In the midst of a Global Pandemic, I find myself looking for ideas for a nice evening at home with a friend or loved one. Aqualin by Kosmos, is a beautiful little two player strategy game that fits the mold.
Set up is as simple as it can be. Place the board (the Reef) between the players and turn all the tiles face down. Select six tiles and turn them face up next to the board; these six tiles will be the pool for each player to draw from on their turn. Lastly, determine who is gathering schools of color (Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow) and who is gathering schools of the same animal type (Seahorse, Starfish, Jellyfish, Crab, Turtle, and Fish).
This is also optional so you may skip this step anytime you wish. If you do choose to move a piece, it must be moved orthogonally (horizontally or vertically) as many places as you deem necessary, until it bumps into another tile, or reaches the end of the board. Place a new creature into the reef. Select one tile from the 6 in the drafting pool and place it in the reef. It is not required to be next to another tile and may be placed in any open space. Finally, you will need to replenish the drafting pool. Simply take a face down tile and add it to the available tiles in the drafting pool, thus leaving 6 available for your opponent. The game continues this way until the last tile is placed (all 36 creatures have been placed and the reef is full). Now to tally your scores and declare the winner!
Schools are continuous groups of two or more creatures (animal type) or color. They have to be side by side, diagonal adjacent tiles have no bearing on the count. Remember that you will get points for all groups that correspond to your chosen grouping. Should you deem a rematch necessary, reset and play again. You may want to consider swapping objectives (Color or Creature/ Animal Type).
“Will you School or be Schooled”?
Even though this game seems fairly easy and straightforward it can be quite challenging. The difficulty level is somewhat dependent on your opponent which makes it a great game for a wide range of age groups. The game says it is good for ages 10+ but I honestly think younger players should be able to handle the game (especially after learning how to play), so go ahead run through a game or two with your kid and see how they do. The darkness and coloring of the tiles could make it challenging for someone color blind. If this is the case allow that player to score based on schools of creature or animal type and not schools of color.
Sunday: 1 pm - 12 am
Monday: 10 am - 10 pm
Tuesday: 10 am - 10 pm
Wednesday: 10 am - 12 am
Thursday: 10 am - 12 am
Friday: 10 am - 12 am
Saturday: 10 am - 12 am