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Subject: A review of somewhere I'd love to go before I die rss

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Matt Tonks
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Hawaii is a new design by debut designer Gregory Daigle. I first became aware of it in the run-up to Spiel 2011 last month & was really intrigued by comments by well-known play-testers & I think there was a designer diary as well though I am not sure.

However, the fact that Hawaii was being produced by Hans Im Gluck told me that it was most likely only going to be available in German. So I flagged Hawaii as being of interest & for checking out there. Once I was over there, I stopped by the demo booth & watched with interest as people took various tiles & moved their wooden bits round though I had no idea what was going on. Hawaii was also doing well on the Fairplay rankings & some Germans gave it the thumbs-up, so my interest went higher still & I found myself with enough spare Euros on the Saturday to take a punt on a German copy… hoping that I or someone could provide a rules translation for me to play the game. Which I did & checked with another Geek doing a personal translation.

So about the game…

What you get

You get a large jigsaw board-border & 10 island tiles that form the island of Hawaii (and a beach); this allows for a different set-up each game. You allow get a large number of building tiles & miscellaneous tokens to go on these island spaces, which essentially forms the actions you can take during the game. You also get 10 islet tiles for the beach (I’ll call them islets to avoid confusion).

You also get player boards/screens for the players, a large bag of wooden bits (feet, clam shells & fruits), rules & a reference sheet. Also, you get 5 tiles to represent the rounds with the end-of-round scoring & a bag.

Everything is of very good German-style quality. The only minor criticism the other players had was that the island tiles do not make a flush fit against the jigsaw border, but this didn’t bother me.

So, how does the game play?

Each player begins with a given number of 9 feet, 13 shells & fruits (the latter depending on turn order). Also a 2-space boat. Fruits are a wild resource & can be used to replace feet or shells, but you cannot mix these for payments (e.g. if you need to pay two feet, you can either pay two feet or two fruits, but not one of each). There is an exception to that, more later.

First the action tokens are laid out; there are 25 in the bag with a value between 2 & 6. Each of the 10 island spaces have 1, 2 or 3 spaces for these token & a number. First, you draw a number of tokens one by one for each space on the island spaces. Then compare the total of these tokens to the number on the island; if the total is less or equal to the number, you put all tokens on these spaces. If the total is greater, then the last token drawn is flipped over & put in the fishing area of the beach instead. (For example, if an island has 3 actions spaces & show a number of 10; you draw 3 tokens from the bag – the first two will go onto the island & if the 3rd one takes the total to 11 or more, it gets flipped & is put in the fishing area instead).

You also put one of these tokens from the bag onto the turn order spaces (apart from turn order #1), depending on the number of players. For example, in a 4-player game you would only put a token on spaces 2, 3 & 4.

The first 5 islet tiles are drawn & laid out in a row at the beach. The tiles for the island spaces need to be piled up with the ‘I’ side showing; note – the Gods tiles are randomized & placed in two piles on the appropriate island space.

It’s also important to note the tile noting the end-of-round scoring; this showing a large clam shell with a minimum value & three categories for scoring points (more later).

The game is now ready to begin. In turn order, a player can move to one of the island spaces & take an action there provided:-

The movement can be paid for; one feet for each space moved.
There is at least one action token still available to take; if there are none left, no-one can take an action there this turn.

So once you’ve moved & paid for the movement, you choose one of the action tokens there & then have a choice of whether to pay its cost or double the cost in clam shells & taking a tile from the island space (if there is more than one type, you choose freely). For example, if you take a ’3’ token, you either pay 3 or 6. If you pay double, you get to place the tile on its ‘II’ side rather than its ‘I’ side – which unsurprisingly is more beneficial to you.

