The Temple of Chac is just waiting for you, filled with a floor over lava, a raging river, a bridge that's falling apart, and numerous treasures waiting for you! What, you didn't think there would be numerous death traps as well? This is the board game The Adventurers, from AEG, which is as close as you'll ever come to playing Raiders of the Lost Ark -- and not just because of the giant boulder.

Players get two characters (in case the first one dies). All characters have the same load level (more on that in a moment), plus a special ability they can use once per game. After setting up all the treasures, the walls, the boulder, the Lava room, the bridge, and even more items, the miniatures are placed at the entrance to the Walls room. The goal is to escape the temple with the most valuable treasures -- and both of these things can be tricky to achieve.

Each turn the main player rolls five six-sided dice. All players get a number of actions based on the die rolls and their load level. A player with 0-3 treasures gets an action for each die number two or higher; having 4-6 treasures gives an action for each die number three or higher; carrying 7-9 treasures gets an action for each die number four or higher; and lug around 10-12 treasures and you only get an action for each die number five or higher. This is a nice way of showing that the more treasure someone is carrying, the less they can do. Players can discard treasures at the start of each turn to lighten their load level -- and this happens a lot.

There are several actions a person can take on their turn. A character can use an action to move one space horizontally or vertically. A player can pick up a random treasure in some areas, or roll to try and get a more valuable treasure in other areas. While in the Wall room a player can peek at one of the four tiles that shows which spaces in the Lava room are trapped. The main player takes their actions first, then the other players do the same, going clockwise.

After every player finishes their actions, two things happen. Cards are drawn to see if the walls in the Walls room move closer -- and if a character is in-between them when they close all the way, splat! The main player also rolls for the boulder. The first turn, the main player rolls two dice and the boulder moves a space for each die result of three or higher. The next turn the main player rolls three dice, then next turn four dice, and after that five dice are rolled each turn. If the boulder hits a character, or a character foolishly moves into the boulder, that character dies. If the boulder reaches the exit it traps any characters that didn't escape in the temple, and they lose. And the boulder's path is the one the adventurers are taking!

Fotrunately there are ways to avoid the boulder besides just outrunning it; unfortunately, they're all dangerous. The Lava room has sixteen tiles, offering players both an area the boulder never goes and a shortcut to the exit. However, four of the room tiles are trapped, and stepping on a trapped one sends the character into the lava.

There's a raging river where characters can speed along, avoiding the boulder and picking up more treasure! At the end is a waterfall, which may kill the character unless they discard a lot of treasure -- and even that may not be enough. Finally there's a bridge with weak planks, and the planks may fall off if too much treasure is hauled across. And if a character does die, their new character enters the game in the Lava room -- behind the boulder.

The Adventurers is simple fun. While there is a certain balance between carrying a lot of valuable artifacts and needing actions (I've seen many a greedy character get smushed by the boulder because they lacked the actions to stay ahead of it), the game is largely grabbing treasure and running like crazy. There are a few different areas for players to try -- sticking to the path, risking the Lava room, rushing down the river -- but these are basic choices, often influenced by the presence of the boulder. I have to give The Adventurers props for its, well, props: the cards have appropriately Aztec symbols, the plastic walls give a sense of claustrophobia, and the boulder looks great and has a flat base so it doesn't roll out of control! The downside is that the game setup takes quite a while; ironically, the game itself plays very quickly.

You may have so much while playing The Adventurers that it's only afterwards you realize that, for all the cool props, it's a fairly basic game. But it's a lot of fun while it's going on, the props are amazing, and for all its simplicity The Adventurers is very entertaining.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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