★★★½☆ Niya; fight for control over Japan’s imperial garden! -or play this fun little tile game.

Check out this game if: you are looking for a clever two player game that is quick but still has real strategy -perfect little game for on the go.

This game stands out because: it is pretty easy to plan a couple moves ahead. Recognizing what tiles you and your opponent need makes planning your next move easy, and planning your following move is also possible because the is goal are simple.

Positive:
1. The game is easy to teach and quick to learn.
2. Teaching the the game strategy easy -although most will figure it out quickly.
3. There is room for multiple levels of creative and strategic thinking.
4. It feels rewarding to win -especially when you planned it.
5. Although the theme is not super strong, the tile images are eye catching.
6. Because the only pieces are tiles and tokens, you can play this game outside (or on a plane).

Negative:
1. Only 2 players.
2. Games are quick and you may not want to play more than a handful of times each session

Brief Overview:
The goal of this game is to spread your influence over the 4×4 player grid (in either a straight line or a 2×2 box). To do so, the first player chooses one of the border tiles to replace his influence tokens with. The next player must then choose a tile with one of the two elements on the tile he/she just chose (each tile in the game has two symbols on them; cloud, rising sun, bird, rain, maple leaf, cherry branch, pine, or iris). The game continues this way till one player has four in a row or 2×2 box.

Number of Players 2
Age 7+
Time 15 mins
Friendly ★★★☆☆
Teachable ★★★★★
Replayability ★★★☆☆
Creative Freedom ★★★★☆
Inclusive (no elimination) ★★★★☆
Interaction ★★★☆☆

Versions:
Only one version of this game and I don’t think any expansions are going to be developed, but that’s one of this game’s best qualities -it is simple and portable.

Teaching Advice:
Set up the tiles in a 4×4 grid. Next, replace one of the border tiles with your color token and show the opponents next move is limited by the tiles on the grid that have one of the two symbols on the tile you just removed. That’s it. It’s simple, but showing and telling at the same time will make teaching this game even simpler.

Link to Video Tutorial.

Link to Niya on Amazon.

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