19 November 2019
Tuki creates a tough and addictive challenge out of an absolutely minimal set of rules.
It’s easy to see why stacking games are so perennially popular. From classics like Jenga to modern releases like Rhino Hero, they’re often tense, tricky and intuitive. Blockbuilding newcomer Tuki manages to stand out from the crowd with a pressure-packed puzzle that demands steady hands and quick thinking in equal measures.
Ostensibly it’s inspired by stone cairns created by Inuit peoples in the Arctic Circle. In reality, it’s pretty much entirely abstract – but what it lacks in theme, it makes up for with fast-paced, brain-teasing gameplay.
You and your opponents start the game with identical collections of coloured blocks. On each round you’ll draw a card showing the bricks arranged in a particular configuration, then race to replicate the pictured stack using your own pieces.
What makes things complicated is that the arrangements on the cards are often impossible to recreate without overbalancing your blocks and sending them clattering to the tabletop. Fortunately, you’ll also be able to use white ‘snow’ bricks to prop up and support the pile, hopefully allowing you to complete the design before your rivals.
The first player to win five rounds claims victory; the result is a frantic race. With no time to think your plans through in detail, you’ll try different approaches, carefully repositioning pieces that don’t quite fit and howling in frustration as an opponent beats you to the goal by a split second. The only flat point is the four-player mode, which sees one player sitting out of the action on each round. While it doesn’t come with an official solo mode,you can always challenge yourself to see how many structures you can complete in five minutes.
It’s hard to imagine a simpler premise for a stacking game, but Tuki creates a tough and addictive challenge out of an absolutely minimal set of rules.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Grzegorz Rejchtman
Artist: Chris Quilliams
This review originally appeared in the October 2019 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.