What is Ka Pai?
Ka Pai is a small box roll and write game that is set in thematic Māori culture. You roll 2 dice every round and you draw the symbols on your board. The game ends when everyone’s board is filled up.
What Do you do in Ka Pai?
Every round you roll dice and draw one or two of the 3 symbols. The symbols are circles, squares, triangles and dashes. If you roll two different symbols, everyone picks the one they want to draw and if they’re both the same everyone has to draw both. This is classic roll and write, but instead of everyone picking the result you choose they can pick themselves. This adds flexibility in your choice which makes everyone’s board unique.
The core of the game is to create groups of symbols. You must draw the symbols either horizontal or vertical to a symbol on your board and if you group up 3 in a row you circle it and that will give you points at the end of the game. This game feels very lucky at first but after a couple of games you start to realise there is serious strategy behind your choices and locations that I still haven’t figured out yet as my high score is 40 points.
Don’t Ignore The Dashes
One symbol that may allude you is the dashes but don’t ignore them. At the end of the game they multiple the the quantities of a symbol of your choice. This appears to be the best way to score high but it’s a tough choice which group to choose.
How Do You Score?
Finally the game has a very clever scoring mechanic that is in the back of your mind the entire game and that is to do with connecting totems. At the end of the game and you will count the number of totems connected to another totem with an uninterrupted connection of the same symbol between each totem. You score points for the highest number of connected totems in the same net-work. If you get this right it can get you high points which is a fun challenge.
Ka Pai doesn’t do anything groundbreaking for the roll and write genre but it’s a fun puzzle travel game which fits well for a solo player and as a filler for a game night. I’ll continue playing this till I hit the highest score and then open the expansion packs with a different map.