Menu

TALUVA

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $29.95)

 

The exotic South Seas provides the setting for Taluva, the new game from Marcel-André Casasola Merkle. Taluva represents a volcanic island and players, through the placement of volcano tiles, will create the island and attempt to successfully expand their presence by creating and expanding settlements to win.

The bookshelf box contains 4 sets of wooden buildings in different colors with each player getting three temples, two towers and 20 huts in their chosen color. There are 48 volcano tiles with each tile consisting of three hexes. The terrain on those hexes varies (depicting jungle, sand, rock, a lake or a clearing) but all of these tiles share one similarity: one of those three hexes contains a volcano.taluvabox

The volcano tiles are mixed, face down. A turn consists of two phases: first, a player takes and must place 1 volcano tile and second, that player must place 1 or more buildings.

Volcano tiles are placed according to a few simple rules. A basic placement involves simply adding a tile to a previously placed tile on the table (making sure that the edges touch and no empty spaces are created). Alternatively, a tile may be placed ON TOP of an already placed tile, raising the level of the island, with the following restrictions:

The volcano space on the tile MUST lie on top of the volcano space on the tile below it and the “lava” on the tile must flow in a DIFFERENT direction. Tiles may not be placed over empty spaces nor may they completely cover a settlement or cover a temple or tower. Placed tiles MAY cover previously placed huts (which are removed from play) but a settlement may NOT be completely covered. Which brings us to settlements and building placement.

A settlement is defined as a minimum of 1 hut on 1 space. But settlements can expand as more tiles are placed and like colored buildings are linked from tile to tile. After placing a tile, a player MUST place one of more buildings and he may do it in ONE of four ways. A player may place 1 hut on any level 1 space of his choice. A tower may be placed in a hex adjacent to a player’s settlement provided that space is a level 3 space (or higher). Temples may be placed in an adjacent hex to a settlement that is at least three spaces big. (Tower and temple placement is exclusive. No more than one tower or temple may be built in a settlement.) A player may also opt to expand his settlement.

Expansion allows for more than one hut to be placed. A player may declare expansion of a settlement and choose one type of terrain. He may then place huts on spaces ADJACENT to his settlement that are of that terrain. 1 hut is placed on each denoted adjacent space on level 1, TWO huts are placed on an adjacent space on level 2, THREE huts on such a space on level 3 and so on. Why would you use more than one hut? Because that may help you to win.taluvapcs2

In Taluva, there are two paths to victory. The game ends once all of the volcano tiles have been placed. At that point, the player who has built the most temples wins. If tied, the player with the most built towers wins. If still tied, the player who built the most huts is the winner. But the second path is where all that expansion can prove helpful. Should a player manage to build ALL of any two of his three types of buildings, he wins IMMEDIATELY! Building is key and the flip side of that is deadly. Should a player be unable to build anything on his turn, he LOSES and is out of the game!

Players sometimes tend to fall into the habit of placing huts on the volcano tile they have just played. You may, of course, do this but you are NOT required to do so. Actually, it is better to plant the seeds of settlements all over the expanding island since the building of towers and temples is limited to one per settlement. Multiple settlements to place multiple towers and temples is a much better approach. If you grow the largest settlement, you might get some sense of satisfaction but you will DEFINITELY lose the game! Placing tiles on top of opposing settlements is one of the nasty moves you can do to really hurt your opponents by shrinking settlements in one fell swoop. But you need to be careful. Splitting a settlement in two may create two distinct settlements that can now support TWO towers or TWO temples, making it easier for your opponent to win. Managing your building resources is an important consideration as well. Planning to expand to place huts can help you build them all. Since there are 20 huts as opposed to only two or three of the other types of buildings, expansion is clearly one method to help a player fulfill the “build two types of building” requirement for victory.

The thick tiles are a tactile treat and the graphics themselves (also credited to Marcel-André Casasola Merkle) are very attractive, adding to the playing pleasure. The game benefits by having merely four pages of clear rules (aided by examples and play aid cards for each player) to make for an easy learning curve.

Taluva explores territory that we’ve seen before, certainly not as ground-breaking an effort as the designer’s probably best known work: Verrater (featured in the Winter 1999 issue of GA Report). And, unlike volcanic lava, the game is not “smokin’ hot”. Still, Taluva combines good looks with a reasonable playing time making it suitable for a bit of light but thoughtful gaming. – – – Herb Levy


 

Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.


