Tag Archives: Palm Island

Palm Island, a card game you can play in your hand

Initially, I wanted to get a copy of Palm Island before my family and I went on vacation to Disney World last summer. Alas, I never bit the bullet and instead brought along One Deck Dungeon, which, to nobody’s surprise, I didn’t even play once…for various reasons. Mostly because there are a lot of components to that game, such as a handful of colored dice, and you need a decent amount of table space to really set everything up. The idea behind Palm Island eliminates the need for this space, allowing you to play an entire match in the very palm of your hand. I ordered a copy several weeks ago and am glad to finally have it in my collection, as it actually does what it claims to do. Go figure.

Palm Island uses a deck-transforming mechanic that allows a player to play with just 17 cards over eight rounds to shape their island and overcome its unique challenges. You’ll store resource cards to pay for upgrades and upgrade buildings to access new abilities and gain victory points. Each decision you make will drastically change your village from round to round. After eight rounds, you calculate your score, and I’m still ending most of my games in the “needs work” range, but I can see the potential each time to do better. Palm Island is a solo card game with multiplayer variants, and the copy I got comes with enough cards for two decks, which is generous and kind of neat to see.

Here’s how the game ultimately works. Each card, which are double-sided, has four states, and they all start at state one when you begin playing. As you proceed through the game, which consists of a total of eight rounds, you may upgrade cards by rotating or flipping them, so long as you have the resources to do so. These actions change the card for the rest of the game and can help you gain more resources or victory points down the line. The decisions then come down to either upgrading your resource cards for more effects or spending all you got to build that grand temple for a ton of victory points. A lot of this deciding is affected by your initial shuffle of cards; for instance, one game, I ended up having all my temples back to back in a row, unable to do anything but skip past them, which meant losing out on a lot of victory points.

Palm Island has a fairly distinct look, with artwork done by Jon Mietling. It’s tropical, colorful, and well designed, with clear pictures for different resources and actions. In fact, for cards doing quadruple duty, there’s quite a lot of information to grok, but it never felt overwhelming. I did have to constantly double-check which was the flip upside-down icon versus the flip card over icon, but I eventually got it. The cards themselves are sturdy and thick, but a bit slippery, which can be dangerous when you are playing everything in your hand and trying to keep organized. Turning and un-turning resource cards can be tricky, and if you drop the deck you might as well just start the game over as it can be impossible to remember what order every card should be in. Still, that’s a minor complaint overall.

Right. I’ve played it at my kitchen table shortly before dinner. I’ve played it while in the chair at the oncology center getting my latest chemotherapy treatment. I played it on the morning of my wedding to kill time. Palm Island is without a doubt a game I’ll be bringing with me almost everywhere because…well, you can literally play it anywhere. So long as you don’t accidentally drop the deck of cards, you can game it up whenever you want. I truly love that.

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Even more games to acquire in the year 2018

Earlier this year, I put together a post about several games coming out in 2018 that I’m super-duper interested in playing. As if I don’t already have a backlog of un-played games that could fill up the Grand Canyon twice, but whatever. New stuff is always more exciting. Well, of them all, a few have come out, and I’ve gotten to see one through to credits, namely Legendary Gary. I’m still going to be picking up State of Decay 2 for co-op reasons, and I’ll be curious to see how Red Dead Redemption 2 is received despite never playing the first one or really falling hard for the Grand Theft Auto games. I’m also curious to know how The Swords of Ditto runs on PC, since I do not have a PlayStation 4.

Still, it seems like the last couple of weeks have brought about even more announced games for 2018, many of which I want to get my grubby, button-pushing hands on. Because I am never not sated. Right, well, take a look at the following titles below, and let me know if you are also interested in any of these or if you are too busy still playing Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! to care.

