Da Vinci’s Challenge

Review in Finnish here

DaVinci’s Challenge is yet another game trying to milk the popularity of Dan Brown’s books. Once again, any connection between this game and Leonardo Da Vinci is fairly thin and based on art alone (and even the art is mangled: let’s just say the Vitruvian Man is less of a man in this game’s art).

That’s not a fault of this game, though — it’s all marketing. The game is about laying pieces on a Flower of Life, a pattern formed of overlapping circles. Players take turns placing ellipses and triangles on the board, trying to form different patterns. Harder patterns take more time and are worth more points. However, blocking them is quite easy for the opponent.

Simple, but dull

The game play is simple, but dull. We found it very hard to recognise the patterns you create. Sometimes you create several patterns at the same time, some of them accidentally, and that can be pretty tricky to notice. Practise helps, I believe, but for now it’s a challenge that I feel is quite unnecessary. I want the challenges to emerge from the placement of the pieces, not from trying to notice all your scoring patterns.

When the game begins, it’s kind of awkward: players start patterns, perhaps block bigger patterns from their opponents. Then, the middle game is the best part, when the board has lots of opportunities to score, while you have to keep an eye on your opponent. The end falls flat, it’s simply boring cleanup, filling the empty spots.

Overview

The game is not bad, just really uninspiring and a bit clumsy. The components were nice, but nothing exceptional; I’d preferred clear black and white pieces, instead of cream-ish and kind of dark gray. The Flower of Life pattern is unique as far as I know and the rules are definitely simple enough: most of the small slip explains how you can score more than one pattern with one placement.

I sort of feel I’m being a bit too harsh on the game, but then again, when we played it, it was simply no fun at all. I have no desire to play it again. I didn’t enjoy it, and there are many similar games I really enjoy — Ta Yü is a good example of a similar, yet much better game.

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