In Karuba the players are each trying to get their explorers through the jungle to four ancient temples, picking up trinkets on the way.
Each player has their own board and a set of numbered tiles that show paths through the jungle. They also have a set of four explorers and four matching temples – these are set up identically on everyones’ boards. All players begin with their tiles face-up, except one person, who puts their tiles face-down. Every turn this player reveals one tile and the other players find the matching tile from their own supply.
Everyone has two choices – they can either add the tile to their board, expanding a number of growing paths, or they can discard it and move their explorers along the paths instead.
Placing tiles is necessary in order to create paths for your explorers, but to move them down the path you need to sacrifice tiles too – sometimes this choice isn’t so straightforward, and as the tiles slowly run out the decisions get harder!
Having an explorer reach a temple gains you points and doing it quicker is more rewarding. Some tiles also contain gems or gold, and these can be ‘picked up’ as an explorer passes by. The game ends either when the tiles run out, or when a player’s explorers reach all four temples.
Karuba takes the abstract pattern-forming of Take it Easy (a game I love) and successfully manages to get a narrative onto it – quite a mad one, but a narrative all the same. Kids love the aspect of making paths and adults can appreciate the genuine tactical challenge hiding beneath the game’s family-friendly design. A lovely game.
Karuba is a delight. Very easy to teach, and fascinating to see how players boards can end up being so different. I’ve yet to find a person who it doesn’t click with.
It's possible to be beaten to the punch in the racing aspect of Karuba, but there is no direct interaction.
As long as players make decisions on tile placement reasonably quickly, the fidget factor is negligible.
Just enough to make the game feel interesting rather than excruciating. It's a family game adults can definitely enjoy.
How the tiles arrive will always be random, and you can set up the explorers and temples in many different ways.