You’re out on the open ocean in the hot sun with crystal clear water lapping the sides of your wooden canoe. The bottom of your canoe crunches against the sand as you discover a new island rich with coconuts, fresh water, bamboo, precious stones, and mysterious tiki statues. The vibrant color and sun-soaked artwork of this game will immediately suck you into its island-exploring adventure setting! This one is perfect for children and families to play together or as a light-weight, warm-up game for heavy game nights.
Play as the leader of a tribe of island explorers seeking to become the most notorious tribe by exploring islands and amassing resources. You’ll explore with sea or land settlers throughout the waters and islands to gather resources and build villages in preparation for settlement. Race to collect the right combinations of resources, explore the most islands, and wield the most influence on the largest islands.
The gameplay is super simple: place a settler or village. That’s it! There are several light rules of where you can place pieces, but you can’t get easier gameplay than this. I love games which allow you to expend your brainpower on foresight and strategic thinking vs. the mechanics of the gameplay. With Blue Lagoon, the learning curve is practically non-existent, so you can start your strategic “figuring it out” phase really quickly. I like to have a primary next move and at least one or two back-up moves depending on what the other players do. Are you encroaching on my sweet, sweet coconuts? Back off! That’s my next move. =-)
The rich color and detailed artwork are exquisite. The board view is at the 10,000-foot level looking down. I love how you can see so much detail: from clouds floating over islands to sea birds and their shadows soaring over the ocean to waves crashing against rocks. You can spend quite a bit of time hunched over the table looking at the careful detail of the islands.
The scoring mechanism in Blue Lagoon is great. You can score points in six ways: by collecting sets of the same resource across islands, collecting all types of resources, having the longest consecutive string of pieces (think longest train in Ticket to Ride or longest road in Catan), owning the majority of an island, by having at least one piece on 7 or more islands, or by simply collecting statuettes. I would caution against a “do all the things!” approach. It just doesn’t work…in life, in games, pretty much in any scenario other than if you’re a rich playboy without a 9-5 job.
The resource and village pieces are so fun. The little village huts even have tiny doors on them! Let your OCD tendencies run wild! Group them by color, sort by size, set up intricate designs, or stack them as high as you can during other players’ turns. You know you want to!
Tips & Tricks
- You can’t do everything, so just choose a focus and go for it. Typically, this will lean towards massive island control or heavy resource gathering. While I want to dominate the entire map by controlling all islands and gathering all the resources, it just doesn’t work out this way.
- I would agree with the rulebook which recommends only the exploration phase your first game or two. This will help you get a feel for the game and its strategic nuances before diving into the settlement phase. I wouldn’t say this is crucial, just recommended.
Scoring & Wrap-up
- The colors are beautiful and vibrant with super detailed artwork.
- The simple gameplay allows for joint parent/child fun (not just the parent playing to appease the child).
- Having two phases of the game allows for a fun set-yourself-up aspect that requires some light foresight.
- Any game with sunny, island-hopping adventure gets more points in my book!
- The precious stone pieces should totally be transparent plastic pieces like rubies in Istanbul or something similar.
- The rulebook says, “there are whispers of a blue lagoon hidden somewhere between the islands.” Where is this blue lagoon?? It sounds exciting and intriguing, but I haven’t yet found a connection between the gameplay and the name of the game itself.
Overall, I would very much recommend this one as a fun, quick, light-weight game to have at your disposal as a warm-up game or to play as a family. I see it as the perfect gift for a gamer or non-gamer family.
Buy Blue Lagoon here!
See more great, family games from Blue Orange!
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.