This is a simple game of moving your coloured tokens from one tile, on the Tic-Tac-Toe grid to another, to create a stack of three tokens. Hopefully with yours on top and with a bonus of scoring a point marked below on that space...That's all!
But there are many benefits that make this game stand out from the dullness of that previous paragraph. Take the the amazing playing pieces:
Your playing pieces, apart from being big, chunky and cute are thematic Tiki's. These Tiki's are used to create Totem Poles. As a God, you are trying to influence the villagers on the tiles by making them worship you and give you the fruits of their labors in a offering. And when I say fruits, I mean "fruits." Pineapples are your fruit of choice, and the first to collect four of them will win.
Each village/tile has a different number of pineapple that you collect if you manage to influence them. From 0 to 2. There is even a village that has a -1, which means that one pineapple will go sour and rotten. If you manage to make the tribe there go wild for you and you have already collected a fruit, it goes bad and you have to flip the token over to show it. That's one less point in the game for you and your opponent. As if you didn't have any, one pineapple from the reserve spoils.
Like all classic abstract games, the rules are simple and not complex. The complexity of the game comes from what you do with these actions. Tiki, is no different. You can either place one of your coloured Tiki's into an empty village or more a Tiki of your colour one village adjacent. Or if there is another Tiki under your own, you can move to two other villages, dropping off the lower Tiki in the first before resting your own in the second.
This is how you stack the Tiki's into a Totem. Every stack of two, with your Tiki on top is one that you control. So it is possible in a round that you have the only movable pieces on the board. But if after moving, a stack of three is in a village, that tribe is active and makes an offering to the God who has the influence. This meaning, if your Tiki is on top...you win some fruit (or maybe not!)
This Totem is remove and the game continues until a winner is found.
The game is about cold calculating your actions, forcing your opponent into a corner and make them move where you need them to, giving you the win you need. Two expert player will go head to head for a good 10 to 20 minutes, until someone slips up. While people like my self, who play fast and loose can knock out two or three games in the same time. So if your looking for either of those in a, this is for you.
It's colorful nature and sweet tactile feel gives the game a family vibe. And kids will pick up the rules easily while twiddling the Tiki's between their fingers like a professional poker player.
If your thinking that this is just a one shot game, a thing to remember is that these villages are tiles and can be moved around. Creating a slightly different lay out that will give you a slightly different way of playing. On top of that, there is a variant in the box that changes some of the villages into a swamp. Where the Shaman lives.
Getting influence in the swamp mean that you can place the Shaman between two villages, blocking the route. No movement can take place between these villages and you will have to make your way around.
If you are lucky enough to grab a Kickstarter version of the game, you will find four (technically three) more variants in the box. Two sets of different village tiles that let you move villages or swap Tiki's around. Plus a BAD Tiki that acts like your own, if you have control over it. And then the forth variant is to mix the villages as you wish. Quite a bit of reputability if you own this edition.
All in all, a very simple, two player, abstract game. A quick playing, light, fun puzzle with great production values. Although it is in a box that is slightly bigger than you'd like to pack in your holiday bag, so you can play it on that golden beach you are heading too. But well worth it when it is too hot to do anything else.
Technical score 10/10 (although missing the KS variants rule book)
My BGG score 8/10
Combined score 9/10
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