I’ll pause here & tell you about the 10 island spaces:-

Resource huts – the Shell Hut allows you to produce extra shells at the end of the round (‘I’ side = 1 shell, ‘II side = 2 shells). The Foot Hut allows you to produce extra feet at the end of the round (‘I’ side = 1 foot, ‘II side = 2 feet).
Fruit tiles – there are four type of fruit tiles, producing 1 or 2 fruits at the end of the round depending on whether they are on the ‘I’ or ‘II’ side.
Hula dancer – a hula dancer in a scored village (more on ‘scored’ later), score 1 or 2 points for each tile in the village at the end of the game.
Boats/Surfers – Boats; you get a 3-space boat (or a 3-space boat with one space pre-paid with a foot already). The surfer gives you -2 or -4 to the minimum value that you need to score points at the end of the round.
Tiki tokens – you get 1 or 2 tiki tokens, depending on if you paid double or not.
Kahuna tokens – you get 1 or 2 Kahuna tokens, depending on if you paid double or not.
Long huts – a long hut fills up a village faster; if the ‘II’ side is showing, it will score 5 points if the village is scored.
Irrigation huts – if scored, an irrigation hut gives you 1/3/6/10 points for 1/2/3/4 different fruit tiles in the village at the end of the game. If the ‘II’ side is showing, you get a free shell, foot or fruit resource at the end of the round.
Spear huts/trade huts – Spear huts; some of the action tokens are red with a spear on them – a spear hut give you 1 or 2 points each time you take such an action token on your turn. The trade huts allow you to trade 1 or 2 resources with an alternative (e.g. you need to pay 3 feet; a ‘II’ trade hut allows you to make this payment with 1 foot & 2 fruits/shells if desired).
God tiles – there are 6 gods (2 copies of each) in a random order at the start of the game. Some of them provide in-game bonuses, end-of-round effects or end-of-game scoring.

When you take a tile, you get to place it in your board. Your board shows 5 rows (called villages); you can either place them next to the right-most village tile already there, or start a new village (without gaps in between). Each village may not contain duplicates of the same tile. The Kahuna tokens (one per village) get filled from top to bottom (without gaps). The Tiki tokens get filled from right to left (without gaps). Developing your Kahuna/Tiki spaces far enough will grant you extra feet or shells.

Instead of moving to an island space, a player may move his chieftain piece to the beach (for free; costs zero feet). There are three options there:-

The fishing area – may take as many fish tokens (these are the flipped action tokens previously mentioned) as there is free spaces on your boat(s). E.g. with a 2-space boat, you may only take up to two fish tokens, which have a value of 1 – 3, pay that number of feet & turn your boat sideways to show you have used it this round & cannot do so again this round.
The islet tiles – these grant points & a bonus (such as extra tiles or resources). Like the fishing area, you need to pay feet & have enough space on your boat(s); the islets furthest to the right require more space & feet, but grant more points.
The turn order – you move your chieftain piece here to the position you want for the next turn (e.g. #3) & take the action token here.

Once everyone has passed & moved their chieftain piece to the turn order track, the round ends. Now everyone compares the value of the action tokens they accumulated during the round (adding the value of any fish tokens they may have taken from the fishing area) – both the ones they took & paid for, plus the one they may have taken when they passed (apart from the person who ended up in 1st place).

The large clam shell with the minimum value in it in the round tile represents the minimum you need on your tokens to be able to score points. Unless you meet this minimum, you won’t score any points. There is also points for the player(s) who has the highest total & second-highest total with their tokens. (E.g. in round 1, I think you need a minimum of 9 to score 2 points; the highest total scores 8pts & 2nd score 6pts).

The round tile also shows how many clam shells & feet each player gets for the next round (in addition to any they get from tiles in their villages, including fruits). This gets removed from the game to show the next round; it’s important to note that the further into the game you get, the less feet & shells you get as well as the minimum value to get points getting higher! So not only will you have to ensure you set yourself up for producing resources when the ones you gets automatically later in the game become scarce, it becomes more difficult to score points each round.

Before the next round, all action tokens go back in the back & are shuffled before being placed back onto the island spaces, fishing area & turn order track in the same manner previously outlined. The islet tiles are moved down to fill up empty spaces & new ones drawn behind them. The turn order is also re-adjusted to the new order depending on how players chose to pass.

End of game scoring

After the 5th round has been scored, it’s time to do the final scoring.

Firstly, each player need to work out which of their villages will get scored. Along the top, this is where you Tikis come into play; for each village, if they have not gone as far to the right to be directly below the left-most Tiki, they do not get scored & all tiles in the village are therefore removed from scoring. This might sound confusing without a illustration yet, but basically the more Tikis you have, the shorter your villages need to be to be scored.

