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Do you know the archipelago of Oro? It lies in the midst of the vastness of the Pacific ocean, forgotten by the world and lost in the mists of time. Four tribes live here in peace with one another. They hold an annual contest to honor the gods.
This year, who will achieve supremacy over the archipelago?
Gradually the tribes establish bridges between the islands and continue to develop their positions. Weaker tribes are expelled from individual islands, but can return and turn the tide.
Help your tribe to victory!
The card you play determines on which island you set a bridge. Thus you change majority conditions on this and the neighboring island.
Cunning and strategy are essential for victory. May the gods grant you success.
I have a lot of fun with Kahuna, one of my favorites of the Kosmos two-player game line. So when I saw in the Essen 2003 reports that there was a four player version available, it jumped to the top of my want list. There was some confusion about the name of Kanaloa (Tilset, 2003 Gunter Cornett), as there is another game by this same name, designed by the same author! The other game even looks similar, but is a completely different game, by a different company. This initial confusion did not stop me from locating the correct version, although I did find it a bit strange.
Name confusion aside, however Kanaloa was a fun experience. If a player likes Kahuna, they will love Kanaloa, a refined version that allows two more players to join the fun. Players who do not like Kahuna, however, should pass Kanaloa, as the changes arent enough to make the game better for them. And if one hasnt tried Kahuna, but likes a fun filled experience, with a lot of player interaction then this is indeed a fine place to start.
(Im assuming that readers of this review already know how to play Kahuna. If not, read my review on Kahuna to see how that game works).
Kanaloa (also known as Arabana Opodopo) has 16 islands on a much larger board, with three, five or seven connections protruding from each island. A deck of 48 cards is shuffled, with three cards for each island in it. Each player is given bridges and stones, just like Kahuna, with one stone put on a scoring track on the side of the board. The game is played exactly like Kahuna with the following changes:
- There are only two rounds, instead of three.
- Four cards are face up instead of three.
- If a pair of cards are played to remove an opponents bridge, a player may place their bridge their also.
- Its possible for a player to get the most bridges on an island, but not a majority. They do not place a control marker, but they can remove one bridge of an opponents from the island.
- After the first round, each player scores each island they control. They receive one point for every connecting spot where they do NOT have a bridge. Thus, if they control every bridge on an island, they will get NO points. The player with the least amount of points decides who goes first in the next round.
- After the second round, each player scores each island they control. Scoring is the same as the first round, except that players get one extra point per island. Thus, if they control every bridge on an island, they would get ONE point at least.
After the second round, the player with the most points is the winner!
Additional rules are provided for The Power of the gods variant. Sixteen god stones are randomly distributed to each island at the beginning of the game. Whenever a player takes control of an island, they remove the stone and can use it later on in the game.
- Kane stones provide additional victory points (given immediately) from one to three, depending on the size of the island.
- Kanaloa stones act as jokers, and can be played to put a bridge in any location on the board (or used as part of a pair.)
- Ku stones allow a player to steal a card from another players hand (after examining all the cards.)
- Pele stones allow a player to steal a card randomly from another player, and giving them another card of the first players choice.
- Lono stones allow a player to take an extra card on their turn which can be played immediately.
Some comments on the game
1.) Components: The components in Kanaloa are extremely top-notch. The four colors used for the wooden pieces (bridges and control markers) are very distinct, and look really sharp against the colorful map that is the board. The cards are not as good as Kahuna, as they only show a partial map, rather than the whole board. There are markers (squid, fish, turtle, shell) that show which quadrant of the board the island is located to be helpful. The stone markers are cardboard tokens that are different colors, to help tell them apart. And there are four large cardboard cutouts that show in pictures what each stone marker does, for reference. Everything fits into a nice plastic insert in a large, colorful, sturdy box. The board is about three times the size of Kahuna, and a completed game really looks sharp!
2.) Rules: The rules are extremely easy to pick up if one has played Kahuna before, as there are only minor changes. Theyre very long and detailed, and have many colored illustrations. I downloaded the English translations off the internet, and was easily able to figure them out. The game is as easy to teach as is Kahuna and thats a good thing.
3.) More players: This is a fantastic game. I know that the first time I played Kahuna, I wondered aloud why the game was only for two players, as I thought it would make an excellent multiplayer game. Now that Ive had the opportunity to see that wish come true, I have to acknowledge that I was right it is better multiplayer than it is two-player. The only negative factor to playing with four players is that its very easy to pick on one player.
4.) Rule differences: There are a few minor rule differences, but the one I enjoy the most and have even now used as a variant in Kahuna, is the fact that when you play a pair of island cards, you replace the bridge you remove with one of your own, rather than just removing it. Pairs were very rare in Kahuna, they are much more common in Kanaloa. This rule really enhanced my gaming experience.
5.) Power of the gods: This adds some randomness to the game, but makes it fairly fun. A Kahuna purist probably wouldnt like it, and indeed I dont use them in every game, but they do add variety and make every island on the board worth taking.
6.) Fun Factor: Tons!
Since the game doesnt take that long (about 30-45 minutes), it is an excellent one to pull out whenever you have four players, and only an hour in which to play a game. Kanaloa is one of my favorite four player games, as its very easy to teach; yet the strategies take a while to pick up. The game looks good on the table, plays easily, and gives everyone involved a fun time. I still dont know how the theme fits in all this, but as long as Im having fun who cares!?