Erika Kallinen

Platform: Board game
Developer: Grzegorz Rejchtman
Publisher of the Finnish version: Competo
Release year: 2007
Age rating: 8+
The number of players: 2-4
Length of play: 20-30 min.

Ubongo is an African Aborigine themed board game which is best described as a Tetris-like puzzle solving game. Players have to solve their puzzles while sand drains in the hourglass. The fastest puzzle solver earns advantage in collecting gems from the board. The player who has collected the most same colored gems in the game wins. The game is more about strategy than luck.

I tested Ubongo with my friend, who is more experienced in strategy games and he benefited from it. We noticed that the hourglass and some of the additional rules aren’t really necessary if only two players compete each other. The puzzles come with two difficulty levels and because the puzzle boards are randomized, players don’t solve the same puzzle. There are over 400 puzzles to solve altogether which is quite a lot.

Even though the game’s rules are advertised as easy to understand, there was a difficulty to figure out the way the game pieces move on the board. There was also some visibility problems with the yellow and orange gems. Because of their similar coloring it slows down your choice for selecting the best path on the board. The game is well suited for the whole family but the novelty of the game might wear off quickly after a few rounds but it’s still a fun game to play.


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