$15.00
$5.00
$20.00
Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Karmaka» Forums » Reviews

Subject: What comes around goes around with Karmaka rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ben G
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Alas, I am once again forced to play another game with stunning artwork and quality components. I must have done something right in a past life. Here you'll find a quick to set up, fairly easy to play card game that features some neat mechanics.

Karmaka is a card game for 2-4 players, by Hemisphere Games and takes about 30-60 minutes to play.

How to Play

This is a brief summary of the rules - it's entirely possible that I'll miss a few of the once-case rules or whatnot.

Shuffle the deck of 64 cards. Place the Karmic Ladder in the center of the table and drop your player tokens smack dab on the Dung Beetle. Yup, the Dung Beetle. Now you create the 'Well' (main deck of cards) with those 64 game cards. From this well of cards you'll deal four cards to each player which becomes their hand, and 2 cards face down which becomes their starting deck.

On your turn, you'll draw one card from your deck (if available), and play one card from your hand. You can play these cards in one of three ways.

* To your Deeds.
* To your Future Life.
* For it's Ability.

That's it! That's your turn. Players keep doing this until they die. No, seriously. It's okay though, with Karmaka, you'll be reincarnated in a turn. Now let's get into the meat of the game.

If you play a card to your Deed's pile, you'll be doing it for the score. Each card is worth 1, 2 or 3 points. If, when you run out of cards to play and you shuffle off this mortal coil you have enough points (4, 5, 6 or 7) you can reincarnate at the next level of being. Levels proceed as follows: Dung Beetles, Snakes, Wolves, Apes and finally, transcendence and the win. If you die without having enough points to move upwards, you'll receive a Karmic Ring which is worth 1 point when scoring.

There is a trick though, there are four colors - red, green blue and 'mosaic' (wild). You must pull your score only from one color in your Deeds pile, adding any Mosaic cards to that color.

That's the Deeds pile. There's also your Future Life pile. You may play cards face down towards your Future life. When you run out of cards to draw and play, you'll reincarnate - whether you have enough points or not to proceed to the next level, your Future Life deck will become your new hand. If there are less than six cards, you also draw cards from the well, face down into a new draw deck until your hand and your deck equals six cards. If you have six or more cards, you've got yourself a big hand.

Then you can play cards for their Abilities. Each card has an ability on it They may allow you to add extra cards to your hand, or Ruin one of your opponents Deeds (put it in the discard pile) or even peruse the discard pile to add cards to your hands. There are quite a few abilities but as with all things karmic, what comes around, goes around. If you play a card for it's ability it goes into the Ruins pile (again, the discard pile). Here's the catch though, your opponent may choose to snatch that card from the ruins and place it into their Future Life pile, to use against you.

That's the game. When you have not more cards to draw or play, you die and are reincarnated. You score your deeds and move up the Karmic Ladder or grab a Karmic Ring if you can't move up. Then you take your Future Life pile as your new hand, draw so you have at six cards if you have fewer and go around again. There are a few extra rules and play variants for 3-4 players.

Why you should play

Simple on it's surface, Karmaka actually has a lot going on. You don't want to extend your life too long by building up your hand to a massive size through your Future Life deck. You have to be careful what you play in your Deeds pile as other players can do things to this - and to your hand as well. Trying to time when you'll die and reincarnate is fairly important, as well as holding on to that one card you want to play when your opponent dies and essentially misses a turn.

Our first play through was fairly simple - build up a good Deeds pile, throw a card you don't care about it on top (the order doesn't change) so that if you get attacked it'll hit a card you don't mind losing and then pop off to reincarnate and do it again. Towards the end though, when trying to scrape up the 7 points to transcend and win, we realized that you can do a lot in the earlier game to set yourself up for the later game.

What you play to your Future Life pile can be critical, as is snatching up nasty (or highly beneficial) cards your opponent plays for their Abilities. But don't just grab every single card they play, when they play it - it may be worth it let that card get buried in the Ruins, hopefully never to be seen again.

Later plays actually slowed down by five or ten minutes as we gave some though to what may happen in our next life.

The components, though simple - a few cardboard punch outs, wooden player tokens, a small player board and cards, are all of very high quality. Wonderful, moody art makes every card something to look at. The cards aren't linen finished but are decently thick and shuffle well.

Personally, I think this game plays best with 2 players. The 3-4 player game works and is certainly playable and enjoyable but as a two player, thinky card game Karmaka shines. This is another game that's found a home on my shelf and I'll certainly be playing more of it.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris G
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Solid review. We played several 2 player games this weekend also. Successive games kept bringing out more strategy as you gain a better understanding of the flow of the game. We really enjoyed that the karma concept comes out in play through the mechanics. It's a very minimalistic card game that has the essence of a deck builder but you never really build a deck, a hand builder maybe? Anyway, fun game that we look forward to playing more of and I'm curious at how it plays with 3 and 4 players.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Van ord
msg tools
This was a game i wanted to kickstart, but unfortunately did not have the funds to do so at the time. Happy to see it out and being played. Any idea where someone who missed the kickstarter campaign can pick up a copy?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffrey Secrest
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My partner and I got in a few 2player games last night. We'll need to play a few more before I would feel right about a review but I was wondering if anyone has experienced (2player) a problem with 'once a player gets a lead it is very difficult to catch them'?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris G
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played enough games to say if it's a problem yet. I can only say that all our games so far have been pretty close.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daily Grind
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
AccidentalCultist wrote:
My partner and I got in a few 2player games last night. We'll need to play a few more before I would feel right about a review but I was wondering if anyone has experienced (2player) a problem with 'once a player gets a lead it is very difficult to catch them'?

I've only played twice so far (2p) and also did not notice a runaway leader. But as Chris said, need more plays to be sure.

I can see how, if one player is happy to employ the take-that aspects to hamper the opponent, and the other is unwilling to do so, that would create a problem. But I see no inherent advantage given to a player out in front if player skill levels (and dispositions) are equal.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben G
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
We've played a bunch 2 player and not run into this issue. It could be though that we're eager to use the take-that aspects of the game.

All of our games have been pretty close (within a turn or three) of one or the other player winning.

AccidentalCultist wrote:
My partner and I got in a few 2player games last night. We'll need to play a few more before I would feel right about a review but I was wondering if anyone has experienced (2player) a problem with 'once a player gets a lead it is very difficult to catch them'?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
kryyst wrote:
Solid review. We played several 2 player games this weekend also. Successive games kept bringing out more strategy as you gain a better understanding of the flow of the game. We really enjoyed that the karma concept comes out in play through the mechanics. It's a very minimalistic card game that has the essence of a deck builder but you never really build a deck, a hand builder maybe? Anyway, fun game that we look forward to playing more of and I'm curious at how it plays with 3 and 4 players.


It's quite a different dynamic at 3 or 4 players as I recall. I'm going off memory from during the campaign--I slapped together a quick & dirty PnP to see if I wanted to back. I'm waiting for my real copy to arrive (tomorrow says FedEx). I played a couple of 2p, and a 4p. 2p is more of a zero-sum duel feel to it. At more players, there is more complexity with the interactions, but it still works quite well I think.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brandon B
United States
New York
flag msg tools
I received this last week and it's absolutely gorgeous. I love the quality of the cards and the artwork. I haven't been interested in sleeving cards for a while now as it's a hassle, expensive and makes storage a pain, but I will definitely be sleeving this game! We played once with 4 and everyone truly enjoyed it (even my fiance who's a good 85% chance she'll hate a new game!) I am glad I kickstarted it. Great review
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad103
United States
Skaneateles
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Apex_phase wrote:
I received this last week and it's absolutely gorgeous. I love the quality of the cards and the artwork. I haven't been interested in sleeving cards for a while now as it's a hassle, expensive and makes storage a pain, but I will definitely be sleeving this game! We played once with 4 and everyone truly enjoyed it (even my fiance who's a good 85% chance she'll hate a new game!) I am glad I kickstarted it. Great review


Luckily the box is made for sleeving! Which is a great consideration by the designer. The insert itself is a piece of art. The cards have such great art on them I knew I'd be sleeving them as well. I highly recommend sleeving them, as the cards seem a bit 'fragile'. When I put them in sleeves the back face of the corners on a few cards tore off a tiny bit. Nothing I can't touch up, but annoying
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brandon B
United States
New York
flag msg tools
Oh boy... I just ordered a set of KMC Hyper Mat clear sleeves. Clear to show off the gorgeous back of the card art!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
mbmbmbmbmb
Played a solo game (2P) once my copy arrived and then played a 3P last evening with a couple of friends. The 2P seems to play much faster to me, mainly due to the limited ability of other players to pile on the leader.

In our 3P game, all newbs, of course, the game really bogged down toward the end: whoever was close to winning was piled on by the other two players (either by extending their life, removing deeds, or both). Eventually, all the players were stacked up just below transcendence and as we were each defeated in turn, the karmic rings just piled up. Eventually, all players had 4 karmic rings and it was simply a rather random event where all players had enough deeds to win, we just kept blocking as long as we could until finally one of the players died, and won the game.

It will certainly bear more play, but the final step to transcendence really seemed to bog down in our first play. My group has no issues being mean, though - Longevity in particular was used to great effect, along with the malignant (red) cards.

I did enjoy how the various "suits" of cards had their own flavor that carried them all, and I liked how "nice" cards, like green, could be used to be mean: you thought you were going to die and transcend to wolf? I think you deserve a nice, long, life as a snake before cashing in those deeds.

Fun game our first time through, just a bit a long at the end.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.