First game of the year: Dawn Under

I broke my trend of starting the year with an Asian game and played Dawn Under with Johanna. I got some childish games recently, you know, with Niagara completing the set (I also got CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Boardgame, but that’s another story).

Dawn Under is a childish memory game about vampires trying to seek shelter for the day. Vampires are of six colours and there are enough graves for everybody. However, players must find the right graves by looking at each, one at the time. Pick a correct-coloured grave and you’ll get to put one of your vampires to rest. If the colours won’t match, player gets to boobytrap the grave with garlic. If the grave was already in use, player gets a penalty of a stake — three stakes means you’ll get a vampire from each other player, which is a nasty sting.

What makes Dawn Under so exciting is the fact that you can’t tell used and free graves apart. The cool board is very thick, made of two layers, and there’s a small hole under each gravestone. Nice idea and it works really well. When the game draws to it’s end and someone is running out of vampires, it gets really exciting as the risk of making a mistake and choosing a grave with someone in it grows higher.

I really like the game. It’s not that good with two — I wouldn’t play with someone else than Johanna, as there are plenty of better two-player games — but should be better with more. We’ll see about that next weekend, I guess. Don’t be afraid of the memory aspect: while the game should be very good for kids, it’s also fun for grownups because it’s so much more than your average memory game.

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