WAKANDA is a 2 player game from the blue orange company who produce hot games for this cool planet.
It is designed by Charles Chevallier with illustrations by Loic Billiau for play by players aged 8 and over but i'm pretty sure a 7 year old or even a 6 year old from a family who play games regularly would have little or no problems with the mechanics. Young players would need someone to explain the rules once or twice but it is an easy game to get the basics: - Draw a totem piece from the bag and then either add it to a previous Totem, start a new Totem or hold onto it and instead place one of your Top pieces (Mohawk for Red and Wings for Blue) onto a Totem and complete it. Players will complete 3 Totems each to end the game.
The Totem is made up of cylindrical wooden pieces with a hole in their base and a pin on top - pin goes into Village to build the Totem. Each Totem sports copies of a single icon, some have 2 icons the others have three. The Totems are built onto special Village tiles, each of which has one of the icons and a special effect.
The effects are for the scoring at the end of the game, by capping (with your headdress) the Totem you prevent any more Totem pieces being played onto it, plus it will be yours at the scoring. The idea is to own Totems where the Village tile effects counteract with each other so that you get the best possible score.
The Totem Village Tile Effects are:
Eagle - adds 8 points per eagle on your totem pole.
Chief - adds 5 points per chief on your totem pole.
Tomahawk - adds 4 points on your totem pole.
Animal Skin - adds 3 points on your totem pole.
Teepee - adds 2 points on your totem pole.
Variety - adds 2 points per different icon on your totem pole.
Height - adds 2 points for each piece on your highest totem pole.
Sun - adds 1 point for every sun on your totem pole and deducts 1 point for each sun on your opponent's totem poles.
On the Totem pieces there is only one with an Eagle (3 eagle icons) and one with a Chief (3 chief icons). The rules say if you have the Eagle icon in one of your Totems and you own the Eagle Village tile then you score 8 points per Eagle. It is a little unclear if it is meant 8 points or 24 points as there are 3 Eagles on the piece. If it is 24 then if you
are lucky (or clever) enough to have the Eagle and the Chief (3x5) then it is unlikely you will lose. The score example tends to show that only 8 points are scored for the Eagle piece and that you don't count the number of eagles as the description of the Village tile suggests. The rules could have been a little clearer.
It becomes a cat and mouse game once one player has captured either of those two main pieces. There is often the situation where one opponent has to decide whether to grab the Village tile and thus prevent the effect and possibly let the other player grab the Chief totem or to grab the Chief totem and let the Village go.
There are 8 Village tiles but only 6 are used each game, 2 are returned to the box. The others are laid out so that 3 of them are North-South and the last 3 are are East-West. The first three are where the totem piece will be laid until one of the Villages has a complete totem pole, then the next Village is turned 90 degrees and brought into line with the other 3, this Village is now live.
Because you can see what order the Villages will be arriving into the game you have to guage your playing of pieces to get the best effect from them.This may mean sacrificing a headdress to get a totem pole you are not particularly interested in to bring a Village you really want into play. There is luck in what piece you draw but then it is up to you
how you play that piece.
This isn't a deep meaningful game. It is one where you need to think about where you play your piece but because you generally only have one piece to play (you get to hold the drawn piece if you play a headdress and thus at the start of the next turn you will draw again so you have 2 pieces to select from) it almost plays itself. It is a game where you can only do one action but by taking that action you leave more options for your opponent.
The rules are in several languages, the Village tiles are strong and durable and the painting of the icons on the pieces does have that Indian cave drawing style, all of which make for good solid components, that add up to a good solid 2-player short time play challenge.