The Bermuda crisis:Discovery Dawning

Game Overview: On the verge of finally unraveling the Bermuda Triangle mystery, all players make their way to a powerful and secret remote island.  You will race to secure the island’s treasures which include artifacts, magic, and an ancient scroll.  As you gather resources, you will build up different base camps for your team which provide new abilities and provide victory points.  There are multiple ways to win the game, depending on the strategy and path you take along with how the game itself plays out.

Box Contents: Overall, the contents that you will find are top notch.  With great art and very fine quality across all components.  This includes five glossy game boards that are double sided, 199 total cards, and the cardboard tokens that are used to track victory points.

The only issue we have is how all mystique cards list the number of resources required to obtain them on the card back.  It is very difficult to read this as the text is very small and kind of gets lost in the art.

The box has plenty of room inside with two storage compartments.  The four oversized skill boards store nicely on top of the storage compartment.  However, you will likely need to add some bags (not included) for the six different card decks to keep them from getting mixed up.

Clarity of Rules: A twelve-page colored and glossy manual will be found within the box.  Overall it does a decent job of explaining the game and includes multiple pictures throughout to help in learning the game.

The complaint that we have concerning the rules manual is the size of the text and color schemes that are used.  The text used is a very small font and may cause some issues for people or in bad lighting conditions.  Most of the text has a glowing background which causes additional difficulties in reading the text, especially when the background is a similar color to that glowing background.

Game Play:  When setting up the game, each player gets a skill map.  This represents the three different camps and paths that players can take during the game.  Each level on the skill map opens up new actions and abilities that you are able to take.  The board is double sided.  One side is the basic side where all players follow the same paths.  The other side is an advanced side which gives players choices on which actions they will unlock.

Resources play a large part in the game.  There are common resources and rare resources and each have their own deck of cards.  The common resources include water, lumber, stone, and coal.  Whereas the rare resources include gold, pearls, oil, and diamonds.

The skill maps require certain combinations of resources to be played before you are able to upgrade your camps to open up those new abilities.  They also provide one or two victory points with each upgrade.

You also use resources to obtain other cards. 

  • Ambush Mystique Cards- 3 common resource cards required.  Allows you to impact other players.
  • Boost Mystique Cards- 3 rare resource cards required.  Allows you to take actions that will benefit you. 
  • Venture Mystique Cards- Any 3 resource cards required.  These cards have an active ability that has a positive affect for you and once rotated, has a negative affect on you until you are able to rotate it again

Initially, players start with three common resources and one rare resource.  The first few turns, you will likely be drawing resources to start down one of the paths on the skills board.  If at any time, you draw an artifact card from either resource deck, you must play it face up in your player area and then you will move the token one step forward on the Discovery Dawning Track.

As the tokens progress along this track, it will provide cards to players at certain points and also sets up an end game point if the token makes it all the way to the end without anyone achieving the required fourteen victory points.  If this occurs, the winner is determined by the number of nature points.  These are obtained by getting Ambush and Mystique cards and then not using them, as they are each worth 2 nature points.  A few of these will be worth 1 nature point after they have been played.  Also, the Venture cards have anywhere from 5 to -5 nature points that will be displayed once you obtain the card.

When you have obtained an artifact card and have played it in front of you, on your turn you can use it in various ways.

  • Draw any of the mystique cards without paying its resource requirements.
  • Disable another player’s camp abilities until the artifact card has been removed.  You can also discard an artifact card to remove the card that has locked out your camp abilities.
  • Treat it as a wild resource when building or upgrading a camp.
  • Destroy a player’s face up or face down Ambush or Boost cards.
  • Rotate a Venture Card.

As you move along the Discovery Dawning Track, you will come to a space where everyone draws a Catalyst card.  These provide a secret objective and when you obtain that, you play the card in front of you for a single victory point.  There are two objectives on each card and the one that you must fulfill is determined by the number of victory points you currently have.  Once one secret objective is met, you draw another one.

Play continues with each player taking their turn until one of the three victory conditions have been met.

Replay Ability: With the ability to try different strategies each game, there is a lot of replay ability here.  There are so many different choices that you can make to change the game up for both yourself and the other players in the game.  Sometimes the choices you make are going to be based on the direction the game is going, so you have to be very flexible with your choices.

Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 12+.  However, you should be able to go down to the 8-10 age range.  There is plenty of reading that is needed along with being able to understand the different strategies needed to win the game.  There is some `take that` within the game, so make sure younger kids are able to handle this.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: We really enjoy the different options you have on your turn and how you are not limited to a set number of actions before passing play onto the next player.  However, at times this leads to some down time for other players, especially in a four-player game.  In addition, the Discover Dawning Track is a fun aspect of the game not knowing when or if you will run out of time.  It comes down to the cards that are being drawn by the players and the advancement along the time track that the players may or may not be influencing.

Using the advanced side of the skills map is a must once you have learned the game as you will have some very difficult decisions to take on what abilities you will choose for that game and the choice you make may be dictated by the path your opponents are taking.

Being able to take different strategies to win the game is definitely a huge plus with the game giving you three paths you can try to take to force the game end.  Most games for us seem to end with the player getting to the 14-victory point total.  We have seen the game end with the time running out and having to go to the nature points.  It seems the only way this is likely to happen is when players use the skills in the camps to manipulate the time track to move it along faster than what it normally does.  The most difficult way to win is to get three scroll pieces.  There is a single scroll piece in the common resources, the rare resources, and the Venture cards.  It can be done but will be based on being very lucky and/or having opponents willing to trade away any of the first two pieces that are seen.

Another great aspect with the different victory paths is when someone is doing something in the game that dictates it going in one direction; you may be able to find a way to counter that.

The use of the venture cards felt unique in that it gives you a positive effect but not as many nature points.  Then when that card is flipped the other way, it gives you more nature points but generally impacts you in a negative way.

One part of the game that might fall flat for some is the trading process.  The reason to trade is to gain victory points or get a little closer to obtaining those hard-earned points.  All players know this and may be reluctant to do this.  It wouldn’t be an issue if this was just an option in the game.  However, some catalyst cards require a certain trade to occur.  Ultimately, it comes down to the gaming group.  Some may be more open to the trading and others may flat out refuse to.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  This is the 2nd edition of the game, with the first edition also being released by Lysander Games in 2010.

          **A review copy was provided to us.