So we promised to tell you all about the nominees for the coveted award of ‘Spiel des Jahres 2016’, so here I am! Your Sugar and Dice team and our Number One Fan Mike played all three nominated board games in one afternoon and I’m going to confess that my favourite by far was Karuba. At first it looked a bit like a spin-off of Carcasonne and I think that game is pretty much unbeatable, but WHOA, Karuba is fun!

Every player gets a board in which you create your own maze to try and get four explorers to their own personal temple of the same colour. Everyone has the same 36 square numbered tiles and one lucky chosen person will become the ‘bingo caller’. Their job is to randomly pick a tile, shout out the number on it to the rest of the table and at the same time everyone places that tile somewhere onto their own board.

It’s amazing how everyone’s board turns out completely differently. Here’s my yellow explorer trying to grab a crystal and a gold on the way to his temple.
It’s amazing how everyone’s board turns out completely differently. Here’s my yellow explorer trying to grab a crystal and a gold on the way to his temple.

Obviously, you have to place the tiles in a strategically clever place so you get your explorer to the temple faster than the other players. Sound easy? Well, I assumed we would pretty much all end up placing the tiles in the same empty square, but from the first turn placement we had all chosen differently and it’s fascinating to see even with such little choice how unique each maze becomes. The explorers rush to their temples, grabbing golden nuggets and crystals for bonus points on the way. The player who’s coloured explorer gets to their temple first gets lots of points, while subsequent explorers of the same colour to arrive will receive fewer etc.

We’ve played this many times with a whole bunch of different people and everyone loves it. It seems so simple and easy, but once you start the game, it feels like you are in this forest world, desperately cheering for your explorers to run faster. I’ve blocked off my temples by mistake, placed tiles so the path doesn’t join and forgotten to grab gold… it’s exasperatingly hilarious! I love it – definitely a new firm favourite of mine and I (Vanessa) predict it will win the Spiel des Jahres Award this year. Fingers Crossed!

I won even though I sacrificed the purple explorer in the end – he couldn’t even get into the forest – doh!
I won even though I sacrificed the purple explorer in the end – he couldn’t even get into the forest – doh!
Karuba – One of our current favourite games!
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