Kachina – a Mini Review
Our friends at Bucephalus Games have a lot of titles set to roll on to store shelves soon. Several of these games fall into a more casual niche, and almost uniformly have short play times, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. David previously discussed Zombie Mosh, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss Kachina, another Bucephalus game.
The basic premise is a tile laying mechanic. You have a hand of tiles, each with different values that are paired with a certain kachina spirit. Each kachina has a special function, barring the Sun and Chief, who exist to dominate the board with their high point value. The Ogre blocks the placement of other tiles that are not ogres themselves. Eagles can be put on top of single ogres. The Warrior can be exchanged for another piece on the board. Each turn you place a tile in a legal position on the board, score points for doing so, and draw a fresh tile. Aside from being blocked by a tile’s specific power, the limitations of the play area are that a column or row cannot extend beyond seven tiles.
Once you get comfortable with the powers of each individual tile and what is strong against other tiles (even a Chief can’t stand up to a pack of wolves!), you’ll be looking at your reference sheet less and less and the game begins to move at a very brisk pace. Don’t let the speed or simplicity fool you though. Not only is the strategy much deeper than tile-laying poster boy Carcassone, the very focused nature of the game keeps everyone interested. As the game comes to a close, the stakes are raised as it is an epic battle for each point you attempt to acquire, with players bringing out the tiles they’ve been holding for just such an event..
Thanks to the simple rules, the fast pace, and the solid game design, I can pretty much recommend Kachina to everyone looking for a quick game to fit in during smaller sessions. Non-gamers and war-gamers alike can enjoy what Kachina has to offer, and with a low price point for the amount of game you’ll get out of the box, it’s hard to beat.
Kachina will be hitting store shelves soon. These impressions are based off of a preview copy. For a longer look at the game, tune in to the Myriad Games Podcast and look for it on an upcoming episode!