Games

Discover: Lands Unknown – Board Game Review

Regular readers will know that we are huge board game fans and regularly blog for the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club. I love to help you discover new board games for you and your family to play. This month we have been playing Discover: Lands Unknown. When I first found out about this game, I was super exited to play it… and it didn’t disappoint!

Discover: Lands Unknown

You awaken with a splitting headache and no idea how you got here. The wilderness stretches in every direction, and something howls in the distance. Your quest for answers will have to wait; first, you need to survive. Will You help the others that are stranded here or will you save yourself at any cost?

Discover: Lands Unknown can be played on your own, or with up to 4 people. I am loving solo games at the moment, as it means that when I’m having a quiet hour in the afternoon I can enjoy a quiet game by myself. One of my other favourite solo games has to be Unlock! an escape rooms game.

Discover: Lands Unknown takes players on an explorative journey across wild terrain. You must find out more about your surroundings, gather resources (such as food, water and meat), fight wild animals and try to find a way out of the desolate land that you find yourself in- alive!

Uncover The Secrets

This game is incredibly unique. Not one copy of Discover: Lands Unknown is exactly the same as another.  Each and every copy of the game has a unique mix of scenarios, characters, landscapes, items and enemies. Because of this, the review that follows below is unique to us. The premise of the game is the same across all copies, but the cards and characters that you see in the photographs are going to be different from game to game. Because of this, you cannot mix and match multiple copies of Discovery: Lands Unknown.

Set Up

The first time that you play this game, please allow yourself around an hour to set up the game properly, build parts and learn the rules. You may feel overwhelmed by the different aspects of the game, but once you start playing you will realise that the game is actually very simple. Unfortunately, I found the rule books (yes there are a few! A main book and one for each terrain) rather confusing. But, take your time, learn the game and once you start playing you’ll be flying through Lands Unknown!

During set-up players are assigned a character card. Our box contained 12 cards, out of a possible 36 with each character boasting different strengths and abilities.

Work alone or try to help? What are we doing here?

In Discover: Lands Unknown players can choose to work together as a team for victory or work solo to win the game on their own. When your game begins, you have no idea where you are, how you got there or what you will do to escape. In our game we decided to work together to scout the area as close to our camp fire to gather resources, to ensure that we survived the night.  Being at the camp fire at the end of each day has huge benefits. If all players leave the fire when nightfall arrives, then you run the risk of being in big danger.

Over the course of the game, we separated ways and explored opposite ends of the board. We then came together at the end of the game to work as a team to get ourselves off of the island and become victorious together. Playing in this way has some downfalls. We were often fighting solo against monsters of the night or wild ferocious animals. If we had worked together as a pair throughout the game, I doubt I would have taken so much hit damage and escape by the skin of my teeth! Lesson learned.

Thoughts on the game

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect the initial set up to be so hefty. This left me feeling a little disheartened. But once the game was set up for the first time, I gained the knowledge to set it up in a fraction of the time the next time we decided to play. The first time you play Discover: Lands Unknown allow yourself extra set-up time. Remember, it won’t be like that every time you play, it’s just there are a lot of components that need popping out of the packaging when you first open the game for the first time.

It took a couple of rounds to get ourselves familiar with the rules of the game, but once we had played for a little while, we were playing easily with minimal need to look up information in the rule book. By the end of the game we were flying through the game and working well as a team.

We did find that throughout the rule book the terminology used was rather inconsistent. For example, the term ‘discard’ can mean different things for different game pieces or types of object. This is something that you will get used to but it took us a while to realise.

The game is beautifully designed, and looks incredible. Having a one-of-a-kind game that is unique to us, feels luxurious and personalised. The card board pieces are made from a thick quality card with beautiful illustrations.

The only small negatives that I would like to raise would be that the game contains plastic meeples (regular readers of my game reviews will know how much I love a good meeple). I would have like to have seen these meeples made from painted wood. It’s not often we come across plastic meeples, but when we do, we can feel the difference during game-play… as pedantic as that sounds!

The contents of the game are all wrapped in single use plastic too. We were left with a lot of trash after the initial set up. But, this isn’t something that we have just discovered with Discover: Lands Unknown. Most board games contain plastic wrapped pieces. It would be lovely to see items in paper envelopes instead of plastic in the future (check out the board game Gen7 and the games’ cool paper envelopes)

Conclusion

All-in-all we LOVED Discover: Lands Unknown. It took us a little while to fall in love with the game, but once we got into the swing of play our whole perceptions of the game changed. We are slightly addicted to it now, and we are saving up for another copy to see what variation of the game we get next! We are now huge fans of Discover: Lands Unknown and will be a regular game for us during our game nights. 

The game combined all of our favourite game mechanics: exploration, map reveals, hidden pieces, combat, mystery and story generation. There were at times when the story felt a little forced, but we could overlook this as the game itself was lots of fun.

This is a big game, with a lot of parts and a big box so don’t expect to be able to take it on holiday with you. It’s suitable for children aged 12+ but I think slightly younger children would be able to play the game with a little help.

Game play lasts between 1-2 hours, depending on how quickly you find a way out of your scenario. But please allow yourself an extra hour for leaning the set-up the first time you ever play.

Buy It

Discover: Lands Unknown is made by Fantasy Flight Game, distributed by Asmodee.

You can buy a copy of Discover: Lands Unknown from good independent board game shops and online. It has an average price of £38 but do shop around for the best price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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