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  • Writer's pictureNoelle Brandmier


Let me start by saying that I am absolutely in love with Red Raven Games and Ryan Laukat's art. I first played Above and Below a few years ago and was instantly smitten. Then I spent literally an entire weekend playing through one of the campaigns in Near and Far (happily, might I add). Recently I turned 30, and my dear sweet roommate chose to present me with Islebound as a present. I immediately put it on my shelf and lovely gazed at it. And then of course I played. Islebound is a wonderful game about sailing from island to island to collect resources, complete quests, and win over islands with diplomacy or attack power. I love the use of worker placement mechanics, the implementation of story, and item collection. The art is stellar, and I immensely want prints of the game art up on my walls. Its clear to me that Above and Below, Islebound, and Near and Far are all spiritually connected. I love the idea that the people of these fantasy lands started out in the fields and caves of the first game, decided to venture out via sailboat and open ocean to find new land in the second game, and found a new continent full of incredible adventures in Near and Far. Again, I am absolutely in love with this series of games, and I am very happy with the addition of Islebound to my board game collection.

So, a week after my birthday I made the journey to PAX East in Boston with some of my friends. We always bring a few board games along to play at night after we've spent our day at the convention center, so for this trip I decided to include Islebound. At the end of Saturday, after a long day of video games, board games, panels, and dim sum, we decided to stop into the wine store down the street from our Air BnB. I love small wine shops, there are always so many labels that I've never seen before. This wine was one of them. A Los Viñateros Bravos Granítico Blanco. The beautiful teal label with a map drawn on it caught my eye immediately. When I read that the wine was a muscatel blend with salinity I knew I had to try it with Islebound. So I got back to the Air BnB, broke out the game, and poured a glass of the wine. To my delight, the two did indeed go extremely well together. The granítico blanco has lovely notes of peach, zesty lime, and a lovely amount of salinity that pairs perfectly with the open oceans of Islebound. The wine is light and bright just like the nature of the game. The color was impressive too, a wonderful pale amber that I haven't seen very often in white wines. I'm so happy with this pairing that now I'm brainstorming what I can pair with my other favorite Red Raven Games!

Have you played any Red Raven Games? Do you bring games with you on your travels? Let me know in the comments!


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