Review: Tahiti – gather fruit with goddess Haumea

Tahiti - packaging

The island will no longer suffice. Foure tribes, that inhabit it, had grown too much and their needs are far beyond fertility of home island surrounded by sea. Residents of fortunately are not as stupid as today’s modern man, who would pull out guns by now and started shooting at each other.

Instead, you can just pull your canoe and head out to sea. In its depths hides enormous wealth to satisfy every hungry throat. In addition, there are other uninhabited islands in the neighborhood, just waiting for you to come there and take their sweet fruit. Yet these four tribes instead of regular common supply agreed, they will make a race. Would there be enough food before winter, when the fertility goddess Haumea leaves?

Your ability to properly examine and gather food is theme of new board game from the popular American company . Just remember times, when we ventured forth (review) or farmed near Nile DeLuxor (review). Today, they prepared new game called Tahiti, who won the favor of fans of board games through a server. And although it should be enough to guarantee fun factor, sometimes fans got it all wrong. Let’s wait, what will Tahiti become. A success or a failure?

Tahiti - game is ready

Its author is , whose name we already know. About a year ago, we reviewed his simple racing game Nitro Dice (review). Now in 2013 he returns again and arrives in a canoe with a cargo of coconuts and bananas. Again, under the heading Minion Games, and with the same illustrator – .

Tahiti surprises you at first glance with its size. The box is much smaller, than you might expect. This is a good news in world, where all companies are racing for big boxes filled with air. It contains everything it needs without problems and why carry more excess air? So-called air sale is a problem, because as you guess, the size of boxes is, what sells the game in the end on shop shelfs.

But this is not the case of Tahiti, which with its bright colors and interesting images smoothly lures your eyes. Inside, a short six-page rules await you, on approximately A5 size pages, but in a square design. If you want to hear it in dimensions, it is approximately 17 x 17 centimeters, which exactly replicates box size.

Tahiti - game is ready

Inside, there is a stack of cardboard tiles, which contain a total of 23 hexes, you will build your own Tahiti from. Three of these cards have only water on them, the rest are islands of various shapes. They are surrounded on random sides by coral reefs and in its center are always two colored squares indicating, what fruits island produces and what can you gather during your visit.

One island has no squares. This is your home island, where you must return with the cargo. Another two cards are not directly related to the gameplay – one contains turn order and the other picture with turtles serves to indicate a starting player.

Box also presents little tiles with secret tasks. There are always two materials printed on them. These are favorite food of your tribe. Thus, if during the game, you are best in importing precisely those goods to your village, you get a special reward and bonus in the race. Cards have interestingly elongated shape of I, which makes them quite distinct.

Tahiti - game in progress

We have here also fifteen big round tokens indicating, you have depleted the island and collected everything it could grow this year. This means, that it will not yield anymore during this game and therefore becomes only obstacle for your ships.

Next in line are four players boards, which look a bit messy at first sight, but it is only an illusion. This board represents your village. You will find five warehouses for five different types of food – rows with numbers to record gathered amount of each kind. Above them is a picture of canoe, which you will control throughout the game. Around are only auxiliary numbers for remembering scoring and again also text helping you to remember course of your turn.

And now we are left with only wooden pieces and a canvas bag, which is closely tied. There is a figure of the goddess Haumea, eighty-colored cubes of food (sixteen from each of the five species) and mainly four player canoe. Thus we get to the bottom of the box. It is not so few components for its size after all, don’t you think? Nice work, Minion Games!

Tahiti - game in progress

Have you ever seen a canoe? So you can imagine, that the more it carries, the slower it becomes. Well, this method works also in Tahiti game. In addition to this, tribes are also running out of time, because winter is coming.

At the beginning of the game, you must first each choose one canoe. Every players then also takes gaming board with portrait of his home village. And he also secretly draws one of small tokens with favorite food.

