Quick Look: Rescuing Robin Hood

Designer: Bryce Brown
Publisher: Castillo Games 
Year Published: 2021

No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 30-60 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  

Review: 

Mix it up with a different kind of deck builder!

Set Up

  1. Sheriff’s Guards: Divide the Guard cards into 2 piles, one with red backs and the other with blue backs. Shuffle each pile separately and place them to the left side of the table (see game set-up diagram below)

  2. Skill Tokens: Divide the skill tokens by type and stack each type to create the skills bank.

  3. Attribute Trackers: Give each player an attribute tracker card and 8 cubes, 2 cubes of each attribute color.

  4. Band Leaders: Shuffle the Band Leader cards and deal 2 randomly to each player. Players then choose their preferred character. For a 5 player game deal to only 2 players at first and then shuffle the options they did not choose back into the deck before dealing to the other players. Return the remaining band leaders back to the box. 


    1. Villagers:

      1. Separate the Villager cards into 4 piles based on the symbol in the upper-right corner:  



    1. Shuffle the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Villager piles separately. Place each pile face-up within reach (so that the top card in each pile will always be visible).

    2. Shuffle the Starting Villagers and deal 8 to each player to create their starting Outlaw deck. Each player shuffles their deck and places it in a face-down pile in front of themselves. Return all leftover Starting Villagers to the box.


    1. Rescued Villagers Area: Choose an area on the right side of the table where you will place the Villagers you rescue. (see game set-up diagram below)

    2. New Day Setup Cards: 

      1. Separate out all New Day Setup cards with the appropriate player count in the top left corner.

      2. Divide the selected cards into 3 piles

        • “Days 1 & 2”

        • “Days 3 & 4”

        • “Day 5” 

      3. Shuffle each pile separately and take 1 random card from each. Stack the 3 selected cards with “Day 5” on the bottom, “Days 3 & 4” in the middle, and “Days 1 & 2” on top. Place this pile face-up within reach. Return all other New Day Setup cards to the box.

      4. Place Nottingham Castle face-up underneath the New Day pile, and place the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood on either side of it. The Sheriff should have the “free” side face-up (with his sword) and Robin Hood should have the “imprisoned” side face-up (with shackles).


    1. Day 1 Setup: 

      1. Refer to the “Days 1 & 2” card on top of the pile. Deal out 3 rows of Villager and Guard cards as shown on the card. 

      2. Each  , , and shown is a Villager that has been captured by the Sheriff’s Guards. For each symbol in each row, deal 1 Villager from the matching pile face-up. If there are multiple Villagers in a row, place them side-by-side.

      3. The stacks of cards shown to the right of the Villagers are the Guards that are taking them to Nottingham Castle. To the right of the Villagers in each row, deal the number and color of Guards shown face-down. Arrange them in an overlapping row (so that you can easily count how many Guards there are in each row). 

      4. Flip the Guard at the end of each row face-up.


    1. Starting Player: The team member who has most recently climbed a tree goes first and give them the starting player token.



Game play


Rescuing Robin Hood is made up of 5 game rounds, representing the 5 days you and your allies have to rescue Robin Hood before he is executed. 

You have 4 days to rescue Villagers, strengthen your Band of Outlaws, and one final day to attack Nottingham Castle to rescue Robin Hood. If you succeed in rescuing Robin Hood, everyone wins! 

Each day (round) is made up of the following stages:

  1. New Day Setup: Follow the instructions on the current New Day Setup card to prepare Villager and Guard rows (or prepare Nottingham Castle on Day 5).

  2. Draw Bands: Each player draws 4 cards from their Outlaw deck to make up their Band of Outlaws for the round.

  3. Attack Guards: Coordinate with your team members to defeat Guards and rescue Villagers.

  4. Recruit Villagers: Recruit rescued Villagers to add to your Outlaw deck.

  5. End of Day Cleanup: All players:

    1. Discard their hands and unspent skill tokens. 

    2. Clear leftover Villagers and Guards

  6.  Pass the starting player token

  7. Refine Decks: At the end of Day 2 and Day 4, each player removes cards from their Outlaw deck until they have the appropriate number in their decks (8 for Day 2 and 4 for Day 4). Then reveal the next New Day Setup card.

Stage 1: New Day Setup

Set up the Villager and Guard rows, following the instructions on the current New Day Setup card (see Setup on pg. for details).

On Day 1, skip this stage (since the first round is already set up). 

On Day 5, instead of placing new Villagers, prepare Nottingham Castle for your final attack (see pg. ).

