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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45 minutes 2-4

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Product Description

On Taluva, that South Seas island shrouded in secrecy, raw elemental powers prevail. Powerful volcanoes erupt, pouring their lava into the sea, forming a terrace-like jungle landscape.

Four groups try to establish themselves on this island. They search the jungle, beaches, and lakes, looking for the best places to build their huts, towers, and temples. They put their fate in the hands of their gods. Each player makes decisions on how the island grows and where his group builds their huts, towers, and temples.

At the end of the game, the temples are the most important for scoring.

It may be advantageous for a player to hasten the game end by building all of two kinds of buildings. But note: if a player cannot build on his turn, he must relinquish his dreams and withdraw.

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Product Information


  • 12 temples
  • 8 towers
  • 80 huts in 4 colors
  • 4 summary sheets
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 4 reviews

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by Cassandra
Very good game, not worth the price
December 05, 2013

I've been playing this game for a couple years, and it hits the table more frequently than average. It works best with two, but works okay with three or four. The depth of strategy opens up after a few plays, and it does have high replayability.

However, as others have stated, this is WAY too expensive! It has more than doubled in price, and even just went up again! I'm upset because my copy is pretty worn, and I'd like to get another if it were more affordable.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Jose
Great game, but priced too high
July 07, 2013

I really enjoy this game. It's highly strategic, looks great (making it accessible), satisfying finish, and usually ends in a satisfying way where you can immediately see who won without having to count up a score. However, this reprint is simply priced too high--it's almost double the cost of the original printing! I can't get it until it comes down in price...

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Greg J. Schloesser
Quite a bit of tension and strategy packed into an hour
November 16, 2010

Design by: Marcel-Andre Casasola Merkle
Published by: Rio Grande Games / Hans im Gluck
2 – 4 Players, 45 minutes – 1 hour
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

NOTE: This review was first published in Knucklebones magazine

In the South Pacific, four tribes vie for dominance on a geographically violent island. Each tribe searches for the best places to establish settlements and erect temples and towers to honor their gods. The island is fragile, with terrible volcanoes reshaping and changing the landscape, often devastating settlements in the process. The wise tribe will take advantage of the ever-changing terrain to claim new territory and establish control of the island.

Taluva is the creation of Marcel-Andre Casasola Merkle, designer of such games as Attika, Meuterer and Verrater. It is essentially a tile-laying game, but tiles can be stacked, creating a landscape that expands both horizontally and vertically. The challenge is creating and noticing placement opportunities that will allow for the placement of huts, towers and temples.

Each player receives an assortment of huts, temples and towers. The objective is to be the first player to completely place the most temples at game’s end, and if that is tied, the most towers, and if that is still tied, the most huts. Alternatively, the player who constructs ALL of two of his three building types wins immediately. Otherwise, the game ends once all tiles are placed.

The four-dozen triangular tiles each depict three hexes with specific types of terrain on each hex, one of which is always a volcano. Each turn, a player places a tile to the board, making sure at least one side of the tile touches a previously placed tile. A tile may be placed on top of other tiles, observing a few placement rules. First, a volcano must be placed on top of another volcano, but the lava must be flowing in a different direction than the existing volcano. This rule prevents one tile from exactly covering a previously placed tile. Existing huts may be displaced, but an entire settlement – a connected group of buildings – cannot be destroyed. Further, a temple or tower cannot be covered, so the proper placement of these buildings can protect a settlement.

After placing a tile, the player must place one or more buildings onto a vacant hex, but these can be positioned on any tile. Buildings cannot be placed on volcanoes, and towers and temples can only be constructed in settlements without any other towers and temples present, respectively. There are further restrictions based on the type of building being constructed:

•Huts must initially be built on the first level.
• Towers must be erected at level 3 or higher, and must be adjacent to an existing settlement.
• Temples must be adjacent to an existing settlement.

A player is allowed to expand an existing settlement by adding new huts to it. A terrain type is selected, and all hexes containing that terrain that are adjacent to the chosen settlement receive new huts. The number of huts placed on a hex is equal to the level of that hex. So, a hex on the second level would receive two huts, while a hex located on a third level would receive three huts. By carefully placing tiles and choosing terrain types, numerous huts can often be placed, progressing a player towards achieving victory by depleting two types of buildings.

A major challenge in the game is placing tiles at higher levels in order to construct towers, as well as splitting existing settlements so that new temples can be erected without violating the temple placement rules. Developing a brand new settlement takes more time than dividing an existing one, so a wise player will seek opportunities to divide a settlement, allowing new temples or towers can be erected. This is certainly easier said than done, and requires careful planning.

The game does require a certain amount of visualization skills, as players must be able to discern favorable placement opportunities and work towards long-term goals. These plans can be upset by one’s opponents, but part of the challenge is in overcoming these obstacles. In these respects, Taulva reminds me a bit of a simplified version of Java, one of Wolfgang Kramer’s excellent designs. It is easier to play than Java, but it still requires considerable skill and foresight to play well.

Taluva packs quite a bit of skill, tension and strategy in less than an hour of playing time, and seems to play equally as well with three or four players. Games develop differently each time I’ve played, which keeps it fresh and challenging. While the game is accessible to all skill levels, experience counts, and it truly shines when played with a group of seasoned players. I always suspected a visit to the South Pacific would be fun, but I never dreamed it could be so challenging and tense!

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