If you haven’t yet played Loot Island yet, grab a box and get in a game – this is a fast paced push your luck game to gain loot, and then push your luck as to how much loot you can take!
If however you are looking at the potential tactics and options within the game, then here are a few of my humble thoughts…
During the Game:
High Curse – High Relics; If you are planning on taking expensive treasure throughout the game you will need to take a relic treasure early in the game. Relics will permit you to discard curses during the game and you will need to be the player taking these early in order to re-use their ability to reduce the number of curses you will pick up in the game.
Low Curse – Late Money; Lot’s of curses are not necessary though, because if you keep a low curse balance through the game you will find that you have the most options at the end. At the end you will have the chance to take the most expensive opportunities and points, and chase your set collection at any cost. At this point, other players may well be avoiding preferred choices just because of the curses it will cost.
Most Curses Rarely Wins; Holding the most curses at the end of the game will rarely offer you the win. At the end of the game you will have to pay down the curses and whilst one extra cost does not seem expensive, the cost of each curse is different for each player. This particularly luck driven moment at the end of the game will give each player a different cost at random with the player with the most curses paying the most per curse. This compounding effect will actually cause a big points swing against the player with the most curses.
Small Islands Early; Taking the small islands early can be important – they will go quickly. This is especially true if you need to get rid of curses and the special actions for curses may be taken by other players realising the importance of them to you.
Small Island Stacking; The small islands can also help you to restack the locations for loot. You may have to tactically wait until late in the turn to have the most impact, but you will be playing a game of nerve as other players will be considering when the benefit is sufficient for them and if you will act the next time you get the chance.
Keeping a card back – particularly a one; Players will rush to place their cards in locations, selecting the colour and pushing out other players through the use of high numbers. However, keeping back a one or a matching card in a relevant colour can offer a player a strategic last minute option to jump into a location if it will be the location for loot.
Planning Ahead; However, sometimes it is not possible to profit immediately. It can be necessary to play cards for the next turn or even the turn after. selecting the colour, placing your piece early and planning ahead. This can be due to effective play or a tough set of choices, but either way it offers players a way to react to every hand!
Moving the ship; Be careful though, planning ahead sounds simple but when some times the next coast will be played and some times it will be jumped you may not know if you are planning one or two turns ahead. Moving the ship can be a simple decision – one you are forced to make – but don’t forget that doing it costs cards and letting others waste cards on this can leave you more cards to play on the island itself.
Plan to Discard; It is an important consideration that when you can take a treasure you can also discard a treasure. Discarding treasure will remove curses. Sometimes it is as important to plan to discard cards useful to your opponents as it is to take the card most useful to you. Marginal choices to your points, can be meaningful choices to your opponents.
Pass When Ready; One key issue, especially in the late game is that the first player marker is important. The first player marker will go tot he player who passes first in a previous round. This player may have had to play sub-optimally in the prior round but the final round may be so significant that this is worth the early pass.