Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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About Taluva Deluxe:

1) What is it?
Taluva Deluxe is a new printing of Taluva, being basically the same game with two new expansions: Boats and 2-hex tiles. Therefore, most of what I will talk will be for both versions.

Taluva is a tile-laying game in which players put Huts, Temples or Towers, each with their own restrictions and requirements (Temples demand a settlement of at least 3 Huts; a Tower must be placed in a third-level tile).

The game has very simple rules, but the placement of tiles, the actions of expansion of the settlement and putting other buildings, allow for a good amount of depth and some strategy, mixed with a lot of tatical play, since you don't know which tile you will be using next.

There is direct interaction during play, since the addition of second and third level tiles can, and usually do, cover and take out Huts of other players, normally preventing them from being able to build a Temple. However, is unlike that the damage done is too harmful: is more often simply a bump in the road, a delay. as settlements can't be fully destroyed. Yet, as Taluva is pretty tight, is possible that a small delay of one turn can mean losing the game. It is the nature of the thing: one mustn't losing opportunities.

The production value of this new printing is great: the tiles are thick, sturdy and colorful; the pieces are of wood and nice to the touch; the box is huge and keeps everything in place - but is a hassle to put everything back once the game is done.

2) How do you play?
As per the description: each turn, players decide to either have a new volcano erupt along the shore, increasing the size of the island, or to have an existing volcano erupt again, increasing the height of the land around it (and possibly destroying parts of existing settlements). They do this by placing a new tile, consisting of one volcano and two other types of landscape. A tile must always touch at least one other tile, when placed at sea level, or be placed on top of at least two other tiles (without any gaps under the land being created), with the volcano being placed on top of an existing volcano.

Next, the player will place one or more wooden buildings; huts, temples or towers. Settlements must always start at the lowest level, by placing a single hut. From there on, existing settlements may expand by placing huts on all hexes of a single type of terrain around the settlement, with temples once the settlement takes up at least three hexes, or with towers, placed at level three or above.

The game ends when all tiles have been placed. At that point, the player who's placed most temples wins. Ties are broken by towers, then huts. Ultimate victory - and an immediate end to the game - waits for the player who manages to place all their buildings of two types. Immediate defeat is also possible, when no buildings can legally be played during a player's turn.

3) Which are the decisions made during play?
The main one is: where to put the tile drawn. This has several considerations: board state (the formation and what the others and you have on the board and where), what the player wants to do (expand to add more Huts, put a Temple or a Tower, block someone else, split a settlement, etc) and, finally, what she doesn't want to do (this is important, as laying a tile can be more useful to the others than to yourself, as they can use it to place tiles in the second or third level).

Taluva usually requires forethought from the players: you are laying the foundations of your next plays right now. This isn't a complex and intricate demand, but sure carries weight and is key to doing well.

If using the 2-hex expansion, there is also the decision of when to use it. Every player can only use one of them during the whole play, so while one might prefer to wait, this can mean losing the opportunity of placing one or more of them, as there are only one per player, and they are all different.

4) What are the good things in the game?
- Great production value;
- Language independent;
- Easy to teach and to play, but with a good amount of depth in the gameplay;
- Tight game, with the decision often coming in the final round (and this is a game that can end early, not with a predefined number of rounds);
- Constant interaction and fight for space - the destruction of Huts isn't, normally, crippling or too harmful;
- Short playing time with a good pacing and little downtime;
- Is nice too see the evolution of the board, growing and rising, dotted with buildings.

5) Which are the bad news?
- Big box (for the Deluxe edition at least);
- Mostly abstract gameplay.

6) How do you feel while playing?
Like playing a little more complex version of Carcassonne: Taluva has more types of things to add (three or four types of buildings), more ways to place tiles (in three levels), and is more agressive, but the heart of it is the same: lay tiles and put stuff on them. There is no cost to this, no economy - at the most a small amout of resource management: with meeples and Huts (though finishing the Huts can be good, is also very possible to not be able to build in one of the next turns and be eliminated). It is hard for someone that enjoys Carcassonne to be displeased by Taluva.

Overall, Taluva offers a fine mix of simple rules, good depth, a nice amount of interaction, and a lively pacing, with short downtime, all put in a pretty to look at and to handle package. Recommended!

Regards,


Image credit: W Eric Martin



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M C
Canada
Lethbridge
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Thanks for the succinct review of a fun game. It needs more images to showcase the deluxe-ness!
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John Rudolph
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Is it a good buy for a 2 player game?
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Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Thinking about my next move.
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So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
Is it a good buy for a 2 player game?


Sure is. Just as regular Taluva is. Is a more thoughtful play, as the opportunity one leaves open, the other might take, instead of player B giving a chance for C, and A was screwed for this.
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Michael Frost

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This great plays, looks, and feels like a simplified version of the equally great game Java. But Java is a lot heavier and more inclined to induce AP due to its action point mechanism. If you like Java and want something a bit lighter that is like Java, this is the game for you.
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