Lost Island: Rules
January 25, 2007
These are the rules for the boardgame Lost Island. This game is co-operative, but has competitive elements - the
players must work together if they want to escape the island, but they compete
amongst themselves to score the most points in the process. There is still some
shakedown going on with this game, so these should not necessarily be
considered final. If you are consumed by temporary insanity and build your own
the hexes together except the Volcanoes and Crash Sites.
Place a Crash Site in the centre of the table, and place two random hexes next to it. Put each of the player’s Pawns on the Crash Site. This is the starting setup.
Then, shuffle one of the Volcanoes into the pile of hexes.
Optional Rule: For a slightly easier game, place a Fire on the Crash Site during the setup.
Lost Island is
a game arranged into a sequence of phases. Each of these phases, known as
Chapters, concerns a different part of the story of the player’s escape from
the island (or their ultimate demise!) The Chapters are as follows:
- Exploration: in which the players find Wood and light Fires.
- Building: in which the players build a Hut.
- Escape: in which the players attempt to build their Raft to escape.
The players gain certain new abilities as
the game progresses.
Each player takes their turn in clockwise
order, with the first player being chosen at random by a die roll. This is the
- Place Hex: draw a hex from the pile and place it according to the placement rules.
- Move Monster: if there is a Monster somewhere on the island, it moves.
- Take Actions: the player spends their Actions to Move, Make or Build.
- Monster Attacks! if there is a Monster in the same hex as the player whose turn it is, it mauls them.
Each of these steps is described below.
1. Place Hex
During the game, new hexes will be drawn from the pile and placed onto the island. The following rules govern hex placement:
- Every hex must be placed so that at least one edge touches the edge of another hex.
- Water edges must always be placed such that they touch other water edges (or nothing).
- Land (Beach or
Forest) edges must always be placed such that they touch other land edges (or nothing).
- Mountain edges are ‘wild’ and can touch either water, land or other mountain edges.
- The Volcano counts as a Mountain for hex placement.
Additionally, whenever the player places a
2. Move Monster
2a. Placing New Monsters
Initially, there are no Monsters in play.
Each of the Monsters only appears when a certain condition is met:
- The Beach Monster appears when there are three Beach hexes that connect.
- The Forest Monster appears when there are three
Forest hexes that connect.
- The Mountain Monster appears when there are three Mountain hexes that connect.
- The Volcano Monster appears whenever the Volcano is drawn.
The Crash Site does not count as a Beach for Monster placement (but it does for Searching).
Whenever a Monster appears, the player who
played the hex that caused it to appear can place it into any of the hexes responsible
for its appearance.
Note that, generally speaking, players should be trying to avoid Monsters appearing (at least during the Exploration phase) as it will make life much more difficult for them. Therefore, they should be trying to find places to put hexes that will not make three consecutive hexes of the same type. However, evil players may want to make a Monster appear where it will maul the other players. But be careful – revenge can be vicious in this game!
2b. Moving Monsters
When a player has to move a Monster, the
following rules apply:
- The player moves one and only one Monster.
- The Monster that moves is the one that is closest to the player’s Pawn.
- The Monster must move so that it is 1 hex closer to the player’s Pawn.
- If the closest Monster cannot be moved such that it is one hex nearer to the player’s Pawn, the Monster that is the next furthest away moves instead.
- If no Monster can be moved closer, no move takes place.
Note that if there is a Monster in the same
hex as the player’s Pawn, they will be moving another Monster (since this
Monster cannot get any closer).
Furthermore, there are restrictions on where monsters can be placed:
- No Monster can cross a Fence (see below).
- The Beach Monster cannot move to where it is not in or adjacent to a Beach hex.
- The Forest Monster cannot move to where it is not in or adjacent to a Forest hex.
- The Mountain Monster cannot move to where it is not in or adjacent to a Mountain hex.
- The Volcano Monster, however, can move anywhere.
Each Monster has a different number of
circles representing its life (see the scoring track in the Components):
- The Forest Monster has 3 circles.
- The Beach Monster has 4 circles.
- The Mountain Monster has 5 circles.
- The Volcano Monster has 7 circles.
There are also 2 shaded circles for each
Monster. These are ‘bonus points’ scored when the Monster is slain.
3. Take Actions
The player Moves or takes Actions in this phase. The players gain certain new Actions in the later Chapters of the game.
At the start of the game, each player gets
3 Actions. (When they build a Hut, this increases to 4 Actions).
Movement costs are as follows:
- 1 Action to enter a Beach hex.
- 2 Actions to enter a Forest hex (1 Action with a Machete – see below).
- 3 Actions to enter a Mountain hex (1 Action with a Cart – see below).
