Author: Günter Cornett

Publisher: Kosmos 1998

Awards: none



Once again Kosmos succeeded to bring a great addition to its series of pretentious two-player-games. Based on the limited edition of "Arabana Ikibiti", Günter Cornett and Kosmos decided to bring out a new edition of the game with an improved design...

Kahuna is a tactical game for players with a keen eye and a good memory. The backgroud story is quickly told: Two Kahuna-Priests on an island-group want to find out who of them is the mightiest. For this reason they have started a magical contest in which the player will win who succeeds to subdue most of the 12 isles to his will.

At the beginning of the game a set of 24 playing cards is mixed. For each of the 12 isles exist 2 cards. Then each player receives a hand of three cards. The rest are placed next to the gameboard to form a drawing pile, but three of this cards are turned around and also placed for drawing. In his turn, a player may opt to play none, one or more of the cards from his hand. For each isle he plays, he may put a magical token on one of the pathways which connect this isle to some others. All isles have at least 3 pathways to other isles, and some have even up to six of these paths. Whenever a player succeeds to have tokens on the majority of the paths leading from an isle, he is allowed to put a token of his colour onto the isle to show that the isle has been subdued by him. After this, the player may draw one card from the drawing pile or from the open cards regardless whether he has played a card or not. He may have a maximum of 5 cards at his hand. If he has drawn an open card, he must turn around another card to replace the card he just took.

The game continues until all cards have been drawn. Then the player who has subdued the majority of the isles at this moment receives one Victory-point. The game continues until the drawing-cards have been used up for a second time. Now the player with most isles gets 2 Victory-points, Again the game continues until the cards have been used up a final time, and now the player who has most isles gets as many victory points as he has more isles than his opponent. The player who has most Victory-points after these three rounds wins the game.

As the game develops, more and more of the pathways between the isles will be filled with tokens by the players. This means that no addtional token may be placed there, so players must find a way to remove opposite tokens. The easiest way to do so is to get the majority of an isle. If a player succeeds to do so, he is allowed to REMOVE all the opponentīs tokens on the pathways from the isle. But players must opt a different procedure if they want to change the majority on an isle. Now they have to play 2 cards of the same isle (or one card of each of the two connected isles) to remove a token from a pathway. This pathway now may be used by the player to place on of his own tokens there (if he has an additional card).

To my mind, "Kahuna" can be classified as a real "brain-killer". The game is highly strategic and demands everything from the players, but it still is a very enjoyable game. After the first rounds, both players will have "isle-bastions" on the board, and now the most fun part of the game starts - the developing of stratgies to break up the "fortification" of the opponent. A friend of mine once made a joke by qualifying "Kahuna" as "Island-chess", and I think that this certainly gives a close description of the game. Nonetheless, the game is an absolute enrichment to the Kosmos-series of 2-player-games.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany