Board Game Review: Tuki

As I mentioned in our recent Men at Work review, stacking and balancing games are always a welcome addition to our ever-growing game collection here at TGR. But there are so many that it needs something different to stand out against the crowd, to make you want to gravitate towards it when picking out something to play for an evening. Tuki tries to do things differently in a couple of ways, and it works well – this is certainly quite different to other games of its ilk, with a great level of challenge that’ll tax and frustrate even the brightest players at times.

They key to Tuki being different is that it’s not turn-based. Once everyone is ready to build, it’s a race against each other to see who can put their structure together the fastest. And these aren’t simple structures; a card will show everyone what they’re building, some of which look like they’re impossible and would need a small bend of physics to make them happen. Luckily you’ve got snow blocks to help, and while these are limited they give you a fighting chance to make your structures by counterbalancing, stacking or generally fluking your way to the correct layout. It’s hard to explain without images, so take a look at the photos to see what I mean.

A combination of dice roll and card position will determine how to place the card in the holder, and as such there are hundreds of different possible shapes to create. There are two different difficulty settings too, with an extra shape adding further complications if you choose to try out the tougher cards. As such you can tailor this well to whoever is playing. Got some younger people around the table? Leave that extra shape and focus on just forming the structures with three coloured shapes. That said, my 6 year old managed to play this pretty well, even when bringing in the fourth shape, so it really does depend on the preferences of your friends.

What I like about Tuki is that speed element, the fact you’re trying to form these very intricate stacks, all the while making sure it doesn’t all fall apart and forcing you to start again. The game is quick too; you only need to collect five cards (by winning the rounds) and you’ve won. With each round taking less than a minute, it’s clear to see that even with three closely matched players you won’t be hanging around for long. As such you’ve got a couple of options – either hammer Tuki for several games in an evening, or given that it only takes a minute or two to set up and packaway, use it as a light hearted intro to a night of heavier gaming.

But either way, Tuki is a great example of how to take a popular genre and make something a little bit different. We’ve had a great time playing this here, and if you’re into this kind of game then it’s highly likely you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it as well. Definitely worth a look.

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