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Subject: Family Focus Reviews: Kahuna rss

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Ryan Metzler
United States
Glendale
Wisconsin
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Hello all. The purpose of this series will be to provide a review of varying games from a family gaming perspective. No...this series will NOT examine the intricacies of Monopoly or Risk, Scrabble or Yahtzee. Instead we will look at popular BGG games, and how these games work in the context of a typical family (2 parents, a teenage or older child, perhaps additional relatives).

For my fifteenth review in the series, we will be taking a look at the 2-player area control game Kahuna:

Image courtesy of Lobo!

This review will be a little LESS family based than the rest...but will still focus on how you might be able to play this with ONE of your family members. Just remember...you won't get the whole family together for this one...but maybe you can play with your dad/mom/sis/bro/grandpa/grandma!

Kahuna worked its way in to my collection due to my love for 2-player games, and my ability to ALWAYS have a partner for such games. That's the great thing about 2-player games...you can ALWAYS find one more person. That said, how does this game stack up against other two players? You'll have to wait to find out....because first we go over the game play!

Kahuna is an area control based games in which players are trying to control islands within the region of Kahuna. The game play focuses around collecting sets of cards which players will use in order to build bridges between islands. Each island has a certain amount of bridges that may be build to it, and they may only be built from the surrounding islands. When one player has build over 50% of the bridges that link to an individual island, they gain control of that island. Additionally, gaining control of an island removes all of your opponents bridges from that islands, which may affect their bridges present on adjacent islands! If at any point a player loses their greater than 50% control of an islands bridges, they lose control of that island. Through taking the right cards, making the right connections, and utilizing the right timing, you can rule the islands!

Islands, Bridges and Control Markers! Image courtesy of mgoddard.

Cards! Image courtesy of lastalchemist.

How do you play? Thats simple!

On a players turn they will start with a hand of cards. Additionally there will be a deck of cards, and three face up cards. On a players turn they may play 0-5 cards. Cards depict an island and say the island name upon them. Playing cards can have the following effects:

1) You may play a single card to place a bridge between that cards island and another neighboring island (this can be done multiple times)

2) You may play 2 cards to remove an opponents bridge from between two islands. These two cards must be either a pair from one of the two islands, or one card from each island, from which you are trying to remove the bridge connection

At the end of a player's turn, they take 1 card into their hand, either from one of the three face up cards, or from the top of the face down deck. If they take a face up card, they replace it with a card from the face down deck.

When a player gets more than 50% of the bridge connections to an island, they place their marker on it, showing ownership. They also remove their opponents bridges.

Loss of a 50% majority results in the removal of the players marker from that island. Now no one controls the island.

The game is played in a series of 3 rounds. A round ends when the last card is taken from the deck and three face up cards. At the end of the first round, the player who controls more islands scores 1 point. The discard deck is then shuffled and a new round is set up. At the end of the second round, the player with the most controlled island scores 2 points and sets up a new round. At the end of round 3 the player with the most islands is awarded the difference between their controlled islands and their opponents. Whoever has more points wins!

Alright, enough about rules. What are my thoughts? Well lets look at my 6 point system to find out!

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1) Ease of Play: This is a pretty easy game to pick up, as is most of the Kosmos 2-player series. On a players turn they simply play cards, place or remove bridges, add their control markers to islands on which they have 50% or more of the bridges, remove any opponents bridges on islands they newly control, and draw a card! It sounds like a lot...but really turns only take a matter of seconds with experienced players, and maybe a minute with inexperienced players. Choosing a card is sometimes the hardest part, as it is where you plan for the future.

I've played this game with mother, father, and girlfriend and all of them have grasped the concept easily. As a matter of fact...they've all beaten me...perhaps I'm just terrible at the game!

Ease of Play Rating: :/

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2) Clarity of Rules: The rules of Kahuna are short and to the point, and could easily be explained using only text. However, the game goes a bit above and beyond, including illustrations and examples of how turns play out. This is a nice touch, and makes a read through the rules easily enough for two new players to pick up the game and begin. I've gotta give Kahuna props here.

