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Inuit: The Snow Folk is a card drafting and tableau building game where you will command one of four Inuit villages, recruiting Inuit to various occupations in order to score the most points at the end of the game.
The card drafting comes from The Great White, a central pool of cards. At the start of your turn you will reveal up 1+ card(s) into The Great White (depending on number of Scouts) and then choose one of your occupations to activate. You can take from The Great White a number of cards equal to the amount of Inuit in that particular occupation, taking only the cards relevant to that occupation. Each player starts with 1 Inuit in each occupation represented by the icons on the player board.
The Elders allow you to recruit more Inuit, both adult or child, these Inuit are then assigned to which ever occupation you would like at the bottom of your player board.
The Shaman take spirit cards and rites from the central area, these cards boost your points in various ways and can have negative effects on other players also!
Warriors will defeat Inuit from the reserve, taking their weapons, to score a point at the end of the game and there are three big game hunter occupations: seal, orca and polar bear. These game cards are worth 2, 3 and 4 points respectively.
Finally you can add scouts to your village which allow you to reveal more cards to The Great White at the start of your go but this comes with a risk of revealing more cards for other players also!
|Player Count||2 – 4 players|
|Play Time||30 – 45 mins|
|Weight||1.50 / 5|
|Publisher||Board & Dice|
Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!
GAME PLAY 8/10
The gameplay is incredibly simple but that is not to say this isn’t a deep game! My favourite card drafting/tableau building game is 7 Wonders so I did find myself comparing the two games and I have to say Inuit faired very well against what is widely regarded a classic! As with 7 Wonders, a lot of the strategy in Inuit: The Snow Folk comes not just from WHICH cards to draft, but knowing WHEN to draft the cards. You want to let them build up so you can collect as many as your Inuit allow for maximum impact, but by leaving them in the middle you risk them becoming more attractive to other players!
You will want to keep an eye on your opponents villages to see which occupations are of most interest to them as well as keeping tabs on the number of game/spirits/weapons etc. that they have as you can often use Rite cards to force opponents to discard certain cards if they have more of them that you. This adds a nice element of player interaction but for the most part isn’t too much of a game changer and you are only ever targeting the player who is in the lead so it doesn’t feel too harsh or personal, if this is something you prefer to avoid.
Another important part of the game is that you will score points for any Inuit of your colour in ANY village and receive negative points for Inuit in your own village that are not of your own player colour! This means there is strategy in whether to take Inuit or whether to use your Warriors to ‘Weaponise’ your opponents Inuit, taking away points from them whilst also securing a point for yourself.
AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 9/10
I was instantly blown away when I first saw concept art for this game on Board & Dice’s Instagram account. I knew I had to play it and the final artwork did not disappoint! Inuit: The Snow Folk is probably in my top 5 for favourite art in a game and I for one hope to see more games illustrated by artist Paulina Wach in the future.
The components are very simple but of a high quality, at it’s heart this is a pure card game but there are player boards and a score pad included also.
I think it’s also important to note that the theme has been handled thoughtfully and with great respect. On the first page of the rulebook is a note from the publisher detailing their approach and feedback from members of the Inuit community.
Portraying a living and existing culture and people that is not your own should not be taken lightly. Our motivation for publishing an Inuit themed board game is rooted in appreciation and respect for Inuit, their culture and history… Therefore, in addition to conducting our own research, we sought feedback and collaboration with various Inuit organizations, institutions, and individuals.– Board & Dice. Excerpt taken from the rulebook.
You can view this in full here if you would like. I hope to see more publishers take this approach with themes such as this to avoid the appropriation or exploitation of other cultures.
RULES & TEACHING 8/10
The rulebook is well written and concise due to the simplicity of the game. It’s nicely illustrated, in keeping with the rest of the game and has detailed graphics.
It’s a very easy game to teach because most of the strategy is learnt at the table, through trial and error or making the best of what you’ve been given! The game does become slightly more difficult to teach with the additions of the modules, but all cards have a brief description on them with further explanation in the rule book if needed. This does however make it language dependant.
This game plays QUICK! Considering the size of the deck you play through, which is the same size regardless of the number of players, I was surprised how quickly this plays. Much like 7 Wonders, when everyone knows the rules and no one suffers from Analysis Paralysis, you can get through a game in no time at all! This makes it much more likely to hit the table often. The set up is also incredibly quick, shuffle the deck and you’re ready to go!
For me this scratches the same itch as 7 Wonders but is more enjoyable at 2-3 players. Considering 7 Wonders is our most played game, this is a great addition to our collection!
I briefly mentioned the two modules included in the game and while I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail as this review is mainly based on the base game, I will say they add enough variation on the game to keep things interesting and can be played one at a time or with both thrown in.
OVERALL SCORE 33/40 = 8.25
… you enjoy tableau building games such as 7 Wonders
… you love incredible artwork in your games