It’s a free action (i.e. no cost) to pick
up a Wood counter that is in the current hex. (For example, every new Forest
hex that is placed has a Wood counter on it; when the player enters such a hex,
they can pick up that Wood counter).
The player can carry up to 3 Wood counters. Any surplus Wood that cannot be carried must be left on the current hex.
The following Actions apply in all Chapters
of the game:
- Search: searching for Wood costs 1 Action.
On a Beach, the player finds a Wood counter on a 5 or a 6 on one die.
Forest, the player finds a Wood counter on a 3, 4, 5 or 6 on one die.
- Explore: exploring costs 1 Action. Draw an extra hex and place it according to the usual rules. But beware – when there are no hexes left to draw, the Volcano will erupt…
- Make: it costs 1 Action to make:
(a) between 1 and 3 Spears to attack a Monster.
Each Spear costs 1 Wood to make.
Roll one die for each Spear thrown; on a 5 or a 6 the Monster is wounded – place one of the player’s counters on the scoring track for the Monster.
When a Monster is hit by a Spear, it is moved back 1 hex into a neighbouring hex (this hex must be legal for that Monster).
When the unshaded circles in the Monster’s track are all filled, the Monster is killed! The player can place an extra two counters on the scoring track (over the shaded circles) and the Monster is removed from play.
(b) a Fire.
It costs 2 Wood to make a Fire.
Fires must be three hexes apart from each other (that is, there must be two hexes between each hex with a Fire in it).
Monsters can never enter a hex with a Fire in it.
(c) a Fence.
It costs 1 Wood to make a Fence.
Place the Wood counter along the edge of the hex to show there is a Fence there.
Monsters cannot cross Fences.
If you are desperate for Wood to make Spears and there is a Fence in your location, you can cannibalise the Fence to make a Spear.
4. Monster Attacks!
At the end of each player’s turn, they are mauled by a Monster if there is one in their current Hex. Other players whose turn it is not are unaffected by Monsters. You can only be mauled in your own turn.
Players that are Mauled drop all their Wood
in the current hex, and return to their Hut (if they have one) or the Crash
Site (if not). Tough break!
Optional Rule: if two Monsters end up in the same hex at the end of a player’s turn, they fight! Roll one die for each unshaded circle that a Monster has. Whichever Monster gets the least number of 5’s and 6’s retreats 1 hex (chosen by the current player; the hex must be legal for that Monster).
We are now ready to look at what happens in each Chapter.
Chapter One: Exploration
What is this mysterious place…?
During the Exploration chapter, player’s have the goal of trying to light one Fire for each player.
It costs 1 Action and 2 Wood to make a
Fire, and each Fire must be 3 hexes away from any other Fire (that is, there
must be two hexes between any two Fires).
Players score 1 point for each Fire they light – place a scoring counter on the appropriate scoring track.
Anyone can light as many Fires as they can - it is not necessary for each player to make a Fire, just that one Fire is made for each player.
If Monsters appear in this Chapter, players may fight them (with Spears – see above) in order to earn points.
As soon as there is one Fire for every player, the Exploration chapter ends.
Known problem: it may be the case that with 5 players, it is not practical to make
5 fires that are 3 hexes apart without using up most of the game time, thus
dooming the players to a fiery death. More testing is needed.
Chapter Two: Building
We need shelter…
During the Building chapter, player’s have
the goal of trying to build a Hut.
It costs 3 Actions (the player’s entire turn) to build a Hut, plus 5 Wood. (Since players can only carry 3 Wood, the extra Wood must be piled onto the hex where the Hut is to be built).
Once the player has built a Hut, they get 4
Actions instead of 3.
Furthermore, there are restrictions as to where a Hut can be built:
- The hex where a Hut is built must be surrounded by hexes on all sides.
- The hex where a Hut is built must be enclosed by Fences or water. Therefore, on a hex with water, three Fences must be made, and on a hex without water, six fences must be made.
Players score more points the sooner they
build their Hut (place scoring counters in the appropriate place on the scoring
- 4 points for the first Hut.
- 3 points for the second Hut.
- 2 points for the third Hut.
- 1 point for the fourth or fifth Hut.
The Building chapter ends when two or more
players have built Huts.
From the Building chapter onwards, the
players may also build special Tools to help them. It costs 3 Actions (the
player’s whole turn – unless they have already built a Hut) and 3 Wood to make
each of the Tools:
- On a Beach hex, players can build a Crossbow using 3 Wood and a special seaweed that grows only on this island.
The Crossbow means that instead of Spears, players build Crossbow Bolts – these cost the same (1 Wood each, 1 Action to fire 1-3), but wound on a 4, 5 and 6.
