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Subject: Tahiti...It's a Wonderful Place rss

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Steve Wrenn
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Tahiti. It’s a wonderful place...I haven’t been able to get that line out of my mind since Phil Coulson first said it. But is it really...it’s a little island that’s really far from any of the continents in real life, but in the board gaming world, it’s in a crowded neighborhood. There are plenty of board games out there titled after some tiny island in the Pacific Ocean or Caribbean Sea, that tries to catch some of the flavor of the culture of the native population. So what makes this game different, or even worth choosing over other titles?

In its simplest form, this is a pickup and deliver game. That’s it. You’re not feeding anyone with the food you grab, no one is starving, you don’t have to fight a random battle or another player to get the goods, and you’re not taking control of the tiles. If the island reseeds on the very next turn, another player is perfectly free to get goods off that island like you.

The hex tiles for the board. This mechanic does a nice job of creating a random board for each game, instead of using a static board every time, allowing opening moves to be created. Sure, the rules make sure that it for the most part forms a hexagonal circle, and you’ll never be too far from any particular good to fill up your player board, but it can make a difference how fast you can stack up those coconuts (to make awesome horse noises) if that’s one of your bonus goods that game. And the reef orientation also matters. Do you put them as out of the way as possible, making it easier for you AND your opponents to carry goods back, or do you use it as an obstruction in their path that may come back to haunt you? This adds a nice push your luck element to the game. It’s nice that it’s ultimately up to the players how the board is formed, but the Haumea god piece seemed a little redundant. It’s a piece that frequently gets forgotten when I play the game. I suppose having it brings out the theme a little bit, and it certainly wasn’t a big deal, but I certainly wouldn’t miss it if the game didn’t have it. I play it with a friend’s copy, but if it were mine, and I lost the piece, I would probably just play without it.

The goods fit nicely in the theme, as they’re all crops that I associate with tropical climates. Yes, they are just cubes in the bag instead of being shaped, but that is necessary for secretly grabbing things from a bag. I like that there are multiple ways to score points with the goods. You don’t simply run up the score on your secret bonus good, but you actually have to gather a little bit of everything to gain points. That way, just forming a shuttle between the home island and the very next island over doesn’t work. The bonuses associated with spreading out what you get often makes the difference. The fish mechanism I thought was especially interesting. Instead of making it just another good to be acquired from the islands, they actually used fish to make the open water tiles mean something besides just something to make your travels take longer. And having to decide, do I load up my ship with goods and move slowly, or do I go back and forth as fast as I can? I know which strategy I use, but I’ve seen both ways work.

The components are excellent. The tiles and goods all seem to be able to stand up to use, and while I’ve only played this with adults, I think it could stand up to the minor abuse of a child who...may not be especially careful when handling game pieces. The color on the pieces is stunning. As is befitting a game set in the South Pacific, all the pieces, are very bright and colorful, from the map hexes to the crop cubes, and especially the player boards. Overall a very attractively presented package that adds to the very lighthearted feel of the game.

So, I guess you can tell by now, that Phil Coulson was right. Tahiti is indeed a wonderful place. It’s a very easy to learn introductory pickup and deliver game. Do I even maybe dare call this a gateway game? Yup. This is something I think I could easily show to my non-gamer friends to give them a game to play beyond the mass market or party games they’re most familiar with. I could even see this game as a way to introduce older children to gaming that isn’t a kid specific game. It’s easy, and one of the least mentally taxing games I can think of that is still fun. It plays very quickly, mainly because analysis paralysis is virtually impossible in this game. In my particular group, this game normally closes out the night when it comes out (probably a good thing if we played a brain burner before this), but I do have to say, after I finish a game, I’m quick to say, “What’s next?”, but this is one of the few games that after I’m done, if someone said, “Let’s play one more time.”, I’d be inclined to say yes.
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Paul DeStefano
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Magical. Not wonderful.
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Steve Wrenn
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Geosphere wrote:
Magical. Not wonderful.

My bad. I haven't watched it since it premiered. modest
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ozzy perez
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I really like this little game.
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