Stage 2: Draw Band

At the start of each round, each player draws the top 4 cards from their Outlaw deck. 

Lay your hand out in front of you so everyone can see it. Add together each of your Villagers’ attributes (in the top left of each card) to determine your total scores in each of the 4 attributes (Wit , Brawn , Stealth , and Jolliness ). If your Band Leader has any attributes, add these to your scores as well.


Mark each of your attribute scores on your tracker card by placing a matching-colored cube on the appropriate space. For example if you have 5 Wit, place 1 blue cube on the “5” space.

If your Band has any scores that are 10 or higher, mark this by placing a second cube in the “10s” column. For example, if you have a total of 12 Brawn, place 1 red cube on “10” and 1 red cube on “2.”

Important: Your attribute scores never “carry over” from the previous round. When you add up your scores at the start of a new round, always start counting from 0.

[BOX] Skill Tokens

Some Villagers have useful skills, which give advantages you can use yourself or grant to your allies. 

A Villager’s skills are shown at the bottom of their card. Whenever you draw a Villager with one or more skills, immediately collect the matching skill tokens from the skills bank. Skill tokens are covered in detail in the next section.

Any Scouting or Prayer you don’t use are discarded at the end of the round; however Cookery tokens are flipped to become Mead tokens.

Stage 3: Attack Guards

Once everyone has marked their attributes, it’s time to rescue Villagers! 

Beginning with the starting player and going in clockwise order, each player takes 1 turn to make attacks on the Guards. 

Making Attacks

On your turn, you may make up to 2 attacks, using Wit, Brawn, or Stealth. The attribute you choose determines the steps you take to make the attack. You must use a different attribute for each of your 2 attacks.

[SIDEBAR] Using Jolliness & Skill Tokens

Before making each attack, you may use Jolliness and skill tokens to gain advantages.

Jolliness

Jolliness can be used to increase your Wit, Brawn, or Stealth before making an attack. For each point of Jolliness you choose to spend, add +1 to the attribute you are attacking with. You can only spend Jolliness if it is your turn.

Any Jolliness you choose not to spend will be passed on to the next player at the end of your turn (see pg. ).

Skill Tokens

Skill tokens may be spent by you or any allied player to give you special advantages. (If an ally chooses to spend their tokens on your turn, you gain the advantage.) 

You or your allies may spend any number of skill tokens before beginning an attack. All spent tokens are returned to the skills bank. 

Each of the 3 skill tokens gives a different advantage:

  • Cookery: For each Cookery token spent, choose to gain either +2 Wit, +2 Brawn, or +2 Stealth. Unused cookery tokens may be flipped at the end of the round to become mead (which carries over to the next round if you don’t use it). Mead may be spent to give you +1 Jolliness on your turn. 

  • Scouting: For each token spent, immediately choose any 2 Guards in one row and reveal them (flip them face-up).

  • Prayer: Choose one of the following:

    • For each token spent, move any 1 Guard (face-up or face-down) to any position in any row.

    • For each 2 tokens spent, defeat any 1 Guard (face-up or face-down). You may spend both prayer or combine your prayer with another players prayer.

Important: You must use all skill tokens and Jolliness you wish to before starting your attack. You may not choose to use them in the middle of an attack.

Example

Maid Marian decides to attack with Wit and Brawn. Her Band has a total of 2 Jolliness and 1 Cookery skill token. She decides to spend all of her Jolliness to increase her Brawn from 9 to 11, then spends her Cookery token to increase it further to 13. 

Her ally Little John also decides to use his Prayer token to assist her. She tells him to move a Guard from the left row to the right group, so she will have 1 fewer Guard to deal with.

Attacking with Wit (Push Your Luck)

  1. Choose a row of Guards and attack the Guard at the end of the row. If you have more Wit than the Guard (or you are equally matched), you successfully outwit them! Set them aside (but do not discard them yet).

Note: Guards with blue backs range from 1-6 and the average is 3 strength, which guards with red backs range from 2-9 and the average is 5. The distribution is the same for Wit, Brawn and Stealth.

  1. Each time you outwit a Guard, choose one of the following:

    1. Continue to try and outwit the next Guard in the row.

    2. End your attack and defeat all the Guards you’ve outwitted so far. (If the next Guard at the end of the row is face-down, reveal it now.)

  2. If you choose to continue, reveal the next Guard in the row (if they are face-down) and add their Wit to the total Wit of all the Guards you’ve outwitted so far.

