At the beginning of the year I wrote about my favourite board games. Many of you came up with some wonderful suggestions and I’d like to thank those who recommended Ticket to Ride Europe – it is as good as you said it would be!
Since then I have been lucky enough to have been approached by Ravensburger Games. They asked if I would be willing to review two of their new games, they told me I could get bonus: Indigo and Asara. As a massive fan of board games I jumped at the chance and am pleased to report that they are both fantastic games.
The basic idea of this game is to collect gems by moving them into your ‘gate’. This is done by placing hexagonal tiles on the board in order to create a path. Each tile has a random pathway, crossing and curving in three different directions. The clever layout of the board means that it is easy to divert gems from other players at the last minute and all players must keep an eye on the entire board, not just the gems they expect to be theirs.
Indigo is aimed at the family market. The box recommends it for children over 8-years-old, but my 6-year-old and his friends loved playing it. They may not have completely grasped the best strategies, but when playing with others at the same level they enjoyed themselves. It relies too much on luck to be an enjoyable strategy game for adults, but it is a great family game.
The game is beautifully designed and the glass ‘gems’ give it a real feeling of quality. The set up is quick and the tiles are made from a thick card, giving it durability. The box is manufactured perfectly, enabling all the pieces to be put away tidily.
Number of Players: 2-4
The game is easier with two players, as each gets more gates to pass their gems through. With four players it gets more competitive, something the adults enjoyed, but the children found a little frustrating. The unpredictability of the four player game (it is easy to ‘steal’ gems that players assume are theirs) means that it tends to work better when adults are also playing as *whispers* they can help the younger players by deliberately making bad moves!
This is a beautifully designed family game and is one we’ll be playing on a regular basis – at least until my boys are old enough to play more complex strategy games.
Recommended to families.
Asara is card placement strategy game in which players compete to build towers. Players are awarded points for building the tallest towers of each colour, the most towers overall, and for building towers containing gold. Players must think carefully about the best way to use their limited supply of money and the increasingly small number of available spaces on the board.
Asara is an adult strategy game. The box recommends it for children over 9, but I might suggest a slightly higher starting age as it is quite complex initially.
The art work is beautiful and all the pieces are of high quality, but because there are a large number of small pieces it can be fiddly to set up. The inside of the box is poorly designed, so packing it away is a messy nightmare.
Number of Players: 2-4
Asara is the best board game I’ve come across for two players. My husband and I have spent many happy evenings playing against each other and I can’t see us getting bored anytime soon. The game changes with the addition of more players as spaces on the board become even more challenging to occupy. The strategy required to win changes subtly with each additional player, but once mastered the game is still interesting as the scoring tends to be very close.
This is my favourite game at the moment. I’ve played it many nights in a row and am still enjoying it. I’m sure that the passion will fade eventually, but this is a keeper and all my friends and relatives will soon know about it!
Have you played either of these games?