27 April 2020
A game where the pace of the fun never slows down
Open Ninja Academy’s box and you might wonder whether there are pieces missing.
This tiny dexterity game comes with just a handful of cards and wooden bits. But its four-strong design team uses them in some inventive ways to create a collection of fast and furious mini-games.
The game casts you and your friends as students in a ninja dojo. Over a series of rapid-fire rounds, you’ll compete in challenges for the honour of becoming the top student.
Each task uses the game’s components in different ways. In one, you’ll each place a meeple in a standing position on the back of your hand then try to shove your opponents’ over without toppling your own. In another, you’ll place a wooden log in the centre of the table before flicking ninjas at it, attempting to place yours closest to the target like a kind of tabletop lawn bowls.
Other mini games see you trying to throw ninjas into the game box from a distance, chucking them at a wall of logs trying to knock as many over as possible, or racing a rival to balance five ninjas on the tips of your outstretched fingers. Some challenges involve everyone around the table, while others pit two players against each other head-to-head. But even when you’re not included, you can still gain points by betting on the outcome of the contest. And with each mini-game lasting between a few seconds and a minute, the pace of the fun never slows down.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Antoine Bauza, Ludovic Maublanc, Corentin Lebrat, Théo Rivière
Artist: Artist: Jean-Baptiste Reynau
Time: 20 minutes
This review originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products