The Adventures of Robin Hood is a great Legacy board game that is easily replayable

Designer Michael Menzel won the Kennerspiel des Jahres (expert game of the year) in 2013 for his cooperative game Legends of Andor, where players worked together through a series of scenarios to defend Andor from invaders, with a narrative that unfolds over multiple playthroughs. Menzel is finally back with his second game, The Adventures of Robin Hoodanother story-based game, this time with simpler mechanics and more scenarios, while using a very clever system on its board to track and modify encounters for players.

Playing as Robin Hood and up to three members of his party – Little John, Maid Marian or Will Scarlett – players work together to achieve a different objective in each scenario, with the first serving as a tutorial on how to play the game. The Adventures of Robin Hood comes with a huge board containing several dozen tiles that you’ll remove and flip over when prompted by the game, often to mark that you’ve already done everything on that tile, whether it’s talking to someone or examine the area for a clue. The story itself comes in a 200-page book that includes the game’s nine scenarios, with pages that include specific text and options for each tile you can visit in each session.

Each time one of your characters reaches one of these tiles, you turn to the page of the book corresponding to the number on the tile, then read the text there for that specific scenario. Some of them will give you an A or B choice, and others may require a specific character to be the one visiting the tile. Since you might only use two of the four characters – only Robin Hood is required to play after the tutorial, where you use him with Little John – each storyline has multiple ways to solve its particular puzzle.

The game also has a new movement system that dictates how far you can move in a turn. Each player receives five tokens showing their character, two standing tokens, two short move tokens, and one long move token. You line up your move tokens end to end each round to see how far you can move, ending with your second standing token; as long as it hits a tile with a question mark or figure on it, you can examine that tile or engage in that encounter. If you choose not to use your long move token in a turn, you can add a white “strength” cube to the bag to improve your chances in future battles.


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All tokens in the game go into a common bag, which includes the large turn order tokens, the cardboard sigils used to randomize the appearance of guards and nobles on the board, and the small cubes used to determine combat . You start each scenario with more purple cubes, representing villains, than white cubes for our heroes, and you can add both during the session. The board has regions that are shaded, where players are safe from guards, and regions in sunlight, where players can be “captured” by guards. A captured player must fight the guard on their next turn by drawing three cubes from the bag; if he draws a single white cube, he wins the fight and is free to move on his next turn. The same is true when a player steals a Noble, which presents less risk and greater rewards for players.

There is a time limit for each scenario determined by a set number of hourglass tokens placed on the board to start the session, which decreases by one each turn as the villains’ red turn token is drawn from the bag. There’s also a “hope” tracker that can speed up the pace if it hits zero, after which you remove two tokens instead of one, although you can increase hope by winning fights against guards or stealing successfully the nobles.

The mechanics are very simple here, and the game’s promise that you’ll be playing your first scenario within five minutes holds true: you assemble the board, place your tokens, then follow the text through the first dozen pages of the book. . It walks you through the first scenario, explaining movement, combat, and how to use the board. Each scenario has a unique setup which is clearly explained at the start of its section, where you will flip certain tiles on the board and fill the bag with a specific combination of cubes. The scenarios are well calibrated to be winnable even for new players, so they might be too easy for serious players, although they are still fun to play as the nature of the challenges requires some deduction and close examination of the board.


The Adventures of Robin Hood is in the space between legacy games, where the board and pieces change from game to game, and a second playthrough is impossible; and traditional games, where each game is independent of the previous session. There’s a narrative line here, with each session assuming you’ve played the previous one in order to follow the story, but you can go back at any time to replay a previous storyline, whether it’s to try out with new people at the table or to use different characters. It’s also light enough to play with the family, as long as one person is comfortable as the narrator, as there’s a lot of text involved. Menzel seems to have a real niche here, and hopefully it’s not yet eight years until his next game.



Keith Law is the author of The inner game and Smart Baseball and a senior baseball writer for Athleticism. You can find his personal blog, The Dish, covering games, literature and more, at meadowparty.com/blog.

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