Kariba (2010) Review
Kariba clearly has a little air of Noah in it’s theme or in the approach of the period. But we are faced with two games that are very different. Kariba is a little Reiner Knizia card game from Helvetiq. Once again, we are in the range of small boxes from this publisher. Little box, little pleasure? That's what we'll see together.
Kariba plunges us into the animal world. In terms of material, one finds a kind of hexagonal track with encrypted sides from 1 to 8. Each figure corresponds to a type of animals which is found on the cards. For example, the 8 will match the elephant and the 1 to the mouse. In other words, all 8 value cards will be elephants. The rest of the components consists of a deck of 64 cards.
Kariba's principle is very simple. Each player has a hand of cards. In turn, a player must play one or more cards of the same species of animals. Be careful, the goal is not to discard cards but to have the most at the end of the game. But then, why play multiple cards? Will you tell me... I would answer that very good question, but you are a little fast since I haven't the heart of the game. Yes, it is true it was a trap, I will go back to my explanation ...
The cards played go directly to their section. If I play rhinoceros, which corresponds to number 7, I play it at this location only. Once the cards are placed, we check the number of animals of this type present. If there are three or more cards placed, then the animal in question scares its direct neighbor. For example, if there are three or more zebras in location 3, they will scare the meerkats (number 2). We do not take into account the number of animals that are afraid. Fleeing animals are collected by the player who has just played. Of course, if there are no cards in the direct neighbor, we continue to follow the numerical descending order.
We can then say that elephants being the largest number, they are afraid of nothing. But the author thought about it, reassuringly. Even the biggest animal is always afraid of the smallest. Remember the Disney movie, Dumbo ... Yes, mice scare elephants. But pay attention, they only scare these big pachyderms. So, if there are none and there are more than three mice when you add one, you do not pick up anything.
Kariba is a game of positioning cards but especially opportunist. You have to know how to play your cards at the right time in order to collect the most cards while trying to give less opportunity to your opponents. Do not hesitate to keep cards to play at the right time at the risk of benefiting the other.
This is a clever little game, easy to learn and play. For once, you can not only easily carry it, but also easily play anywhere. The graphics of the game are Felix Kindelan. This illustrator is a regular in this range. In order to correspond to the greatest number, especially to the youngest ones, the choice was to give a "cute" aspect to the animals. This is an interesting bias that does not interfere with the game, even if it may surprise.
Composant level, everything fits perfectly in the box. We can however a little quibble on the track. Indeed, once out of the box, by being bent inside, it is difficult to lie flat on the table. Perhaps it would have been better to make a puzzle cut so that everything fits better in storage. But that does not spoil the pleasure and the track remains an accessory. It only serves to indicate where to place the cards according to numbers.
For once, this is a small game ideal for holidays or for players who move regularly. Once the rules are read, you will not return. The game is explained quickly and we can easily chain games, especially for the short term. It is an ideal format for children.
Level gameplay, without being very pushed, Kariba still allows good little moments of reflection. We learn to manage our hand. Is it better to collect the cards now or wait until there is more, at the risk of seeing them pass under your nose? One can also choose to set up traps or play cards "breaking" the possibility of taking a lot of cards for an opponent. There is a little deceptinal side not devoid of interest.
Of course, the luck of the draw is an important element. However, given the duration of the games and the finally quite unpredictable system of laying cards, luck does not frustrate the players so much. In addition, it gives everyone the opportunity to win.
This little collection game is a nice surprise. Appetizer, aperitif game or holiday game, will easily find its audience. Even if it does not revolutionize the genre, it proposes a purified challenge. Aimed more towards a family audience, it will find its place for a moment even among the majority of players.
Technical note 9/10
Component level, apart from the track that we would have liked less bent, everything is of good quality. The illustrations allow everyone to play without being offended. Simple to carry, not taking much more, it makes it a serious competitor for all your travels.
My BGG score 7.5 / 10
(Good little game that is easy to play with family)
Kariba is a nice little card collection game. Without revolutionizing the genre, it offers proven, refined mechanisms that work with pleasure. Its duration is a big plus, to be able to easily get out with family (especially with the youngest, while allowing satisfaction for the adults too). A good pick in a small box.
Combined score of 8.25 / 10
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