At a Glance: Isle of Skye brings so many things I love together in a great Scottish-themed package.
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King is a Eurogame for 2-5 players where you are trying to build a kingdom for your Scottish clan by connecting roads to sources of income and landscapes together to complete different features and score points. Each person starts with a castle tile that provides 5 coins at the beginning of the game and every round. There are 16 total scoring tiles possible, but only 4 will be drawn from random each game. So every game’s goals are very different. Each turn, players draw 3 tiles to set in front of them. Then, behind their screen, they choose one tile to “axe” (discard) and set prices for the other two. This is done from your own gold inventory. The players reveal the prices and take turns purchasing (or not) one of their opponent’s tiles. You keep what is not purchased by your opponent but lose the money you priced it with. Then you place your tiles in your kingdom, making sure to match up lakes, mountains, and fields. You do not have to match up roads, but if you have continuous roads from your castle that lead to gold income tiles, then that increases your income every round. Then you score at the end of every round. However, only certain scoring tiles score for each round. For instance, only the “A” tile scores at the end of the first round. Then the “B” tile is scored at the end of the second round, and so forth. By the last round, multiple scoring tiles are scored. At the end of the game you get bonus points for certain tiles in your landscape and a point for every 5 coins. Whoever has the most points is the winner.
This is my favorite Eurogame (in the style of Carcassonne or Catan). There are so many things I love that this game melds together. Tile-laying, check. Appealing theme, check. Great aesthetics and component quality, check. Cool price-setting mechanic, check. Variable scoring, check. Replayability, check. Quick playtime, check. I expected to like this one at first, but I did not expect to like it AS MUCH as I do. Placing sheep-filled Scottish countryside tiles may not sound exciting, but this game really gets the gears going and the economic system is dynamic and very interesting. Do you price something on the cheap side because you think your opponent won’t want it? But then maybe they buy it because they know it will help you too much. Maybe you put a steep price on something, but then if they don’t take it, you lose that money. What a great, clever concept. Then, we have the scoring tiles. You only use 4 scoring tiles for each game, and there are 16 possible! This provides a huge change in focus from game to game on what aspects are valuable. Yet another strength this game has is that it is just as enjoyable at 2 players as the full player count.
Top notch quality in the production design and components round out the excellent position this game already holds in my mind and collection. It’s like icing on the cake for me. The Scottish Isle of Skye theme is such a great one and the color scheme is bright and it just looks really good on the table too. I highly recommend this one—my #4 favorite game right now!
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2LC8o68