The center of the board is created by putting starting island down (there is one side for even numbers and one for game with three players). Sides differ only in the shape of coral reefs. Just behind them are other islands, which must be put there immediately (yes, behind coral reefs), while the open sides of uninhibited freedom are filled with ocean tiles. All starting islands can be identified by butterfly drawing. Now you have created a basic game board, a circle of seven hex tiles.

Tahiti - game in progress

Canoes and brown figurine of goddess Haumea are put on island located in the middle. From there, they will all begin a pilgrimage to make a living. But before you do, you still have to shuffle all the other islands tiles and put them in a pile next to the map. And you do the same with round tokens of depletion.

Depending on number of players, you must remove a certain number of wooden cubes and scatter few of them on starting islands. Colors of these starting cubes of food, must comply with the indicated squares of crops, that normally grow on the islands. All other are put in a bag, from where you will later draw them.

Each player plays four phases of his turn, before action moves on to the next rival. In the first phase, you will be discovering new islands. This is responsibility of the goddess Haumea. Player may or may not move it one square in any direction and attach a new hex island tile in neighbourhood of tile, she ends its movement. You can specify rotation and location (all places near current Haumea tile) of new island according to your taste – reef position is crucial in gameplay.

Tahiti - game in progress

In addition, you must pay attention to fact, that Haumea always has to be in location adjacent to edge of discovered map. If it is not, you are obliged to move it towards such an end. Almost as if the goddess was an animal trapped in a cage, trying to get out.

Then it’s time to harvest food. You fish out a trio of new cubes out of the bag and take them in your hand. You can spread them on already discovered islands at your discretion, on any empty box of same color as is the cube. If the block does not fit anywhere, you simply return it back into the bag. Of course they can never be laid on islands, whose resources have been already depleted. How does that happen? You will learn that soon.

Now it’s finally time to set off with your rowers to hunt food. So you can move your canoe in any direction for specified amount of steps. Their number depends on, how is your canoe loaded. On your village board, you have a canoe drawing in the top and as you can see, it can carry up to five cubes of food. These canoes have also four paddles drawn. If you cover any of rowers with food, you lose one speed. Your boat can thus move between four and one step in situation, when you’re fully loaded.

Tahiti - game in progress

But action points do not have to be used only for movement. If canoe arrives to island, which has available fruit, you can load a cube for one movement point on your boat. This way you can, of course, spend even more movement points. At the moment cubes is delivered on central island, you move them to your village card into the appropriate color line.

When you move, you must pay attention to coral reefs. Sometimes it is better to go around. If you do not, you risk your loaded goods will fall out of canoe on this bumpy ride. For each run over coral reef, you must draw two cubes out of bag. For each, which coincides with goods in your canoe, you must return one cube back into the bag. And that’s really unlucky!

In one action, you can also go sea fishing anywhere on the board.. It again is done as hunting cubes from the bag. But this time, you must not rely on your skills, but on luck. If you succeed in pulling at least one fish from the bag, it is yours and you can load it onto the boat, but there has to be room.. But you can pick up only one, no matter how many you draw..

Tahiti - target fruit tiles

And there is one important rule, that makes your visits to islands considerably more difficult. You have to always load either cubes of different colors or all of only one color. You may never have a combination of multiple blocks from several fruit types.

At the end of your turn, you check, if there is such island on the table, which has no cubes left. If you find any, then one of the these must be marked as depleted, but only, when winter is coming (Haumea has left the game). You put a depletion token on it. This island will no longer give birth to other fruit and will bring you nothing.

At a time, when you put down last island, winter is approaching. Haumea immediately leaves the game and harvest for each round is reduced from three to only two cubes drawn from bag each turn. Otherwise, the game continues until there are only last four fertile islands left.

Tahiti - map tiles

Now is the time to add up points earned for hoarded food. Players receive points for variety of food. Points are equal to lowest value visible in each row. The more you have covered, the better you will be doing in winter. It is also important to collect food evenly, because a completely filled columns get you bonuses. Plus you get five more points, if you manage to be best gatherer of your favorite food. Player with highest point count is winner of the game.

