You have been there right. Trapped on a desert island, with nothing but a few buddies to help you out? No! Well thanks to the people at Stellar Factory, you can be. Well in a good way. No Tom Hanks. No Wilson ball. Think like LOST but with less…well crazy underground bunker plot holes.

RAVINE consists of a simple set up, a downed airplane has left a bunch of survivor’s (you, your friends and family). These survivor’s have card bios and special components that can help you to survive. Also in the pack are…well let me list it. A bunch of wooden hearts either heart or not sides. You have a series of cards. Stuff that you find cards, which have varying good and bad results. A set of things you can build. Spear to ward off, well the islands inhabitants. Shelter, to ward off mother natures wrath and a basket. To shop with… You then have night cards. These become dreaded as they can leave you in disaster or at a lost to understand the panic (if you are lucky). And to finish the cards are the fairground, group fun of the madness cards. Get one of these if you have a solitary life left and in a group its a hoot. A wooden fire token that is either hot or not so to speak, is the only other thing in the box.

As a group you have to decide who gets whom and then, well it sounds complicated but once you get it, its the gateway to wonderfulness. You take three wooden heart tokens and roll three others. However many face upwards as hearts are your health. Simple. Then the team starts. Turning over cards as you search, but losing a heart for every card that you get. Some are rewarding and give you back. Others are charlatans and take from you. This test your luck element is divinely simple but feverously repayable. Help and hurt or help and become a hero. As the Covid nightmare trails off toward hope, the elation of success is stirring indeed with this. Your group must survivor until night and the dreaded night card. Do you choose to have a fire burning, wasting valuable wood but stopping. I don’t know… Killer bats for instance! Or do you risk it so as to build a cozy house made of wood?

The value in games like RAVINE is not in the simplistic nature of the set up. Nor is it the divinely clever ideas that float in its space. It is in the moments when players meet in the middle. Work to starve off hunger, flood, beasts and…well the dark. Get to the end and cheers ring. This is far easier than say THE LOST EXPEDITION but it is also hard enough to revisit many, many times. Trickily puzzling the taste buds of a player with its, maybe you should go for it? Maybe its gonna pan out? What if you lose another heart. The games rewards are in its core being. The moment when you arrive at rescue with an arm missing and a leg mauled but alive. Oh so alive.



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