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from 3 customer reviews
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Two to four Inuit live in their igloos on an enormous ice floe.
In order to survive, they hunt seals, fish, walruses and whales. New breaks in the ice, fierce bears and competition with the other hunters constantly require tactical skill and foresight. In the igloo the booty of the successful hunters is converted to kayaks and sleds, which facilitate the progress of the next hunt.
When the hunting grounds are exhausted, the game ends. The most successful hunter wins.
I played this game using the original German rules: there are no unclarities at all. Maybe the translations that are floating around are simply bad; don't try to blame the game for that.
Even the introductory game is a great abstract with plenty of hard decisions; the full game simply adds more theme.
Mixed feelings pervade the review of this game. The game possesses potential, a potential for a fun evening if the rules are carefully studied. The Internet rules leave a great deal to be desired because they do not conform with the German version. After printing 16 pages of frequently asked questions, I realize the game continues to present hazards.
The premise of the game is good: Go out and find the animals (e.g. fish (one point), seal (two points), walrus (three points), and whale (four points)). Make sure you crack the ice each turn on the spoke of the wheel; I like that feature. The c-lines--not to be confused with sealions--represent the lines around the hex. The ice first cracks by placing small blue sticks on the spokes adjoining the hex. When all those lines are used, the d-lines or lines surrounding your current hex are used. Soon the ice breaks everywhere, and you are left with limited choices to return to your igloo.
In returning to an igloo or 'the' igloo, you can trade your animals for dogs, sledges, and kayaks. A strong feature of the game is your picking up an inuk or accompanying eskimo to hunt the whale. You need (according to rules clarifications) a separate inuk each time you hunt a whale. At the igloo you convert your hunted animals to resources on the right side of the player card. For example, one fish equals one dog. The rules specify you may only hunt for one of each species on the various expeditions.
The game ends when all the animals are hunted, or the players no longer want to move or cannot move. The rules clarifications say you can trade a whale, for example, for a dog, a sledge, and a kayak. You still receive victory points for the whale. Once you lose the harpoon in hunting the polar bear, the hunt is over until you return to the igloo and obtain another harpoon. The polar bear is never killed and is simply moved to a hex to possibly block other players. The dog and sledge allow you to move two hexes, but they are immediately used up after that effort. The inuk always stays with the hunted whale, preferably in the igloo.
The game can easily be played in an hour and presents its own fun. You are faced with a dilemma at the end of the game to return to the igloo or hunt the last animal. You receive two points if you get back to the igloo before the game ends. In our three-player game all the animals and inuks (four) were placed on specific hexes at the beginning. You may later choose to place the animals randomly on the hexes, except the whales and inuks.
I was faced late in the game with deciding to collect more inuks to block other players. However, only one whale was left on the board; it didn't make sense to grab the inuks. Each player in our game chose one of the igloos, but you can have multiple players moving at the beginning from the same igloo.
If you can overcome the rules lawyers interpreting the game, I recommend Nanuuk as a game worthy of 'breaking the ice.'
Aside from the poor rules the game is just not much fun to play. I dont think I've played a board game that I didn't like better than this. The decisions are dull, and it's not fun. Why buy then when there are 100 great games out there for a similar price?