Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Mandala Stones

[Mandala Stones]

Filip Glowacz

Kobold Spieleverlag, Board & Dice

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Basically, a mandala is simply a geometric pattern to arrange various symbols and colours. Mandalas became quite popular in recent times, but the tradition, especially as a form of religion art, is already very old. Colour by numbers is the modern form that let us all become artists for beautiful mandalas. But you must be a real artist to create the famous arts.

Mandela Stones enables us to create our own mandala without the need of pens and numbers. Players take the roll of artists who collect colourful stones that are first stored on a personal board, and then transferred to the common mandala plan to build up a spiral mandala.

[Mandala Stones]

Click on image to enlarge!

The extra something of the game is the scoring mechanism. Let’s see how that works: at setup the 96 stones of the game are randomly placed in stocks of four on a general board, the collecting plan. These stones come in four different colours and two patterns. Free spaces around the stone stacks are there to send artists, or better collectors, huge black stones with the same patterns as we can find on the stones.

Each turn you can take one of these artists and move it to a free space on the general board. As a result you can take all top stones adjacent to the artist that have the same pattern as the artist. Well, almost: you can only collect a stone, if there is no other artist adjacent to that stone. So you can collect up to four stones in turn, and you stock these collected stones to a new pile before you place the resulting pile on an empty space (not on top of other stones that are already stocked) on your personal board.

[Mandala Stones]

Click on image to enlarge!

Alternatively to the collecting action, you can score. This is even a mandatory action, if you don’t have any free spaces for new stone towers on your board. There are two ways to score: you can either take a whole pile of stones or you choose as many of the top stones on your personal board. With the first method, the individual scoring mechanism of the space determines how many victory points you earn. Three spaces take the height of the the pile as criterium for the victory points. Another space scores for every different tall pile on your personal board, and the last one scores for different colours in the pile. The second method simply counts the number of stones you take from the top with one VP for every stone you take.

However you score, all chosen stones are then placed on the central mandala where they together form the final artwork, following the spiral from inside out. If by this, a game-ending space is covered, the round ends with the last player having done their turn.

[Mandala Stones]

Click on image to enlarge!

Mandala Stones looks pretty cool. I was fairly reminded on Azul as far as the artistic depiction is concerned. The game plays fast and straightforward. That makes the game perfect to play with families and occasional gamers, like my wife. Of course, it‘s an abstract game, but you will always end with a beautiful mandala. Choosing the best-available space for the artist and the consequential pile of stones requires some thinking, but the game is not hard to play. And the game also forgives the one or other bad move. So, is it all a matter of luck? Well, not exactly, but there is also not really a clear winning strategy. You score in many ways and you always have a chance to catch up. It's a game to my taste!

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Copyright © 2021 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany