Review: Board Royale

In Board Royale you are stranded on an island with your friends. What are you capable of when it comes to survival?


Arvis Games




Game explanation

In Board Royale you are stranded on a deserted island with your friends. You will all try to survive as long as possible, but only one last-alive person can be the winner! To survive you have to collect resources, craft items, attack, defend, trade and barter. During this cutthroat card game you will really learn who your friends are. What are you capable of when it comes to survival? Be warned, Board Royale can destroy friendships! 


Board Royale is a turn-based card game for 2 to 6 players that works like a battle royale. The goal of the game is to survive no matter what. At the start of the game everyone takes their starting resources. The crafting field on the board will be filled with 4 items. These are the items you can buy. During the first round everyone gets the chance to gather a few more resources and craft items. This is the preparation round, nobody can attack yet. Fortunately, because you want to be prepared before the real game starts. 


During a day on the island all players go through 2 phases: 

Resource phase: During the resource phase you can collect resources by drawing 2 cards from the draw pile or by stealing 1 card from your opponent. You can keep 20 resources in your hand. Or if you manage to get a backpack you can hold 4 more resources! 
Action phase: After collecting resources, the real action begins. During this phase you can craft items, use items, trade and barter. You can, for example, craft a shotgun and use it right away to attack an opponent. 

In Board Royale your resources are the amount of lives you have. Whenever you run out of resources you are dead and out of the game. During the game you have to make sure that you have enough resources to be able to survive attacks by opponents. An attack can cause you to lose resources. For example, if an opponent hits you with his bow and arrow, you have to discard 2 resources. However, the items in the crafting field are also made with resources. If you have the right resources you can craft a shotgun or a knife! This is useful to attack opponents with. You constantly have to keep track of your resources. A small error in calculation can cost you your life!

Board Royale offers a lot of variety and possibilities. In the base game there are a lot of different cards. There are items you can use at every moment, like the grenade. You can even use these when you get attacked by an opponent. Besides that you have items with which you can attack, steal, defend and support-items like a backpack or med-kit.

If you are not so violent, don't be sad! Board Royale offers another possibility to leave the island alive. If you aren't good at attacking your opponents, then you can leave early. Besides weapons you can also craft escape items. These items give you escape points. If you are the first one to collect 10 of these points you win the game! This gives you a possibility to leave the island without bloodshed!

In Board Royale you can play many different modes. There is a special mode for 2 players, a version where you can try to escape the island in teams and a peaceful game. But it doesn't stop there! There are already 4 expansions that can be added to the game for endless variation. These 4 expansions are standard in the survival bundle. 

Military: The military expansion offers new weapons and items, like a grenade, C4 and a drone. This expansion can be directly added to the game for an even greater selection of items. While attacking with this expansion you have to watch out that you don't step on a mine!
Skills: With this expansion you can take on the role of various characters such as the thief, the diplomat and the doctor. This character comes with special cards that give you extra benefits and items. 
Disaster: This expansion can make the game harder or easier for everyone. This expansion contains extra items and a new pile of 'disaster' cards. At the start of each day, players draw a disaster card. This card can show very unpleasant weather conditions such as snow or fog. When it's snowing, no one can collect resources. Luckily, there can be sunshine after the rain! And whenever the sun shines players get extra resources. With the new items in this expansion you can protect yourself from the weather. A raincoat can be very useful when playing this expansion! 
NSFW: The NSFW expansion makes Board Royale an even better party game. This expansion comes with a big pile of new (18+) cards. At the start of your turn you always have to draw an NSFW card from the pile. This expansion offers cards like Russian roulette. When someone draws this card, all players have to draw cards in turn until someone draws a bullet. That player is very unfortunate and has to discard 8 resources. 

Our thoughts 

Board Royale is a very fun and intense party game with a strong and well-developed theme. The game is put together well. The theme has been implemented in all of the cards and the playing board. We love that the game contains a playing board, this adds something extra to the experience. 

During the game there is a lot of interaction with your opponents and the game is particularly suitable for a larger group. In fact, the game works best from 4 players. The game fast with a lot of action. Besides that, every moment is exciting. If you make a small mistake it can cost you your life! Everyone is on their guard while playing and is on the edge of their seat! 

The game offers endless possibilities with a lot of different cards, modes and expansions. Every game is different. We played a lot of games already but we still see new cards sometimes. Besides that, there is a lot of room to play with your own set of rules. The makers even encourage doing this in the manual. You can create the game that you and your (for now) friends feel like playing at that moment. 

Playing with 2 players

We can say with certainty that Board Royale works best in a larger group. We played the 2 player games in different ways. We still like the game a lot, but sometimes run into some problems. A game with 2 players can sometimes end very quickly. We found that in a normal duel game you can be dead on the first day. This does ruin the experience a little bit.
The makers are aware of this and are doing their utmost to improve the game. They are currently working on an update so that the game is better balanced with 2 players. Fortunately, it is very easy to adjust the rules yourself. By picking the right mode and with some creativity, coming up with your own rules can get you a long way. We really love playing duel mode in combination with the peaceful mode together with all the expansions. 

Pros and cons 

+ Well-developed theme
+ Unique battle royale experience
+ Lots of variation and high replayability
+ Perfect as a party game
+ Lots of action and interaction

Some situations can be a bit unclear due to the combinations of different cards
A game with less players can end quite quickly
If you're dead there's nothing to do other than waiting for the other players. 

 We have been in regular contact with Arvis Games about our experience and playing with 2 players. We can only praise them for how they receive feedback and what they do with it. They are very engaged with the players and the community. They do their very best to create a card game where everyone can enjoy the ultimate battle royale experience. 

At the moment, the makers are busy developing new expansions. These expansions will introduce new modes like co-op, semi co-op and a non-elimination mode. The campaign will soon launch on Kickstarter! 

This game has been kindly gifted by the publisher for review purposes.