Wherever I look, there is only snow everywhere. Yesterday, white darkness struck, a snow blizzard buried all the landmarks, and I am afraid the Inukshukas hid under the cover. Without them I have no chance to return home. I have left my catch behind to be lighter, but if I don’t see a hint of home soon, I’m afraid, I’ll get lost on the neverending white plain.
For him to go home, there are stone structures needed. And players will be preparing those in the Tuki board game, prepared for all building lovers by Grzegorz Rejchtman and illustrated by Chris Quilliams. The news was prepared by Next Move company and released by Plan B Games. Afterwards, the fun spread throughout Europe with the help of Esdevium Games.
The box is not unnecessarily large, but its interior is ideally used by several pockets. With the help of the enclosed stones, players will be able to assemble human silhouettes in the same way, we see them on the lid of the box. Inside the compartments you will find colored stones, but also white ones representing snow. Each opponent gets three colored sticks (gray, blue and purple) and a set of four snow stones – one from each shape. At the center of the table, players place a stand for the task cards, which should be shuffled and placed in the pocket inside to hide its pictures.
Each round runs simultaneously for all participants. Players remove the top card from the deck and place it in a stand so everyone can see it well. However, the building should not start then. The dice roll first has to decide about card rotation. The player slip the card in, so that the rolled animal icon faces down. This is simultaneously starting sign for everybody to attempt to put the colored sticks in the same layout as the card prescribes in its current rotation.
In doing so, players have to use snow stones as support and counterweight. These white pieces are not used during evaluation and serve only for purpose of building. The end of the round is waiting for the moment, when everyone finishes their efforts. Although the order is very important for the further development of the game, equally important is the correctness of laying the stones and conformity with the assignment.
If someone makes a mistake, the Tukilik card is waiting for him. It does not serve as a reward, but rather as a penalty. If no one has made any mistake, then the player, who was the slowest must take the card instead. Everything is made up of a series of rounds, that give each player one card at a time, and all ends, when someone gets his fifth penalty. The winner is the one with the least of these cards.
Tuki is another game belonging to the building category. As such, it is entirely dependent on the skill and imagination of the participants. But all this effort is very hectic. Fortunately, however, this is not game about being the first to finish, but only not being the last. This greatly blurs the differences between player skills. This evaluation is much better, because the last place really makes sense to determine the overall winner (well, loser).
But while all this is very nice, in the end the rules contradict themselves. At the end of the game in more than two opponents, there is one final, decisive round. This is meant for the last player – whoever started the end of the game – but at the same time, all previous results are forgotten. This was perceived quite negatively in our game groups, because all your effort until now suddenly makes no sense. Well, beside trying not to be the last.
At the same time, Tuki is excellent fun, when you get to play and connect the stones. The inclusion of “transparent” stones gives players tremendous freedom in solving problems. Everything is such a freestyle, where only the position of colored bars is strictly given. And here it should be emphasized, that the game has two difficulty levels. In the second one, another stone of new color is used and the whole composition is even more demanding.
The rules also include the role of moderator for each round. Its because there is not enough components in the box to fully support four players. So it cannot be done in any other way beside one player not participating. But that does not mean, that we want to praise this decision. Exactly opposite. In our opinion, it is not good, because sitting and looking at others doesn’t make any sense to you. And from the game point of view, this situation awaits you several times.
But there are six sides on the dice and the card always has only three valid rotations. That’s because there are some polka dots on the other three sides of the dice. When rolled, it means, that your building must not touch the table. Everything must therefore be stacked on snow, which significantly reduces the use of stones.
Success, therefore, is not as much about speed, but about the ability to correctly imagine the rotation of stones. Their use is absolutely free. And that’s what all players appreciate and enjoy it the most. But in terms of difficulty, it is clear, that the game is not suitable for the younger children. Box correctly recommends 9 years up. It takes some forty minutes to complete all the tasks in three, and about ten minutes less in two. Even in a duel, rivalry is fun, but the game is best in three.
Processing is great. The stones are easy to handle and we especially appreciate the card holder, which gives all participants an overview of the assignment. The rules are full of examples so that there is no doubt about what is right and what is not.
Tuki is not a simple construction game and there are many challenges ahead. This is because there are few stones and there is a lot to do with them. You will be happy to return to the game, because there is enough tasks to repeat the play and everything is very fun again. Without the problems of the four players and the decisive round, Tuki could be one of the best skill games out there. But being like this, it is only a very solid creation and the final decision depends on how much the number flaws touch you (will you be playing in four?).
+ more difficulty and variants
+ enough cards
+ you don't need to be the first
+ quality even in two
- only three participate in round with four players
- final round spoils the impression of the game