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Banjooli Xeet» Forums » Reviews

Subject: There's a LOT more here than meets the eye, and it is all fabulous rss

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Ian Collier
United Kingdom
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A friend brought us a copy of this from Barcelona and it had it's first play last night in a small English home near Cambridge. There were four of us there - a non-gamer, a casual gamer, a regular gamer of no particular crazes and a super-serious heavy wargamer. And straight off the bat I will tell you this - everyone LOVED this game.

Let's get a quick context setting bit out of the way. This is a game about racing ostriches. Before you play you set up a board from the various tiles in the box, so each race can be rather different. Boards detail obstacles and opportunities such as rocks, rivers, lava, holes, quicksand, portals etc. There might be a turn or two, depending on the tracks you pick. There are always three lanes, and there are always five ostriches to be raced - red, green, yellow, blue and purple.

Next thing is you all get given a tile which you keep secret. This tile shows which ostriches you want to get into which of the top three places (such as red in first, yellow in second etc) plus which one you want to be last (i.e the one farthest back when the ostrich in third place crosses the line). If you get the right ostriches n the right places according to your tile then there are points to be awarded. The closer you can engineer the race to suit your tile, the better your score. And that's what this race is all about - trying to get your own way and wreck the plans of others. But of course, you don't want to make it TOO obvious which ostriches you are interested in and how because then everyone else will do their best to ruin your plans. So it's a balance of bluff and counter-bluff. Nice.

In your go you roll several white dice which have the five colours on (one of each) and a white side (a joker i.e. any colour). These are movement dice. There is also a black dice, with the same faces. This is the 'stop an ostrich in its tracks and 'tie it down' by scaring it' dice. You throw all, then throw as many as you like once again. Choose one colour on the white dice (plus jokers if you like) to move the same coloured ostrich. Choose the black dice to flip an ostrich token over, either from a not-scared side to a scared side (therefore tying it down and preventing it from moving) or from a scared side to a not-scared side (therefore releasing it from having been previously stopped by the black dice and enabling it to move again).

When moving an ostrich there are fairly standard race-by-dice rules - move one space per movement point, move straight or diagonally, don't go through another ostrich, don't stop on the same space, don't go through obstacles etc. But - and this is very cool and the key to a LOT of fun - you can jump over another ostrich to land in the space in front of it orthagonically or diagonally. In other words you move two spaces for the price of one.

Players take turns until three ostriches cross the finish line.

There are other markers, called berry markers. Players get one each (randomly) and each one is different, each having a different positive or negative effect on the ostrich that passes through it or lands on it. We didn't use these yet so I won't comment, but they look very neat indeed.

Banjooli Xeet is a joy from start to finish. Trying to get the dice you want is a gamble (of course), and using the dice rolling and decision making to try and fool your opponents into which bird you really want to move is terrific fun. You can get some terrific 'acting' at this point as players ham up the selection process.

The same goes for the final selection of the colour and the movement decisions. In fact the entire process is full to the brim of lies, suspicion, acting and made and quickly shattered promises between players.

The black dice is a beast of an idea, albeit necessary. Oh the frustration of having your main ostrich constantly stopped right by the finish line, then released, then trapped etc. It's the dice equivalent of the 'break tools' card in Saboteur. But there is a flip side to this - the delicious joy of setting up your opponents to think an ostrich is your number one bird and then watch them waste an inordinate amount of time trying to keep it back while you slip your true 'winner' past them to score top points.

And then there's the jumping. This is AWESOME. Setting up a line of ostriches with gaps between them (by your own moves, maybe leading others to move the birds into place etc) and then hopping over a set of birds to claim a leading position or even a desired finish line position is pure gaming gold. Last night I had exactly the right bird come in first, but the one I needed in second was in fourth place. And then just before my turn my opponents unwittingly lined up the leading two birds such that I could leap them both (I lucked out and got the dice I needed) and get the result I needed!

So you've got a fun theme, GORGEOUS components, a modular board for variety and replayability (and longevity), dice to bring in luck and gambling, competitive racing and careful movement bringing strategy and tactics of a sort, and a delicious layer of bluff and counter bluff over it all. AND a round is over in about twenty minutes, so you can get over your frustrations if you lost and have another go.

And then there are berries too!!

Banjooli Xeet is a fabulous game and well, well worth getting if you can. This needs an international distribution ASAP. Against its direct game peers I would rate it an easy 9, and against all games that we like to play (from Bohnanza to Mage Wars) Banjooli Xeet is a solid 8.

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Andre Lucato
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SOLD!
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Steven McBride
United States
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This has been high on my want list since I first heard of it several months ago. I'd really love to see it get U.S. distribution.
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Ignacio Góngora
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We´ll try to do distribution in USA...

There is a problem: the shipping to USA. This time we´ll try to do different than what we do with Polis: Fight for the Hegemony, and we´ll try to look for a better solution, avoiding high shipping costs.

And thanks for your interest Steven.
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Ian Collier
United Kingdom
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UK distribution would be great too. I spoke to my local store in Cambridge and they'd be interested in stocking this. Can you go round a distributor and send copies for sale directly to a store? Might be an interesting trail run to test interest. I can always take my copy in and demo it to them, play it with the customers etc (they have loads of tables in there for playing on).

Fabulous game, it really deserves international attention and sales. And an expansion with more and differtent boards! How about a big box deluxe version with bigger boards, ostrich miniatures etc?
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Ignacio Góngora
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Of course, I will try UK distribution, in fact it should be easier than USA (the shipping costs are cheaper obviously).

With Polis I have worked side by side with LMN&B distribution, which sold a lot of Polis: Fight for the Hegemony in UK.

Now, with Banjooli published, I want to work with them again. I hope they could be interested...

By the way, which Cambridge shop is it?

Hehehehe... Many people say that: above all, about more terrain tiles to make alternative courses. We have thought about ostrich miniatures, the problem is cost (maybe a crowdfunding or similar could help). But first we have to see how Banjooli is going (I hope it goes well of course).

Thanks a lot Ian!!
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Ian Collier
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The shop is Inner Sanctum Collectibles.
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Ignacio Góngora
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inuitmyth909 wrote:
The shop is Inner Sanctum Collectibles.


Thanks!

I had it in my list!

But it´s curious... My message has been undelivered... It´s strange, because I have looked for the shop and that is the only e-mail account they have...

By the way, I have written to all the UK shops today...
 
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1 Lucky Texan
United States
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consider also Time Well Spent in the US

http://www.timewellspentgames.com/content/home.php

fyi
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Magnus Svensson
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I've been looking for a racing game... since that is a "black hole" in our gaming collection, where we try to include different genres.

Formula D, Rallyman, Moto GP, Snow Tails, Power Boats, Whitewater... I never really settled for one...

Maybe ostriches will be the way to go! I really liked this review!
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