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Subject: Introducing Tonga Bonga to Casual gamers rss

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Earl Bailey & Michelle Corbin
United States
Cary
North Carolina
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We had a game night with friends who don't play a lot of board games last night. Michelle and Earl (me) joined Tad and Deb at their house. Tad is color blind, which definitely presents some challenge when selecting games to play. This time we took over Tonga Bonga.

This was a first play for both Tad and Deb. We went through the rules pretty easily, but the game play proved somewhat difficult for them. The decisions on where to put the dice seemed especially troublesome and took them more time than I had expected. After a couple of turns the lights came on and they both realized they had not made good choices. This, combined with some color/order confusion, led us to restart the game.

It took some time even the second play for them to start playing the dice defensively. Tad was able to plant colonies first on three islands because of this -- a factor that would have led to his victory except for some strange dice rolls at the end.

My previous plays of this game were quick and not prone to over analysis. It is definitely a game based on players hurting the leader to even things out. This dynamic did not work really well with dillitant board game players - at least not these players. If I had played it first in that environment I might not like the game as much as I do.

Despite this, the game was actually pretty close. The dice at the end were strange - in the final turn 2 people rolled two fives and a seasick. This made it possible for 3 people to finish in the final turn. In future teachings I am going to emphasize the use of the dice defensively!
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