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Ninja Night

[Ninja Night]

Jean-Philippe Sahut

Blue Orange Games

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Tom Togler writes about the game:

Let’s begin this review with my final thought: Ninja Night is a great haptic game for young and old players likewise, because it is easy to understand, a great fun to play without the danger to get too monotonous soon like a lot of other children games. The game is about two to four ninjas who want to steal as many treasures as possible from the luxurious houses of an Asian town in the last six minutes of the night. It’s a challenge, so every Ninja plays for him- or herself - the game is competitive.

The rules and the gameplay are quite simple, but I like that. At setup you simply have to place the houses with different levels on the board of the city at your choice. Apart from the houses, there are also trees on that board that block your way as far as looking, moving and attacking is concerned, but more about that later. On all buildings trunk tokens are placed randomly and with their values hidden (values differ from 1 to 5). Finally you place a Ninja of your choice on top of one of the houses, take an action planner and a backpack board with four slots to collect the trunk tokens.

[Ninja Night]

Click on image to enlarge!

The gameplay is simple as I said. During the game the Ninjas jump from one building to another (and try not to fall down), attack each other and steal (collect) the trunks on the buildings they stand on. To choose the actions for your Ninja for a round you only have a small action planners with two dial wheels on which you can plan your next two moves. This is what you always have to do simultaneously before a round starts. There are five different moves you can choose from and you always exactly choose two of them on the dial wheel on the action planner. The possible options are:

  • Attack: If you chose this action with the punch hand, you have to take a so called fighting string in one hand and adjust an indicator to mark the estimated distance from your Ninja to the opponent (who must stand on a different building) you want to attack. It is important that you do not measure the distance at that moment, so you mustn’t hold the fighting string above the board. Once you made your choice you control the distance by holding one end of the string at the foot of your Ninja and checking if the string has the right length to reach the roof of the building of your opponent (without touching any trees or other roofs between). If it reaches the roof the opponent Ninja gets one damage mark.

    [Ninja Night]

    Click on image to enlarge!

  • Potion: This is an action to heal your hero in case she or he has fallen down from a house or if your Ninja has been punched by another player (you simply remove one of the damage tokens on your backpack board.
  • Move: Similar to the attack action you take a moving string with an anchor hook when choosing this action. Again you have to guess the distance from your location to the desired building. If you succeed you move your Ninja, but if the distance is not correct, because you have adjust the line too short or too long or if the string hits another roof or a tree, you get one damage mark because you have fallen from a house.
  • Collect: This action allows you to take one or more tokens from the house you are standing on. You can collect at most four tokens as this is the maximum load for your backpack (four slots - one for each token. Yellow tokens are special tokens with higher values, but you can only collect them in the last two rounds.
  • Steal: The last action is to steal. With this action you take one of the tokens from a player who is standing on the same house as you. This sounds like a lucrative action, but you always have to keep in mind that all players plan their two actions simultaneously, so you never know for sure (with the exception of the first action of the start player) if there is really an opponent on the same house as your Ninja when performing the action.

If you get a damage mark you have to put it in your backpack where it blocks a slot for the trunk tokens. If your backpack is full, and you get another damage token you have to remove one of the collected trunk tokens and place the the damage token instead. However, if your backpack is full of damage tokens and you get another one you die, but this really seldom happens.

On the houses you can find two different types of trunk tokens: action and victory points tokens. There are five different action tokens that all are more or less powerful in the right moment. For example the Potion lets you heal all injuries (the normal potion action only heals one damage). Or there are the gears that can reprogram your actions before you carry them out.

The game lasts six rounds. The winner of the game is the Ninja who has collected the most valuable trunk tokens, all values are summed up.

[Ninja Night]

Click on image to enlarge!

My opinion: The game is very good designed and it is fun to play. I like the haptic board with the buildings, trees and the strings as well as the simple action planners. Especially for smaller children it might be a little bit difficult to hold the one side of the moving and fighting strings on the location of the Ninja and the other side on the target without moving any of the other houses, trees and Ninjas. But in the end that doesn’t really matter, you shouldn’t be too strict. Maybe it would be a good idea to put some fortifications under the houses, so that the houses aren’t too unstable. But all in one I really like the game because personally I have a fancy for easy games which aren’t boring and this game isn’t boring at all. I also like the idea of the modular city where you can place the houses wherever you want. As a result the game feels always a little bit different than the game before.

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Copyright © 2020 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany