Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Seiji Kanai


No. of Players:
3 - 6



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Adventure Tours is a new family game for 3 to 6 players by SCHMIDT SPIELE. Based on the game Mai Star by Seiji Kanai, SCHMIDT SPIELE has ret-hemed the game with a totally total different story. In the game the players take the role of tour agents who have specialized in exotic trips and who try to get the best economic success out of their expeditions. To reach this goal, they can either invite some wealthy adventurers who demand a highly sophisticated adventure tour, or they can go for some globetrotters with lower demands but also little money. In the game this theme is incorporated by nicely illustrated cards, representing an adventurer each and a player board for the expedition.

At the start of the game every player randomly chooses one of the available expedition boards and places it on the table in front of himself. In the basic version all boards are turned to their basic side, which is the same for every player. So, the players start with identical starting conditions and no special abilities. Next to the large illustration of two camels, three values for the three different kinds of equipment (technology, provisions, clothing) can be found on these boards. The higher the number, the better equipped is the expedition in the corresponding category, and in the basic variant all three starting values are at "3" for every player.


E ach player takes six cards of the 102 shuffled adventure cards. There is a huge variety of adventurer illustrations on the cards, but they are not unique. This results in some confusion, because the same adventurer sometimes demands high values of clothing and on some other cards high values of provisions. In addition, all cards have additional functions. On the one hand a player can use the card to improve the equipment of his expedition by placing this card next to his expedition board, and the type and value of the improvement then taken from the adventure card. So, some of the cards only improve one category, let us say clothing, by one or two, while others improve all categories. If the card is used as an improvement, a player takes a new card from the drawing pile after his turn.

But the cards also can be used as expedition members, if the expedition meets the demands of the adventurer. To check this, the current equipment value is compared with the requirement of the adventure card in the identical category. If the card can be played, it is placed above the expedition board of a player. This however is no guarantee that it is still in that place at the end of the round, but if it is, it will give the player as much money as is shown on the card.

A lot of cards also can also be used for additional actions at the moment when they are played as new expedition members to a player's expedition zone. This is represented on the card by a symbol. Not all symbols are self-explaining, but with a small reference card the players (even children) have no problems to get into the game. Some cards have positive effects for the player, like taking another turn or moving equipment cards to the expedition zone. But a lot of cards also have negative effects for the other players. So, for example, a card may allow you to take away the last expedition member of another player and add it to your equipment zone. This can be very annoying if your opponent has played a highly demanding adventurer (who, of course, will pay a good price if the expedition turns out to be a success).

No new card is drawn by the player if a card is played as a new expedition member. So, the players will be loosing cards one by one. If a player has played his last card, the round ends and all payments of the expedition members are counted up. Due to this reason, expedition members who have the special ability to let you or other players draw more cards can be extremely important when it comes to the end phase and you are behind the other players. The game is played for a total of three rounds, and afterwards the final score is calculated.

This basic game is quite ok and works fine, but some varieties for the player's actions would do no harm. For this reason the expedition boards given to the players in the starting phase can be flipped to the expert version side. This results in different starting conditions for the different kinds of equipment, and in addition each player gets a special ability for his expedition for the rest of the round. So, for example, one expedition lets you take another turn if a card is played as an improvement and another expedition lets you add another adventurer to the expedition zone when you have played a card as a new expedition member. Although the different conditions are balanced fairly well, for fairness a new expedition board can be drawn by each player for the following round.


The outcome of a game of Adventure Tours is strongly influenced by luck. A lot depends on which card you and your fellow players are drawing. So, for example, I had a lot of situations in which I improved my equipment turn after turn to play a wealthy adventurer, but afterwards other players played cards with a special ability to steal exactly that adventurer again. While it is true that there is one card to protect your last adventurer, I made the experience that it was rarely of use for me. The reason is that this card must be the last card at your expedition line to use it, and so it must be placed right after the card you want to protect. So, you must either have the ability to play this card in the same turn, or you must have the chance to play it in the next round, and this was often too late for me. The same factor of luck goes for the type of equipment you have improved and for the type your customers are looking for. I would say that this is ok for a family game, but you should be aware of the general orientation of Adventure Tours.

To my mind Adventure Tours is a solid family game. I liked playing it, because of its easy accessibility, the simple rules and the variety of the individual player boards (if played in the expert version). The game duration is tolerable, but sometimes the game drags on because players tend to give other players more and more adventure cards. The ideal duration would be about 30 minutes, but I also had some matches with 60 minutes and more. At that point especially younger players loose interest because the game has lost its momentum. Even though the game is designed for 3 to 6 players, I would say that the ideal number of players is 4. With this cast gameplay keeps a good pace, but the players still have enough time to improve their equipment well enough to attract wealthy adventurers.

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Copyright © 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany