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Senshi by Arcane Wonders Review

Theme and What is it?

Warrior monks are this years zombies. They are turning up everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, they are cool. 

In Senshi, you are a warrior monk, with bonus points for wearing monk-llike clothing. (Not really) You must train, and by training the best, you have a chance at ultimate glory, or ultimate humility if you want to take the ZEN approach.

Gameplay Mechanics

At any given time, you can do one of three things, take a pile, privately (hidden from other players) take a chip, or place a chip (thereby also possibly making your piles smaller). If another player places a color that you have open on your board, showing, you may move it to your training also. You are after all monks in the same monastery, it only makes sense you train at the same time.

The mechanics could not be simpler. To me this is the mark of a great abstract game. Simple mechanics and surprising depth of strategy. The idea here is that you are placing chips which represent the four things for which you train; strength, agility, wisdom, and honor. Whoever has the smallest tower at the end of the game loses, and whoever has the tallest tower after eliminating the smallest tower, wins. 

This means the game is necessarily about balance. You cannot focus only on the largest tower, or you WILL lose. 

Initial Impressions

The game box has pretty art, and the pieces are solid. I will say that my initial impression was lukewarm. For some reason, it did not initially grab my attention. 

Game Build Quality

The chits representing the four areas of training are nice plastic pieces that could be played anywhere, possibly even at a bar. 

I think the game build is really quite good. I woould have liked to see the cards made of plastic, and maybe a cloth sack, so it could be easily transportable in your pocket. It lends itself to easy play, anywhere. 

Regardless, the build quality is very good, and nice to play with.

Artistic Direction

The art very much reminds me of a guy I went to high school with. He was forever doodling with pencil, superheroes. He later became a colorer for a comic book company. 

This pencil-esque art is therefore right up my alley. It looks raw, and untamed. I also know how much time this sort of shading takes. The plastic training pieces are similar to coins, and stackable. They are functional for the game, but not super exciting. 

Overall, I very much like the art here.

Fun Factor

Simple yet engaging mechanics will rope me in almost every time. It should be no surprise to anyone that Arcane Wonders likely have a hit on their hands.

Age Range & Weight

The age range says 14+. I view this with incredulity. My daughter who is six understands the rules. I therefore think this was mostly done for testing purposes and child certification. 

I think this title is appropriate for almost anyone.

Conclusions

Senshi is a great game. For me abstract games are under loved. All games are abstract at their core. Some games just don’t try to hide it with window dressing. 

This game plays well, is very well balanced, at any player count, and is just plain enjoyable. The depth could benefit from expansions, but as it is now, it will get a lot of gameplay at my table, and it should at yours as well. It will make it to my shelf. 

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