Tic-Tac-Oh my what a game this is. Niya is a fantastic abstract Japanese themed game. In Niya players will find out that this little game, packaged in a tin, is packed full of a ton of strategy.

Niya was published in 2012 by Blue Orange Games by desinger Bruno Cathala. It is a 2-player family game, for ages 7 to adult, & may last around twenty minutes to play. Players must obtain the Emperors favor in the Imperial Gardens. The gardens are represented by the lovely artwork on each of the tiles. It comes in a tin with a great insert to hold everything in place & best of all it is super affordable.

The game is pretty basic & plays as a variant of tic-tac-toe. The board is a 4×4 playing field of sixteen tiles. Each tile has some form of vegetation symbol: maple, iris, cherry, or pine & a poetic symbol: rising sun, bird, rain, or tanzaku (piece of paper people write their wishes upon).

After the tiles are shuffled & placed in the 4×4 pattern the first player will place their token on one of the tiles & takes it. Looking at the symbols on the taken tile the next player will place their token on a tile with at least one of those symbols. This will continue until at least one player has all of their tokens in a 2×2 square, four-in-a-row, or if they force their opponent to take an illegal tile.

The game is simple & straight forward. The artwork is reminiscent of ancient Japanese paintings. A great little game that can be taken on the go. It is the perfect little abstract filler for playing with children. For a retail price of $11.99 you can’t go wrong with Niya.

Lets get ready to enter the Imperial Gardens & game on!

-Christopher Richter
Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW