Today I get to take a detailed look at Fiji and Bombay, and find them to be well worthwhile.

Fiji

Fiji was an interesting strategic bidding/set collecting game to play. You start off with the same sets of precious stones, and have a central pool of stones that will be used for rewarding stones to different players.

At the top are a set of pink goal cards that you’re seeking to achieve, such as having the most red, the least blue, etc.

Separately below the goals are a set of yellow conditions and green effect cards, that apply when that condition is met. Players offer a maximum of 4 stones from their set to the centre, which are compared with the conditions. Whoever meets a unique condition such as to have the least blue stones, gets to fulfil the condition associated with it. If multiple people match a condition then they cancel each other out.

Each condition is checked starting from the top, and whoever is unique in having that condition gets to trigger the effect for that condition, which could be to send a red stone to all other players, or to receive 3 red stones themself from the central pool.

Fiji - table layout

Fiji – table layout (side view)

After three sets of offers have occured, players stash of stones are revealed and compared with the goals, where the first goal grants a player the most number of shrunken head victory points, and the last goal the least. If players are tied for a goal, then the next goal is used between them as a tie breaker.

After that round, the beads are reset back to how they were at the start of the game, the cards are shuffled up and redealt, and after a total of four rounds, the player with the most shrunken heads is the winner.

This is an interestingly strategic game, for you need to balance the desired goals with the effects of the different conditions, and try to account for other players tying with you and cancelling things out. Aside from aspects of good strategic play though, less-skilled players can also find it entertaining working through the process of figuring out who won which hand.

Bombay

After taking a cursory look at Bombay yesterday, I have since had a good opportunity today to play through it with others, and it’s a good fast game of buying bales of silk and selling them on your elephant to different locations.

The game is played over four rounds of four turns, with each player turn consisting of 3 action points. Moving and trading is just one action, but some hilltop locations are two actions, as well as is the least desirable silk for the current round.

The silk market is determined at the start of the round by pulling 9 random small silk cubes from a bag, which are ordered according to how many there are. The most number of matching cubes are the least expensive, and the least number are the most.

You travel on your elephant to a trading post that sells a certain colour of silk, and on buying some you can either sell it to a city, or use it to build a palace at an empty location.

Bonuses are collected for being one of the first to sell at a city, and when you sell the price you get for it is determined by the demand for it at that city, which once sold results in the demand for it going to the bottom. If you do happen to sell something of least demand though, you do get a bonus client token in return.

Selling to a city can give you up to four rupees in return, but putting down a palace will result in one rupee from the bank whenever someone passes through it, so an early placement in a good spot can result in quite the profit.

You can even choose to do nothing on your turn and consolidate your wealth which gains you one rupee in return, and while doing that regularly will result in a certain amount of profit, it’s not close to what can be gained through good clever play.

After each player has used their actions for that turn, and all players have taken a certain number of turns, at the end of that round the silk market is returned to the bag and is determined one again by drawing out nine. After a total of four rounds that is the end of the game, rupees are awarded on a decreasing scale for the number of bonuses that you’ve managed to collect, and the person with the most rupees is the winner of that game.

Bombay - close up

Bombay – close up

Overall it’s another good strategic game. How it plays with 4 players (the preferred number) is something I’m not yet quite sure about, but with two or three players it’s certainly an enjoyable time to be had, with the challenge of only having a limited number of actions before other players interfere, and one of the big benefits that can be gained is if you can end your actions so that you can buy and sell next time all in the same turn.

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