Marcel-André Casasola Merkle





G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game :

Taluva is the new game from HANS IM GLÜCK and the first game from this publisher in the big box after the rather successful "Thurn and Taxis". To say it right at the beginning, to my mind it is a strong and very beautiful family game, but I also must admit that there is a chance that inexperienced players might not like it that much due to its tactical demands. But please read on and make up your own opinion…

Taluva is a classical tile-laying game - beginning with nothing on the board, the players build the landscape of Taluva and place their buildings in this new land, a hot and dangerous country, where volcanoes can destroy small huts of the players very easily. The civilization of Taluva is quite simple, so worshipping the volcanoes is the highest wish of every citizen. Thus, the players try to build as many temples as possible to satisfy their folk.

A turn of Taluva is easily explained:

  1. Lay a tile of the landscape
  2. Place a building

After the first landscape tile is on the board (i.e. after the players first turn), a player has two possibilities to lay a tile:


On the one hand he can expand the landscape by placing a tile adjacent to another. By this method he is allowed to leave empty spaces in the landscape when two ore more tiles are not fully (on all sides) adjacent. This is a major tactical element to prevent damage from an erupting volcano (see later).

On the other hand, a tile can be placed on the top of other landscapes. This causes a volcano to erupt. On each landscape tile there are three different types of landscape (e.g. jungle); one of these always is a volcano. If now a volcano erupts, the new landscape tile is placed fully above the existing landscape (there must not be any empty space below, see before) and the volcano space must be on top of an existing volcano. The fire of the volcanoes however must show on both landscape tiles (the one above and the one below) in different directions. This prevents putting two landscape tiles exactly in the same manner on each other. All huts of the players under the new landscape tile on the second (or the third or…) level are removed from the game. However, destroying temples or towers - the two other building types in the game - is not allowed, There is no height limit, so a second, third and sometimes even a fourth level of landscape develops during the game.

In the second part of a turn the player sets one or more of his buildings on any landscape tile of the game (it does not have to be on the tile he just had played). Of course, it is not possible to set buildings on a volcano (should be very hot).

  • Huts can be placed on any level one landscape. A hut normally is the beginning of a settlement that allows a player to place the other buildings.
  • A tower may only be set on a level 3 landscape and must expand an existing settlement of the player. As a second condition only one tower per settlement is allowed.
  • Temples may be placed in a settlement with at least three other buildings. As for the tower, only one temple per settlement is allowed.
  • Then there is also the possibility to expand a settlement by placing huts in all landscapes of a specific type (e.g. jungle) around and adjacent to a settlement. This is the only possibility to set huts in a level two or three landscape and to place huts in more than one space. In this first case two or three huts are placed in the spaces of the second or third level. Note that a player must place huts in all spaces of the chosen type of landscape. This gives the players a great opportunity to expand their settlement quickly. Imagine a settlement that is surrounded by four fields of jungle, two of them in a second level landscape. That allows the placement of a total of six huts !

The game can be won in two ways:

  • A player who has exhausted two types of his buildings (huts, towers and temples) immediately wins the game.
  • If the last landscape tile has been taken, the player with the most temples in the game wins. In a draw, the player with the most towers and then the one with the most huts wins the game.

If I were now saying that these are the complete rules, you would expect a simple and probably not very interesting game. Well, at the beginning, I couldn't make much out of the rules myself, but the game quickly had taught me the opposite.


In our testing group I was the only one who was fascinated just from the beginning. All others had some more problems to understand the relevant tactics to win the game. So I dominated the game very easily. This imbalance caused by inexperienced players is one of the weaker aspects of the game. Players with different levels of experience can quickly become bored, either because they are over-challenged or they are under-challenged. While on the one hand the game has very easy rules, the way to win is much more complex than it seems to be. Nevertheless nobody will have any problems to participate in the game, which naturally is extremely important for a family game. The more experienced gamers will have their challenge, too, when they are playing with a group of like-minded peers. This is when the game shows its true colours and it will become very challenging and captivating.

The design of Taluva - as usual for a HANS IM GLÜCK game - is quite marvellous. It is very nice to see the landscape develop and the volcanoes erupt. Especially if the landscape reaches the second and third level, the look is really fantastic (especially due to the thick and robust landscape tiles). In my opinion the game can be recommended to every player who likes some tactics in a family game and does not need dice or other luck elements.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany