Missing the Deadline


The Pyramid’s Deadline

designed by Jun Sasaki, published by Oink Games

Race to build the grandest pyramid for the dying pharaoh in this small box game from Japan’s Oink Games. Each round, a lead builder will roll the dice allowing players, one at a time, to draft different shapes in order to build their pyramid. Choose from a rectangle, a big triangle, a little triangle, and a square in order to complete your pyramid, from base to capstones and following the rules for laying tiles But be careful, the square also represents the pharaoh’s life, and if you take the last square, you automatically lose the game for killing the pharaoh. Likewise, make sure you actually complete your pyramid before the pharaoh’s life runs out. The player who scores the most points (length of pyramid x height of pyramid – the number of capstones) wins and has the honor of having a moldy, dessicated mummy reside in their grand creation.

A potentially simple and elegant tile-laying game is hampered unclear scoring rules for the endgame. The definition of different legal placements for the tiles feels unclear at times and turned the game from strategic tile-laying into, “I don’t think that counts as legal” arguments. Sometimes less means more, but here less just led to confusing.  And definitely one of the most brutal instant lose conditions out there.

One Line Verdict: Great concept with flawed execution; leave this one buried in the desert sands.

30-Second Boardgames Reviews Went to Asia…

And this is what I brought back:


Top Row: “UNO: Kiki’s Delivery Service Edition”, “UNO: DragonBall Super Edition”, “Modern Art” designed by Reiner Knizia

Bottom Row (all published by Oink Games); “Deep Sea Adventure” designed by Jun Sasaki, Goro Sasaki, “Startups” designed by Jun Sasaki, “maskmen” designed by Jun Sasaki, Taiki Shinzawa”, “The Pyramid’s Deadline” designed by Jun Sasaki.

Consider this a Preview of Coming Attractions…

Run Away! Run Away!



designed by Kouji Kimora, published by Oink Games

Can you escape with the troll’s treasure? A simple action selection/deduction game that fits into a teeny, tiny box. The starting player looks at the troll who has a number between 5 and 11 (roughly), and then places a number between one and five face up. The higher the number, the greater the reward, but also greater the risk. The next player decides to either put a number down blind, and double their reward, or they can peek at the troll and make a better decision. If the total is higher than the troll’s number, then it will catch you! What is your opponent doing? Are they a jerk who will get you snatched by the troll? Probably.

Definitely a clever game with a pretty basic mechanic.  Almost pure bluffing, and there is room for strategic play, but that fact isn’t apparent right away.  And it feels pretty light.

One Line Verdict: Don’t bother with his Troll too much.  Unless you like trolls.  And bluffing.

Definitely NOT the Yellow Submarine


“Deep Sea Adventure:

designed by Jun Sasaki & Goro Sasaki, published by Oink Games

Go diving for treasure in this small-box Japanese game. Roll the dice and travel deeper into the ocean to pick up scoring chits. But be careful: everybody shares an air supply and the more chits you have, the faster the air goes and then the slower you go. Do you keep going for that one more turn to pick up a higher value chit? Or do you turn around and hope to make it back before the air runs out? If you’re me, you just sink and die every time. The winner got two chits and won by a point. That’s a tight game.

But it’s a fun game: a simple and challenging press-your-luck game that really makes you say, “just one more step…”

One Line Verdict: Dive into this one!