Clarity of Rules Rating: /

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3) Visual Appeal: For as simple as it is, Kahuna is really a nice looking 2-player game. The black and white contrasts nicely with the bright and colorful board. The theme, although a thin layer over an abstract game, makes the board pop, draws the eye, and really just makes this a fun game to look at.

Visual Appeal Rating: /

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4) Quality of production: I love the wooden pieces in this game! The bridges, while nothing special, are well made and of course...solid. The wooden control disks are of a WONDERFUL quality, with nice hand print images on the disk (I really couldn't tell you HOW they put them on there, or what material they are made of). The board is bright, solid, and all around quality.

However, I do have one gripe. The cards are not of the greatest quality and are a tad susceptible to wear. This isn't a huge issue as you aren't doing a TON of shuffling or throwing the cards, but a nicer quality card stock would have been a plus....

Quality of Production Rating: /

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5) Fun Factor: Kahuna is fun...but I wouldn't exactly call it exciting. This game is a bit of a mental exercise at times...not a heavy one...but one where you are trying to plan in the future and even possibly predict what cards are left in the card deck. I love the direct screwage factor, which adds to the fun greatly, but its more interesting than it is "a blast". Even so....it gets medium marks for what it does offer!

Fun Factor Rating: /

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6) Strategy:
As mentioned above, there is a decent amount of strategy involved here. Is it best to hold on to cards and take over an island at once? Perhaps you want to try and cause a chain reaction which will remove island possession from your opponent. Which card do you take from the stack? What cards are left in the deck? Can you sneak an extra island control in right before the end of the round?

There is lots to think about in Kahuna, and while it is a simple two player game, it offers enough strategic choice to keep both players interested and to allow for a good amount of replayability. I give this game high marks for strategy in a 2-player, family playable game!

Strategy Rating: /

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Kahuna is a wonderful two player game, and while this is typically a thread on family games, I think this game can offer a nice addition to families which aren't ALWAYS together. Sometimes you need to sit down and bond with a parent, child, or sibling and Kahuna offers a great experience for just that. The game is easy to learn, strategic and engaging in play, and has decent quality components. This has my seal of approval for a great two player game!

Overall Family Focus Rating: /

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Thank you much for reading my review. Stay tuned to my review geeklist for more reviews oriented at gaming within a family environment. The geeklist can be found at:

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/46140

NOTE: Reviews posted here are based only on games played in a family setting. This series will continue to offer reviews of games which have been played in this setting, both good and bad. I hope that these reviews may serve the BGG community, and perhaps lead others to games which they too may enjoy in a family setting. Donations are not expected, or required, but are always appreciated.
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Larry Welborn
United States
Anderson
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Nice review.
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Ryan Metzler
United States
Glendale
Wisconsin
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Larry Welborn wrote:
Nice review.


Thank you Larry!
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Craig Brown
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Honestly...Kahuna is probably my favorite 2 player game..I love tight, 2 player games that have such simple rules but great depth of strategy. Unfortunately one of the kids got a hold of the box while we weren't looking and a number of the bridges went missing....this was all before I knew of BGG and we ended up tossing what was left of the game. So I continue on my quest for a *reasonably* prices replacement. I can't justify spending $35-40 on a game I originally purchased for $10-15
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Lance Eisenhauer
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Nicely presented review. Not too long but informative.

Kahuna is a fun little strategy game and I agree with the screwage factor being fun. Such satisfaction I get by playing the final set of cards that create the majority for my faction and the domino effect of bumping the opponents bridges from the island and then causing their loss of majority on one or two more of their own islands. Good times.
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Pasta Batman
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ofhs93 wrote:
I can't justify spending $35-40 on a game I originally purchased for $10-15
You must not be looking very hard.
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Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
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pastabatman wrote:
ofhs93 wrote:
I can't justify spending $35-40 on a game I originally purchased for $10-15
You must not be looking very hard.

Indeed the BGG Marketplace section on the main Kahuna page lists quite a few, e.g. in the US right now I see 2 new ones being offered for under $16.
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Mats Blohmé
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Simlångsdalen
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Thanks for yet another great review. Must bring this out of the cupboard again.
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