No Man’s Sky

A lot of people were upset when No Man’s Sky came out and…maybe they had reasons to be. It over-promised, lacked communication, and potentially felt like a magician’s trick, if you went solely on its marketing. For me, this always sounded like a game I’d really enjoy, a laid-back take on exploring infinite universes, even before the numerous updates that went into it to flesh it out, content- and story-wise. The notion of exploring planets and casually documenting all life on them, both flora and fauna, sounds truly relaxing, real nice. So I’m super stoked this is coming to Xbox One, and this version will contain all the previous updates to the game, as well as the upcoming update dubbed “Next” at the time of the release.

Release date: summer 2018

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive AgE

This is both amazing and sad news to share with y’all, but Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is making its way to western shores after a long time of waiting and wondering. Yahoo and boo. Alas, not for the Nintendo 3DS, where I was hoping to play it and check out its two visual filters, one for retro pixel graphics and one for more modern 3D graphics. Oh well. At least it’ll hit the PC–a first for the franchise!–and I can see what the hubbub is all about, so long as my laptop can run it. Until then, I still have plenty of photos to take in Dragon Quest VIII.

Release date: September 4, 2018

LEGO The Incredibles

Mel and I are currently trying to wrap up LEGO Jurassic World, and it’s definitely one I’m not having a grand ol’ time playing. I mean, I didn’t like the 3DS version, but had hopes that the console versions would be fun. Alas, nope. I have some major issues with the map and fast traveling options, but that’s for another post. Coming out alongside the new movie, LEGO The Incredibles will cover both the first film and its sequel, and I think the superhero powers, as shown in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, make for a good, zany time. That said, Mr. Incredible looks a little jarring in LEGO form, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it, so long as he can bust up stuff effectively for studs.

Release date: June 15, 2018

Lamplight City

I’ve only played one title from Grundislav Games, namely A Golden Wake, but really dug its look, sound, and general vibe. Plus, it was a modern yet old-school point-and-click adventure game, which I truly cannot get enough of these days. The forthcoming Lamplight City from the same developer appears to be checking off all these characteristics as well. It’s a detective adventure set in an alternate steampunk-ish “Victorian” past. Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, you’ll never find yourself stuck in a dead-end situation because if the case becomes unsolvable, you can simply move on to the next one, and the story will adapt based on your choices. Neat-o.

Wait a minute. Upon further research, I also played Ben Chandler: Paranormal Investigator – In Search of the Sweets Tin. Shame on me for forgetting that gem. At some point, I really should check out all them Ben Jordan romps.

Release date: sometime 2018

Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

What a beautifully dumb pun. I smile every time I read it.

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a game I think about going back to often, but the truth is that my Xbox 360 now is kind of unplayable. I mean, no, it still works, but I have to switch a bunch of cords in and out and it’s a small hassle, big enough to keep me at bay. Thankfully, a lot of stuff is backwards compatible on the Xbox One, and, if not, there’s usually a good chance it has or is getting a remake/remaster. Which brings us to Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-Tered. It’s the same-old third-person shooter about revolution on a Martian mining colony from 2009 you remember, but with cleaner textures, 4K support, and all that. I’m excited to go back and be the ultimate nuisance, driving through buildings, blowing up bridges, demolishing houses, and starting trouble at every turn. I never did get all of its collectibles.

Release date: end of June 2018

Palm Island

I’d love to have a solo card/board game to travel with, especially this summer as my family heads to Walt Disney World, and Palm Island seems like it could be perfect for a little gaming on the go or, more specifically, while stuck in an airplane and internally freaking about being so high up in the sky in a massive heap of metal and mouthbreathers. Using a deck-transforming mechanic, players must use just 17 cards over 8 rounds to shape their island and overcome its unique challenges. You do this by storing up resources to pay for upgrades and upgrade buildings to access new abilities, with each decision changing your village from round to round. At the end of 8 rounds, you calculate your victory points to see if you came out a winner. The Kickstarter for Palm Island was successful, which I did not back, and so now we wait.

Release date: estimated delivery in June 2018