    1. If you have more Wit than the Guards’ current total (or you are equally matched), you’re successful! Add the new Guard to the pile of Guards you’ve outwitted, and decide again whether you wish to continue or end your attack

    2. If you have less Wit than the Guards’ current total, the Guards see through your charade and your attack fails! Return all Guards you outwitted to the row (leaving them face-up and in their original order).

[BOX] Defeating Guards and Rescuing Villagers

Whenever you defeat a Guard, remove them from their row and place them in a communal discard pile near the Guard decks. If at any time the end card in a row is face-down flip it face-up. 

If at any time there are no Guards remaining in a row, the Villagers in that row are immediately rescued! Move them to the rescued Villagers area, where you’ll be able to recruit them at the end of the round.

Attacking with Brawn (All or Nothing)

  1. Choose a row of Guards and reveal all face-down Guards in that row. Add together their total Brawn

    1. If you have more Brawn than the total of all the Guards (or you are equally matched), your attack is successful! All the Guards are defeated.  

    2. If you have less Brawn than the total of all the Guards, the guards overpower you and your attack fails! All Guards remain in play face-up. 

  2. If your attack was successful, the next player in turn order adds any Brawn you did not use to their own Brawn score. For example, if your total Brawn is 6, and the Guards total is 4, the next player gains +2 Brawn.

  3. If your attack fails, the next player does not gain any Brawn.

Important: If you choose not to attack with Brawn, all of your Brawn is passed on to the next player (see pg. ).

Example

Maid Marion’s Band has a total of 13 Brawn. For her second attack, she decides to target another group of Guards, since there are only 2 remaining. She reveals all 2 face-down guards in the row and counts their total Brawn. They have 8 Brawn, so her attack succeeds! All the guards are defeated, and the Villager is rescued!

Since Maid Marian used only 8 Brawn to win, she passes on her remaining 5 Brawn to Little John, who adds +5 to his Brawn score.

  

Attacking with Stealth (Pick and Choose)

  1. Choose a row of Guards and select any number of Guards (face-up or face-down) in any position in the row to attack. You do not need to select the top Guard. 

  2. Reveal any Guards you selected that were face-down. Add together the total Stealth on all Guards you selected. 

    1. If you have more Stealth than the total of the selected Guards (or you are equally matched), your attack is successful! The selected Guards are defeated.

    2. If you have less Stealth than the total of the selected Guards, the Guards discover you and your attack fails. The selected Guards remain in play face-up. 

Example

Little John decides to attack the bottom row of Guards with 9 Stealth. He selects the top Guard, as well as the bottom 2 Guards. He flips the bottom 2 and discovers they have a total of 10 total Stealth.

His attack fails, and all Guards return to their positions (but remain face-up).

Ending Your Turn

At the end of your turn, you pass on any unused Jolliness and Brawn to the next player in clockwise order as described below.

The next player gains the Jolliness you did not use on your turn. For example, if you had 5 Jolliness and spent 2 to increase your other attributes, the next player gains +3 Jolliness. 

Likewise, if you did not attack with Brawn (you used Wit and/or Stealth only), the next player gains all of your Brawn. For example if you have 4 Brawn, and you attack with Stealth and Wit on your turn, the next player gains +4 Brawn to their total. (If you did attack with Brawn, the next player gains only the Brawn that was left over; see pg. .)

Note: Once your turn is over, you won’t use your attributes again for the rest of the round, so you don’t need to worry about updating your tracker card when you pass on leftover attributes.

Stage 4: Recruit Villagers

After everyone has had a chance to attack the Guards, players may recruit any Villagers they’ve rescued. 

Beginning with the starting player and going in clockwise order, each player may choose to either take 1 card from the rescued Villagers area and add it to their discard pile, or pass

Continue taking cards in clockwise order until all cards have been taken, or all players pass. 

Stage 5: End of Day Cleanup

Follow these steps to end the round:

  1. Imprisoned Villagers: Any Villagers who were not rescued are taken to Nottingham Castle and imprisoned! Discard all Guards in front of the Villagers. Then place the Villagers next to the Sheriff of Nottingham. They will be freed if he is defeated.

  2. Sherwood Forest: Any Villagers who were rescued, but who were not recruited, are placed in a communal discard pile called Sherwood Forest. The total of cards in Sherwood first will be relevant in the final battle.

  3. Discard Bands and Skill Tokens: All players place all cards in their hand in their personal discard pile. All players return any unspent skill tokens to the skills bank.

  4. Pass Starting Player: The starting player token is passed clockwise to the next player who will begin the next round. Play will continue in clockwise order.

Stage 6: Refine Decks

At the end of Day 2 and Day 4 only, all players must refine their Outlaw decks by permanently removing excess Villager cards. All removed cards are placed in Sherwood Forest.

