Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Oceania:
Oceania in Summary
Oceania is a fun little time-waster from the genius of Klaus Teuber. It's the little brother of his famous Entdecker. But we've played so much Carcassonne here at RDG that we can't help but be reminded of it. You and your opponent are explorers on the ocean. You choose tiles from the pile and lay them on the board to form islands and sea lanes, placing your settlers on the islands you uncover. At the end of the game, the player with the most settlers on a completed island gets points equal to its landmass.
You can play Oceania in about 10 minutes with a partner. And it has just enough depth to tickle your brain, without having any serious strategy. Plus, it's one of the very few boardgames out there with a solitaire variant. With a low price, a small box, 1- and 2-player variants and a 10 minute play time, Oceania is the pocket-knife of board games: everyone should have one.
Oceania is a simple game that won't exercise your brain muscle too much. You play on a grid of sea squares which are blank. On three sides of the board, there are sea lanes leading into the area. On a turn, you place the ship marker anywhere on the board with an open end to a sea lane. You then draw a tile and attempt to lay it adjacent to the ship.
The tiles are a combination of sea, islands, and sea lanes. The tile you choose must be able to fit into the map so that sea lanes connect to sea lanes and islands connect to islands. If the tile doesn't fit into the map adjacent to your ship, you place it in front of you and you'll take a -2 penalty at the end of the game.
Now, as you lay those tiles down, pieces of island become visible and you can place your settlers on the islands. At the end of the game, you count up the settlers on the completed islands and the player with the most settlers gets points equal to the number of tiles that island spans.
And that's almost all there is to Oceania. There are a few companion rules. For instance, you can pay one of your settlers to use a tile in front of you instead of drawing one from the pile. And if an open sea tile is surrounded on all sides by tiles, it's automatically filled in with a special separate set of tiles. When the last tile is played, the game is over and you count up your island points minus your unused tile penalty.
For a great interactive walkthrough of the game, check out http://www.profeasy.com/Oceania/index.html
Who should buy Oceania?
Oceania is exactly the type of game that everyone should have. The low cost, small size, and quick game play for 1 or 2 players make it versatile and fun to own. Of course it's not going be a "Featured Game" on a game night. But you can get almost anyone to play this game, and you will play it because of the low investment in time and effort. As a warm up game, as a side game for players eliminated from the main game, as a quickie after dinner and before your favourite TV show... Oceania fits. At our last games retreat, we played it while the eggs and bacon were frying up!
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Oceania:
Experience the fascination of exploring unknown island worlds. Each game unfolds a completely unique seascape, so that every game of Oceania is different!
In the game variant for two players you aim to win against your fellow player by claiming the biggest islands.
In the solo game variant you are your own opponent! The bigger the islands, the more points you will receive. So each game presents a challenge to beat your own record.
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