Robinson Crusoe

Search for treasures. Discover mysteries. Build a shelter. Survive.

Most rules summaries are relatively easy, if time-consuming, to create, but occasionally I come across a rulebook that is so badly written and laid out that I know you’re in for a long and difficult challenge. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island has such a rulebook, which leaves the reader completely discombobulated—and the game’s inconsistent graphic design doesn’t help. I’ve worked hard to massage the rules into what I think is a more useable and comprehensible form.

Which is a shame, as the game itself is universally praised; and personally I think it’s the best coperative game on the market. Instead of just taking individual turns in pursuit of common victory conditions, you really do carefully plan each turn together, as a group. As you get ready to resolve the results each round, you feel like you’ve been gathering around the campfire and making decisions that will actually affect your survival. It’s a surprisingly visceral experience for a boardgame.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island is by Polish game designer and extremely nice guy Ignacy Trzewiczek (Stronghold, Theseus: The Dark Orbit, Imperial Settlers). It’s an ingenious cooperative game of survival on an island; a sprawling sandbox of a game that, with the help of Scenario cards, can simulate adventures based on everything from King Kong’s Skull Island to Darwin’s Voyage on the HMS Beagle.

Update Log

Date Version Changelog
Feb 2016 1.4 Small typo in Morale phase fixed; Hungry Animals icons added in B&W version
May 2015 1.3 Changed ‘first player’ to ‘player’ twice on second page of the main summary
Apr 2015 1.2 Clarification to player spending night outside camp rules
Mar 2015 1.1 Changes and improvements throughout
Mar 2015 1 Original release


  • John says:

    Thank you for this rules summary. I am going to print them out and give them a try this weekend.

  • Miles Stevenson says:

    Donated! Awesome job. I’ll finally start getting this to the table as a solo game more often than I have been. Now everyone pile in the donations so we can convince UH to make us rules summary for Mage Knight!

    • Thankyou Miles! I wouldn’t hold your breath for a Mage Knight summary however, I’m sorry to say. I played it once and really, really disliked it. It would have to really be a pretty damn serious donation for me to contemplating wading through it. 🙂

      Actually I can’t think of any realistic amount of money that would make me want to do it. 🙂

      • Miles Stevenson says:

        Ah, sorry to hear that. Yeah I guess you aren’t that into heavier games, come to think of it. At least by looking at the types of games you tend to feature on your site. Well, if I ever decide to try and take a stab at it, I hope you don’t mind if I copy your style and try to make a similar looking template for Mage Knight and Twilight Imperium. Thanks again for all your efforts.

        • I intend to do Twilight Imperium at some stage. I like heavier games and Mage Knight’s complexity is not the reason I don’t want to do a summary for it. I just thought – prepare yourself, this is just my opinion, but I felt it very strongly after playing the game – that Mage Knight was clunky, tedious, lacking in theme, and more like a big ugly puzzle than a boardgame. In fact, in 35+ years of playing boardgames I can’t think of any game that’s elicited such a negative reaction in me. Though I do hear that some people enjoy it. 🙂

          • Miles Stevenson says:

            Ah no hard feelings. Different strokes I guess. I think one of the reasons it felt so natural to me is all the time I spent as a Magic: The Gathering player, so I kind of felt right at home with most of the concepts. But I also think I have a tendency to enjoy games that many others feel are “klunky”. My #1 favorite is Archipelago which a lot of people find to be a big klunky mess. Come to think of it, I remember you being a fan of Earth Reborn, which a lot of people have a hard time with as well, so I’m sure you can relate in some respect, even if not with MK in particular. No big deal though. The bottom line is that I appreciate the effort you put into your summaries and other projects. I think at least 30+ of the games on my shelf have nice laminated summaries inside the boxes, and I use them a lot.

            I’m trying to finish painting all these damn Battlelore 2nd. Ed. mini’s before the expansions hit the shelves. Those damn Daqan cavalry took me forever…

          • Steve Alston says:

            Twilight Imperium is my favorite game EVER! I only play it once or if I’m lucky twice a year, if that. I would totally donate for that one! Great job on everything you do!

      • Steve Alston says:

        That’s too bad! I thought that if anyone could make Mage Knight intelligible, it was you. Maybe if you gave it another go. I’ve got to tell you, I bought Mage Knight and was thoroughly disappointed initially, but after a few plays, I really started to like it. Its my buddy’s favorite game, so we would play it from time to time. I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that you would do that one, too. Is it possible that if enough people requested it, you would reconsider?

  • dumpynose says:

    Thanks for this! Now all I need is a Mage Knight player aid and my life will be complete!

