A review copy of Pelican Bay was provided by Lion Rampant Imports. We would like to thank Lion Rampant Imports for supporting our blog. All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.
Two months ago, I picked up one of those staple games that had, somehow, up until that point, eluded my collection. I finally brought home Carrcassone. Shocking, right? I don’t know how this was missed, but when I introduced it to Emily she flipped. We played it almost every night for a month straight. She really seemed to enjoy the tile placement, trying to figure out the puzzle that was within the game. Tile placement seemed to be a mechanic that she really enjoyed. So, when I was offered an opportunity to try out another tile placement game, along the same lines, I immediately agreed!
Pelican Bay, designed by Jacques Zeimet and Rolf Vogt, published by Lion Rampant Imports is a fresh take on tile placement. The goal of the players is to make a beautiful paradise, warm water, sandy beaches, the never ending sun shining down. A tropical paradise designed to attract, not wealthy tourists, but the exotic blue pelican. It turns out this elusive bird is quite picky about where it roosts, and only the best the tropics have to offer will do.
Players take turns placing and scoring tiles in an attempt to bring these birds to the island. The tiles are hexagonal, and contain images of jungles, beaches, and water. To start the game three random tiles are placed in the center of the board, beginning the island. Each player draws two tiles and the game begins! Quick set up means less time for Emmy to lose interest which is a big plus for her, and most younger gamers. During your turn you may play one, or both of your tiles. Placement rules are straightforward, each tile must connect to at least two other tiles. The landscapes on the adjacent tiles must be the same. If you choose to place both tiles they must expand the landscape you are looking to score. When you have finished laying tiles you may score 1 point for each tile that makes up the largest landscape you have expanded. For example, you may choose to score all of the water tiles, if your tile(s) have expanded a water section. You may then chose to place, or move a sun disc. Sun discs prevent tiles from being placed where they are played. If you closed off an area you may place a pelican from the common supply on the area. If there are no pelicans left you you may help yourself to an opponents pelican. These wooden pelican serve as a marker for scoring but are also worth bonus points at the end of the game. You then draw back up to two tiles. If you have closed off an area you may go again, if not play proceeds to the next player. When all tiles from the general supply have been drawn, triggering the final round. When the final round is finished all points are tallied, and the player with the most points wins!
How are the components? They are amazingly beautiful. The artwork pops off of the tiles, bright, and colorful, really giving in to the tropical theme. The wooden pelicans are a very nice touch, and what attracted Emmy to this game initially. The tiles were large, made from really good cardboard stock, and very easy for Emmy to handle. The rule book was colorful and easy to understand, with lots of bright pictures to help illustrate. The illustrations feature an assortment of turtles, birds, sting rays, people, and even a copy of Pelican Bay! They are cute and funny, looking at the tiles before placing them was part of the fun. At some points the illustrations inspired Emmy to make a little story about the game.
As I mentioned, tile placement was a new to Emmy, and she loved the simplicity of Pelican Bay. The sun discs made for some interesting choices, and a great way to block a player from scoring that big landscape. The pelicans were also a nice feature, especially when the general supply ran dry and the stealing began. The game was quick, playing in about 30 minutes, light, and a lot of fun. The quick set up, interesting components, and fun theme were all things that brought my daughter to the table, and kept her there. We had an excellent time playing Pelican Bay, after the first game immediately playing it twice more! Since Pelican Bay arrived it has become the tile placement game in our household. That other game, I forget what it was called now, has been pushed aside. This is a must have for families, and even adults looking for a lighthearted game.
“I liked the pelicans, they were cute. I really liked taking them from Mommy! I think Pelican Bay was a fun game and I think you should try it, you just might like it, well, if you like tiles and pelicans. The tiles were funny! Bye friends!”
Pelican Bay gets a solid:
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