Hidden Gems - Nova Luna by Uwe Rosenberg

In this week's Hidden Gems we look at the gorgeous abstract tile laying game, Nova Luna by designers Uwe Rosenberg, and Corné van Moorsel.

Similar in scope and play style to games like Azul and Patchwork, the latter also being the brainchild of Uwe Rosenberg, Nova Luna boast a gorgeous baroque art style and tiles made from weighty card stock that feel satisfying to pick up and place.  The concept is simple, place coloured tiles featuring pips indicating the colour and number of tiles that must be placed next to the chosen tile in order to fulfil that tile's goal. 

The tile pool is arranged around a circular stylised track showing the phases of the moon, each tile has a number indicating the number of spaces the player must move after picking that tile. For instance, if a player picks a tile with the number 4, they add the tile to their tableau and must then move 4 spaces around the track.  This is important since the player who is in last place always moves first, so with a little careful strategising, a player could conceivably move several times before the next player gets their turn. This same method can be used to manipulate the tile pool, by deliberately denying other players tiles they need, or leaving them with high numbered tiles meaning they are forced to wait through several other player movements before their next turn.

When a goal is achieved the player places a token of their colour on the tile in question, thereby covering that goal and indicating is has been completed. In this way its possible to place a single tile and complete multiple goals at once.

The end game can be filled with tension as players tend to run out of tokens around the same time. The puzzle elements are challenging without being a barrier to new players. While the moon elements are tacked on and have no impact on the game, the design and colours are eye catching and unique, so it's a game that you won't get tired of looking at for a while. If you're looking for a short, puzzley, abstract strategy game for 1-4 players, then Nova Luna should scratch that itch. 

Hidden gems