  • End of Day 2: At the end of Day 2, players remove cards of their choice until they have 8 cards left in their decks. They then shuffle their entire deck, draw 4 cards and begin Day 3.

  • End of Day 4: At the end of Day 4, players remove cards of their choice until they have 4 cards left in their decks. This is their “Dream Team” they will use to attack Nottingham Castle on Day 5. They then draw those 4 cards and begin the final round.

After all players have refined their decks, remove the current New Day Setup card from the game and reveal the next card.

The Final Round

Day 5 Setup

In the New Day Setup stage of Day 5, follow these steps:

  1. Place Robin Hood, imprisoned side up, and any imprisoned Villagers with him side-by-side.

  2. To the right of Robin Hood, deal separate rows of Guards as shown on the Day 5 Setup card. Place the Nottingham Castle card face-up at the right end of the bottom row (“the Wall”) and only reveal the Guard at the end of the top rows (“the Courtyard”).

  3. Place the Sheriff of Nottingham face-up above Robin Hood. To his right, deal a row of Guards protecting him as shown on the card. If there are both blue and red guards guarding him they should all be on one big row with the red guards closest to the Sheriff and the blue guards at the end of the pile. Reveal the Guard at the end of the Sheriff’s row.

  4. Players choose who will get the starting player token and then play continues in clockwise order.

Your Band

Draw your Band of 4 Outlaws and total your attributes as normal. Note that since you have only 4 cards in your deck, you will draw all of them for this round.

Storming the Castle

Day 5 is the final round. If you rescue Robin Hood at the end of the round you win. Otherwise you lost the game. Attacking Storming the Castle follows the same rules for attacking Guards, with following exceptions:

  • Players must defeat the rows of Guards from bottom row to top (first Walls, then Courtyard, then Sheriff). Each row must be completely cleared before the next row can be attacked.

  • The player who defeats the Nottingham Castle card receives an instant bonus of Jolliness from the Villagers in Sherwood Forest. The bonus equals 1 Jolliness for every 3 Villagers in Sherwood Forest.

  • If all Guards in the Courtyard have been defeated, Robin Hood is rescued, and you have won the game!

  • If you or your team members have attacks remaining after you’ve rescued Robin Hood, you can continue playing and attempt to defeat the Sheriff (optional). To do so, you must defeat all the Guards protecting the Sheriff, and the Sheriff himself!

  • As a bonus, the player who frees Robin Hood flips him to his active side, adds him to their Band, and immediately adds his attributes to their totals.

  • If you manage to defeat the Sheriff, congratulations! You have liberated Nottingham and Sherwood Forest! 

Component Quality

The prototype that I received included: Everything you need for a 1-5 player game:


What my 12 year old son had to say about Rescuing Robin Hood “I liked the recruiting part and the art”

I’ve found him on several occasions playing with the cards like you would with the plastic army men.

Final Words

I’m a big fan of deck builders. In one sense at least to me this felt like one but didn’t if that makes sense. My son was able to learn the game by going through the rules and watching the video. Any game that I don’t have to learn and teach has a special place in my heart. I like how you tally all your attributes before going into battle so to speak. It’d be cool if there was a dry-erase board with categories where this can be done more easily. But, I understand that there’s a cost with that. While I understand how it is a deck builder in which you’re building your deck by defeating the sheriff’s men, I didn’t like it how everyone just chooses one of the prisoners for their deck. What would be cool would be a variant in which someone is the Sheriff’s men and someone is Robin Hood’s men. I guess I’m not really a fan of co-op games. We would’ve probably had a blast with our game group though. I guess our family is just more cutthroat. LOL. 

Final Verdict

The backstabbing deck building Lover in me gives Rescuing Robin Hood a solid 7. Will probably play again!

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Rescuing Robin Hood. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.



Check it out and back it on Kickstarter before 
Thu, December 3 2020 9:59 PM PST.


Check out Rescuing Robin Hood and Castillo Games on:

          

[Reviewer Name] – Lake Leafty

Lake was a pharmacy tech in just about every facet you can think of including as a veteran of the United States Air Force. He’s also a husband to his wonderful wife with whom he has been blessed to be the father of 5 great children. Due to circumstances beyond his control he got thrown into the world of Tabletop gaming. As an overachiever he couldn’t just sit there quietly playing games. So he started podcasting about games in May of 2017. Ever since then has been slowly trying to grow his evil regime starting with The Giveaway Geek and now EBG.

See Lake’s reviews and interviews HERE.





Originally posted at Everything Board Games