gamers. Nevertheless, in your flip you continue to get to play an motion card, simply utilizing the motion half as an alternative of the motion half—so you possibly can nonetheless steal treasures from different gamers in the event you knock them down!

After the recreation finish is triggered, the recreation ends after everyone seems to be on board the Whats up-copter, or when everybody has had two extra turns, whichever comes first.

The coronary heart of Vul-Kar is value 7 factors, and the fortunate penny is value 6 factors. Every snapshot is value 5 factors, however solely in case you are on board the copter. The treasures are value factors based mostly on what number of you’ve collected of every one, with a most of 15 factors for five or extra of the similar sort. The highest rating wins, with ties going to the participant who acquired again to the helipad first (or is nearest to the helipad).

Methods to Play Fireball Island: The Final Adventurer

If you wish to play with 5 gamers, merely add in the snapshot playing cards, the new figurine, and the new reference card, and play as earlier than.

Fireball Island snake marblesSnake marbles populate this aspect of the island. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

At setup, you add the eight snake marbles to the small snake areas on one aspect of the island (marked with just a little snake spiral icon). As I discussed earlier than, my board had one area that wouldn’t maintain the snake marble nonetheless, so we simply used 7 of them. You additionally place the golden idol on the treasure area close to Viper Move. (It’s the place the Final Adventurer is presently standing in the photograph above.) The additional treasure token is added to the Maw.

Fireball Island Last Adventure new cardsNew motion playing cards and memento playing cards for The Final Adventurer. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Shuffle the new motion playing cards and memento playing cards into their decks. Some of the new playing cards allow you to roll the boulder or launch snakes. Launching snakes is the similar as launching ember marbles, and you continue to get to steal treasures for those who knock anyone down.

Fireball Island snake biteOuch! This adventurer didn’t lose a treasure as a result of she wasn’t knocked down, however she did get a snake chew. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Along with stealing treasures, if anybody has a snake marble touching them at the finish of a flip, additionally they take a poison token (most of one per participant). Should you’re poisoned, at the starting of your flip, you discard your token after which play the prime card of the motion deck as an alternative of one out of your hand.

Fireball Island boulderLook out: right here comes the boulder. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

In the event you roll the boulder, you get to put it in any unoccupied cave, after which push it like an ember marble. In case you knock anybody down, you get to steal two treasures as an alternative of one.

Lastly, the golden idol is value 7 factors at the finish of the recreation, however when you ever lose a treasure for any cause, the idol needs to be the first treasure you lose.

Fireball Island player power cardsParticipant powers are represented by T-shirts. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

You possibly can optionally play with participant powers. Deal two to every participant, and allow them to select one to maintain, putting it face-up. Every energy (proven on T-shirts) provides you a particular capacity, like rotating gadgets, choosing which cave you exit, or getting additional souvenirs.

Why You Ought to Play Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar

What’s the phrase for nostalgia for one thing you’ve by no means truly skilled your self? That’s what I felt when Restoration Video games introduced final summer time that they have been remaking Fireball Island: it’s a recreation that I keep in mind from my childhood as a result of I noticed it in shops and on TV, however I by no means truly obtained to play it. I didn’t personal it, and neither did anybody I knew. I think that many individuals from my era had an identical feeling, and that this vicarious nostalgia performed a robust position in the success of the Fireball Island Kickstarter marketing campaign. 

Now, nostalgia alone isn’t sufficient to warrant a GeekDad seal of approval, however I need to acknowledge that, for a lot of, the sheer enjoyment of simply establishing this large plastic island and eventually attending to knock individuals over with marbles goes to be value the worth. That, plus the alternative to share it together with your youngsters, each contribute to the enjoyable issue proper out of the field.

The recreation is not a roll-and-move, however as an alternative provides you a small quantity of selection between two motion playing cards in your hand, plus you could have the capacity to switch issues utilizing a memento card. (In fact, there are conditions the place each of your motion playing cards are the similar, nevertheless it gained’t occur all of the time.) The further actions on the playing cards are non-compulsory as nicely, and also you’ll have some extra selections about which treasures to pursue as a result of of the set-collection scoring.

Fireball Island dropping in marblesTime for a cataclysm! My daughter feeds a fireball into Vul-Kar. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The marbles are the place extra of the randomness is available in: you will have a reasonably good concept of the place the marbles ought to go, however there are not any ensures. Vul-Kar spits out fireballs in three totally different instructions, so typically the greatest you are able to do is be sure that it’s dealing with away from the path you’re on, to maintain your self protected, however you won’t have the ability to knock down that participant who’s sitting proper there on the bridge. The tree roots can do so much to cease or redirect marbles, but when sufficient marbles come pouring down (in a cataclysm, or in a sequence response with ember marbles and snakes), the island may shake sufficient to knock you down anyway.

The memento playing cards function a small catch-up mechanism: once you get knocked down, you get to attract a memento card, which can assist stability out the reality that you simply simply misplaced a treasure. Choosing the proper time to make use of a memento can actually offer you a bonus. For example, utilizing the VIP Move can get you over a bridge shortly with out having to cease on it, in case you’re after the coronary heart of Vul-Kar, and even higher if one other participant is caught on the bridge so you’ll be able to leapfrog them. One other facet that forestalls any participant from getting picked on an excessive amount of is the reality that you simply keep knocked down till your flip—no kicking individuals whereas they’re down.

There’s additionally some room for various approaches as a result of of the numerous methods you possibly can rating factors. Finishing a set of 5 of a treasure sort provides you 15 factors, and so does accumulating all three snapshots—however with the snapshots, it’s a must to ensure you get again to the copter. Relying on the place the treasures find yourself, one could also be simpler to do than the different, however you must concentrate. The set assortment additionally impacts what treasure you hand over whenever you get knocked down as a result of the sufferer is the one who will get to decide on. Do you break up your personal set in order that the thief doesn’t get as many factors? Or do you retain your set collectively, however probably give the different participant quite a bit of factors? (I wish to play with the treasures face-down, in order that there’s a bit of extra uncertainty in what number of factors everybody has.)

Fireball Island close-upDon’t spend an excessive amount of time on the bridges! Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

We’ve had quite a bit of enjoyable with Fireball Island up to now. I’ve performed a number of occasions with and with out the expansions, and have additionally run the recreation for each youngsters and adults. I did have a good friend who had some complaints, having performed the unique lately, as a result of some of the guidelines have modified a bit (like needing to knock down a participant as an alternative of simply making contact with a marble), however I feel for those who haven’t performed the unique you gained’t have these preconceptions, both. Whereas the new recreation does add a bit extra selection over the roll-and-move of the unique, finally it’s nonetheless principally a recreation about operating round on an island and making an attempt to knock individuals over with marbles. If that’s the expertise you’re after, then Fireball Island actually delivers. My youngsters and I’ll undoubtedly be making many journeys to Fireball Island in the future!

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Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a replica of this recreation for evaluation functions.

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