Hiroba

Hiroba

RRP: £22.00
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RRP £22.00
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Su Doku just got competitive! No longer a solo affair, HIROBA has turned the well-known and well-loved Japanese number puzzle into a competitive pebble laying board game! Even if you haven’t heard of it, we know you’re going to love it. And if you know how traditional su doku number puzzles work, then you already know the basic rules of Hiroba. With your own set of doubl…
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Category Tag SKU ZHACGAM-FFHIR Availability 3+ in stock
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Su Doku just got competitive! No longer a solo affair, HIROBA has turned the well-known and well-loved Japanese number puzzle into a competitive pebble laying board game! Even if you haven’t heard of it, we know you’re going to love it.

And if you know how traditional su doku number puzzles work, then you already know the basic rules of Hiroba. With your own set of double sided pebbles numbered 1 – 9, the goal is to take control of the asymmetric sized and shaped gardens on the modular board by having the highest total value in them by end game.

But, in a tense twist, the bonus Koi fish don’t like to be surrounded by high value numbers. And as such they will only reward the very humblest of players with double points who have the lowest total value surrounding them by end game!

With grid lines dividing up each tile forming the board into nine spaces, players cannot place their pebble in any row, column or garden that already contains that number (whether it is yours or an opponents’). And to place a pebble anywhere, players must already have one in that row/column to begin with.

Along with the trusty numbered pebbles, there is another tactical tool at your disposal – stones can be used to block spaces on the board that could be used by your opponents.

Using a modular board for random set up each game, and scaling depending on player count, this is a fast playing, strategic puzzle than brings su doku into a multiplayer experience.

Hiroba is cool, calm, area control! The only question is; will you be able to remain totally zen in the face of your calculating opponents?

If you like number puzzles and you like board games, then this could be a great addition to your collection.

2-4 players

15-20 minutes

Age 10+

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Lovely artwork
  • Calm, puzzly, play
  • Easy to learn

Might Not Like

  • The strategic options may be a little too limited for some gamers
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Description

Su Doku just got competitive! No longer a solo affair, HIROBA has turned the well-known and well-loved Japanese number puzzle into a competitive pebble laying board game! Even if you haven't heard of it, we know you're going to love it.

And if you know how traditional su doku number puzzles work, then you already know the basic rules of Hiroba. With your own set of double sided pebbles numbered 1 – 9, the goal is to take control of the asymmetric sized and shaped gardens on the modular board by having the highest total value in them by end game.

But, in a tense twist, the bonus Koi fish don’t like to be surrounded by high value numbers. And as such they will only reward the very humblest of players with double points who have the lowest total value surrounding them by end game!

With grid lines dividing up each tile forming the board into nine spaces, players cannot place their pebble in any row, column or garden that already contains that number (whether it is yours or an opponents’). And to place a pebble anywhere, players must already have one in that row/column to begin with.

Along with the trusty numbered pebbles, there is another tactical tool at your disposal – stones can be used to block spaces on the board that could be used by your opponents.

Using a modular board for random set up each game, and scaling depending on player count, this is a fast playing, strategic puzzle than brings su doku into a multiplayer experience.

Hiroba is cool, calm, area control! The only question is; will you be able to remain totally zen in the face of your calculating opponents?

If you like number puzzles and you like board games, then this could be a great addition to your collection.

2-4 players

15-20 minutes

Age 10+

Whenever there is a newspaper in our house, the puzzle page mysteriously disappears. You see, my husband is a die-hard sudoku fan. As such, I don’t get a sniff of sudoku satisfaction unless I’m quick off the mark. I did have a book chock full of them once. Until we went on holiday, and he whizzed through all eleven billion of them whilst reclining in the sun!

I was intrigued and excited to play Hiroba which takes well-known solo sudoku puzzliness and transforms it into a competitive tile-laying game.

Sudoku For Two…Or Three….Or Four

If you know how a sudoku works then you already know 90% of the rules in this game. But I don’t suppose many of those bland paper grids you usually fill in have Koi fish or zen gardens. In that case, this is sudoku Jim, but not as we know.

it.The objective is area control. But rather than one large grid, there are tiles which contain smaller garden enclosures. And when the required number of tiles are pushed together to form a modular board, rows and columns appear. Your objective is to place your numbered pebbles on the board so that you have the highest value in each garden by end game.

And just like regular sudoku, numbers cannot be repeated. So each row, column, and garden cannot contain more than one of the same number – whether it is yours or an opponents’. And in an extra twist, you can only place your pebbles in rows and columns where you already have a pebbly presence.

Koi Koi

Your pebbles are double-sided and feature numbers 1 – 9. Based on the above, you’d think you would be trying to place your highest numbers possible in every available garden. But those Koi are crafty. In order to gain their score multiplying bonuses, you must have placed the lowest total value adjacent to them at end game! Each player also gets stones for blocking off spaces in gardens – because, you know, there wasn’t already enough to mess with your zen.

