Diving into the ocean to photograph a mysterious creature is our mission in the lovely, colourful, card drafting and pattern matching Tentacolor by LOKI KIDS and Coiledspring Games!
*Set Collection * Close Drafting * Hand Management * Pattern Matching * Fast * Family * Race * Small Box * Card Laying *
It’s not often that a game aimed at just-school children enchants @shadowmeeplemedia. But Tentacolor achieved this and @minimeepleuk is a big fan of this little box of technicolour tentacles too!
In Tentacolor, players are explorers trying to photograph a mysterious creature hiding in the ocean depths! The only clue as to its identity is its amazing and colourful tentacles. The game revolves around drafting cards and matching patterns. If you can create a tentacle that has 5 cards showing one consecutive colour, you win the game!
The main board comprises the body of the creature divided into four large cards. The 4 sides you use depends on the number of players (indicated by a little fish symbol), and the body will show one incomplete tentacle per player. The 60 small cards are shuffled to form a deck and you take 1 into your starting hand. There are also 4 tentacle end cards that will finish off your tentacle at the end of the game (and be used in the expert variant – see below for more details!).
On your go, you pick up a card, place a card on your tentacle, and then give one of your cards to another player. Each card shows two colours, and the idea is to match one colour on the cards laid before it so that you build up to a collection of 5. If you lay a card that shows a shark, one opponent of your choice must remove the tile they last laid on their tentacle.
If you lay a card with a school of fish, you get to place an extra card on your go. If you break the pattern by laying a card that doesn’t match one of the colours on that which you last placed down, you have to start building up a new set along the tentacular path!
Given the recommended age and the simplicity of Tentacolor, this game is a great choice for little gamers. Aside from the excellent pattern matching mechanism, having to give one of your cards to your opponent is a great exercise in consequence led decision making. You can see what colours they are collecting. So if the only colours you have in your hand match theirs, you know you’ll be helping them towards victory. But if you have something that doesn’t match, you might just make them start over! Of course you don’t know what is in their hand or what they might pick up, but trying to block them is sneaky fun!
The addition of sharks and schools of fish also introduce a strategic element that will give little gamers pause for thought. Laying a shark could disrupt their own pattern, but it would also remove an opponent’s last played card. And that could be very useful indeed! There’s also an expert variant that restricts you to collecting what’s on one of the end tentacle cards which will keep this game challenging. Luck does play a part of course as this is a drafting game. But in a game so light and colourful, the gamble of the draft is all part of the fun.
Like all the LOKI Kids games we have been privileged to try so far, Tentacolor is one that I really enjoy playing with @minimeepleuk at home and with his board gaming school group. No denying it, the colours are soft and gorgeous. But they also contain specific patterns which makes the game accessible for gamers who do not rely on colour vision to play. This is a high quality, easy to learn, fun to play little game and is a really excellent part of their new small box range! And if you like the sound of this, check out my reviews of Hapy Families and Farm & Furious (coming soon!).
Please note that a copy of this game was kindly provided by the publishers for review. I am not paid for my comments, however, and all opinions are my own]. I am also not affiliated to or sponsored by any retail store.