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Subject: 'Kahuna' Matada! rss

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Robert Gardunia
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Kahuna is a 2 player boardgame offering a surprising number of strategy twists for so simple a concept.

The Polynesian-themed board contains 12 islands that are connected to each other by bridges (initially dotted lines where bridges can be placed). During a turn, a player plays cards from his hand that correspond to the islands allowing him to place a bridge off whatever island a played card shows. Once a player has control of more than half the bridges off an island, he gains control of that island, places a control marker on it and removes any of his opponents bridges connected to the island.

Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? Not so fast.

When a player places a control marker on an island and removes his opponent’s bridges from it, it may cause the required number of bridges the opponent needed to control a connecting island to drop below half and thus make them lose the island. Additionally, you can also destroy a bridge by playing 2 connecting island cards, which might also force your opponent to lose and island. Careful placement or destruction of bridges can wreck havoc, possibly taking out several islands at a time!

Arguably bridge placement tactics are equally matched by card strategy. At the start of the game each player gets 3 cards from a deck of 24 that contains 2 cards for each island in the game. 3 cards are then placed face up from the deck. During a turn a player can play up to 5 cards from his had in succession –but- he can only draw one (from the face up or face down cards). So playing out your whole hand, while powerful, forces you to rebuild from one card.

After the last card is picked up the round is scored. There are 3 rounds to the game, after each one the discarded cards are remade into a new draw deck (and face up cards) and play continues. Scoring is interesting, the winner of the first round getting 1 point, the second round winner getting 2 points and the 3rd round winner getting the difference of the first two score. This has the tendency of making the second round the most important for the win and the likelihood of ties fairly high.

After a handful of plays over several sessions, I would have to say this game gets better as you play it. At first, it seemed a little difficult to see the number of brides leading off each island for purposes of gaining and losing control, I had mused it would be better if they had some indication on each island as to its bridge total to help with this. However, in the second session this difficulty didn’t occur at all so I’m apt to attribute it to unfamiliarity with the feel of the game in the first few plays.

It goes rather quick even with 3 rounds so is nice if you want to think a bit but want a faster game. There’s a bit of luck as where you can place bridges is primarily card-based, but the variety of possible card play strategies more than made up for that. This one’s definitely a keeper and makes the 4-player version look pretty tempting.
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Lars Wagner Hansen
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Skythian wrote:
This has the tendency of making the second round the most important for the win and the likelihood of ties fairly high.


I have played close to 100 games of Kahuna, and have yet never had a tie, so I think your statement is wrong.

Skythian wrote:

At first, it seemed a little difficult to see the number of brides leading off each island for purposes of gaining and losing control, I had mused it would be better if they had some indication on each island as to its bridge total to help with this.


This is stated on the cards. Under the name of the island you have a number of white lines, which equals the number of bridges connecting to that island.

Lars
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Robert Gardunia
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You have me beat as far as qualifications to announce the possibilities of ties! I think my wife an I have played 5 times total but there were 2 ties in those 5 plays, so I'm basing my claim on 'high chance of ties' on that.

As for the cards denoting the number of bridges I've no doubt you're correct (it's been awhile, this was an old review I'd written fro friends awhile ago) but I think I was more referring to a wish that that info would've been on the board as that's where I mostly look when planning.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Skythian wrote:
Scoring is interesting, the winner of the first round getting 1 point, the second round winner getting 2 points and the 3rd round winner getting the difference of the first two score.


So a player wins if he takes rounds 1 and 2, or rounds 2 and 3, but ties if he takes rounds 1 and 3? Odd, but interesting.
 
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Robert Gardunia
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You're going to make me go reread the rules again. Dammit!
 
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J Davison
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I don't have the rules in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that the score for round 3 is the difference in the number of islands controlled at the end of the game.
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Nathan James
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J Davison wrote:
I don't have the rules in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that the score for round 3 is the difference in the number of islands controlled at the end of the game.


That is correct.
 
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Sheryl Moedt
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While I have no idea exactly how many games I've played of Kahuna, it certainly is quite a few, and I'd have to say that I had quite a few ties too. Maybe it depends on the people playing it.

I think if you have two people who are pretty evenly matched (like myself and my brother) and a fairly low scoring game like this, ties seem likely enough to happen. It's just going to vary from one group of people to another.

My guess is that you and your wife are probably also quite evenly matched.
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