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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Naga Raja – Hurrican – Review

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Ben Parker
Ben started playing Magic The Gathering in 1994. Over the years he developed a new appreciation for table top gaming after wanting to find a way to spend more time with his kids. He now has a serious board game addiction. When he is not gaming he makes money by doing product development and marketing for a guitar company.

There are lots of positives going on for Naga Raja. If you are a seeker of 2-player games that have a great theme and strong game play then you should give Naga Raja a look. You may just find a new game for your collection.  

Ben

MeepleGamers

8.5/10

Theme and What is it?

8.5/10

The discovery of a lifetime! Twin temples in the heart of the jungles of India has drawn explorers from all over the globe. You make your way here to seek out riches and fame. You traverse through the thick forests and behold the temple in all of its decaying glory. Just as you are about to enter the temple you get word that your most bitter rival has discovered the other temple and is just about to enter it. Now it is a race to find as many relics as possible.

You are exhausted and know you must be careful because there are powerful cursed relics hidden in this ancient edifice. Get too greedy and you may lose your soul. 

Yet, if you can throw enough obstacles in your rivals way and overcome any in your way, you will be successful and earn international fame and riches beyond measure. 

Naga Raja is a route building/tile drafting game for 2 players.

Gameplay Mechanics

8.5/10

In Naga Raja players seek to uncover relics found around the edges of their temple boards. They must create paths to a relic in order to discover and flip it over. Once a relic is flipped, it awards victory points. Players create paths to relics by competing for path tiles. 

A single path tile is flipped over. Each player must play a card/cards which tell players which fate sticks they get to roll. Fate sticks provide fate points and nagas. Fate points are added up to determine which player wins the tile. Nagas are used to activate the second portion of the remaining cards in a player’s hand. These cards have actions that can provide benefits to their owner or disrupt the opposing player.

Once players have played all the cards they want, they total their fate points and the highest total wins the path tile and lays it on their board. Play continues like this over a number of rounds until one player has either discovered enough relics to have 25+ points or a player has revealed all three cursed relics. In that case that player instantly loses the game.  

Initial Impressions

8.5/10

If you know me, you know that I am always on the lookout for excellent two player games. I was very excited when I saw news about the release of Naga Raja for two reasons.  1. It’s a two player game. 2. It’s a Bruno Cathala game. That was all I needed to know to get pumped for this game. 

Going through rules and setup took no time at all. My daughter and I were hopping into our first game in a matter of minutes. Right off I realized there is some hefty luck involved because of all the fate sticks that are being thrown around. I do not have any issue with that. I am not an anti-luck activist in the boardgame community. But luck is not always on my side. There are ways with the action cards to mitigate some of the luck element. I feel that they balanced the game out.

When all was said and done, it was a very enjoyable experience.

Game Build Quality

8.5/10

Very high-quality components are found all throughout the game including the bow and insert. The insert tray may be my favorite piece and that is really saying something because the fate sticks are super cool. 

All the pieces of this game where well thought out and designed with the end user’s experience in mind. 

Artistic Direction

8.5/10

The artwork does a great job at capturing the feeling of treasure hunting and has an Indiana Jones vibe. It allows players to enter the world of the temples and really feel like they are exploring. The cards all look great and the art captures the actions of the cards. 

I really like the aesthetic as a whole. It is uniformed and embodies the spirit of the theme and that gives players the chance to suspend their disbelief and take part in the exploration.

Fun Factor

8.5/10

There are a few things that make Naga Raja a standout 2 player game. It has multiple mechanics that operate well together and that gives the game depth and wonderful staying power. It also provides some awesome “gotcha” moments as players get to mess up their rival’s game plans. When you play a 2-player game, you usually play with someone close to you and there is nothing more satisfying doing some mean stuff to make them lose the game!

Age Range & Weight

8.5/10

The manufacturer suggested age range is 9+. From my experience that feels about right. I played with my daughter, who is 10, and played a competitive game and had fun. Players younger than that may have an issue with making some decisions about how to play their cards and what cards to save to play as naga actions. 

Naga Raja is easy to learn, but it has depth and should keep experienced gamers happy. I would say it could work as a gateway game, but 2 player games are usually not my go to for gateway games.

Conclusions

8.5/10

Naga Raja definitely wins my Trifecta of Awesomeness award! It has amazing artwork, stellar components and superior game play. All three combined equal a very strong gaming opportunity. I would almost give it a fourth point for being a 2-player game, but I don’t have a reward for that. 

There are lots of positives going on for Naga Raja. If you are a seeker of 2-player games that have a great theme and strong game play then you should give Naga Raja a look. You may just find a new game for your collection.   

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