Go island hopping to gather resources in this colorful game where players load up canoes with variety and volume before the season ends. Whatever you do, make sure to bring plenty of your family’s favorite food.
|Tahiti||Minion Games||Board Game|
In The Box
For those of us not living in Tahiti, it’s all about Gauguin paintings and long days on the beach. Unboxing the Tahiti game immediately shows off inspiration from the islands, from scenes depicted on the rugged hex tiles to the tribal designs on the cloth bag included to hold resource cubes during play. Bright colors, totems, and animal symbols are spread generously across all the components and really help to reinforce the game’s theme. The large tiles included are used to construct the game board, with some design differences to help distinguish ideal setup for 2-3 players versus the full four-player variation.
Wooden resource cubes are supplied along with a cool drawstring bag. Other wood pieces include the canoes you paddle around the islands, and a figure representing Haumea, goddess of food supply and growth. The remaining components are durable cardboard markers used to represent islands in decline, and small squares kept secretly by each player that show favorite food resources. Kids will freak out at the little wooden canoes and parents will appreciate the workmanship that went into making Tahiti a sturdy game that will stand up to repeat play sessions.”[/table]
How It Plays
This game puts you into the role of a family leader tasked with gathering foodstuffs during the plentiful season of harvest. Unlike some resource games that have pretty complex rules for production and supply, Tahiti uses its simple theme to full advantage. Each tile is clearly marked with space for two resources, with the other key resource being fish that you can acquire anywhere away from your home island. Resource cubes are drawn and placed on corresponding tiles during one phase of each player’s turn, then you’re given a certain number of action points to move around the islands and put resources on your canoe.
A clever and very thematic design idea is that the canoes have a specific number of spots for cargo and rowers. As you load up on resources you necessarily end up with less rowing capacity. Part of the strategy that older players will appreciate is finding the right balance between big loads and fast movement, plus knowing when to risk going over reefs that can cause you to drop precious resources. Another neat design choice that fits well with Tahiti’s theme is the use of the Haumea totem. In the beginning of the game she moves around and guides your placement of new tiles, then leaves the game once all tiles have been placed.
Fewer resource cubes are drawn once Haumea departs, and a new Depletion phase is added at the end of each player’s turn. It’s nice how things build up with tile placement then start running in reverse with depletion tokens right up to the game’s conclusion. At the end of it all, players tally scores based on how much volume and variety they’ve gathered. Bonus points are also awarded for having more of the food your family loves, which is kept secret by each player. The clearly illustrated player scorecards and simple actions each turn make this a game even your youngest players can enjoy. They won’t see all the strategic angles, but they’ll love rowing their canoes around these beautiful islands.
It’s nice to play with 3-4 players since the tile placement happens in less time, and there’s more competition for resources. That said, Tahiti also works well as a face-off between two players.
It’s fast to learn and I love the idea of having the goddess Haumea in the game. I was actually a little sad when she left at the end of the growing season.