Maori is a quick, fun tile-laying game that hides some complexity and planning behind its cute Polynesian island theme.
A grid of tiles is laid out in the middle of the table and, on your turn, you move a ship around the edge of the grid and then pick a tile from the adjacent row. You can either add the tile to your board, or keep it in storage until a later turn.
The maximum distance the ship can move is determined by the number of canoes on your board. You start with two but you can increase this by taking tiles that have canoes printed on them.
Shells are the currency of the game. You can use them to move the ship further, or to take tiles from the centre of the grid, and (as with canoes) you can take tiles that have shells printed on them to increase your stash.
The game ends when one person has filled all the empty sea spaces on their board. Everyone else gets a final turn, then you score your boards. First, all incomplete islands are removed. Then you score 1VP per palm tree, or 2VPs per tree if the island has at least one hut, 10VPs for completed leis (rings of flowers) and -1VP for every empty sea space. The person with the most canoes gets 1VP per canoe, and the same for shells.
This is essentially a game of denial - you are trying to claim good tiles for yourself, while at the same time positioning the ship so the next player cannot get the best tile for them. You also need to keep an eye on everyone's quota of canoes and shells for the end-game bonuses.
Tricky, a bit thinky, and good fun.
Game 1 (Normal game) - Me 41, Andy 38, David 26 Game 2 (Atoll board) - Me 62, Andy 52, Lawrence 48, David 35