Danielle Reynolds - @TokenGaymer
Dive Under the Sea with Reef
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Reef is a colorful under the sea abstract strategy game. I picked up my copy from GenCon last year at Next Move Games’ booth. In the game you and your friends are each attempting to build a coral reef using different colors to score extra points. On each turn you chose to take a card or place a card. Each card gives you two coral reef pieces and a chance at points if you have the right pattern combinations. Whoever ends with the most points wins! The end of the game happens when all of one-color coral runs out or the deck.
The first time I played at GenCon there was a bit of confusion on how you can’t reuse a coral for extra pattern combinations. As well as what the numbers on the cards meant but quickly a person running the booth cleared up our questions. After that it became a game of grabbing the best cards and storing them in your hand until you could play them. The only way to mess up other players was by taking cards you think they needed. I liked that each person had their own game board. It gives you more control over your pieces and frustrates non-gamers less. I have many friends that are sore losers when it comes to strategy games. As soon as you block their move they want to give up. There is little of this in Reef.
My strategy for playing has been to stock pile cards in my hand rather then play a card every other turn. That way once I get the cards I want I can play them back to back to score points quickly and grow my corral reef. It also makes it hard for others to anticipate my moves if I’m playing from my hand rather than the card piles. There are 4 draw piles in the game. Three single cards and a deck that is face up. You can draw one of the single cards and replace them for free or pay one point to take from the deck. That point goes on the lowest point valued card in the draw pile for whomever picks the card up later. I personally don’t mind paying a point if I’m going to win it and other points off the card. It’s also a treat for the player that gets the card with the free bonus point. It was a nice rule edition.
The rulebook is pretty straight forward if you read it all and do more then look at the photos. The game pieces are interesting; the 3-D effect of stacking brought my attention to the game immediately. This game is for thinkers and not someone looking for a party game. The excitement is in winning more then playing. Personally, I enjoy playing with two players over four because the game moves quicker but that is your own preference. If you like strategy, puzzles or abstract games I highly recommend this game!
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