Welcome to the world of Chakra, a soothing game by Blam! Chakras are harmonised by moving crystals up and down the board in restricted movements as part of a beautifully immersive game. With gorgeous artwork and simplistic play, you’ll be harmonised in no time.
The aim of the game is to harmonise at least five of your chakras. Five triggers the end game, but there are bragging rights for aligning all seven on your final move. At the end of your game, your harmonised chakras score you points – the value of which can only be found by meditating during the game. The scores are randomised each time, keeping repeat plays fresh and adding that layer of mystery to every game.
On your turn, you may do one of three things: receive energy, channel energy, or meditate. You receive energy from the universe bag, up to three different coloured crystals, and these are what you use to harmonise your chakras by matching crystals to coloured chakra. They can be received for free to the top of your board or at the cost of an inspiration token directly to a chakra. A risky play, as this traps your token until the chakra is harmonised, reducing your move set.
You have five inspiration tokens and these are also used to channel energy. Select from one of seven options to move your crystals up and/or down. The eighth move is to discard an alleviated crystal. Underneath your seven chakras is another space, for your alleviated energy. Coloured crystals tend not to end up there, but there are black crystals which block your chakras and available spaces. These can only be removed via the alleviated energy space. Doing so will mean you can pick one coloured energy from the universe bag.
The final action is to meditate. This resets your inspiration tokens and reveals how much each chakra is worth at the end of the game. Over the course of the game you’ll be using each of these actions in various combinations which best suit your tactics with the aim to fill your board with harmonised chakras.
What I Love
There are many things I love about this game. The most obvious: the artwork. It is beautiful and shows great diversity with the ladies on the board. Best bit? They are not hyper-sexualised either. Sure, one lady wears a coconut bra but the artwork is so chill that it is not distracting. And the main focus of each lady is definitely her lotus hair! So, instead of being forced to play a female character in her underwear, you can pick from one of four ladies who perfectly embody the calm aesthetic.
But my absolute favourite thing about this game is how uncompetitive it is. Yes, it is a competition and you are actively trying to score more points by harmonising your chakras before everyone else – but you are so engrossed in your own board that when someone wins it can be a bit of a shock! And it isn’t one of those games where there is a clear winner early on. Nor does it employ savage tactics designed to screw over your opponents. The only way you can do that is taking crystals before the other players can. But even that is limited; when you complete a chakra you can no longer select that colour crystal.
It seems odd, talking about how uncompetitive a game is but I do find that it can sour gameplay on occasions. Therefore, it is refreshing (and relaxing) to find a game so void of active combat, so to speak. But it is very much in keeping with the theme of the game. You are trying to harmonise. For those who know nothing of chakras and energy and that sort of thing, it’s all about achieving a Zen state. Being calm and relaxed. Chakra is just that, calming and relaxing.
Plus, it is really satisfying when your careful manoeuvres come together and you complete a chakra.
The theme is very strong in Chakra. From artwork, to components, to gameplay; it is all super chill. Having individual boards really compliments the theme too, for meditation is an introspective activity. It would go against the grain if gameplay was measured by a central counter increasing with each chakra! I really enjoy this unique approach to competitive play. (Can you tell I was a sore loser as a kid?)
Chakra is a quick game which just begs for multiple plays and each game is so different. One play through will see you as the luckiest player, with all the colours coming your way, where others will leave you lumbered with all the black crystals. However, tactics are not set in stone and approaches to getting your chakras harmonised change from game to game. So whether it hits the table as a quick warm up game or as a multi play, every game is going to leave you happy.
The only real downside I have come across in this game is that until you have an absolute grasp on the mechanics, it is very easy to trap all your inspiration tokens and leave you unable to do nothing but meditate. Now, is this because I learned the game on a virtual table top, where reading the rules properly gives way to scripting and random clicking, or an actual flaw in the game? I cannot say. It is certainly something I have seen catch out a number of players. Myself included.
But overall, this game is wonderful to play. Since introducing it to my game group, it has become a firm favourite and I cannot wait to teach it to others! I love to share great games and this quickly worked its way to the top of my “To Be Shared” list. Give Chakra a play and I’m confident it’ll shoot straight to the top of yours too!