<< Role Call 24 - Burnout | Main | Wish 55 - By Any Other Name >>

July 11, 2003

Favorite Games XVIII

A couple of competitive two-player games today. Well, actually just one title, but thanks to a dramatic variant rule, a game that can be played two very different ways.

Kahuna is an odd little game, simple to learn but deep and even a bit subtle in its strategy. The game is one of building bridges (via magic, the rulebook tells us) between the twelve islands of an archipelago. If you can control more than half of the bridges connected to an island, you control the island. Each turn, you can play up up to 5 cards, each of which names an island (the deck is made up of 2 cards for each island). If there is an empty potential bridge space connected to the island on your card, you can place a bridge of your color on it. If there's already a bridge there your opponent built, you need two cards (either one of each end or a pair of either end) to remove the existing bridge, then optionally a third card (of either island) to build a bridge of your own color. If, after placing your bridge, you now control more than half of the bridges to any island, you take control of it; you mark it with a marker of your color and remove all bridges the other player has connected to it. This can cause a cascade effect, where your opponent loses control of islands that was based on bridges now removed. Then you draw one card, either from the deck or from 3 face-up cards always available beside the board. The game is played through the deck 3 times, with intermediate scoring such that winning the first round (having more islands at the end) is worth 1 point, winning the 2nd is worth 2 points, and winning the third and final is worth the margin of your victory in number of islands. The board is not reset between rounds, so coming back can be tricky, but is far from impossible.

Actually, the game described above is the US version of the game, created by the translator (apparently intentionally, as he felt it made for a better game). The original game is strategically trickier, not allowing you to place bridges if one end would be on an opponent-controlled island, but making replacement of a removed bridge free (but only if post-removal both islands are uncontrolled). This version (presented as a variant in the US rules) is much more of a challenge, requiring more planning to break up power blocks once they get established. But both versions are good (in my opinion, the original is better, but only slightly), quick-to-learn and strategically rewarding two-player fun for 30-45 minutes. And the game is an attractive little package, with a nice board, two dozen standard sized playing cards (with color pictures of their island), wooden bridge pieces and control markers in black and white.

Funagain Purchase Links

Posted by ghoul at July 11, 2003 06:43 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?