Preview: Eetenki: The Queen of Himiko Chronicles

  • Publisher: Accent Circonflexe
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playing Time: 45-90 min

I recently had a chance to play Eetenki and found it to be a refreshingly original game in theme and integration of the mechanisms-push your luck, bluffs, and deduction which makes it my favorite game of 2020!

Note: all photos are from the prototype and screen shots of online play so actual components are subject to change.

In the game players take the role of one of 4 priestesses/diviners in ancient Japan competing to become Queen of Japan. In order to accomplish this they must foretell the weather as well as influence the weather under certain conditions. The weather drives the production of rice crops which can be improved with good weather. Rice starts as bronze quality then can improve to silver and then gold and can be traded for jade. Once players have jade they can transport it to China for trade in return for powerful artifacts with VP and some special abilities. Artifacts rice and jade are converted to VP at the end of the game. The priestess with the most VP will become Queen Himiko at the end.

Game Play:

Eetenki has player boards where you store your crops and boats, tokens for crops, jade and artifacts and divination tokens to mark weather cards viewed and there are 16 weather cards which at the end of each round the next in order will be revealed.  There are 4 types of weather cards: sunny, cloudy, rainy and thunderstorms.

During the placement phase in turn order, players will choose a divination action, this can be one of several actions. Some of the key actions are: Foresight Dream (limited to 3 times during the game) which will let players peek at two of the facedown weather cards. They then place a marker on the card viewed. They may swap any two weather cards; Lightning Protection which of course protects crops from storms; Weather Prediction where you can bet on the weather and win extra crops; Harvest where you can exchange crops for jade (important since jade can’t be destroyed by lightening unless you are sailing) ; and Sail where you send your jade to China or return with an artifact.

Next players decide how much of their crop they wish to wager on the weather. The move as much of their crop as desired to the production part of their player board from the storage area. If the weather is sunny for example all the crops in the production area will increase one level up, if it is a storm all crops will be lost and any boats that are sailing will lose their cargo. There are also some interesting effects which depends on which kind of weather follows which. For example three days in a row of the same weather will cause all your crops to turn to jade.

For the reveal phase, the last player in turn order will flip and reveal the weather card. If it is the 4th sunny card the game ends.

Next the resolution phase happens. First the weather effects occur. Next the players will resolve their divination actions in turn order except for Harvest which happens prior to the weather effects.

First player moves counter clockwise. Which is very important to remember because you may be able to gather helpful information from the players before unless of course they are bluffing…

If the 4th sunny day has ended the game count all the VP from artifacts and left over coins and jade. The player with the most will become Queen.

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Eetenki. It’s original. It’s fun. There is luck, yes, but you can also use deduction to help divine the weather from watching your opponents and using your Foresight Dream actions which helps mitigate the luck factor.

While the game is primarily tactical there is still some room for strategy.

Eetenki also has that delightful push your luck element as well, as you hope your divinations come true. This can provide some wonderful come from behind wins like a game where one player who had lost all their crops and had nothing but came back to claim the most valuable artifact.

I really liked trying to balance my divination actions between getting information or resources, it provided nice tough choices to make. For jaded gamers like myself it is the kind of game that rekindles the excitement of the hobby. Eetenki a great light to mid weight game that deserves a spot on the shelf.

There will be a KS campaign Nov 10, 2020 (I am not affiliated with the publisher or campaign).  The game will be available to demo on line as well then.

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