Earlier in the week, I shared our review of Ravensburger's board game Indigo but we were lucky enough to receive not one but two new boardgames to review, the second being Asara, also by Ravensburger. (See? I told you they didn't just make puzzles !)
Asara is similar to Indigo in a few ways. It's another game where you can get highly tactical and plan ahead but where there is also an element of chance, which is always good for evening up the odds when there is a big age difference between the players. It is also for 2-4 players but this time, the recommended age range is 9+.
We found that it's actually quite complicated to set the board up the first time you play because it is all in separate parts and we carefully followed the picture on the box to make sure we placed all the different markets in the right places. With hindsight, I don't think it makes the slightest bit of difference really so don't worry about it too much !
The basic idea of the game is building towers. Each player gets a number of cards as well as coins (of different values so it's a great way of getting younger players to practise their maths skills) that they have to use to purchase the different elements of their tower or towers, depending on which pieces are available on the marketplace and which coloured cards you've been dealt.
There are four tower elements available - you must have a base and a summit but you can add as many or as few middle sections and windows as you want. You can also build as many towers as you want but the elements of each tower must be of the same colour. Different colours cost different amounts of money. Sounds complicated ? Yes, it is a bit. You'll need to keep the instruction booklet close at hand until you've understood and memorised all the rules.
For us, the first time we played, it was actually quite confusing, working out how to set the board up and how the scoring worked. I made one really big tower then realised, when we totalled up the points, that I'd have got more points by making more smaller towers - oh well, you live and learn ! I'd advise you take a quiet moment to read the instructions booklet (which is quite long) before you sit down to play so that you can explain it simply and briefly to younger players.
Now that we know what we need to do and how to attempt to win, I'm sure it will all be a lot more strategic the next time we play. Each game is supposed to be played over four rounds (representing four years) so you need to set aside a longish period to play (about 45 minutes) so it's not one to start just before bedtime as we did ! The instruction booklet also has added options for making the game even more complicated, so once we really get to grips with it, it's great to know that there are other options to jazz things up. For now, it's quite complicated enough already, thank you !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £47.99 (but currently under £30 in amazon)
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.
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