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Awesome Onitama is a Really Fun Two-Player Board Game


Secret Agent
Staff member
My wife and I were looking for a good two-player board game since our kids aren't old enough to play with us yet and we don't entertain guests very often. I came across this game called Onitama (purchase link below after this review) and it's essentially chess with variations for allowed moves each time you play (each game will be a little different), and a smaller board.

Onitama Board Game by Arcane Wonders: Review

Here's what it looks like. The board is actually made out of a mouse pad style material (basically the same thing) and rolls up, making the game very easy to transport and store. Each player has 5 pieces, a grandmaster and 4 apprentices, as shown below.

The rules are pretty simple:

1. You can only move the way that is shown on the two cards in front of you. The black square in the cards (pictured above) is your starting position for any given move.

2. Once you move using one of your two personal cards, you must trade that card for the middle card. You can't actually use the middle card, but you'll get it once you go next and have to trade for it.

3. You win by either getting your grandmaster across the board or by killing the other grandmaster.

4. Each game only uses 5 cards, despite the deck having many more. This gives each game a unique experience.

We found each game takes between 10 and 30 minutes to play, depending on a number of factors. It's a really fun casual two-player board game that is great to play during casual conversation or even watching a show in the background. Once you get good at it, there are some real strategies to consider as you play, such as the fact that if you use one of your personal cards, you have to trade it for the middle card, thus making it available to your opponent after their next move. There's definitely some strategy in not allowing your opponent to use critical moves, but it forces you to not use those same moves too. Anyway, if you're looking for a fun two-player board game that's easy to learn and has a long shelf life, I definitely recommend Onitama.

Here's a link for those who want to check it out. Amazon.com: Onitama Board Game: Toys & Games

(NOTE: That's an Amazon Affiliate link through PopMalt, so any orders placed through that will help the site.)