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Arcane Wonders

Only one can inherent the title of Master by learning strength, agility, wisdom, and honor. But be careful, your greatest weakness may be your undoing.

In Senshi, players are collecting four different colors of tiles. The player with the most tiles in any color will win the game, but only after the player with the fewest tiles in any one color is eliminated!

Gameplay

Each player has a training card which they place in front of themselves. There are four colors of tiles which are randomly placed in stacks of three in the center of the table. Each player chooses one stack to take into their hand (you keep your hand secret during the game) and the game begins.

On your turn you must take one of three actions: take one of the stacks in the center of the table and place it on your training card (your training card can hold three stacks, and if it is currently full you cannot take this action), take the top tile of any stack except a scoring stack and place it in your hand (you can choose from the stacks on your or your opponents’ training cards or from the center of the table), or you can play a tile from your hand into one of your scoring piles. You have four scoring stacks, one for each color of tile. When you play a tile onto one, you and every other player also check the stacks on your training cards; if any of the top tiles on these stacks match the color of the tile you just played, each player moves the matching tiles to their respective scoring piles.

The game ends once the final stack has been claimed from the center of the table and each other player has a final turn. Players count the number of tiles they have in each stack. The player (or in case of a tie, players) with the smallest sized stack is eliminated from the game, and the remaining player with the tallest stack is the winner.

Senshi Components

Reviews

Senshi is a fun, fast-playing abstract strategy game with some tough choices, fun player interaction, and interesting decision making. The need to balance between both creating a large stack and avoid having the smallest is challenging and opens up multiple strategies. One player may pull far ahead with the tallest stack, but you can pivot your plans and start working at eliminating them during the end of game scoring.

Turns are very fast with limited downtime, but even when it’s not your turn you’re keeping an eye on your opponents, trying to remember what they take into their hand, and adjusting your plans accordingly. There is also a bit of take-that in the ability to steal tiles from other player stacks.

When selecting stacks from the table, you have to consider not just the tile on top, but the ones underneath, and what colors other players have coming up in the stacks on their cards. This means you’re always planning several turns ahead and calculating your and other players' scoring stacks as you go.

During the last few turns, you can easily fall into a situation where you just can’t win anymore, which can make the final rounds a bit meaningless for you and not so fun; however the game plays fast enough that this is not a major issue.

Player screens would have been a nice addition, so you didn’t have to keep your tiles in hand the entire time you play, and a pouch for portability would have made it the perfect game to pop in your bag. But as it is, the components are nice, the tiles fun to stack and play with and the artwork attractive.

Senshi is a quite enjoyable game, and one that is tempting to play several quick rounds of in a row. It’s strategic, speedy, and an easy, enjoyable experience.

Pros: Lots of player interaction, fast turns, attractive, interesting choices

Cons: Winners and losers can become clear a little before the end of the game, would have been improved with travel pouch and player screens

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.