Tahiti is well made and clever game about collection of food. Players are moved on a sunny archipelago and sit to paddles. But this game does not require much muscle on your hands, but rather those in cranial cavity. You will need good planning, but also a little luck, to win this game.

There is not much coincidence in the game. The only significant random thing in the game is pulling cubes out while fishing. Just attempt to do this activity can damage you the most, and we recommend you leave fishing only for moves, when you are driving an empty vessel and loss of one action point does not hurt you so much. Otherwise, fishing is very important part of your daily routine on Tahiti, because their meat is one of the important sources of strength out there.

Tahiti - player board detail

Secret tasks contribute towards tension in the game. Each player has their special one, but that does not mean, he would not cross with other players. Quite the contrary, because food is present on more task tiles. Moreover, there is incentive to collect equal amount of various food types, all thanks to Knizia scoring system – you get bonus points for variability of gathered goods.

Coincidence decides, which food types will be available and grow on Tahiti. But it is up to players, how will they distribute them among different islands to suit their trade route the most, thus significantly affecting the game. Like decisions regarding shifting of Haumea goddess and adding a new island tile. In this situation, you must be very careful, how you attach coral reefs.

Multiplayer gets the game board more crowded. But fruit grows more rapidly, making a whole board full in a while. In fewer players, all islands usually can not be constantly full and soon begins to occur situation of islands being depleted and lose their last fruit. It is interesting, that in several matches it happened, that we distributed all good cubes. Such a situation is virtually ending the game before you could actually empty islands.

Tahiti - tokens

Tahiti does very good job in game time, which is around 45 minutes in two and around an hour in multiplayer. This makes it a very affordable and requested game to play, thanks to simple rules. Its also a really good starting game for beginners. And there is always a shortage of those.

Tahiti contains some interesting ideas, that will make you like it at first sight, as well as its graphics does. That is good news. The game is a success and is classified in the group of not very numerous games, that are fun for all and also can be played with an absolute beginner..

DesignerDavid E. Whitcher
ArtistChuck Whelon
PublisherMinion Games
Year Published
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3 players
(6 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(5 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(7 voters)
CategoryExploration, Mythology, Nautical, Transportation
MechanicAction Points, Grid Movement, Modular Board, Pick-up and Deliver, Set Collection, Tile Placement
FamilyAnimals: Fish / Fishes, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter, Islands: French Polynesia (France), Region: Oceania, Theme: Tropical, Theme: Tropical Islands
Primary NameTahiti

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Tahiti – gather fruit with goddess Haumea
Final word
Tahiti is a family board game, where your main goal is to transfer goods and gather fruit from surrounding islands, back to your home. But your tribe is not the only one making supplies for winter, so there is more boats floating around archipelago. The more burden they carry, the slower they get, but all arrive in their destination in the end. You can go on a roundabout or you can take a shortcut, risking to lose part of your cargo, which falls off your ship on bumpy coral reefs. First you have to discover all those islands nearby. Goddess Haumea helps you with that, but once she leaves islands, there will be more and more depleted islands. Winter is coming. Simple strategic game with drawing cubes out of bag to refill islands, grow fruits and gather them with your workers. Most importance lies on good boat movement, but also fruit choice, as you get points not only for quantity, but also variety. Good planning and judgement is necessary, but to outrace your opponents is as important as well. You then can swipe their goodnesses in front of them. Tahiti contains plenty of good ideas and combines nice mechanics into nice and cozy family game, apropriate for beginners and also for less demanding experienced players..
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
simple family game of transferring goods
variable board
you can risk quicker route by crossing coral reefs
speed depends on load on your boat
hidden tasks
price
interesting discovery, replenishing and closing of islands
Cons
random fishing
cubes might run out before you finish game
3
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