Mandala, Onitama: Sensei’s Path

Mandala is an intriguing 2 player color collection game. Of the games driven by playing colored cards, it just might be the best that I’ve seen so far. It’s fast, light, clever, and… it comes with a beautiful cloth you play on instead of a board. I’m still not sure how much luck there is, but it definitely feels like you have good control over the game’s outcome. If there is luck, it’s probably less than other games of its kind. I still haven’t worked out the usefulness of the exchange action, since it seems to be such a short, rushed game, but I’ve had a lot of fun playing it a couple of times now, even when I have lost the game. Time will tell, but it might join my preferred lighter 2-player games right next to something like Jaipur.

Onitama: Sensei’s Path is an expansion to Onitama, which just contains new cards. A lot of space was wasted on putting them in a rectangular box for what could’ve been an envelope or a plastic wrapper, I’m guessing for marketing purposes. It shakes up the game in an interesting way, introducing more cards with sideways and asymmetric movement, so if the base game has grown stale for you, it would be fun to try. I had played the app a whole bunch, so it was actually enjoyable to see how the new cards shake up the game, but if you haven’t played the base game a lot, you might not notice much of a difference. There is a distinctly different feel to the expansion but, still – it’s Onitama, so it won’t change your opinion if you don’t like the game. I like it though, and I enjoyed playing with the new cards very much.

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