Inside the Box is an in-depth look at the contents of a board game. It covers the quality, quantity, and aesthetic value of what is found inside the game box.
I first saw images of Tobago posted on BoardGameGeek and I instantly had to learn more about this great looking game. Tobago is a treasure hunt game. Each player narrows down the location of any of 4 possible treasures on the island. Once it is found they drive over in their ATV and raise the treasure. It’s been a hit with everyone I’ve played with and, like I’ll explain, looks great.
The box is of standard quality and does the job. The cover art shows an Indiana Jones-like character and his companion hunting for treasure. It gives a feeling of adventure.
Inside the box is a plastic insert that holds all of the components – most of them neatly in place. There is a spot for the amulets, palm tree and statue tokens, cards and board. My only complaint with the insert is the large bin that holds the rest of the small bits and tokens – which there are a lot of and need to be sorted each time you play. I highly recommend picking up 8 little plastic bags to store the 4 player and 4 treasure tokens in separately.
The board is actually 6 pieces: three double sided sections of island and three clamps. This allows for 32 different island layouts. The clamps do a nice job of holding the board together and also serve as a place to set the cards and amulets while playing. The island itself is made of hexes that are broken into different terrain types: lakes, mountains, jungle, etc. Most of the hexes are very simply done with just a few little details, like shells and crabs on the beach, that add some interest.
The set-up guide is clear and concise. The rules on the other hand are cluttered. There are plenty of examples of game-play and diagrams of how things work, but these immediately follow each basic action and make the game seem more complicated than it actually is. The first page could have simply listed the basic rules and actions while the other pages cover them in more detail with examples.
There are two small decks cards. The clue card deck consist of symbols that show where the treasure can or cannot be. In the image above, the top left card shows the treasure is not in a lake while the top right tells us the treasure is within 2 hexes of a statue. The other deck makes up the treasure. Each card has a certain victory point value, from 2-6, except two curse cards. The meaning of any card can be determined clearly from the effective illustrations.
The tokens are where this game shines. They really did a great job of paying close attention to detail with these. There are 5 different kinds of tokens included in the game:
Site Markers:These are small wooden blocks of 4 different colors: black, gray, white and brown. These are used to note the possible locations of each of the 4 treasures on the map.
ATV: The all-terrain vehicle (or ‘jeeple’ as I’ve seen it called) is the player token. These wooden tokens have been painted in four bright colors which are easy to distinguish. There is a windshield and front grill painted on the ATVs which give them a great look. You can’t help driving these around the island as if they were actually traversing the terrain.
Huts: These along with the palm trees and statues act as additional landmarks in the island. Simple, wooden, brown shapes, but effective.
Palm Trees: These are great tokens. They are wood and carved beautifully. Notches in the trunk give it texture. The details in the palm leaf make the trees come to life.
Statues: And the best token in the game are the statues. As well as being another landmark, the gaze of the statue is where amulets wash ashore to the island. These are ceramic and give the statue weight. The texture and color make them feel like they were carved from stone centuries ago.
Other than a few minor criticisms of the rules and storage, this game looks amazing. The game is fun to play, but I think part of the appeal is the great game components. They make the game fun to look at the get your hands on.