So for each village that does get scored:-

The Kahuna gives points (from the top; 5-5-10-10-15).
The ‘II’ Long Huts give 5 points.
Then Hula Dancers give 1 or 2 points for each tile in the villages they’re in.
The Irrigation Huts give 1/3/6/10 points depending on the number of fruit tiles in their villages.
The god Laka gives 1 or 2 points for each fruit icon shown on all the tiles in all the villages (don’t forget any fruit tiles in villages that didn’t score get removed prior to this).
The god Kanaola gives 2 or 4 points for each ship & surfer the player has.

The player with the most points wins. No rules for tie-breaks.

So what do I think?

This is another winner from Hans Im Gluck, especially from a debut designer. I absolutely loved Pantheon when it came out earlier in the year & Hawaii is very much up there for me as well.

The use of the action tokens is brilliant; not only does it determine just how many actions are each island space are available each turn, it provides the players with a tough decision along the lines of “do I take a low-value tile so that I can pay double for a more powerful tile, but give me a lower number for end-of-round scoring; or do I take a high-value token that I can’t pay double for, but helps me in the end-of-round scoring?”

There is a similar feel of Vikings in Hawaii; you are effectively filling up your L-shaped board with tiles in order to gain certain bonuses & scoring, etc. Though Hawaii is much more meaty.

As with a lot of other excellent Euros, there is too much you’d like to you & never enough time to do it all in before the game ends. Hawaii is very good fun & stands up on its own against the tides of other worker placement designs. An easy 9 for me & probably one of my top 5 for 2011.
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Marshall P.
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Played this game at BGG.con. Loved it. Got it on preorder through my FLGS.
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Garry Rice
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Have it pre-ordered as well...I just hope it gets distributed in early December instead of the end of the month (its holding up my game order! ).

I was rather meh on my first play, but playing it a second time really opened my eyes to how each game will differ depending on how the tiles on the island are arranged...and there are a number of ways to score. The tension of whether the building you want will still be there is another facet I find enjoyable in this game.
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Blake
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Nice review Matt, this might have pushed me over the edge on a game I have been going back and forth on as to whether I should get or not.
 
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Adam
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I also really enjoyed this game at BGG.con. Looking forward to the rules posting.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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I'm glad that others like this game too! Greg Daigle is one of my favorite game designers, and now he has finally published something for real (his prototypes look like published games).
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Patrick Nickell
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I also played this at BGG Con and it is on the very top of my "Must Have" list!
 
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Charles A. Davis
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I am another fan of Greg's prototypes. I am extremely pleased that he has finally gotten a game published. This could open the doors for him to bring more games out. BTW, I also enjoyed playing Hawaii.
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Mik Svellov
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tonksey wrote:
However, the fact that Hawaii was being produced by Hans Im Gluck told me that it was most likely only going to be available in German.

AFAIK the game will be published in English by Rio Grande Games.
But I can't remember when or where I heard it.
 
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Geo
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Great Dane wrote:
tonksey wrote:
However, the fact that Hawaii was being produced by Hans Im Gluck told me that it was most likely only going to be available in German.

AFAIK the game will be published in English by Rio Grande Games.
But I can't remember when or where I heard it.


It is listed on RGG site...
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CW Lumm
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I've played this only once in person but 70+ times on Boardgamearena, and I agree with you - it's a superb worker placement game. There must be half a dozen different strategies for winning - gods, boats, fruit, completed villages, dedicated campaigns of resource denial, crossed spears... and each can be tricky because you never know what costs are going to be the next round. I can see some people being put off by that element of randomness, but I find Hawaii incredibly rewarding (and less random than Pantheon).

I wonder if RG will leave out the ʻokina in the title for the English-language version... the world can always use more ʻokinas. ninja
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Andy Andersen
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Excellent review. My copy arrives on Saturday.
 
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Scott Nelson
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Played this last night RGG version. Though it does feel like Vikings, it easily surpasses that game with the shear number of ways to score. I felt it was like a cross-breeded kid of Ninjato and Vikings. The way of actions being available or not, was very cool; kind of like dice in Yspahan determining what you could do per round.
I lost...terribly. The winner did hit the 100+ mark.
It does appear to be easily expanded (add or replace action tiles is all you'd have to do, balanced of course, against the other tiles).
 
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