Tiki Topple,The Tactical Game of Totem Domination - Review.

TIKI TOPPLE - Review.


Happy 4th of July to all, and if you are not American, I would say Happy Summer and come
celebrate with us anyway.  I hope that you get to spend the day in celebration with family and friends. Perhaps you are sitting pool side, a cold drink in hand while the barbecue is heating up.  While you are chilling today, why not play a game? For instance Tiki Topple, a game by GameWright designed by Keith Meyers with illustrations by Chris Lee. It has a tropical theme, is easy to play, yet has a lot of hidden strategy behind its gameplay. Lets have a look at what Tiki Topple is and how it plays. 





Goal
As the name of the game suggests you are playing with tiki totems. The objective is to score as many as possible over a set number of rounds. You gain these points by getting tikis that are on your secret goal card on top at the end of a round. But be careful, another player might share some of the same tikis in their goal. Do you think you can still beat them or are you willing to sacrifice a tiki in order to prevent the other player from getting points?

Setup
The setup for Tiki Topple is quick and easy. You place the game board in the middle of the table and place the tiki totems on the board grouped by their icon on the bottom of each totem. They can either be a starfish, a shell, or fish bones.  Group the symbols together and then place them in the tiki slot on the board. In the end you will have 9 tiki totems on the board.
Shuffle and give each player a secret tiki card. This card will indicate your goal for the end of the round, each round you will get a new card. Each player also receives 7 action cards and a pawn, both of the same color. The pawn is used for score keeping while the cards represent different moves you can make during the game.
If you play with 3 or more people, you will remove one card ( "tiki 1 up") for game balancing.

Gameplay
You decide who starts the round and play clockwise. On your turn you must play one action card and move a tiki piece on the board according to what is on the card. Your choices are Tiki Up (1,2, or 3 space) which moves a tiki upwards the exact amount of spaces in the line. There is Tiki Topple, where you take any active tiki and bring them to the very bottom of the line. If this creates a gap, then the other tikis move up to close the line and you continue.
Lastly there is Tiki Toast, a powerful card that takes the last tiki on the totem line and removes it from the game.  Players keep taking turns playing their cards in an effort to get their tikis in the top three, without giving away too quickly on what it is they are trying to do.
The order in which you play your move cards is important, because once played they are no longer usable for the round.  You must play a card and follow its instructions each turn, which could mean that you end up hurting yourself if your only option is to move one of your own tokens away from its position and lose valuable points. Are you starting to see the strategy come into play here?
Once there are only 3 tikis left on the board or all players are out of cards the round ends and the players reveal their tiki card in order to take score. On a tiki card you will find three different tikis that will give you a score. The tiki at the top of the card will score you 9 points if it is at the top of the line, but nothing if it is below that. The middle tiki will give you 5 points, but only if it is on second or better, it never becomes 9 points. The third tiki will give you 2 points, if it is on third place or better.  So a third place tiki on the top spot is still worth only 2 points.
Once counting is done, reset the board and the action cards.  Take a new secret tiki goal card and start over, this time with the next player starting the round. Play the same number of rounds as you have players so each player gets a turn to start. In case of two players, play four rounds.
The player with the most points after the last round wins the game and is tiki master for the day and entitled to wear the pineapple crown of awesome!!( or so I heard).
Game Experience
As you can tell from the gameplay, this game is simple to understand and quick to start playing. But as you play more rounds it is easy to start worrying about other players and figure out how to block them from getting more points then you, if any at all. The problem is, you do not know the goals of the other player, so all you can do is try to remember what moves they have left and how they could potentially effect you. 

To add to that is the fact that some goal cards have similar goals, but the order might be different. This means that some of you can only get those 5 points this time while this same tiki is worth 9 points at the top for another player. It could mean you would fall behind.  Would it perhaps be better to sacrifice the points all together? Of course other players are thinking the same thing so everyone is trying to hide their hand and keep the most useful action cards until that perfect moment. Only to have it ruined by a move of the player before you. Curse that tiki toast card!!!
What is nice is the minimal impact of random things happening in the game, there are no dice rolls that can go bad throwing random chaos into the game. All changes come from other players, but these are things you can, at least to a point anticipate and react to if you prepared well and played smart. 
Oh if only you could get that last play action card back in your hand right now!

Conclusion

Tiki Topple is a game that can be played by almost everyone. The age advisory is 10+, but I think that is depending on the child. It can be played by younger ages as well. It is a short game, fun to replay many times and even though it can bring some intense moments of strategic thinking and out bluffing your opponents, it is also a game you can play while enjoying other company without distractions taking you out of the game. You can have a great time, telling stories, doing a little bit of trash talking and having a good laugh with this game as you would perhaps do with a game of Hearts or Checkers. The art is colorful and exciting and the tikis are well made. Just as with many of Gamewright's games, I would love to see a pocket travel edition, but the game box is not overly big, so it can fit in a suitcase or backpack if you want to take it on the road.
For the low price of $14.99, this game can fill your warm summer days and cold winter nights with fun and joy for the whole family.






Game: Tiki Topple
Publisher: Gamewright
Price: $14.99
http://www.gamewright.com
Buy on Amazon

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