In Yamataï from Days of Wonder, players are competing to score the most prestige points by collecting money, constructing buildings, and hiring specialists. On your turn, you’ll take the five actions listed on your player mat, and once each player has taken a turn, you’ll proceed to the next round. Once one or more players have placed all their buildings or there are no more specialist tiles, building tiles, or boats of a particular color, the game ends and points are tallied.
Item Code: DOW8601
Releases Mid-May 2017
The first action you’ll take on your turn is to claim one of the available fleet tiles, determining which colors of boats you’ll immediately claim. The different colors have different values, and the rules for placing boats are also based on color. Your fleet tile may also have some special ability, such as letting you reserve a building tile, and it will play a role in determining the turn order of the next round.
Your second action is your optional trade. You may either purchase an additional boat or sell one of the boats you have. The amount of gold you either pay or receive is based on the value of the boat color you’re dealing with. Bamboo boats (green) are worth one coin, wood boats (brown) are worth two, stone boats (gray) are worth three, and clay boats (red) are worth four. Gold boats are too valuable and rare, and they cannot be bought or sold.
The next action is to place boats on the board. You’ll take the boats you gained from your fleet tile any you may have stored or purchased and place them onto spaces of the board amidst the archipelago. The first boat you place must be either in one of the starting spaces of the perimeter or next to an existing boat of the same color. You may place the rest of your boats, regardless of color, as long as each one is connected to the previous one you placed that turn (forming a chain).
You can then either collect or build. To collect, claim a culture token from each island next to which you placed a ship. To build, refer to the building tiles in the face-up row. Choose an island that has boats adjacent to it matching the pictured boats on the tile, at least one of which is a boat you placed this turn. Place one of your building tokens on the island, and claim the building tile for endgame scoring. In addition, you’ll score points if you built next to a Torii or palace, if you built on a mountainous island, or if you built on an island adjacent to one or more other islands with your buildings on them. Torii and palace tiles are worth more points than standard buildings, but they don’t chain with players’ other buildings, and they grant bonuses in future turns when built adjacent to.
Your fourth action will be to store unused boats. You may keep only one for future use (unless you have a specialist that will let you store more), and any extras are lost and will cost you points at the end of the game.
The final action of your turn is an optional recruitment of a specialist. Spend either two identical culture tokens or three different ones, and you can claim a specialist tile and all coins on that specialist. The specialist will grant you an ability for the remainder of the game and is worth some number of endgame points as well.
After each player has taken a turn, the round ends. Add two coins to each unclaimed specialist, replace claimed specialists from the remaining face-down tiles, replace claimed building tiles, reset player order based on the fleet tiles players took, and shuffle and replace claimed fleet tiles for use in future rounds. If one or more players have built all their buildings or there are no more specialist tiles, building tiles, or boats of a particular color, the game ends and points are tallied. In addition to point tokens earned throughout the game, players will add points for constructed building tiles and specialists. After subtracting points for unbuilt reserved buildings and unused boats, the player with the most points wins.
Yamataï is a medium-weight strategy game with beautiful artwork and a unique setting in which players navigate their boats through the narrow waters of the archipelago. The special abilities of the specialists ensure each game feels different, and the puzzle of both the boat colors and building placements is an engaging one.