Review: Mandala – the beauty of circular shapes

The river roars nearby and looks forward to a new sacrifice. He is already stretching his lustful frothy tentacles toward us, threatening to swallow our work before we like it. We didn’t estimate the size of the we’re creating today, and we got too close to the flooded riverbed. We have to be fast, otherwise the beautiful symmetrical patterns will not reach their target form.

Sandy means of meditation will be built by players in the Mandala card game, created by the author duo and . The game was released under the flag of Lookout | Spiele and in , with original illustrations by , it entered the Czech market in production and translation by MindOK.

The game doesn’t need much space, so all the content can be found in a smaller box hidden under a hypnotic lid. First, packs of more than hundreds of sand-colored cards peek out of the box. Before the pair of players start shuffling the cards, they will probably notice the surprise that lies beneath them. It is a large game screen. Both players have their side here, which is lined with a river with six-card slots on each side. The stripes lead through the center – the center and next to it on each side there is a playing field dedicated to each of the opponents.

He places a rival draw pile next to the plan and places two cards face up in the center of each of the two mandalas on the plan. Each player is dealt eight cards – two are placed in the corner of the board in a so-called cup and the other six are hidden in his hand.

Players take turns in the game, where they always have a choice of three different actions. The simplest one allows them to exchange cards in hand for others. You can discard any number and replace it with the same number of new cards from the deck. Above all, however, they can take these cards from their hand and play them either in their area or in the center of the mandala. Cards can be added to rows that have already been created, but a card of the same suit must never lie in more than one area. The same cards can then only be laid in the same area.

However, there are exactly two actions hidden in playing cards, depending on where the player decides to place. Placing one card in the middle means that he can draw up to three new cards (up to a limit of eight cards in his hand). Conversely, adding a card to your side of the board to the right or left mandala (there are always two mandalas in the game, shared by both players and the middle row) means that the player does not draw any cards, but can also lay out more than one card of the same suit.

After any of these actions, the mandala may be completed. All you have to do is have cards of all six colors in the area. The mandala is immediately disassembled. A player who has more than one card in his hand begins (or the one who did not play last) and can take any cards of the same suit from the entire mandala area (including the opponent’s area). If he does not yet have a card of this color in the river, he lays one copy right here on the first free field from the left, while he places the rest of the cards in his cup (the box in the corner). Then the opponent gets a chance to hunt the prey. In this way, the two alternate until the mandala is completely poured into the river or into the cup.

He reveals two random cards from the deck from the draw pile, thus starting the construction of a new mandala. As soon as the deck is completely exhausted or one of the players has completely filled his river with six-color cards, the game ends. Players sort their cup cards by color and distribute them appropriately under their river. Each position of the river has its value rising from one on the left to six on the right. And while the cards in the river do not mean points, each cup has a value according to the position of the suit in the river. The total sum of all six groups is the result of the player and the one who has more points wins.

Mandala is an elegant collectible game, which is about collecting the right color sets. And despite its abstract nature, it gives players the impression that something real is happening on the fabric plan.

Scoring is really clever, the importance of which increases over time. And because players always build two mandalas, it is possible to plan very well. Above all, however, players keep their cards in their hands, because as time goes on, it is clear to them which ones will have a higher point value.

But not everything is about the abilities of players. Although the game is essentially an abstract card, chance and the ability to appropriately choose the element of temptation of happiness play a surprisingly large role. Players draw cards blindly from the menu, but fortunately one of the actions allows them to quickly turn their hand and replace even all the cards. The loss of traction due to pitch lot is therefore not so significant.

Interestingly, players do not build their sets on their own sand. Instead, the mandalas are shared and the choice of color limits the opponent, so a well-chosen tactic can mean direct competition. It is not important to have a clear advantage in the mandala, but it is mainly the composition of the cards and the ability to capture them for yourself. However, both opponents know very well what value the sets have for their opponents.

In addition, the whole game is designed specifically for two opponents, for whom everything is luxuriously tuned. This is a card delicacy in which everything works. Appropriate choice of action, card management in hand and the ability to get the right cards at the right time. These are all unique qualities that make Mandala stand out.

The game is elegant with a game plan in the form of a canvas. In addition, its preparation is extremely fast and there is nothing to think about. The rules sound a bit complicated at first glance, but in the end even beginners will understand everything without any problems. It is only necessary to clarify the nomenclature in the form of a cup, river and mandala, their location and links.

Mandala is an elegant design and a great game for two, which actually has no significant flaws. The game will surprise you with a talent that exceeds your expectations and present a completely unexpected show. Mandala is a game that shines the moment you start playing it and it just won’t stop!

DesignerTrevor Benjamin, Brett J. Gilbert
ArtistKlemens Franz
PublisherLookout Games, 999 Games, Asmodee Italia, Gamer Café Kft., Funforge, Hobby Japan, MINDOK, Rebel Sp. z o.o., sternenschimmermeer
Year Published
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2 players
Recommended with players
(34 voters)
Playing Time20
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(13 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(11 voters)
CategoryAbstract Strategy, Card Game
MechanicArea Majority / Influence, Hand Management, Set Collection
FamilyPlayers: Two Player Only Games, Series: Fur Zwei Spieler (Lookout Games)
Primary NameMandala
Alternate Namesマンダラ, 曼荼羅 Mandala, 만다라

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Mandala – the beauty of circular shapes
Final word
Mandala is a card game in which both opponents build two mandalas together. Each consists of three areas, one neutral and two, which belong to individual rivals. Players gradually occupy all locations with colors, but within the whole figure, the colors must not be repeated in two places. Luck decides what cards a player gets available. In the end, however, it is only the phase after the completion of the mandala that decides, when the players analyze one, and then the other, the building blocks of the picture. These have point values ​​based on the river, which is composed and determined by the player himself. Thanks to that, the fight for points is very interesting and thanks to the beautiful graphics, it doesn't even matter that Mandala is abstract fun.
Reader Rating0 Votes
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