Additionally, the player can wound a Monster in a neighbouring hex with a Crossbow.
- On a
Forest hex, players can build a Cart using 3 Wood.
The Cart means that the player can now carry any amount of Wood.
Furthermore, with a Cart, it only costs 1 Action to enter a Mountain.
- On a Mountain hex, players can build a Machete using 3 Wood to smelt some iron ore.
The Machete means that the player automatically finds Wood when they Search in a Forest. (This still takes 1 Action, but they do not have to roll a die).
Furthermore, with a Machete, it only costs 1 Action to enter a
Note that there are only 2 of each Tool, so
if there are 3 or more players not everyone can get each of the Tools. Players
must decide how much they want the Tools – they are useful, but are the worth
the time and cost to build them…?
Whenever there are no hexes remaining in the pile, the Volcano erupts! This usually happens in the Building chapter, but it could happen at any point. Once the Volcano erupts, instead of drawing and placing a hex, the player flips over a hex (to represent that hex is covered in molten lava).
The following rules restrict which hexes
can be flipped:
- The first hex to be flipped is always the Volcano.
- Subsequent hexes must neighbour another hex which has been flipped.
- Players may not flip a hex with a Pawn upon it unless there are no other hexes that can be flipped. Any player whose Pawn is on a hex that is flipped is out of the game.
- Anything on a flipped hex is destroyed, with the single exception of the Volcano Monster. The players must kill this themselves.
Chapter Three: Escape
We’ve got to get out of here!
To escape the island, the players must build a Raft.
To begin the Raft, two Pawns belonging to
players who have already built Huts must be in the same hex, and each player
must contribute 1 Wood. This is 1 Action for the player whose turn it is. (If
one player has 2 Wood and the other none, they may give the other player 1 Wood
as a free action).
The Raft must be constructed in a hex with water edges. Once the Raft is begun, it cannot be moved.
It costs 1 Action and 1 Wood to contribute
to the Raft, and every time a player does so they get to place a counter on the
scoring track for the Raft (this includes the first two Wood contributed by the
first two players).
Although a Raft can only be begun by two players who have built Huts, anyone can contribute to the construction of the Raft once it has begun, even if they haven't built a Hut.
The Raft is complete when all ten of the circles on the scoring track for the Raft are covered by counters.
If players run out of scoring counters
(which can happen if they have spent a lot of effort fighting Monsters), they
cannot contribute – they are two exhausted to construct the Raft!
Play proceeds around the table one more time, so that every other player gets an extra turn. The next time it is the turn of the player who contributed the last Wood to the Raft, all players with a Pawn on the same hex as the Raft escape the island! Congratulations, you made it.
Everyone else is stranded behind!
Winning the Game
After the players have escaped, count up
the counters on the scoring track. Whichever player has the most is the winner.
If more than one player has the most, all such players win.
Next, we’ll go through the designer’s notes for this game.
When you're all finished would you mind publishing the documents for lost Island in a pdf or some other easily printable format? Sounds like it would be fun to try out. Thanks!
Posted by: Greg Williams | January 25, 2007 at 05:45 PM
Greg: while I don't mind distributing the docs, it seems like a lot of work for the very small number of people who might be interested! :) I wrote the drafts as Word docs, so they are available in principle.
I hide my email address behind an annoying "secret trail" to prevent any further build up of spam, but if you start by following the About link on this site, you can get a message to me and I can forward the docs to you.
Alternatively, if anyone else is interested in a printable form I can get a minion to PDF the paperwork, I suppose, or at least RAR up the Word docs and make them available for download somewhere.
Thanks for taking an interest!
Posted by: Chris | January 26, 2007 at 12:16 PM
This sounds like a *really* cool game. I love board games, especially ones with tile laying mechanics (Aquire, Samurai, etc.) and I like the co-operative/competitive nature of the game. I also think your scoring system is very elegant, especially the scoring "cap" when the player's run out of counters. :)
Will try making my own copy in the future and let you know how it goes down with my gaming group!
Posted by: Stephen | February 02, 2007 at 07:27 PM
Cool - if you do make a set, I'd love to hear about it Stephen! Best wishes!
Posted by: Chris | February 06, 2007 at 12:33 PM
Wow that game sounds really awesome. I want to play...
Posted by: Andrew | June 20, 2007 at 02:37 PM
Oh, and nice job on the hand-painted Hexes.
Posted by: Andrew | June 20, 2007 at 02:39 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Andrew! I think I prefer the Black Sun hexes, on the whole, but it was a lot of fun making both games.
Posted by: Chris | June 20, 2007 at 10:08 PM