Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Don't go chasing waterfalls:- Iquazú

Game: Iquazú

Publisher: HABA

Designer: Michael Feldkötter

Year: 2017

Iquazú is a 2-4 player Puzzle game in which you play as a race of aliens seeking to hide crystals behind a waterfall. Using a large dragon to temporarily block the flow of water the aliens will race to hide as many crystals as they can before the dragon moves on and water once again covers the hiding places.

Players will take turns playing coloured cards from their hands to place crystals, playing 1 card allows you place a crystal in the first column on the spot of the matching colour. Playing a pair of the same colour allows you to place a crystal on the second column and so on. If you are ever stuck for colours you can play 2 cards of one colour to simulate one card of another colour. After all players have taken a turn a water drop will be placed on the top-most empty space of the first column.


Should the first row ever be full of any combination of crystals and water drops then the round instantly ends, players will score points based on how many crystals they had in the first column. with the majority of the points going to the player with the most. You will also earn bonus tiles based on majority in each row. These bonus tiles sometimes reward points, but other times allow you to draw bonus cards, play twice in a row or ignore colour requirements for one play.


Generally speaking Iquazú works really well as a two player game, but there is one aspect that I'm still torn on. When playing two player rounds are very short and water droplets appear at an accelerated rate. Each round one player always places a water droplet after their turn, and the gameplay alternates with each player getting two turns in a row. This can mean that up to 4 spaces can disappear between one of your turns an the next, entirely changing the state of the board. On the counter-side of this: you can compensate for this behavior with clever play, forcing the round to end before your opponent wants it to. I've still not quite worked out how much of this is in your control and how much is determined by the board's layout, but it certainly is something you can manipulate and a key strategy to learn if you want to win. The only other issue I have is the way the game handles bonus tiles, should one player get the majority of them on the first round then clever use of those powers can let them keep that lead until late in the game, it can be very hard to recover from a bad start.

The cards and bonus tokens, for me the most powerful bonuses were those that let you draw bonus cards, or take an extra turn, but points are never a bad bonus.

The art style of  Iquazú is superb, the world is bright and colourful and the way the rolling board works during the game is wonderful. It can be a little fiddly to set up in the first place, but that's a small price to pay. The puzzle itself is as clever as your opponent is, so for me it was quite devious! When playing two player you have a ridiculous amount of control over how the game progresses, but you can counter this by simply playing on future columns, if you focus entirely on the first row then all your efforts will soon be washed away as the waterfall advances. Iquazú is a game that's easy to pick up, but ensures that each move you make has consequences. It truely is a competative puzzle game, and while it does have a few rough edges it's still a game I would encourage you to try.


7.5/10

Iquazú was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is now available at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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