Nujum comes in a package that suggests a lot of thought went behind the presentation, with everything from the box the game arrived in, to the specially created star token that was obviously commissioned especially for the game itself, it makes you want to dive in and find out more about this abstract game which is based around guessing the movement of the stars at the beginning of astrology.
Nujum is about playing cards in order to move the central star token up and down the track based on the number played from each player’s card. Eclipse cards can be played to help change the outcome of the cards played.
Nujum is aimed to sit in the lighter part of the market and the main turn is extremely quick to play through. On your turn, you’ll decide a card to play, leave it face down. The other player will then decide their card and then the cards are revealed, with the opponent’s card playing out first, followed by your own. Each of the cards will either move the star token towards the moon or sun a particular number of spaces. If you manage to play skillfully and the star token doesn’t go out of bounds with your card then you get to keep that card towards your final score. Otherwise the card is discarded. The game can quite quickly turn into a game of second guessing your opponent and with the addition of the Eclipse cards, then sometimes your best laid plans can be turned on their heads. Eclipse cards are drawn if you manage to land the star token on the central point during your turn. You’ll then draw a card and start the next round, keeping playing until all the cards have been drawn.
Once no more cards can be drawn from the draw deck then the game ends immediately and the winner is the player who has the most points across their winnings pile.
So if things were all sounding good so far, then here’s where Nujum maybe needs to take a look at things. I’ve played Nujum a number of times and it seems to last just slightly over what seems to be the ideal point of stopping. On every round you only add one card to your hand, and so that is about fifteen rounds of back and forth, collecting points as you go. You get what the game is trying to achieve and I kind of get the feeling there would be a bigger sense of urgency if there were less rounds to play. That’s maybe just me though.
Everything about Nujum shouts that this is a project where there has been a huge amount of care and attention devoted to getting things to a point where Daniel Rosga was happy with it. The premise may be simple and the game doesn’t come to the table claiming to be anything more than an easily learned, light on the mind and pleasant on the eyes game. Nujum is going to be a game that sits on a shelf in the living room as opposed to being stored in the big games shelf. It’s probably the game you’ll play when you’ve got thirty minutes to spare and don’t want something that will burn your brain. It’s going to be the game that you show your friends who aren’t really into board games but will appreciate it for its ease of access, simplicity and above all, its simple enchanting presence.
Be bold and try to cal the other player’s bluff, as the opponent plays first, sometimes it is worth playing the bigger numbers because if you keep the star token on the board, it will be worth a decent number of points.
This preview is based on the prototype version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this preview. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned. Quotations from this preview may possibly appear in relation to any marketing associated with this game.
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