Hiya, and welcome to the newly titled board game blog “Well Written Wreview”! Today we are going to be taking a look at Ninja Camp by Adam E. Daulton and Action Phase Games.
This is a competitive, pawn-movement, drafting/deck-building game for 2-4 players. To setup give each player a set of two starting skill cards (1 sprint and 1 evade) with no marked point value in the top right corner. Then take one color set of 4 wooden ninja meeples, called “Ninjeeples”, and give each player one ninja clan card.
Next, shuffle all of the skill, wall, and trap cards together and deal the shuffled cards out face up in a grid in the center of the table (48 cards in a 8×6 grid for 2 players, 56 cards in a 8×7 grid for 3-4 players).
Return any remaining cards to the box. The player who most recently visited a summer camp will go first. Beginning with the first player and then moving in counter-clockwise order, each player takes turns placing one Ninjeeple on a skill card in the grid. Continue doing this until each player has placed three Ninjeeples.
The fourth will be placed on each players ninja clan card to mark which color they are (important note: you cannot ever place two Ninjeeples on the same card and you must place all of your Ninjeeples on three different types of skill cards). The player who placed the last Ninjeeple will play first.
Play proceeds clockwise. Your turn will go in this order:
- Play a card from your hand to your discard pile (taking the action listed on the card). Use your ninja clan ability (once per game you may flip over your clan card to take the action listed on it) or pass (if you cannot or choose not to either play a card or use your clan ability, you must pass your turn. Once passed you are out for the rest of the game). You must choose to do only one of these three options.
- Move a ninja as indicated by your skill card our clan ability played in the previous step. You must be able to complete the move in its entirety. All Ninjeeples must end up on only one card each. If you cannot fully execute the move dictated by the card or ability then you cannot play the card (unless otherwise stated on the card you cannot move onto or through a wall card, move diagonally, through another Ninjeeple, over empty spaces, return to the space you started on, or move over the same space twice in one turn).
- Claim a card by placing the skill card that your moved Ninjeeple started its turn on into your hand, ending your turn.
The game ends once all players have chosen or were forced to pass. When this happens every player claims the skill cards that their Ninjeeples are on. Claimed skill cards are placed in their discard pile. Total all points from skill cards in your hand and discard pile and subtract one point for each trap card (starting skill cards are worth zero points). The player with the most points wins (if tied the player who took the most recent turn wins).
The game comes with 8 starting skill cards (4 sets of 2 cards), 13 ninja clan cards, 56 skill cards (7 sets of 8 cards), 5 trap cards, 3 wall cards, and 16 wooden Ninjeeples (4 each of 4 different colors).
There are a few different options for purchasing this game. The basic version retails at $20 or the deluxe version for $25 which includes the “Badges & Activities” expansion (the expansion can be purchased separately for $7 and includes 8 badge cards and 12 activity cards).
The expansion adds two different modifier card types:
- Badges: place one badge card face up where all players can see. The player with the most cards matching the badge type at the end of the game will receive a bonus 2 points (e.g. if the “Shadow Badge” card was chosen then the player with the most shadow skill cards in their hand and discard pile at the end of the game wins the badge and 2 bonus points).
- Activities: place one activity card face up where all players can see. This will now modify how the game will be played (e.g. if the “Morning Meditation” card was chosen then every player who had a face-up ninja clan card at the end of the game would receive 2 bonus points).
The game art by Jacqui Davis and graphic design by Chris Byer is what really stands out when you first see the game. Everything from the ninja clans to the skill cards and even the activities from the expansion are amazing! If you get the chance to buy or play this game, jump on it!
I give it 5 judo chops out of 5!
Until next time, keep playing games and never go hiking without your camp buddy!
-Trevor L. Cooper is an avid board gamer. When he is not gaming he can be found on his YouTube game channel Well Played.