OMINOES

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Simple yet clever strategy games are less common than you might think. The trick to a good strategy game is to make the rules very simple to pick up and yet endlessly complicated in their execution. Another thing that improves their longevity is complexity; make the game too hard and no one will play it, make it too easy and everyone gets bored.


Ominoes is one of those rare things; a game that can be played again and again, and yet is also easy to play and doesn’t take too long. Its origins are rather fun. Games designer Andrew Harman tells the tale that this game was inspired by an Egyptian artefact.  Harman has built this game around an ancient cube discovered by his Great, Great, Great Grandfather of in the Ominus Valley, Egypt. Apparently this ancestor believed that the cubes were for gaming, but no one had a clue what the game might be. We suspect this lost valley is also known for its shaggy dogs with tall tails, but that’s another matter.
Ominoes has a simple board and a stack of custom dice. It’s a game for up to four players. Each person picks a coloured symbol; Horus the green falcon, Apep the red snake, Ra the yellow sun or Khepri the blue scarab beetle. This symbol and colour arrangement is neat as it considers colour blind players in its design (always a good thing). The dice have these four symbols, plus a stickman and a snake eating its own tail. These figure are renamed Yay-Ra and Ominotep to keep the whole thing in theme.

Players take a die from the pool and roll it. If it comes up as a coloured creature, you can move one existing piece of the same type up to three squares. So if you’re blue beetle, you move one of the blue beetles on the board. You then place your die on the board. Groups of four of a kind score for that player. Yay-Ra allows you to move any piece and can be placed as a wildcard, Ominotep lets you reroll an existing die and is also a wildcard.

The result is a pretty fast and fun little board game. Players roll dice and thwart each other, scoring points as they go. It takes less than 20 minutes a game, is easy to grasp and is instantly re-playable. They are some variant rules built into the board for those looking to make the game tougher, but mostly it is what is. Lots of fun, recommended for all the family.

Ominoes is currently seeking Crowdfunding via Kickstarter until the middle of December, so if you want to check it out then follow the link here.

OMINOES / PUBLISHER: YAY GAMES / DESIGNER: ANDREW HARMAN / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY

 


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