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ONITAMA: Gotcha! An elegant and simple game for 2 players.


ONITAMA is brilliant. The number of awards this game has won is all the proof needed: UKGE Best Abstract game, Golden Geek award, Mensa, etc... and for good reason: it is simple, deep, fast and clever. The rules can even be explained in 2 minutes or less.

The game by Shimpei Sato is a perfect information abstract game. So you know exactly what is going on. No luck involved.
If you win, it is up to your skills.
If you lose... well, you will do better next time.

Ask Master Shifu...
In Onitama, players vie to either capture their opponent’s Master or move their Master across the board to the starting position of the opponent’s Master to win. To do this you will be armed with a handful of special and ancient maneuvers, presented on beautiful Tarot size cards, that manipulate the field of battle to your advantage. Will you use the Dragon to overpower your opponent, the Horse to outmaneuver them, or the Cobra to strike quickly?

These special moves are not yours alone, though. In Onitama, players shuffle the deck of moves, dealing two moves to each player to begin a game. In addition, a 5th card will be placed face up, to the side of the board. When it is your turn, you may choose to move any piece using your cards; however, the card you choose to use will then be exchanged with the card to the side of the board. This means your opponent will have access to that move after their next! Can you out-think, outmaneuver, and outwit your opponent?

Moving onto one of the opponent's pawns removes that pawn from the game. Taking the opponent's Master pawn, or moving your Master pawn into your opponent's Master pawn's starting space, wins you the game.

Every card you play will be available to your opponent next. Should you keep the dragon so the other player cannot take your pawn on their next turn? Or should you play it to force him/her to move away using their tiger card?

That is all there is to Onitama. But it works perfectly well.

If you want to know more about the game, watch people fight, or simply start your own battle, click right below:

We would like to thank Shimpei Sato as well as the people from Arcane Wonders for their authorization to bring the game to Board Game Arena.
Of course, nothing would have been possible without the help of Sydnique who did marvels to bring the game to the platform. Thanks!

Next week, be prepared for another surprise. A very big one that will probably make some noise.
At least, for people who like farming.
Until then, take care!
09/15/2021 22 comments

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