Ruin board game
by The Beast
(Boardgame Beast HQ)
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
10+ (but we feel it could be played by smart 8-year-olds)
Ruin board game is a fun, fairly simple concept with an interesting twist.
The game and gameplay
Players choose one of four colours and enter the temple with the goal of reaching the centre.
Each player has two pawns. The board is covered by a clear plastic layer which creates card holders on all four sides. Pawns are moved on top of the plastic, though following the path created by the cards below it. The path is randomly set up by sliding cards into these holders.
Roll the chunkiest D20 you've ever met (it feels almost ceramic! HUGE!) to see how many squares you may move (X means you don't do anything) and whether you can, as part of your turn, alter the path by removing a card from the game board's card holders and replacing it with one card from your hand.
Your goal when changing cards is either to make your own task easier, by creating a better path for your own pawns, or slowing down, blocking or sending back an opponent's pawn.
If you manage to change the card an opponent is placed on in such a way that the path disappears from beneath them, you send their pawn back to the nearest matching coloured idol marker.
If there is no idol marker between them and the exit, they are sent all the way back. Landing on another player's pawn also sends the pawn back.
Staircases provide useful short-cuts and are probably the most powerful tool at a player's disposal. If your move ends on a staircase icon, you must move to another staircase icon if one is visible.
The game ends when both of a player's pawns climb the stairs in the centre and reach the treasure chamber.
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Pros and cons
The Ruin board game is very similar to classics like Trouble, Aggravation and Sorry!.
The principal difference is the changing path dynamic. This really adds to the strategy and is perhaps the reason that Buffalo recommends the game should be played by 10-year-olds or above; honestly though, a smart younger player should get a lot out of this game.
The art is very pretty and even the die and instructions stay 'in character'. It's very atmospheric, sort of Clue meets Tomb Raider.
The card holders are a little fiddly to use. The cards themselves could have done with being a little thicker. This would have made them easier to keep in the holders. Otherwise the components are top quality. The game has a reassuring permanence about it.
It's fun to play and will really appeal to families looking to host games nights.
The Ruin board game is certain to entertain most players. It could pall if played too frequently, but few games don't suffer from this. It should cross the generation gap and be playable with mixed age groups.