Dokmus box coverDokmus
 is published by, and I received a free review copy from the publisher.

The game: Dokmus by Mikko Punakallio, published by in 2016.

Elevator pitch: A tactical puzzle. Twist and move the boards in order to expand your influence all over the board.

What’s in the box? There are eight double-sided board tiles that are used to generate a random board. There’s 25 wooden tokens for each player, a scoring board and guardian tiles for generating player order and special powers.

I’m not fond of the art, but all components work for their purpose. There are some cheat sheets, but only one per language. Fortunately they are not needed after the first game or two.

What do you do in the game? The goal is to gain points, which you get by placing your tokens next to the temples on the board tiles. Wide distribution is the best: you get major points for being next to a temple on every board tile, and a big bonus for reaching all temples in a single tile.

On every turn, players first choose their guardian. This has two functions: first, it determines the player order and second, it gives everybody a special power for the round.

Guardian #1 gives no power, but you get to choose first the next round. Guardian #2 lets you move a board tile, guardian #3 lets you move one of your pieces and guardian #4 lets you rotate a board tile 90 degrees. Guardian #5 gives you one of these three powers.

On your turn, you place three tokens on the board, adjacent to your previous tokens. There are ways to spread faster, mostly by rotating and moving the board tiles, but you can also sacrifice tokens in order to pass long distances through water. It’s a nice little puzzle to optimize your three token placements every round.

The game is over after eight rounds.

Lucky or skillful? There’s no luck element as such. Some player-induced chaos, for sure, but a skilled player will beat newbies easily – mostly because newbies don’t usually understand the value of reaching every tile and don’t really know how to do that. It doesn’t take many games to figure it out, though.

Abstract or thematic? Abstract. There’s art and some theme, but there’s just few sentences of the story background in the rules (and that is printed with a hard-to-read font). There’s no sense of world-building here.

Solitaire or interactive? There’s some blocking involved and you can move the board tiles in order to hinder your opponents, but most of the time you’re optimizing your own moves.

Players: 2–4. Two-player game includes some small changes to improve the experience, and the game works well with the full range.

Who can play? Age recommendation is 10+, which seems maybe a bit high. Well, this is not a children’s game, but works quite well as a family game, except for the lack of luck.

Length: 20–40 minutes. The turns are short enough – just three tokens – to avoid massive freeze-ups.

What’s to like: Interesting tactical challenge; clear goals but not obvious moves; the game looks quite nice.

What’s not to like: Despite the variable board, the challenges are always the same.

My verdict: Dokmus immediately reminds me of Kingdom Builder. In both games, you’re trying to maximize your scoring and every turn you place three tokens on board, under similar restrictions. Both have similar feeling of a tactical puzzle.

Kingdom Builder has variable scoring, which is good and brings variability. Dokmus, on the other hand, has more opportunities for clever play, thanks to the guardian powers that let you manipulate the board.

If you hate the one card hand in Kingdom BuilderDokmus will give you more freedom: place anywhere, as long as you’re adjacent to your previous tokens. This is a solid game, and if you enjoy tactical puzzles, Dokmus is well worth trying.

On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, Dokmus gets Suggest from me.


Ropecon 2013

Ropecon, the largest non-profit roleplaying convention in Europe, was this weekend. I went there, again, as it’s part of my standard yearly con circuit, but this time I took my seven-year-old son with me. That meant less board games, but more other programme and a new view on things. It was fun!

The highlight for us was the boffer sword workshop. I built a pair of swords for us. It’s almost 20 years since I last did that! My son took into that, and has been running around with the sword the whole day. Also, any guests at our place can now expect a solid beating with a boffer sword.

We did play some board games. I figured out that Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: The Deck-building Game fits in an Ultra Pro double deck box with some pruning (leave enough Courage and Despair for three players, toss some Valor and Corruption – those never run out anyway). So, we played some of that. We also played iPad Carcassonne and Kingdom Builder together to pass the time. That’s very space-effective board gaming, and a really good way to use the iPad.

We got to try some new games. I introduced my son to Can’t Stop. I’ve played this one online, but only now figured out the actual rules. Fun game. Suggest for me.

Callisto is Knizia’s take on Blokus, but I think it’s inferior to Blokus in most ways. Too bad. Indifferent

Monza is a fun little HABA game that’s utterly trivial luck-fest for adults, but I think there’s some actual challenge for kids in the right development phase, and the game teaches good thinking. Indifferent

Suburbian X-Wings

Suburbia coverAnother session of Suburbia. It’s a neat game; I’ve upped my rating to 9. This time the goals shaped the game differently, and the airports I so magnificently used the last time were almost completely missing. The random tile draw really changes the game.

I had a clear goal from the start: I’ll keep my target on the 20 point Aquaphobic goal. So, I decided that I won’t build a lake, unless everybody else has at least two. No lakes for me, then, which meant hard times when my income turned out a bit weak. However, I managed to build up income slowly and steadily. I didn’t care about reputation and bought couple of Heavy Factories, invested in my Landfill and soon I had a bit of money I could use to buy better tiles.

Once I realized I could get the Socialist goal (least blue buildings), as I only had one blue, that become my other goal. With a large array of green buildings and a Stadium completely surrounded by green (+2 rep for each adjacent green) I was suddenly doing rather well and when two players tied for the Public Official goal, my victory was nailed.

What an interesting game! Enthusiastic, yes!

Kingdom Builder was an interesting game as well. We had two mid-game scoring goals from Nomads, Shepherds and Families (points for building the mandatory builds in a row, and for completing terrains). Coupled with Discoverers, that meant that the scoring was very… local, I suppose. The guy who took two towers, the only tile to add more huts, won the game. Enthusiastic.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniature Game is a cool version of Wings of War, with some neat developments. The basic set is a bit poor, though, with just one X-Wing pitched against two TIE Fighters. There are not enough dice, for example, so it might be a good idea to start with two basic sets.

I played one of the TIE Fighters and it took us exactly two rounds to shoot the X-Wing full of holes. Game over. That was quite an empty experience… But with a more interesting scenario, perhaps, and more flying machines, the game would be more interesting. As it is, I’m Indifferent.

TIE Fighter
TIE Fighter from X-Wing.

Gaming Year 2012

Another year gone. Good years keep on rolling – I rather enjoyed 2011, and have no complaints about 2012. My kids continued to be good playing company. My son is now six and half, and is ready for some proper family games. I started introducing him to card games, as well, and that worked well. … Continue reading Gaming Year 2012

Two months of games

Hello there! I thought I’d post an update before Ropecon starts. I’m going, again. Should be fun, this time I’ll stay for the night and won’t spend all my time playing one 18xx game. Anyway, here’s what’s been going on in June and July. Again, a small reminder: this blog has a G+ profile, which … Continue reading Two months of games

Three weeks of games

Last three weeks of board games: Kingdom Builder. 14 games, or so. I love this one. Turns out my game group doesn’t, but fortunately this works in other contexts, looks like a staple game for Monday night circus school games and I’m sure this is also welcome at Jyväskylä (five games during one weekend says … Continue reading Three weeks of games

Oregon, Fresh Fish, Age of Steam

I missed yesterday’s games, thanks to a 39-degree fever. Nasty. Last week Petri wasn’t present, so we took the opportunity to play games Petri doesn’t care about that much. Unfortunately that list includes Age of Steam… So, of course, that was the first thing on the list. We played the Poland map from Winsome Games. … Continue reading Oregon, Fresh Fish, Age of Steam

Acquire, Age of Industry, Pantheon, Oregon

Biweekly recap time. Acquire. More Acquire. This one turned out to be a big hit. I sure don’t mind. Won’t be surprised if this hits ten plays this year. Suggest. Age of Industry. I’ve known that Brass is something I should be interested in. Hannu has had Age of Industry since it was published. How come … Continue reading Acquire, Age of Industry, Pantheon, Oregon