Tiki Topple Review
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Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes


Tiki Topple is a strategy-based board game, in which players try to score the most points by playing cards as they move tiki pieces on the board.

The board is fairly simple in design. Around the outside, there are numbered stones that help to keep score. And in the center of the board is a recessed section where the tiki pieces are placed in a line. Each rounded tiki has a face carved on it, and each one is a different color.

To begin the game, players receive two kinds of cards. The first is a “Secret Tiki” card, which players draw at the beginning of each round of play. The secret tiki cards have different selections of three tikis. These are the pieces that you want to sit in the top three spots in the line of tikis for that round. Based on their position, secret tikis award you various points. The other cards are “Action Cards,” of which each player has a standard set throughout the game. Action cards allow you to move tikis up the line or remove them. However, you cannot move the tikis that are on your secret tiki card for that round.

  
 
Once all of the players have played their set of action cards, the round is over, and the players whose secret tikis are at the top of the line receive points. The player with the most points at the end of a predetermined set of rounds is the winner.

At first glance, Tiki Topple’s directions are a little overwhelming and involved—so it’s probably best for adults to explain the rules to children. Plus, reading and remembering multiple sets of rules, based on the number of players, can be confusing. It would be a lot easier to remember the rules if the same set of rules applied for all levels of game play.

However, the concept of secret tikis is interesting. The inability to move your secret tikis is particularly challenging, especially because you need to keep from accidentally moving opponents’ pieces to the top of the board (which you won’t know until the end of the round). It’s a fascinating way to incorporate memory retention as well as strategy. Some of the action cards are fun to play as well. For example, the “Tiki Toast” card allows you remove the lowest tiki on the board—and it’s fun to watch your opponents’ reactions, since you may have removed one of their secret tikis.

Still, Tiki Topple seems like it’s missing something. Game play quickly becomes repetitive, and I found that my opponents lost interest after just a few rounds. This could be because all players have identical sets of action cards—so you always know which moves your opponents have. If the action cards were selected from a deck instead—or if they allowed players to move pieces down the board in addition to up—the game could be more unpredictable.

Though Tiki Topple is built on a creative concept, it still feels like it needs a little bit of tweaking in order to keep players coming back for more.

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