Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gamer Wife Games - The Adventurers Review

As the wife of a gamer (and before that, the long-time girlfriend of one), I’ve allowed myself to be subjected to more games that aren’t really my taste than I can count. Don’t get me wrong, most of the games the Hopeless Gamer begs me to play with him are a blast – if thick decks of cards, War and Peace-sized rulebooks, hundreds of various little tokens and doo-dads to keep track of, and losing all the time are things you enjoy (needless to say, I was raised in a Monopoly and Yahtzee kind of world).

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce a new segment here on The Hopeless Gamer called Games for the Gamer Wife. Despite the title, these aren’t just games for girly girls – they’re games I think anyone could easily get into, regardless of age, gender, or gaming experience. If you’re a grizzled, hardcore gamer whose significant other cringes when you come running at her with Tide of Iron, but who hates games like Monopoly, think of these as… helpful suggestions… that everyone in your house can enjoy together. And if you’re a gamer wife (girlfriend, friend, etc.) like myself… you’re welcome.

Up this week – The Adventurers!

The Hopeless Gamer (HG from here out) picked this out as something I might be interested in, given that it has gimmicky moving parts. I like to think of it as Indiana Jones meets Mousetrap meets Legends of the Hidden Temple (Green Monkeys all the way!)

The premise of the game is simple – you’re one of 12 possible characters venturing into the mysterious Temple of Chac on a mission to acquire as much treasure as possible. Of course, there’s a catch – the temple is filled with various traps and obstacles that threaten to kill you off or trap you inside forevvvvverrrrrr!

Your explorer starts out in a room with walls that are slowly closing in – she can stop to pick up treasure, but if the walls snap shut before she’s out, Sayonara! The next room is a pit of molten lava, with slabs that your explorer can cross on… but four of the slabs will break underfoot and send him to a fiery death.

Throughout the game, a huge boulder snakes its way down a corridor throughout the board, picking up speed with each turn. Not only do you have to avoid getting your little buddy crushed in its path, but you also need to make it out of the temple before the boulder reaches the exit and blocks it for all eternity. Alas!

There’s also a river you can choose to swim down (but make sure you time your jump out before going over the waterfall!) and a rickety bridge to cross (look out for those loose planks!)… or you can take the scenic route to go after high-value treasure, but be careful not to linger long enough for the boulder to catch up with you!

The HG put me in charge of reading the rulebook and teaching him to play, so the fact that we ended up playing at all, much less with no bloodshed, says quite a lot for a game with this many components. Even with so many tiles, cards, and unique rules for each room on the board, the rulebook was not only 100% comprehensible, but actually quite entertaining to read. Tons of pictures and examples make each stage of the game easy to follow. A quick reference on the back lists the most commonly needed tidbits to save you shuffling through the rulebook mid-boulder-dodge, but the rules really are simple enough that you’ll have it down after one or two plays through.

That whole “simple to learn, lifetime to master” concept applies a little bit to this one – it’s a game of chance, yes, but also a game of careful timing, risk calculation, and decision-making that could probably be fine-tuned more precisely after enough plays.

The girl in me really liked that the rulebook included a very brief backstory for each of the 12 characters – there’s an element of fun that you get when playing as Puccio Cortese, Italian sailor, that’s just missing when you’re playing as “green” or “red.” The painter in me also rejoiced when I saw that the detailed minis come unpainted and ready for my own creative flair, but I can see that being a negative for the non-artsy types.

All of the components are nice and sturdy (particularly the boulder, which has some definite heft), and the board itself is a good size, so hopefully you have a big table. It would be neat if you could rearrange the rooms to make for a different game each time, but I’m content knowing that there are rumors of

The HG and I played through twice and tried out some very different strategies and routes on each play. It was a good time with two players, but would probably be even more fun with more (calls for 2-6). We have high hopes that this is one that will go over well with our non-gamer friends, as well as with our sporty, hesitant-to-game niece and nephews (who range in age from 6-15).

And in case you’re wondering: we both got crushed by the boulder on the first play-through, but both made it out alive on the second – and I won, with the most treasure. An actual win for the gamer wife? Add The Adventurers to my list of go-to games when I’ve had enough of losing, right next to Scrabble.

Have a suggestion for a Gamer Wife game you want to see reviewed? Or just one you think I’d like? Email me at!
(The Hopeless Gamer wants me to remind everyone that there's a contest on for a signed, framed George R. R. Martin print - please check it out! It's an awesome print, but trust me, it doesn't go well in our living room and I'd really like to see him give it away!)


  1. I looked at Adventurers when I was putting together my girlfriend / parents game collection together earlier this week but couldn't find an in depth review. Bookmarking for next round of purchases ;)

  2. The wife and i love this game. I am bummed the minis were unpainted.

  3. I would have been bummed too (I'm a terrible painter) but luckily for me, the Gamer Wife is a really decent speed painter. :D


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