What: A sedate and blissful game of puzzle solving
Players: 2 -4
Time: 20-30 minutes
People: Ideally for friends, family and kids looking for something that’s peaceful and non-confrontational.
Available: Get it on Amazon here and support Best Play at the same time!

The Gist

Why we recommend it

We also talked about Karuba on our podcast over here

Do you remember the first time in your life you had to concentrate? For me it was with jigsaw puzzles. The world around fades and all your focus is just on those pieces, it’s calming. Now as an adult, life is stressful. Hit the deadline, pay your bills, clean the house, do your taxes.

It makes me crave those simpler times of just enjoying a little puzzle. Hiding the front of the box to give yourself more of a challenge and a series of mini surprises as you start to uncover what you’re making. That joy when you find the perfect piece and slot it in nicely.

Well Karuba gives me all of those feelings and more.

I like games that have lots of social interaction, high level strategy or a gimmick. Karuba has none of that and yet I still love it, because it gives you something so few games do peace and focus during a nice time with your friends or family.

In Karuba you are solving a puzzle. You have to get these explorers to these temple, ideally as efficiently as possible. For each one that makes it before you are out of pieces you get points.

Where do these puzzle pieces come from? Well each turn you pick one up at random, then decide where to place it. Simple isn’t it.

Why is this interesting then? Well because everyone at the table is trying to solve the same puzzle at the same time. When you pick a piece at random everyone else picks exactly the same piece.

That makes for the joyful moment at the end of the game when you look at how everyone tackled it differently. Some take riskier decisions, placing the more versatile crossroads in the middle, hoping to join them up later. Some like to rush with a direct path, just focusing on getting a one explorer to the temple as quickly as possible. Others might go slow and steady, trying to collect as much gold on the route as they can.

And sometimes you might decide to throw away a piece instead of placing it. In fact you have to as it’s the only way you can move your explorers. Each path edge represents the spaces someone can move. So do you just use the simple paths that let you move 2 or use up the more versatile crossroads to move an explorer 4 whole spaces. It adds to the end of game moments as you look at how everyone else solved the puzzle and realised all the pieces you threw away were the perfect fit for someone else.

How you decide to play has no impact on how I play. We are both playing our own games, and the same game. No fighting, no betrayal, no lying. Just each building our own paths, puzzling out our best way through.

That’s why I love Karuba. Anyone can play, they’ll get the rules in seconds and no one has to feel like a victim, or lost, confused or like they can’t ask for help.

The perfect family game that as an adult takes me back to my childhood. If you want other games that bring our your inner child we also recommend Super Rhino and Go Cuckoo also from Haba.

Get it on Amazon here and support Best Play at the same time!