It’s been a quiet stay-close-to-home kind of winter for us. Thankfully we’ve had several days of warm sunshine recently which gives me hope that spring is nigh. I’m ready!
Before we get too busy I wanted to share a review of a little game Lyle and I have been enjoying lately. I ordered Kulami from Timberdoodle for Lyle for Christmas. It’s been a fun game this winter but I expect we’ll enjoy it in our trailer on camping trips this summer as well.
The back of the box describes it this way:
Kulami is a simple, elegant game for two players. Arrange the wooden tiles to form an ever changing playing board. Players take turns placing marbles to compete for control of each title…. The natural texture of the wooden tiles and the beauty of the glass marbles create an eye-pleasing mosaic that invites players to immerse themselves in this meditative game.
I have to agree. The wooden tiles and glass marbles are very elegant. Lyle says the black tiles ought to be blue, because red is my color and blue is his. But I don’t think blue would be as elegant as black.
The box is nicely organized with sections for each size of tile and removable trays for the black and red marbles.
How to Play
There are 17 wooden tiles of 4 different sizes. The tiles can be arranged any way you like as long as it is not more than 10 “holes” wide at any point. As you’re learning the game this feature is not super important but it does add another level of challenge so you don’t “learn” the board.
The rules are simple and easy to remember. On your turn you must place a marble on the axis of the marble your opponent just played. The little markers (or “hats” as Lyle calls them) help you keep track of the most recently placed marbles. The 2 rules are: you may not place a marble on the same tile your opponent just played on and you may not place a marble on a hole adjacent to the marble you played on your last turn.
Game play continues turn by turn until no more marbles can be placed. At that point you disassemble the game board, counting to see who has control of each tile… in other words, who has the most marbles on each piece. Score is calculated based on the number of holes on each tile. So even if I only have 4 marbles on a 6-hole tile I get 6 points for that tile because I control it.
The rule book includes a couple of variations on scoring to add a little extra challenge. For example, extra points for covering the biggest area of the board or for having the most marbles in a line. Between those variations and the changeable game board it’s sure to keep us challenged for some time to come.
What We Thought
Kulami is very easy to learn and involves strategic thinking, not just random chance. I would say that it’s more of a challenge than checkers but not as complicated as chess, which hits a sweet spot for us. It only takes about 20 minutes to play, which is something else we appreciate.
We enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks and we think this is something we could play while we listen. (We haven’t actually tried it yet, so we could be wrong.)
Kulami is recommended for ages 10 and up. I expect younger children could easily learn the rules and enjoy playing but it would probably be more random and not as much strategy at younger ages. However, the younger ones could easily grow into it.
Check out other games I’ve reviewed for Timberdoodle, including these 2-player games: