Mario Kart comes to a board game? Well maybe not entirely, although the board game Maori does have an explorer boat that goes around a kind of track (humor me here, and let's call the boat Mario!), so that part kind of fits. It could also be considered a simplified cross between Carcassonne and Vikings, in a shorter and quicker form, but with the addition of a form of resource currency for special actions. So it's a tile laying game with a difference, and it's good stuff. In fact, it was even a Recommended game for the 2009 Spiel des Jahres!
Each player has his own board, on which he tries to create a valuable island world - scoring points for things like palm trees and leis, and possibly also earning points from shells and ships (if you're the player with the most). You collect tiles from a matrix of 16 tiles in the center of the table, which is explored by the explorer ship. When one player fills his board (everyone else gets one more turn), the game ends and you score points.
This game has really proved to be a pleasant surprise. To give you an idea of how well it went over in our home: it was played 15 times in the first four days alone, and we've played it a whole lot more since! It also comes with more advanced variants for an added challenge, although the basic game is already fun enough. So what's good about it? Well it has an appealing theme, quality components, unique gameplay, multiple ways of earning points, random elements, variable levels of play, a puzzle-type mechanic, and quick gameplay.
Is Maori for you? If you're a meat-loving gamer that thinks that Carcassonne is merely milk suitable for gamer babies, then look elsewhere.Read more ›
Easy enough for kids to master (8+), but interesting enough for adults. Doesn't take too long to play, so kids won't lose interest. Rules are pretty straightforward, but the instructions could be a bit more detailed. Overall, good family entertainment.
My 8 and 12 year old enjoy this game, but I've found it to be a bit repetitive. We felt the scoring was too complicated, so we simplified it to suit us. It seems like there are more horizontal island pieces than vertical, so we play accordingly which limits ones options!