Paradise Fallen is a game by Andrew Wright published by Crash Games and Game Salute. It is for 2-4 players. Players try to move and explore several islands depending on the number of players. This is done through hand management and using special powers that each explored island gives the player. The 9 islands are shuffled and placed face up in a 3×3 grid. Each player then receives a canoe token of their chosen color and is dealt 5 cards. Placing their token on the center island, the game is ready to begin. Moving is done through the use of Ration cards as each island has a specific cost located in the top right corner. Playing these Rations allows the player to either move through or land on the island. Exploration is then done by playing the specific island card that the player lands on. A Kanaloa token is placed on the island to represent that the player has explored that particular place. Along the way they will encounter different hazards which are referred to as Aberration cards. These cards can make it where the player has a harder time moving onto or off of an island, or even discard cards. Each island that is explored, gives a special one time use power. There are also special Aptitude cards that can be used to help the player out as well. The first player to explore the required amount of islands is the winner.
The game is mainly a card game, so there are lots of cards. Let me just say, these cards are beautiful. I was amazed at how well done each one was. I love the humorous representaions of 2 old favorites on the Ration cards. The Stam and Twonkies (Spam and Twinkies respectively), were a very nice touch indeed. The texture of each card was unlike anything i’ve ever held in my hand before. I’m not sure how these cards were designed but it was definitely something I found that I liked. I’m doubt, even with repeated shuffling, that I will see any type of wear on these cards. The 9 island tiles are simply cards. As stated above, I like them. However, it would have been nice if the islands were done in thick cardboard instead. Still I’m not complaining. The cards get the job done. The colorful wooden canoe meeples are a sheer delight. I can’t get enough of wooden pieces. A+ job with this one guys. Now one of the only sour notes that I have with the components, the Kanaloa tokens. These little orange wooden tokens have to be stickered first, but that’s not the problem. I felt that it would have been better if each player had color coded pieces that they could place on each island they explored instead. It would have made it much simpler to determine where you had been and where you needed to go. When we played we placed our markers on the side of the island closest to ourselves, ala Smash Up. It worked fine enough but still I felt it could’ve have been implemented better. One last gripe, the island powers. It would have been nice to have had a player handout with each island’s powers on them as we found ourselves passing the rulebook back and forth between players. Still not bad overall.
7 out of 10
The rules are a rather small book that is very easy to understand. It was easy enough to find all the information that we needed for Island powers, aberattions, and aptitudes. Still would have liked a player handout like the double sided one with all the iconography on the cards, but that’s not the rule book’s fault. So I have to say, the rules were well done.
9 out of 10
So how does it play? Well, for our group, we tended to like it pretty well. It wasn’t a long drawn out game with super tough decisions to make. With repeated gameplay, I’m sure that all the card icons and island powers would be pretty much second nature to us all. As it was stated above, we found ourselves sharing the rule book pretty heavily. Still it was a rather quick, fairly light game with a little bit of a take that type of feel to it. Playing aberrations on islands to make things more difficult for the other players was kind of a nice element. It really had the feel of exploration. The theme came out rather well I think. I’m not really sure how much more could have been done to make it more thematic than it was. All in all, I would say this was a rather good game.
8 out of 10
Paradise Fallen is a rather fun game of hand managment and exploring. It is definitely one that I will enjoy playing again. You definitely want to play this one with more than 2 people though. It’s much more fun that way. There are more player interactions and more ways to mess each other over with additional players. I have to say, I thought this game was more fun than I thought it would be. So if you like any type of card game, this just might be right for you.
8 out of 10