The front picture on the box screams out that this is a family game depicting two young lads as it does. The legend says
it is for 2-6 players aged 8 years and upwards and takes about 20 minutes per game. This is a good summation though
games can take a little longer as there is no time allowance for each player's turn.
VILLIT KUVIOT is another game from Finnish designers - they have been making a big difference in the European games
market recently - in this case the designer is Jarno Siekkinen, a name I haven't heard of before but am sure it's a name we will
be hearing a lot more of.
The board is a simple, plain square overlaid with 25 small squares in a 5x5 pattern. The pieces are 5 sets of cards,
numbered 3, 4, 5, 6 and V - the 5 and V are not used in the basic game - and 15 wooden tiles (5 black 5 red and 5 blue).
The basic rules are easy to understand and they teach the players the object of the game and how to play, not that much
in the way of teaching is needed. It is basically move a piece on the board, from it's square to any other empty square,
the only rule being that every tile must be attached to another tile by one side at least - no diagonals. If you can, at any
time - during your turn or another player's turn - see the same pattern within the tiles on the board with a card in your hand
then you just show your card, let the other players see that it is a correct match and then you put it (the card) in front of you
to be scored by its value at the end of the game - when all cards have been taken from the stacks leaving it impossible for a
player to draw a card.
It is not a play a card, draw a card game. You have two choices each turn to play one action. You can draw a card from any
of the available decks - but you cannot hold more than 5 cards (you begin the game with a 3, a 4 and a 5) - or you can move
one of the tiles on the board. Remember though, as I said earlier, you can always declare a correctly patterned card at any time.
The numbers on the backs of the cards are the points value for totalling up at the end of the game - highest score wins - and also
the number of tiles that will be in the required pattern, thus if you take a 4 value card you have to match 4 tiles in the positions as shown on the card; a V card has 8 tiles to match.
When you draw a card, you decide from which deck to take it, but that's all you do on your turn (except maybe match a card to a pattern and this can include the card you just drew).
When you move a tile you can place it on absolutely any free space as long as it keeps all tiles connected orthogonally. You place a green wooden piece on the tile you moved to prevent it being moved again directly afterwards. It can be moved the turn after the green piece is removed from it - ie when another tile has been moved.
We looked at the box art, read the rules, looked at the pieces and thought to ourselves something like "well this looks like it's going to be a quick uninteresting waste of time". I'm sorry but that's what it looks and appears to be - UNTIL YOU PLAY IT!
This is a good game with a few built in strategy possibilities. Taking as many 3 cards as you can will see you finding them easy to score with and the 3s add up quickly and easily. Similarly the 4s, though obviously they are a little harder than the 3s. We suggest you keep only one 5, 6 or V card until you can place it and only then replace it by taking a card. Cards remaining in your hand at the game end cost you negative 2 points each, meaning you could have -10pts against you if you aren't watching the card stacks and you end the game holding 5 cards.
As the wooden tiles are randomly placed at the beginning of the game before anyone has been given any cards every game will undoubtedly be different from the previous games. You must remember the no-diagonal joins rule when placing cards, but other than that this is a very good, most enjoyable game that you can play at whatever pace suits you - there is no timer on the perusing with your cards in your hand as it is very easy to miss a pattern, especially a larger one of 6 or 8 tiles. Everyone sees the board from a different angle and as there are no rules about the board being allowed to rotate, we don't allow it to, thus adding that small but enjoyable little visual twist.
Thoroughly good fun, totally recommended, should be a game kept easy to hand for those odd 20 minutes or so when you are wanting something to do.