In today's fast-paced world, games are very well suited to take the pace out of everyday life and take time for each other again. This also seems to have recognized Till Mayer, who with Maji has brought a brisk but calm game onto the market. We reveal in our review what makes this title so special.
Till Meyer also sees games as an excellent means of having fun and spending time with the family during the Christmas season. For Till Meyer, games are not just a job, but a calling. Meyer & Stiehl GbR Spieltrieb was founded 21 years ago in Niedermeilingen by Till Meyer and Nicole Stiehl. Till Meyer and Nicole Stiehl produce advertising games as commissioned work, they develop educational games, lead seminars on game development, are game authors and publishers.
First work that can be seen
The range of products from Spieltrieb is wide. Till Meyer is currently working on a commissioned work for the Protestant regional church. A game for young pastors. The board game “Maji” was recently published by Spieltrieb. "Maji" is the first published game by author Marius Spix.
Maji is a game for two people, ages ten and up, and is set in the Serengeti, where water becomes scarce for people and animals in summer. It is therefore the players' task to build wells in order to survive the next dry season. You will need clay and water for this task. But wild buffalos also target the players' watering holes and trample the wells under construction.
The game consists of 25 Serengeti tiles, which are laid out in a square field in a 5 × 5 matrix. Blue crystals are placed on the water holes. The red crystals, the rubies, are laid out next to the playing field. Each player receives six well parts. The worker figure is placed either in the middle row or in the middle column, according to the choice of the starting player, and off you go.
The player whose turn it is must take a tile from the row or column in which the worker figure is located and then place the worker figure in the column or row from which the Serengeti tile was taken. There is therefore always a change between row and column. If a player takes adobe bricks, he may build well parts according to the number of adobe bricks shown. No adobe bricks are allowed to decay.
If the player takes a water crystal from a water point, he may place it in his well. When taking water buffalo tiles, the player must remove well parts from his well corresponding to the number of water buffalo. So the water buffalo destroy parts of the well. This doesn't always have to be negative for the player. Every now and then it is also helpful to reduce the parts of the well first.
The round ends as soon as a well has been completed. The player who has finished building it receives a ruby, but only if the well also contains water. If this is not the case, the opponent receives the ruby. The round is also ended if the worker piece has to be placed in front of an empty column or row. Rounds are played until a player has collected four rubies.
Simple game with tactical depth
It all sounds like a simple and easy game. Easy catchy rules. Manageable game material. Short playing time. However, one should not underestimate Maji. Maji is not a game of chance, it is more of a strategy game. The moves should be carefully considered. It is best to plan several moves in advance. This is a great way to annoy your teammate. You can thus force tiles on your fellow players that do not fit into your concept at the moment.
Then he may have to leave part of his well again, or he has to close his well even though it does not contain any water. The latter gives you a ruby yourself. You can also get a ruby if you manage to collect all five water crystals. With cunning, planning and sometimes a bluff you can corner and defeat your opponent in Maji. Due to the short playing time of approx. 10 minutes, Maji invites you to the next game.
If you have two copies of Maji, you can play it with four people. Then a Serengeti tile has to be sorted out and a 7 × 7 matrix is placed. In addition, some rule adjustments are necessary for four people. But with four people the character of the game also changes. The moves can no longer be planned so far in advance, the whole game becomes more random. Still, it's still a lot of fun.
Number of players: 2 players
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 10 minutes
Long-term motivation: medium
Author: Marius Spix
Illustration: Nicole Pustelny
Desktop graphics / typography: Achim Schule
Year of publication: 2019
Language: German, English
Cost: 17 euros
The game material is valuable and the game is graphically beautifully illustrated. German and English instructions are included with the game. Marius Spix has released a great first work with Maji. And it gets even better: He already has new ideas and so his next work will probably follow soon.
Next year the Spieltrieb Verlag plans to publish a strategic expert game by the author Predrag Lazović with the current working title “Flying Saucers”. Flying Saucers is about eliminating the opposing spaceship fleet, it has a modular structure and thus the size of the game board can be adjusted and there are other game scenarios.
We can therefore look forward to 2020 and the games that Spieltrieb 2020 will bring us.