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Store:  Family Games
Genre:  Abstract Strategy
Format:  Board Games


English language edition

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45-70 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Guido Hoffmann

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

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Product Description

There are three kinds of pieces in the game: suns, shadows, and roofs. The suns and shadows are neutral and may be played by any player. The roofs are colored and may only be played by the player belonging to that color. A player scores points whenever a sun casts a shadow over one of his roofs. The number of points scored is the number of shadows cast by the sun shining over the player's roof The player who scores the most points is the winner.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Guido Hoffmann

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 45 - 70 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,045 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English). This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.


  • 1 game board
  • 25 suns
  • 60 roofs
  • 75 shadows
  • 4 scoring markers
  • 1 cloth bag
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 4 reviews

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Excellent, Intriguing, Original
June 29, 2000

Siesta is not only an interesting game to play but an interesting pattern to watch develop. The basic scoring unit of the game, a 'siesta,' consists simply of a line of the three types of pieces: sun(s), roof(s), and shadow(s). After the first move, where one of the players puts a sun-roof-shadow combination somewhere on the board, every piece played has to be next to another piece already there. Since every shadow can potentially score in four different siestas (one from each direction), you tend to get small fields of shadows surrounded by roofs and suns. This turns out to render a fascinating pattern growing from a single seed as everybody tries to scratch victory points out of the same soil.

I was amused to read one reviewer say 'you'll be laughed at if you bring this game out at the guys' all-night game marathon,' since that's exactly where I learned Siesta! And we've all been hooked on it ever since! But I can picture looking suave and intellectual over a game of Siesta down at the local bohemian cafe, too....

Unfortunately the English rules translation does have some serious problems, and its description of a 'double siesta' is particularly misleading. Instead of trying to make sense of the translation, I recommend you make use of this much better explanation (endorsed by Ulrich Bauer of Goldsieber, the game's German publisher) of siestas and double siestas:

A siesta is any straight line of pieces on the board that goes sun-roof-shadow, with no empty spaces in between--but each of the three elements (sun, roof, and shadow) may appear in multiples. Thus you can have sun-sun-roof-roof-shadow or sun-roof-shadow-shadow-shadow or whatever.

We can depict this as (sun x n)-(roof x n)-(shadow x n).

The roofs in a siesta do not have to be the same color (that is, do not have to belong to the same player). Each siesta scores the number of shadows it contains for each of the players who has a roof in it. Note, however, that each player scores that number of shadows only once, no matter how many roofs he has in the siesta.

A shadow may wind up belonging to as many as four siestas, since the board is two-dimensional and can be read equally left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, and bottom-to-top.

A double siesta consists of a straight line (sun x n)-(roof x n)-(shadow x n)-(roof x n)-(sun x n)--that is, a series of pieces in which all the shadows belong to two siestas from opposite directions--with the special additional requirement that all the roofs in both siestas must belong to the same player. This pays a 2-point bonus in addition to the points scored for each siesta.

For example, sun-redroof-shadow-shadow-shadow-redroof-redroof-sun-sun is a double siesta and scores a total of 8 points: 3 for the siesta starting on the left, 3 for the siesta starting on the right, plus the 2-point bonus for double siesta.

In contrast, sun-redroof-shadow-shadow-shadow-greenroof-redroof-sun-sun is not a double siesta because all the roofs are not the same color. Red still scores 3 for the siesta starting on the left plus 3 for the siesta starting on the right, but does not get the 2-point bonus since there is no double siesta. Green also scores 3 for the siesta starting on the right.

Despite what the rules translation says, it is perfectly acceptable for a double siesta to include a shadow which scores for another player on the perpendicular, even in the case where the opposing player scores on the same play when the double siesta is formed. Also despite what the rules translation says, merely scoring in two different siestas during your turn does not constitute a double siesta.

Do follow the instruction that 'Shadows must always be played so they are part of one or more Siestas.' Each shadow played must score for some player--but not necessarily for the player making the play!

You do, nevertheless, have to score at least one point for yourself with the three pieces played on your turn.

Bear in mind that all the scoring stays on the board, so at the end of the game, you can total it all up again if you need to to make sure you got it right. With a little practice and attention to detail, though, you'll be able to keep the running totals accurate. This is a good thing when playing with more than two players, as you may have to choose between plays that help one opponent or another. Most importantly, when you end the game by playing the last sun or your own last roof, you'll want to be sure you're ahead!

Fun in the Sun
October 04, 1999

If you are a fan of abstract positional games, Siesta is a must have. Although in its delicate balance between attack and defense some people might find a favorable comparison with Go, Siesta is not quite like any other game that I know of. Instead of surrounding territory and capturing opposing pieces as in Go, in Siesta you attempt to score the most points by forming 'Siestas,' special formations consisting of combinations of the three types of game pieces (suns, roofs and shadows). Almost every move in Siesta incorporates both an offensive and defensive component. A player not only must be looking for ways to increase his scoring opportunities, he also must be looking for ways to block his opponent at the same time. Finding the best possible move in any given situation can be quite challenging--and fun. And Siesta is a beautifully made game with a wooden board and attractive wooden pieces. Play it at your local coffee house and you are sure to attract a crowd of onlookers.

"Sunshine on my shoulders..."
September 26, 1999

At Barnes & Noble, there is an entire book section for 'coffee table' books. 'Seinfeld' even poked fun at them through Kramer's coffee table book on... coffee tables. 'Siesta' is a coffee table game. It is beautifully constructed wooden board & pieces representing Sun, Roof, and Shadow. The simple premise of the game is to create a chain of, in sequence, Sun, Roof and Shadows. The more shadows a player uses, the more points he/she scores.

Each player places any three pieces (with one exception) to create new siestas or add to exsisting ones. By scoring in more than one direction, a player also receives a two point bonus. Scoring is kept on a continuous track around the perimeter of the board. Sun & Shadow pieces CANNOT be orthogonally adjacent and depending on the pieces played, several players can score on the same move.

'Siesta' fits into that fuzzy genre of 'abstract strategy game' such as '[page scan/se=0125/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Quarto' or 'Quoridor' buts lacks that calculating, final 'killer move' that assures victory. In fact, while playing, you get this very peaceful effect. You can almost imagine all the happy little villagers enjoying the shade you create around the gameboard while you're playing.

'Siesta' is a wonderful, non-theatening game that works well if presented properly. Bring it to the 'Boy's All-nighter game fest' and you'll be laughed out of the group. Bring it for an evening of entertaining friends with the latest wine and quiche, and you'll be a hit.

What's the point?
August 09, 2000

None of the previous reviews touch on the fact that Siesta is not interesting to play. There is no real strategic element. There is not much more to it than looking for places to score points. Defensive moves are shallow, simple blocks that form no larger pattern in the game.

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