Designers: Noah Miller
Publisher: XYZ Game Labs
Minimum Pledge: $9
Play Time: 5-7 min
Rules Available Online: No
Every generation a ceremonial game called ‘Achkai’ by the various villages of Inoka, squirrel-like creatures that existed long before the time of man. The purpose of Achkai was to test wits of its competitors in order to choose a new Nature’s Emissary, a champion who controls the ebb and flow of the forest, river, and plains.
Launching this month on Kickstarter, Inoka combines beautiful artwork with a rock-paper-scissors mechanic to create a light, portable experience that’s made more entertaining with a system for momentum and scoring. In the game, each player starts with an identical deck of 9 cards: 3 Attack, 3 Taunt, and 3 Block. The 3 cards of each type are either a Level I, II, III and follow a simple hierarchy. Attack beats Taunt, Taunt beats Block, Block beats Attack, and ties are settled by comparing card levels.
The goal of Inoka is to earn 3 Sacred Stones. This is done by winning Clashes while having Advantage or keeping Advantage until the end of the round. At the start of each round players secretly make a hand of 5 cards from their deck, placing the rest of their cards face down until the next round. Players then compete in a number of Clashes, placing a card face-down and then comparing it to other players’ cards and determining a winner using the rock-paper-scissors mechanic described above. The winner of a Clash gets the Leaf Token and gains Advantage. If that player can then win a Clash with an Attack card, or keep Advantage until there are no more cards left to play, they earn a Sacred Stone.
There are slightly different rules for Clashes in 2-player games and 3-4 player games, mostly having to do with head-to-head Clashes, Free-for-All Clashes, and Challenge Clashes. The goal of each type of game is the same. Earn Advantage to get Sacred Stones. Once a round is over players take up all their cards, choose a hand of 5 cards again, and play a new round. This continues until one player has 5 Sacred Stones and is declared the winner.
Inoka is super light, super quick, and brings a unique twist to an age-old mechanic that makes the game feel fresh and entertaining. It’s easy enough to each young children and portable enough to take with you just about anywhere you go. More hardcore gamers may not find much here, but they’re not really the market seems to be going for. For those looking for a simple game to play with the family, Inoka is it. At $9 the game is more than worth your time and money, especially if you have younger gamers in the house.
Inoka hits Kickstarter soon. I’ll update this article with the campaign link once it goes live
A prototype copy of Inoka was provided free for this preview in adherence to A Pawn’s Perspective’s 2018 Preview Policy.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.