Bumuntu - WizKids - $39.99
Game title: Bumunti
Game description: A common theme in African folklore is that animals are wise creatures who teach humans to do good and moral things. In Bumuntu, based on the Bakongo culture of central Africa, you are a tribal leader seeking to befriend the animals. Trek through the jungle, follow the animals’ guidance and earn their favor. Successfully earn the most favor and the animals will help bring your people to prosperity.
Presentation (Art/Graphic Design/Quality)
I first got a chance to play Bumuntu back in 2016 at the 2nd annual Connecticut Festival of Indie games, and was immediately smitten with the game. Back then there was a bit more to it, but the game has been wonderfully polished and streamlined since being picked up and published by WizKids. Bumuntu is a game of set collection, variable movement, and score track manipulation with a beautifully colorful African theme.
High quality, beautiful production
Easy to learn/play
Scoring manipulation takes a bit for younger players to understand
I first got a chance to play Bumuntu back in 2016 at the 2nd annual Connecticut Festival of Indie games and was immediately smitten with the game. Back then there was a bit more to it, but the game has been wonderfully polished and streamlined since being picked up and published by WizKids. Bumuntu is a game of set collection, variable movement, and score track manipulation with a beautifully colorful African theme.
At the start of the game, the board is filled with animal tiles and the scoreboard has a list of each animal type in play and what sets of those animals will score. Players will take turns either moving 1 space in any direction (orthogonally or diagonally) or following the special movement rule of the animal their piece currently resides on. If the animal’s movement is used, that animal tile is collected by the player. If that animal was an Advancement tile (brown background) the player may then swap two adjacent animals on the scoreboard, thus altering how they score at the end of the game. Players may also spend Food Chips, which are earned by collecting by taking animals with a banana symbol on them, to position their token into a better spot before taking their normal movement. Play continues this way until all animal tiles with a brown background are collected.
Once the game ends players will score their tilesets based on the final position of the scoreboard. Extra points are also earned by collecting tiles with Nkisi (masks) and Yowa (spiritual) symbols. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.
Bumuntu’s production is seriously top notch. The art and graphic design are vibrant and well laid out. The components are sturdy, easy to read, and feel great to handle. The animal tiles have a slight heft and feel great to hold in your hand. The game’s rulebook is well written, simple to comprehend, and is filled with large illustrations and examples to further drive the rules home. You can unpack the game, read the rules, and start playing in around 15 minutes. Most of that time, unfortunately, is sorting the tiles and set up.
As far as gameplay goes, Bumuntu is one of the best family titles I’ve played so far this year. With 3 simple steps to be taken by players each turn, of one them optional, even players below the game’s recommended age minimum can join in on the fun. The privacy screens that come with the game also contain handy reference materials on turn structure, animal movement, and scoring which keeps going to the rulebook for clarifications to a minimum. All in all, it feels like a lot of work was put into making Bumuntu as accessible as possible to a large audience of players.
As far as family games go, you can’t go wrong with Bumuntu. It’s wonderfully designed, produced, and comes in at $40, which is an excellent deal for what you’re getting. I can’t recommend the game enough, especially for those who are gaming with younger children. This is by no means a game only for kids, but it’s a fantastic experience playing with a mix of both older and younger players. With simple rules and easy-to-grasp gameplay, you may just find those younger players running you through the wringer.
A copy of Bumuntu was provided free for review by WizKids.
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.