Nimaliais of William Lievin and 2023 at Pegasus Spiele appeared. In the placement game, you build a reserve with a maximum size of 6×6 fields and try to arrange the animals and landscape types in such a way that you get as many points as possible with each scoring.
In Nimalia the players create their own animal reserve in which as many animals as possible will live in harmony. Achieving such a balance requires smart decisions and foresight. Only those who manage to meet the needs of all animals in the reserve have a chance of winning.
Nimaliais played over 5 rounds and after each round different combinations of task cards are scored. This means that you have to try to fulfill several task cards at the same time and also take into account when they are scored. Each task card is scored three times in total - so there isn't just one strategy that will lead you to victory, you have to keep an eye on all the tasks. Of course, it can happen that you pursue one task more closely and tend to neglect the other.
The game comes in a handy little box that is beautifully printed to match the theme. Mainly the game consists of square cards; the animal cards, the task cards and the scoring plan that you create from 5 cards. In addition, you get four markers per person, four point chips and a round indicator.
Before each game, you choose a task card for each task color and place some of them under the round card. The round card works very well in combination with the round marker, because you can always see which tasks are currently relevant and in which direction the remaining hand cards have to be passed.
The structure of Nimalia, looking at the score and task cards, photo: Tim Nissel
I don't find it easy to classify the task cards. On the one hand, I like it when cards are language-neutral and use the symbols to explain the rules/tasks. While this works very well with some cards, others are much more difficult to understand. Although each card is explained in the instructions, the implementation could have been a little clearer here. For example, some rounds of the game were confused by the fact that the scenes on the cards cannot be created at all in a playful way. But don't worry, the instructions make it easy to understand the tasks. But you also quickly notice that there are simple and difficult task cards - you will find a recommendation for the first round in the instructions.
You start each of the five rounds with three cards from your hand. Each person chooses one of these and puts it on in the reserve. The card can be rotated, but it must always be aligned horizontally or vertically and must always cover at least one field of a previous card. But you can also cover two or even four fields. Pass the remaining cards clockwise (counterclockwise in rounds 2 and 4) and repeat the above step. So you don't play with a set of hand cards, but choose one card and pass the rest on. When it comes to the third card, you don't have a choice as you only get one card. As soon as all cards have been played, a scoring takes place. You can see which tasks are scored on the scoring card – the tasks always change. The game ends after five rounds and the player with the most points wins.
Building Nimalia, The Reservation at the end of the game, Photo: Tim Nissel
Playfully, the game does a balancing act between tactical elements and luck factors. Although I can decide how I invest my cards, I cannot influence which cards I have available and when. If giraffes give you minus points and I get a giraffe as the last card, I get minus points whether I want to or not. That's sometimes a bit frustrating. But don't worry, you can also turn the tables and make sure that other people get bad cards as the last card. But you have to be aware that in the end not only your own strategy, but also a portion decides between victory and defeat.
In the end is Nimalia A nice little game that does a lot of things right. Also perfect for on the go, but not for pure tactics fans and with some deductions for the task cards. Otherwise, fans of placement games will get their money's worth here.
Do you want to save yourself the instructions or simply learn more about the gameplay? Then have a look here:
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