Spring 2007 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Days of Wonder, 2 players or teams, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $70) The following review carries my name – but is actually a collaborative effort between me and my gaming friend – Scott Brooks. Scott is more of a hard core war gamer than me, while my preferences lie closer to typical Euro games (though I love conflict in ...
Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49) The first thing do be done in a turn is the starting player, who goes first in all phases, rolls the dice to determine what resources are generated this turn. Four resources are rolled each turn and the number has to be unique. If a seven is rolled, he gets ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Jax Ltd, 2-6 players, ages 6 to adult, about 30 minutes; $7.99) Games are generally categorized by genre and there are plenty of genres in the World of Games. You have your wargames, your sports simulations, abstract games of all kinds and, of course, this is merely scratching the surface. Somewhere, in this glut of genres, are dice games. But for ...
Read More
BOOK TO MOVIE OR MOVIE TO BOOK It's interesting how this works. You go to the movies and see a film that captures your imagination, thrills you, excites you, gets those juices flowing. Do you leave that darkened theater to rush out to buy the book that served as the basis for that film? If you've just seen The Godfather or Harry Potter, you might ...
Read More
GAME CLASSICS: TYCOON [Since our early days, we have enjoyed highlighting great games that, for one reason or another, only lasted for a relatively short time on the gaming stage despite exceptional qualities. In some cases, we've reached back decades to shed some light on great games but greatness is not the sole province of the distant past. Sometimes, it's much more recent - ...
Read More
by Philip E. Orbanes (Da Capo Press, 262 pages with photos, $26) Reviewed by Herb Levy In the World of Games, no proprietary game has reached the pinnacle of success enjoyed by Monopoly. Which begs the question "Why?". Where did this phenomenon come from? Why did Monopoly, out of all the boardgames released into the marketplace, connect so strongly with generations of consumers? What accounts ...
Read More
Reviewed by Pevans (Mind the Move/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $39.95) Like football (soccer), Hermagor is a game of two halves, as the saying is. Actually, it’s more a game of two parts since the two sections are anything but equal halves. The first part is a clever and highly competitive auction. The second a logistics/delivery challenge. Emanuele Ornella’s ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy HEROCARD: RISE OF THE SHOGUN (Tablestar Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $24.95) Tablestar Games has come up with an intriguing concept: a series of games all using a battle/duel card game imbedded into a boardgame. Each game in this series use a different setting. In HeroCard: Rise of the Shogun, designed by Alexei Othenin-Girard, the setting is ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Temple Games, 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, about 40 minutes; $34.95) A decade ago, I reviewed the then new Cheapass Game of murderous intentions designed by James Ernest called Kill Doctor Lucky. In addition to the often interesting ideas to be found in the line, Cheapass Games were known for their, well, cheap presentation. Whatever the merits of their games, ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) You could make a convincing argument that the Vikings were the premier plunderers and pillagers of history. With a culture lauding battle and bravery, Viking warriors certainly impacted greatly on the shores of Europe. Those days of lusty combat are back as players become chiefs of various Viking clans vying ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (MindWare. 2- 4 players, ages 6 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) A "gateway" game is one of those rare concoctions - a game able to introduce players with only the most glancing relationship to games to more challenging play while able to engage the more seasoned gamer. The desire for a definitive "gateway" game seems eternal and is certainly a ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Blue Orange Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 20 minutes; $29.95) If you think you've been going around in circles, you may not be confused. You may simply have been playing Ringgz, the colorful abstract from Blue Orange Games. Ringgs is a pretty package, its large, square box filled with lots of wood: a sturdy wooden board, four sets of ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (SAS Games, 2 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $29.99) The great philosopher Mary Poppins was quoted as saying, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down". Although Mary is better known for her childrearing skills, there is little doubt that these words of wisdom ring true. As though inspired by those words, we came across a game ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $29.95) The exotic South Seas provides the setting for Taluva, the new game from Marcel-André Casasola Merkle. Taluva represents a volcanic island and players, through the placement of volcano tiles, will create the island and attempt to successfully expand their presence by creating and expanding settlements to win ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!