At first glance, Arcane Wonder’s Senshi looks a bit similar to another of their titles, Onitama. Similarities end at the box art as Senshi is quite different, indeed. As warrior-monks players manipulate stacks of tokens that represent Strength, Agility, Wisdom, and Honor. The strongest monk will become the new master of the temple, while the monk who is weakest in any area is automatically denied the chance.
Learning Senshi takes around 2 minutes. Each player gets a Training Card and a number of tokens (based on the number of players) are mixed up and placed in stacks of 3 at random. Each turn players can take 1 of 3 different actions:
- Study – Take an entire stack of tokens and place it on their Training Card. Players may keep a max of 3 stacks on their card.
- Train – Take 1 token from the top of any stack (stacks from the pool, or any Training Card) and place it in their hand.
- Test – Place a token from their hand into their matching scoring pile. Every player may then score tokens that match the color placed from the top of their stacks on their Training Cards.
Once the last stack is taken each player gets one additional turn and the game is scored. The player with the single smallest stack of tokens is immediately eliminated. The player with the single largest stack of tokens is the winner. Various tiebreakers can occur in the case that multiple players have the largest stack. These can be found in the game’s full rules.
- Box 👎
- Training Cards 👍
- Tokens 👍
(👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐ = Exceptional)
I feel like before I dig into the gameplay of Senshi a bit I need to address the elephant in the room. At least, it may as well be an elephant.
Notice how it got a little “👎” up above in the Pieces section? It’s by no means because of the box’s quality or the artwork. The box is sturdy and the artwork is fantastic. The problem with the box is that it’s way too big with copious amounts of wasted space inside. Senshi contains a small rule booklet, a bag of colored tokens, and 4 Training Cards that are tucked neatly under a small flap. These components could easily fit in a box 1/4 the size, maybe even smaller.
As for the game itself, it’s fairly light, very easy to learn, and provides an experience that’s thought-provoking and entertaining, though short. Senshi is a game about balance. While it’s important to build the largest stack of a single color, it’s also important to make sure your other stacks don’t suffer and cause you to immediately be thrown from the game come scoring. Clever stack choices, hand options, and opportune times to Train are all required to maximize your potential score while keeping other players from as many scoring opportunities as possible
Senshi is a game that would be an excellent filler, though its box size prevents it from being very portable without storing the components in something else.
With an MSRP of $19.99 Senshi is certainly a game that deserves a shot, and that price is certainly an excellent point for what the game is inside the huge box.
A copy of Senshi was provided free for review by Arcane Wonders
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.