Saturday, January 19, 2013

Board Game Review: Why Do I Have That Sinking Feeling?

The first game that we dug out of the recesses of the gaming closet is an oldie from the behemoth of the board game world, Fantasy Flight Games.  Surprisingly enough, this one doesn't come in one of their legendary coffin boxes which is a good thing since this game would leave a lot of wasted space in there.  But enough banter!  Its time to tread carefully as we keep an eye out for Quicksand.


In Quicksand, the players each take the role of one of six explorers all vying to reach the ancient temple before the others.  But don't be too obvious!  If your opponents figure out who you really are they could sink you up to your neck in quicksand while they run past you and grab the ancient treasure.

What's In The Box?
Unlike today's Fantasy Flight, apparently back in the day their components weren't always quite so mind bogglingly high quality.  This isn't to say that the components are cheap compared to others you might find out there, merely average which still says a lot for FFG's overall level of quality.  The game comes with six different colored wooden discs and counters each representing the different explorers in the game, a set of cards, and a two piece board that locks together like a jigsaw.

There is also a generic liner tray which is nothing special but is good enough to keep all the pieces from sliding all around inside the box.

How Do You Win?
The object of Quicksand is pretty simple; you are trying to get through the jungle to the temple before the other players.  Piece of cake, right?

How Do You Play?
Once the board is set up and the cards shuffled, the first thing you do is choose an explorer.  This is done by choosing a random counter to see which one they will play.  Exactly who you are playing is kept secret from the other players until the end of the game, adding a bluffing element to what would otherwise be a straightforward racing game.

During your turn you play cards from your hand to either move an explorer or sink them into the quicksand!  To move an explorer, you play any number of matching cards and move that explorer that many spaces.  Playing three white cards will move the archeologist three spaces, four red will move the hunter four spaces.  In addition to the regular explorer cards, there are also mask cards which work as wild cards to give a little more flexibility to your move.

Depending on where you end your move there could be addition effects.  Some of the spaces are colored which let you discard a card if the corresponding explorer ends their turn there while others have masks which let you discard with any explorer.  And of course there's also the quicksand (can't have a game called Quicksand without it!).  Any explorer that ends their move on a quicksand space is flipped over to show that they are stuck.  This is no where near as bad as it might sound but it does make the game more interesting as only one explorer can occupy a space so you have to play more cards to jump over anyone in your way.

To rescue an explorer from the quicksand you just need to play one additional card of their color and then off they go.  There are also quicksand cards that you can play from your hand which have the same effect on explorers as the spaces except you can play them anywhere you want.

At the end of the turn you draw back up to six cards and you move on to the next player. 

How Does It Measure Up?
Quicksand is not bad for filler game and we definitely had fun with it but there really isn't much too it.  If you happen to find it for cheap it might be worth picking up (I bought our copy for $5 on clearance) but its not one that I'd devote a lot of time to tracking down.

The Parting Shot...
I hope you've enjoyed this look at Quicksand.  If you have any comments or questions about the game I'd love to here them so go ahead and post them right in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.  Until next time...

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