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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Kami – Oka Luda Editions – Review

Kami is going to go in a prominent place in my filler game collection.  It is a sweet balance of strategy and luck.  It is absolutely beautiful and addictive to play.

Heather Swanson


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Theme and What is it?


Kami is a game loosely based on a Japanese form of chess called Shogi.  It is a game of successive confrontation and a race to get rid of cards.  Overall, it is a fairly abstract game.

Players attack and defend until someone runs out of cards.  That last card played determines how many points that person receives.  These types of rounds continue until a player reaches or exceeds 15 points.

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Gameplay Mechanics


The gameplay mechanics are deceivingly simple.  In fact, I am embarrassed to admit how many times I re-read the rules looking for some missing trick.  Until I played, I didn’t understand how there could be a strategy in something so apparently simple.

A player attacks with a card, and then the next player must either defend with the same type of card or pass.  If all players pass, the first person has to play a different attack.  If a player can defend with the same type of unit, they may then immediately attack.  This process repeats until someone runs out of cards.

Furthermore, the game is very different when played with 2, 3, and 4 players.  Each one leads to a new experience.  When playing with only 2 people there is a mercenary army in the center of the table which can be used to attack or defend at any time.  In a 3 player game, things get interesting when players are forced to pass.  In a 4 player game there are two teams sitting across from each other.

There is an empress card which changes the dynamics a little.  She can defend against anything except the swordsmen or spearmen.  The thing is, you really want her to be the last card in your hand since she is worth a whopping 5 points.

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Initial Impressions


I was excited to try this game.  I’m enjoying small box games these days and I’m drawn to the Asian themes.  Once I opened the box and saw the artwork I flipped out!  It is so wonderful!

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Game Build Quality


The quality of the components is top-notch.  The cards have a nice texture to them, and the coins are made of cardboard.  I like the added touch to make the Japanese money have the center punched out.

The box holds everything nicely.  The cards are oversized so they don’t flop around in the box excessively when shaken.  I just have absolutely no complaints in this department!

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Artistic Direction


This artwork is spectacular!  I don’t even know what to say.  I’m speechless.

I love how big the cards are so you can enjoy the artwork.  The tiny coin symbols on the bottom of the card are the only aspect that reveals this is a game.  They indicate how much money you receive if it is your last card.

I am a little bit of an artist myself and I began to study how this artwork was pulled off.  The style fits together on every card front and back.  It is a great pleasure to play with these.

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Fun Factor


I’d say this is an addictive game.  People I have played it with don’t want to stop.  There is something pleasantly rhythmic and satisfying.

It is on the surface a simple game.  As you play more and more you begin to see some strategic twists and turns.  This is especially the case if you can keep up with counting the cards.  It is however, more difficult to count cards in the 2 or 3 player game because more cards are hidden or not used.

I know a few strategies, but I suspect there is more I have not learned.  On the other hand, I know that some winnings are luck based.

This is a pleasant mixture of luck and skill.  I like the balance.  It doesn’t require mind numbing concentration or calculations.  It is just a nice balance.  It is great as a filler or game on the go.

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Age Range & Weight


Kami is a game for ages 8+.  I think this is a good choice.  I do have a 7-year-old I’m sure could understand the game, but it doesn’t look like a kids’ game.  I also think it would be hard for him to discover the strategy unless he was taught.

Due to the theme and beautiful artwork, I think 8+ is perfect.  I believe an 8-year-old who plays this game enough will learn the strategies.

Otherwise, this is a game for most ages.  It is easy to learn and fun to play. 

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Kami is going to go in a prominent place in my filler game collection.  It is a sweet balance of strategy and luck.  It is absolutely beautiful and addictive to play.

I love how different the game plays with 2, 3, and 4 players.  It is like discovering a whole new way to play.  It keeps the game fresh and versatile in many settings.

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Heather Swanson
Heather Swanson and her husband Patrick are raising 4 kids, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, and 4 chickens (used to be 6). Heather is currently an officer in the National Guard and a part-time emergency management consultant. She is making plans to mitigate the zombie apocalypse.

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