Design by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
Published by White Goblin Games
2 – 4 Players, 45 minutes – 1 hour
Review by Greg J. Schloesser
Games–like many films–continue to be recycled and reinvented, sometimes receiving a major overhaul, while other times receiving nothing more than just a simple tweaking or re-theming. I guess this is a good way to bring a former title to the attention of a new generation of gamers. However, many times the re-release is only just a few years after the publication of the original version, which seems a bit premature. Do gamers really have that short of a memory? Or perhaps the reason is more noble. Perhaps it is because the original game was lost in the avalanche of yearly game releases and another publisher–or perhaps even the same publisher as the original–felt it would be good to give the game a second chance, quite likely with a shiny new veneer and/or theme.
Such appears to be the case with Bali from award-winning designer Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (Carcassonne) and publisher White Goblin Games. Bali is a re-release of Rapa Nui, which was first published in 2011 under the Kosmos label. The original game was set on Easter Island, which is famous worldwide due to its mysterious moai, the large stone carvings which appear at various locations around the small island. This latest version of the game has a new setting: the island of Bali. Bali’s past is also mysterious and, according to game lore, laden with superstition and spirituality. Islanders attempt to appease the gods and spirits of their ancestors by sacrificing much of their harvests. Priests help ward off the evil spirits, while the erection of shrines pleases the gods.
Game play in Bali is essentially the same as that in Rapa Nui, with a few minor tweaks and the addition of two new variants. A deck of cards consisting of farmers of four types (rice, peanut, banana and pepper), priests, shrines and stonemasons is mixed, and four columns consisting of four cards each are displayed as the “offer.” Each player receives one each of the four types of “sacrifice” cards–rice, peanuts, bananas and peppers–with the remaining decks separated and set aside. Players also receive a starting deck of three farmers and one stonemason, as well as a few “stones” depending upon their place in the turn order.