To keep the game tight, the board is scaled. So, depending on player count, not all tiles making up the board in play will feature gardens into which you can place pebbles.

Final Thoughts

This game might look zen. A peaceful puzzle to ponder. But you aren’t playing alone anymore, kiddo! Hiroba is a quick blast of strategic placement optimisation. You don’t have the luxury of every available space, and others are coming for those Koi!

Granted, more of the board opens up to you as the game progresses – with each pebble you place, another row or column could become an option. But it can be a pointless advantage if your prized pebble number is already present in that row or column! Now, you could turn that frown upside down and head over to the Koi ponds with your low-value numbers. But even if you manage to hook a fish, you still need spaces in your majority gardens in which to place the x2 tiles! And those stones can really mess with your plans.

And that’s the two-tier tactical tussle in Hiroba – go go go for gardens, or fish for bonuses! There aren’t other powers or symbols to factor in that trigger other bonuses or pebble shifts, So you’ll need to do a bit of both in order to hit that sweet sudoku spot! Keeping your eyes peeled on what your opponents have left to play (including stones) will help. But what if they flip a pebble to the other side or block the exact space you were targeting next? Do you have a stone you can use to safeguard gardens or Koi from the others? Gadzooks, Gardeners!!

Component-wise, this game is lovely – nice thick chunky tile and printed wooden pebbles. The Koi pebble boards are a nice touch too.

We are greedy gamers and even at 2 player count, we wanted to see and use all of the gardens. So we upped the ante and played 2 colours each so that we could have all 9 tiles in play. We combined our scores to crown the ultimate Hiroba hero! Regular 2 and 3 player modes work really well though with the restricted spaces for maintaining the tension and limiting options.

Despite the ‘thinky’ strategic planning that is going down in Hiroba town, the overall experience is a cool, calculating, and calming one. An air of satisfaction (or frustration) descends once final scores have been tallied. And with a random modular board set up, and double-sided pebbles, this is a sudoku challenge that you can replay.

Did somebody say “competitive Su Doku”? But that’s a solo puzzle, right? Not any more, folks! Hiroba has gone and brought that frustratingly fun number cruncher into the realms of trad board gaming.

Let’s show you how it works in 1-9 easy steps!

Set Up

Laying out the board is the first job. Shuffle and place out 9 garden tiles face down in a 3 x 3 grid.

In a two player game, flip over 5 tiles (leaving 4 face down). For a three player game, flip over 7 tiles. And when playing with a full table, flip over all the tiles onto the garden side.

Place a Koi token with the fish side showing on a Koi square in each visible garden, and then give each player a board, and a set of double sided numbered pebbles.

First player will also receive 2 stone tokens (second and 3rd players each get one and the fourth player goes without).

Now you are ready to rumble in the…….zen garden!

On your first turn, you must place one of your double sided pebbles on a starting square – these are marked with a circular pattern. You can choose which side you want to use.

Then on later turns you can place your numbered pebble in any row or column where you have an existing pebble. But, just like Su Doku, you cannot place it in a row or column where a pebble of the same number has already been placed. And neither can you place a duplicated number in any garden enclosure (or on top of another pebble or Koi – but you guessed that, right?!)

And don’t forget your stones (if you have any). A stone token blocks off a space and makes it unavailable for the rest of the game.

The game continues until everyone has placed all of their pebbles on the grid. Then it’s scoring time!

Points are awarded in several ways, but the cool Koi fish need to reward the humblest players first. Koi tokens act as multipliers and will double the value of any garden in which they are placed at the end of the game (note: it does not double the value of the pebbles within it).

To gain a Koi token, you must be the player with the lowest total pebble value surrounding it. If you receive one, you flip it over and place it with the “2X” into one of the gardens in which you have the highest total value. As such, you will probably want to keep some lower numbered pebbles for going fishing!

Which brings us neatly onto scoring. The player with the highest total value in each garden gains control of that space. They receive 1 point for every square in the garden (regardless of whether there are other players’ pebbles, stones or any Koi tokens on them). So if the player using black pebbles has a total of 13 in a 6 square garden and the red player only has 3 (see picture), the player using the black pebbles will receive 6 points because they have majority control. But because the garden has a 2X Koi token in it, the garden is in fact worth 12 points (2 x 6)

The winner is the player with the highest number of points at end game!

And there you have it! Hiroba turns the Su Doku we all know into a neat push-pull for area control. Placing high for gardens v placing low for Koi bonuses.

I hope this short guide helps you through your first few chilled and crunchy games of Hiroba! To buy Hiroba today click here. Let us know your thoughts on socials @zatugames.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Lovely artwork
  • Calm, puzzly, play
  • Easy to learn

Might not like

  • The strategic options may be a little too limited for some gamers