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Sapphiro

Place a tile, fill in the board, and collect gems in this game of luck, strategy, and colorful components.

Sapphiro, from Mindware, is a family-friendly board game with simple rules, attractive components, and fast turns.

Gameplay

The board is set in the middle of the table. At specific points on the board, thirty gems are placed. There are six colors of gems and five of each color. Between each two gems on the board is a slot in which a diamond shaped tile can be placed. Each gem is surrounded by six of these empty slots.

All the tiles are then placed face-down beside the board and shuffled, and each player takes six. You balance your tiles on their side, in front of yourself so that you can see them but your opponents cannot. Each tile has one gem color on one half of it and another gem color on the other half.

On your turn you must play one tile to the board. You may only play it onto an empty slot, and it can only be played between two gems whose colors match those that appear on the tile. If, after placing a tile, all the slots around one or two gems are filled, you take the gem or gems. Finally, you draw a new tile and your turn ends.

The first player to collect a gem in each color wins the game.

Sapphiro Components

Review

Sapphiro offers a nice blend of luck and strategy. There is a lot of luck in involved in what tiles you draw, but how you adapt to those draws can lead to some interesting decisions. You can consider what other tiles you have and figure out where you might have the best chance of completing a gem in the future, or set yourself up to hopefully complete two gems at once.

Since you can’t see any other player’s tiles, there is also a little element of risk in placing the second-to-last tile in a circle. As the game progresses and the board fills up, this becomes more difficult. This risk, however, also allows you to steal a gem you don’t need in order to prevent an opponent from making progress.

The components are well made. Everything is quite light, but the board fits together nicely, and it’s quite aesthetically pleasing as it gets filled with tiles. On our copy, we did find faint marks on the back of one or two tiles, however, which could identify them once you’ve played the game enough times.

Sapphiro is quite easy to teach. There’s not even a rulebook included with the game: the rules are simply printed on the inside of the box. The amount of luck in the game is probably a bit more than some players will enjoy, but there is something quite relaxing about Sapphiro’s gameplay, aesthetic, and simplicity.

Pros: Simple rules, aesthetics, blend of luck and strategy

Cons: Marks on one or two tile backs, amount of luck may be more than some players will enjoy

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