This package includes the base game of Samsara as well as a booster pack containing all the Kickstarter Stretch goals!! Visit the original Kickstarter campaign *here* to get an idea of what the fine people over at Oka Luda have in store for you…
I REALLY enjoy playing this game! It’s on the lighter side of medium-weight and it plays in under an hour… even with 5 players; unless you and your group have some serious AP going on – haha. The artwork and color palette have me reminiscing about Saturday morning cartoons growing up in New York in the 70s. [I miss The Herculoids!!!] 🙂
In fairness, the artwork here is far better than the televised cartoon imagery of the 70s… But it exudes that same sort of groovy, good-natured vibe. At least for me, this really helps getting into the spirit of the game. Good Karma. Nirvana. Enlightenment. Positive vibes. Saturday morning cartoons and cereal in a onesie. Perfect.
You get the idea.
Run… don’t walk… on the path toward Nirvana 😉
At its core, this is a really fun deck management and pool building game. But it takes on the distinct the flavor of a race game as you enter the last few rounds of the game. This helps to achieve a really nice balance to the gameplay arc. Start out chatting and traveling around the Samara… then in the middle of the game you find yourself paying more attention to the cards you need and the amulet you want that is on your left… and by the end of the story, you start to feel that tiny butterfly in your stomach that says “Hurry up! Hurry up!! Kirby is going to take that Amulet!” 😉
In less emotional parlance, one might say…. Start off sort of exploring your options. Then build up a small engine and develop the deck you feel best suits your strategy. You feel as relaxed as can be… tranquil even. But then later, you notice that your opponent on the right is attempting to complete the very same Amulet that you have been working toward for the last 4 rounds… and the race is ON!
Amulets of Eternity
Achieving Nirvana by collecting Amulets of Eternity is your goal. Complete 5 Amulets before your opponents and win the game! Players sit around an octagonal board. Their individual character board and the cards they have played to the table form their player area. The Amulets of Eternity are randomly placed on the table between the player areas; forming a finite pool of options that help pave your way to victory.
Each player may only collect Amulets from the assortment to their immediate left or right. So, while you are competing with all players to win the game, you are competing most directly with the players seated next to you as you gather the victory-inducing Amulets!!
Hand management… rondels… reincarnation. Oh my.
The board is essentially an eight-sided rondel. Players move their characters around the Samsara (the octagonal game board) landing on different sections to gain cards that help you along on your path to Nirvana. The cards are used to take actions on the main game board or as resources in acquiring the Amulets of Eternity. Some cards can also be used for an Evanescent action that activates every time it is your turn.
The game creates an incredibly enjoyable tension. You know, that little rush you get when you’re hoping no one lands on the spot you need so you can get your victory groove on!
In Samsara you’ll be hoping that the board zone you need is available on your turn… so you can get the card you so desperately need… that will allow you to complete a coveted amulet… before your pesky neighbor on the left steals it away!!! Ahhhhhhhh! There are layers upon layers of nail-biting here!! But, in a really good way.
There are a handful of other mechanics that involve character special powers, reincarnation as you lap the game board, and a variety of unique ways to use each card obtained on the Samsara…. But I’ll let you read about all of that in the rules 😉
Essen Spiel 2018 demo gameplay
At Essen Spiel 2018 some newly made friends and I got a chance to play Samsara with Chris and Mimi (two-thirds of the Oka Luda team), and everyone had a blast! As we got close to end-game, the tension was palpable as everyone plotted their last moments. Upon declaration of victory, positive post-game chatter filled the air. A sure sign that players enjoyed the game!
“I just needed one more pass around the board…. argh.”
“If I had gotten that Amulet before you on the last round I could have won!!”
“Wait… I think I used my character ability incorrectly… we need to play again!”
In fact, one of my friends specifically asked that I tell her the minute this game appeared in the shop.
[Jessica… I am sending you a FB message as soon as I finish this!! ;-))))] [UPDATE: She ordered the game and it is on its way!]
Oka Luda Team
If you visit this site regularly, you know that the people behind the games are important to me. The first time I chatted with Chris and Mimi on Kickstarter messaging, I knew we were going to get along wonderfully. They are both endlessly positive, super-fun, and easy-going. The sort of people who approach any situation with a “we can do this” attitude. The three of us have become fast friends (Steffen – you too!) and I look forward to continuing that friendship for years to come. Positive Karma achieved!
Great fun. Fast playing. Emotive artwork. Just the right amount of that tension-y goodness!
Pick up your copy of Samsara today!
|Players:||1 – 5|
|Play Time:||20 – 60 minutes|
|Artists:||Nicolas Sauge, Sylas|
|Publisher:||Oka Luda Games|
|MSRP:||$59 in BGG Geekmaket (US) – one copy available|
|Link to BGG:||Samsara|