Miaui – Z-Man – Review

I like the AGGRRRHHH moments.  Or the Ahh ha!  You try so hard to get the good cards and fall so far when you get the bad ones.  Gaming other people makes this a hoot....er...meow.

Heather Swanson


Theme and What is it?


I once had this dream I was a large cat.  I lived in a beautiful place by the ocean.  For fun I would deep sea dive for fish.

Oh….wait.  That wasn’t a dream.  That was the game Miaui.  MEOW-ee.  The land of the Tiki….er…Kiti, in this case.

It’s all about the cards in this game.  Well, and the ever watchful Kiti.  There is a board…so, is it a board game with cards or a card game with a board?  Miaui holds many mysteries.

Gameplay Mechanics


Go Fish!  No, no, no, not that ol’ card game.  Yes, you do go fish but in a very different way.  You must arrange your best poker face on that cute little cat face to play well.

On each turn, 3 cards from the fish deck are turned up and placed on the board.  Players make hidden bids on which fish they would like.  They do this from a personal player deck of 12 cards.  They are all numbered from 1 to 12.

Everyone reveals their cards at the same time and the numbers determine which fish players receive.  The deepest fish goes to the player with the largest number.  The next deepest fish goes to the next highest number.  However, the lowest bid takes the fish from the shallow water.

Ties are broken by the ever moving and leering Kiti.  That weird statue moves around on each turn and points to the winner in case of ties.  This changes the strategy a little on each turn.

As the game churns along the player decks get smaller and smaller.  If folks have a good memory while playing they can deduce what numbers are left in players hands.

This all sounds too simple….dare I say boring?  But wait, there’s more!  There are jellyfish and seagulls that can really take a bite out of your winnings.  Jellyfish can drain every last point away from you unless you are wise to collect a set and toss them.  The seagulls do what they do best…steal your fish!

These pesky creatures pop up from your fish deck.  However, I just can’t figure out how the seagulls end up under the water?!  Ahh well, that sort of stuff makes sense when you are dreaming.  Geez, I forgot, it’s a game not a dream!

How does this all end you say?  Well, the sea eventually runs out of creatures and everyone counts up their fishy points.  Then everyone has a fish-fry.

Initial Impressions


The artwork was the first thing to catch my attention.  It took me a few tries to sound out the title.  Then, the cat on the box and Meow-ee came together.  I get it!

I got more excited once I opened up the box.  Aesthetics really can make all the difference in liking a game and the inside of the box is so cute!  Hmm, I thought, not just an average card game here.

Game Build Quality


They did not have to put so much effort into the components but I’m glad they did.  I’m glad there is a board and not just a sheet of paper.  They didn’t have to put cute artwork on the backside either.

This kind of work gives me confidence in a game.  Someone thought the game was good enough to invest in quality parts.  

Artistic Direction


The art is incredible in Miaui.  Each player deck has a different cat instead of just colored cards.  I’ve noticed my kids get picky over which cat they get.  Some are not, how do I put this, lithe and young?

The cues on the board and Kiti are very helpful.  If it were not for that art the game would be very difficult to play.  Overall, everything is clear, easy to read, and easy to understand.

Fun Factor


I like the AGGRRRHHH moments.  Or the Ahh ha!  You try so hard to get the good cards and fall so far when you get the bad ones.  Gaming other people makes this a hoot….er…meow.

Once you play a few times you realize Kiti is your new best friend.  That statue really helps you make better educated guesses.  Since the statue moves all the time you can determine the level of risk you may encounter on any given turn.

I’m sure by know you want to know what the deal is with Kiti.  His (her?) hands point in the direction of the player who should win in case of a tie.  

The player closest to Kiti on the left side of the statue will win a tie for the most shallow fish.  The player closest to the right of Kiti breaks the tie for the deepest fish.  I like how unique this little mechanism is.

Age Range & Weight


Miaui is listed as a game for kids 8 and up.  However, my 6 year old has played with us.  He may not do so well tactically but he can play with us.

Some games for kids make me one a poke a fork in my eye and call it done.  This game works for everyone in my humble opinion.  I can play it with the kids and everyone can have a good time.

On the other hand, this can be a filler game for the adults.  It allows for casual or more serious play.  The variants add other options depending on the intensity of the game you decide on.



I enjoy Miaui.  The experience of the art and play are just right for a quick game or time with the kids.  It is a fun and light game.

Brain numbing games are not my favorite so Miaui hits the spot.  Each turn you are only faced with the decision of what card to use on your bid.  Sometimes, I just love simple decisions!

Let’s not leave out the prodigy and geniuses though!  You are going to like this if your mental enough to keep track of all the numbered cards played by others.  Or, go my way and play the variant where everyone has to reveal which cards they have already played.

Whatever your brain power level or the age of your inner child I think you are going to like this as a family game.  So, go ahead and spice up your Go Fish night with a little MEOW-ee.