  • MIles (sorry, the reply threading only seems to go so far). I sympathise with doing those cavalry, they were a bugger! Glad you’re enjoying the site and the summaries.

  • gamov says:

    Under Setup:
    I think a table in setup with the number of players would be good:
    1p: carpenter, cook or explorer only + Friday + dog
    2p: carpenter, cook and explorer only (currently repeated in help: setup & variants) + Friday
    3p: dog (recommended)
    4p: any character
    I’ve played many times and I’m still confused about this.

    Under Planning Actions:
    – Threat: It’s a bit longwinded currently, Clearer to say: A thread action can *only be taken once*
    – Gather/Explore not adjacent tile: ‘the in-between tile must be accessible’ rule is missing
    – Explore: ’tile must be unexplored’

    Under Resolving Actions:
    – Hunting: The hunting player fight the beast, not first player
    – ‘weapon level’: last character not bold
    – Should add: If fighting multiple beasts, choose order

    Under Summary:
    – Resolve – Build weapon: bold first character of Discard
    – Night phase: add numbered list with the things to check/do (clearer)
    – I would highlight the background of paragraph: ‘After all actions are completed’

    Under Variant:
    Friday: typo: sction instead of action

    General Remarks:
    – I feel Variants, Skills, Other Rules and Invention Cards should be on the same sheet instead of for each player.
    – Why is the round summary on two pages instead of one? To save space on the table?
    – The game round summary feels too detailed… but I didn’t try to make it shorter…
    – Have you thought of putting the version number of the help on every page in very small font size so we know which version we have printed?

  • gamov says:

    Forgot to mention: I make remarks because I care not to dismiss your work, you know that!

  • Thanks gamov, I appreciate your comments very much and I’ll go through them all in detail soon. Just a couple of quick points – the amount of detail on the reference sheet is just a decision on my part; it could be simplified but I wanted to get everything essential on one (albeit double-sided) small sheet. As for the version number on the sheets in small type, I once did this for a short while but unfortunately I had a tendency to forget to update it, so I scrapped the idea. Update logs on the game pages should help you to track different versions if necessary.

  • Jason says:

    Would it be possible to have a version that puts each Play Reference front and back page on a single sheet, so we could just print and fold in half to make a single reference card/sheet? Minor request but would allow me to save some toner 🙂

  • Private Ward says:

    Good Job on this.

  • Tom says:

    Hi, what weight paper stock do you recommend for printing these out?
    I am new to this. Thank you for all your hard work…

    • I used to use a double sided heavyweight matt stock, print both sides, and laminate it, but now I use glossy photo paper (250gsm), print the sides separately and glue them together with spray adhesive.

  • Can’t thank you enough for this. It’s one of my favoutire co-ops ever, and this makes everything so much more clear. I used to have a hard time explaining this to players and keeping track of everything, but this is EXACTLY what I wanted. yay!

  • BB says:

    Great guide! Just printed them off and used in my first game the other day. What a time saver.

    You mention Darwin’s voyage in your description above, but I do not see any reference to the expansion in your sheets. Is there a plan to add those in? Some parts of the expansion are universal (such as the Missionary character, some of the additional event cards, and the extra side-characters like the parrot, boy, horse).

  • Uhanalainen says:

    Small typo in 2. Morale Phase: “If the first player must discard more Determination tokens then he has” should be “than he has…”
    In the black&white version, in the Setup portion of the guide, the Hungry animals die doesn’t show any pictures, just black boxes for all three possibilities.

    Otherwise looked really solid, liked it a lot. Good to hand out to people who are playing for the first time to skim through quickly while I setup the game.

  • Jamie Cocker says:

    Just bought the first edition and I was aware that the rule book was a mess. Gonna solo the game tonight with your revised rules. Great resource thanks. I only donated a small amount but I suppose every little helps. Keep up the good work.

  • Henrik Brøndholt says:

    Great work – I guess this also applies to the 2nd edition?

  • Sam says:

    These summaries are fantastic! It would be great to get an update with the new edition’s rules tweaks. There are three main changes I am aware of:

    1. Gathering and exploration are no longer limited to being performed one tile away from camp. The cost in pawns increases by one for every additional tile/space between camp and the target.

    2. When building your personal invention, the bonus of two determination tokens may be taken again if/when the invention is rebuilt in future rounds. The bonus is no longer limited to only the first time you build the personal invention.

    3. Exhausted resource spaces do not produce resources, even if there is a +1 token on the space. +1 tokens have no effect for an exhausted resource on that space.

    The (vastly improved) rulebook for the new edition is available for free download on Portal’s website, so you don’t need to buy a new edition to get access to the new rules and update your summaries.

    Thanks so much for producing these!



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