Yamatai from Days of Wonder unboxing and Review

Days of Wonder have got a deserved reputation for high quality components, and games that play well and look good.  They have created some great games before like the hugely popular Ticket to Ride , and the charming great fun city builder Quadropolis.  Yamatai is their latest offering, and it certainly does look beautiful, as you would expect from them.

Queen Himiko has tasked every builder in the kingdom with a prestigious mission: build the capital of Yamataï and make it the jewel of the archipelago. Your task: surpass your competitors and build the most prestigious city of them all, using resources from the fleets that travel through the kingdom. Prepare your strategy, recruit specialists, and do whatever is necessary to become the best builder and be rewarded by Queen Himiko for your work. In the end, only one name will be remembered as the greatest builder of Yamataï!

In Yamataï, players compete to earn prestige points using different strategies. Clear the different islands of the archipelago to recruit powerful specialists that will assist you, or use the resources carried by the boats that navigate between them to construct buildings on the islands! And, if you’re skilled enough, try creating prestigious buildings such as high temples or rare torii.
However, you are not alone in competing for Queen Himiko’s favour… will you manage to surpass your opponents?

Players: 2-4 Players
Ages: 13+
Playtime: 40-80 Minutes

Lets pop it open, take a look inside and see how it plays.....

Of course the contents match the usual high quality with nice card parts, and great quality wooden components as well that look good, and feel great.

  • 1x Game Board
  • 41x Buildings
  • 4x Player Mats
  • 6x Turn Order Meeples
  • 80x Wooden Boats
  • 10x Fleet Tiles
  • 28x Building Tiles
  • 7x Mountain Tiles
  • 34x Culture Tokens
  • 8x Sacred Ground Tokens
  • 18x Specialist Tiles
  • 73x Coins
  • 24x Prestige Point Tokens
  • 1x Rulebook
Players: 2-4 Players
Ages: 13+
Playtime: 40-80 Minutes

In Yamatai, 2-4 players compete to build palaces, torii, and their own buildings in the land of Yamatai. The game includes ten numbered action tiles, each showing one or more colored ships and with most showing a special action. You shuffle these tiles, place them in a row, then reveal one more than the number of players.
On a turn, each player chooses a tile, collects the depicted ships from the reserve, optionally buys or sells one ship, then places the ships on the board. The land has five entryways, and you must start from these points or place adjacent to ships already on the board. You can't branch the ships being placed, and if you place your first ship adjacent to another, then that first ship must be the same color as the adjacent one; otherwise you can place ships without regard to color.

After placing ships, you can either claim colored resources from land that you've touched with new ships this turn or build on one vacant space. To build, the space must have colored ships around it that match the ships depicted on one of the available building tiles. If you build a personal building that's connected to others you own, you receive money equal to the number of buildings.

You can bank one ship before the end of your turn, then you can use any three resources or a pair of matching resources to purchase a specialist, each of whom has a unique power.

After all players go, you shuffle the action tiles, place them face down in the row, then reveal enough tiles at the front of the line to set up for the next turn, with the turn order being determined by the numbers on the tiles that players chose the previous turn. Once you trigger one of the game-ending conditions — e.g., no ships of one color or no more specialists — you finish the round, then count points for buildings built, specialists hired, and money on hand.

Yamatai is smooth to explain and fast to learn, but slow to master deeply, with a surprising amount of depth, and choice in actions you can perform, but anything you do can also open up a new play from an opponent, yes you may have grabbed that culture token... but you have also opened an island up for them to build now too. so you need to think hard.

There are so many ways to play as many things bring points at the end, specialists, coins, building, culture, as well as tiles, so the challenge is when do you trade things in, even bidding for player order, you may want to go AFTER an opponent so they may clear an island for the next part of your plan, or do you play a sneaky trick bluffing so they may try and block you before swinging tactics.  You need to be very adaptable though in tactics and have all sorts of plans in place for different situations, so you do need need to keep your game flow going, but with all the options you can do each turn its not hard to adjust tactics on the fly.

Yamatai is elegant, subtle with plenty of choice,and beautifully produced.  Its not hard to learn, or teach, and plays smoothly and fast, its well worth giving it a try!

It comes in with an RRP of £49.99 so head on over to your local game store and grab yourself a beautiful looking game.

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