Somnium: Rise of Laputa – Zafty – Review


“Somnium is a portable game that is great for quick gaming moments and an introduction to boardgaming”

Publisher: Zafty Games

Designer: Ryan Doffek

Artist: Davy Wagnarok

Game Type: Tableau Building

Initial Year of Release: 2019

Age Range: 13+

Expected Playtime: 15 Min

Number of Players: 2-4

Somnium: Rise of Laputa - Zafty - Review 1

Theme and What is it?

Your airship has flown to a newly discovered floating island of Laputa, where you will don on your political boxing gloves and perverbally fight for the influence to rule supreme.

Maybe you will take a straight forward economic approach of using Miners, Alchemists, Apprentices and Meteorologists, you can set the groundwork for your fledgling stake at the rulers table.

Perhaps you need to rely on a more grandiose style through the influential powers of the Elder, the Diplomats, the Aristocrats, or the forceful strength of the Knight.

Then again you could go for the gusto with a privileged perspective on gaining the upper hand by preying on the influence of the King, the Queen, the Prince and the Princess.

But Beware! In the shadows lurks the dangerous and sinister figures who take power through force of will, subtle intrigue, and a quick blade, these are the Assassins, the Spies, the clever Temptress, the misdirecting Propagandist, and the feared master of the underworld known as the Dragon.

Whichever combinations of approaches you decide to take, remember it is the one who gains the most influence that ultimately claims the throne. . .

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Gameplay Mechanics

This is a straight forward hand management game. Shuffle the deck of 53 cards and then deal out 3 to each player,

Players will play one card from their hand and then draw one card. Some of the effects on cards played will allow the player to play more cards on their turn, and at the end of turn they will always draw back up to three.

Cards played are the mixture of the 17 different characters that once played to the table will provide a certain amount of influence and either a one time effect or an ongoing effect, and there are also event cards that will provide an immediate effect and then be discarded.

The Characters remain in the game until someone destroys them, and then they go to the discard pile and that player also loses an amount of influence equal to their initial value.

This war will go back and forth until someone gets twenty influence and immediately wins the game.

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Initial Impressions

The game is very quick, and many games can be played within a short time frame. Each game will be very different from the last, because of the random cards that will be dealt out.

Rules are extremely simple, and allow players to jump right into the action. There are some crazy powerful combos that will be played which adds fun tension to how games progress.

Backstabbing is a must. Playing cards that destroy your opponent’s Characters or steal influence have to be a part of your strategy or you will lose. The “Take-That” element does not feel like an issue, because the overall game does not last very long.

I played this with my wife, who dislikes backstabbing games. but she enjoyed it and has played several times since. We also introduced this game to a group of non-gamers who picked up on it quickly and played several times.

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Game Build Quality

Game insert is a solid plastic with enough space for the cards and a well for the influence tokens. Card stock is springy and shuffles great. I also liked that the influence tokens are a fairly thick chitboard.

Rule Book is a double sided piece of glossy paper, which shows that the game is very straight forward.

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Artistic Direction

Gorgeously illustrated Character cards help capture the thematic directive of this newly discovered Island. The event cards look like newspapers which are announcing some problematic occurrence.

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Fun Factor

A small portable game that can be played on a small table. It has tons of replayability due to the randomness of card distribution. Games are quick and decisive which allows players to dive right back in for additional games. The crazy combos and backstabbing keep players engaged.

Every rule is very simple making the teaching time low.

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Age Range & Weight

A low weight game in its complexity. The graphic design is simple and artwork does not detract. Low playtime and encouraged replayability makes the rules stick. Teaching the game is simple. As long as the player can read the cards, then they should do well at this game.

The only issue I felt was there is a lot of luck within this game due to the random selection of cards and the fact that some people may draw a way better selection of cards and outright win before you have a chance to respond.

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This game is fantastically simple and a great gateway into deck-building and how to manage your hand. The artwork is spot on and helps with the immersion.

Bringing this game to a family gathering and getting people to play should be a simple task, since the game also does not overstay its welcome. A very solid experience for a light game.


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