English language edition
List Price: $34.95
Your Price: $27.99
(Worth 2,799 Funagain Points!)
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The players explore the islands of Polynesia. Winner is the player who scores the most points from putting tiles on his display. Palms, huts, shells and boats on the tiles influence the scoring.
Mario Kart comes to a board game? Well maybe not entirely, although the board game Maori does have an explorer boat that goes around a kind of track (humor me here, and let's call the boat Mario!), so that part kind of fits. It could also be considered a simplified cross between Carcassonne and Vikings, in a shorter and quicker form, but with the addition of a form of resource currency for special actions. So it's a tile laying game with a difference, and it's good stuff. In fact, it was even a Recommended game for the 2009 Spiel des Jahres!
Each player has his own board, on which he tries to create a valuable island world - scoring points for things like palm trees and leis, and possibly also earning points from shells and ships (if you're the player with the most). You collect tiles from a matrix of 16 tiles in the center of the table, which is explored by the explorer ship. When one player fills his board (everyone else gets one more turn), the game ends and you score points.
This game has really proved to be a pleasant surprise. To give you an idea of how well it went over in our home: it was played 15 times in the first four days alone, and we've played it a whole lot more since! It also comes with more advanced variants for an added challenge, although the basic game is already fun enough. So what's good about it? Well it has an appealing theme, quality components, unique gameplay, multiple ways of earning points, random elements, variable levels of play, a puzzle-type mechanic, and quick gameplay.
Is Maori for you? If you're a meat-loving gamer that thinks that Carcassonne is merely milk suitable for gamer babies, then look elsewhere. But for the rest of us, Maori might just be the Mario Kart we're looking for in a board game, as a quick and speedy arcade like board game experience. If you want a Carcassonne fix on speed, without feeling that you're just getting Carcassonne express, then this is probably the right game for you! Maori really is a pleasant-looking, quick-playing, light-middleweight game that is ideal for families, children, and non-gamers. Count me in!