Darrington Press has released a board game of thrilling nautical adventure from the world of Critical Role’s Exandria.
Uk’otoa is a semi-cooperative map-reduction game based on the popular web series, Critical Role. In Uk’otoa, players control two colors of sailors aboard a ship getting ripped apart by the titular Uk’otoa. The goal of each player is to be among the last surviving sailors, though it’s likely their victory will be short-lived.
During the setup of the game, players will construct a wrecked ship from the available ship hex tiles. Players take turns placing a ship hex token with the arrow on the tile facing the previously placed tile. Once the final ship tile is placed, the Uk’otoa miniature is placed on that final hex.
Once the ship is completed, the sailor minis are placed randomly, each on their own hex. While the players are placing the sailors, they don’t know which colors they will be controlling, so it’s not worth trying to edge out some advantage to start. Because, once the sailors are all placed, the faction tokens are randomly distributed and placed between each of the players. So each player will have a token to their left and their right. This determines which sailors each player controls and also therefore which players will be allied since your neighbors will control one of the same colors as you do.
Finally, each player draws 2 action cards and the game begins!
Each turn begins with that player choosing to move Uk’otoa one hex forward. Anytime Uk’otoa moves, he follows the arrow on the hex he is currently on, eating any sailor which may be on that hex, then the hex Uk’otota just left is removed, thus reducing the overall available space to move. Then, in the action phase, players can play the action cards from their hand. Action cards can be played in one of three ways:
- If a player plays a single card, they resolve the effect and their action phase ends.
- If a player plays 2 duplicate cards, they resolve the effect once, but their action phase continues.
- If a player discards 2 duplicates or 3 of any card, they draw a new card and their action phase continues.
This mechanic allows players to chain multiple actions together if they spend some time constructing a hand just right.
The game ends when one of two conditions are met:
- If there is only 1 color is sailor remaining, both players who control that color enjoy a shared victory!
- If there are 2 colors of sailor remaining, and one player controls both of those colors, that player enjoys their solo victory!
Overall, Uk’otoa is a delightfully enjoyable game.
It’s not so heavy that it would be hard to teach to newer players, but it’s not so light as to bore more veteran players. And for a game where the theme is fleeing a ship under attack from a giant sea monster, there is surprisingly little randomness. There are cards to draw, sure, but offering players multiple options on discarding to redraw is a fantastic mitigation of that randomness factor which can ruin similar games. And allowing players to chain action cards together make sure you’re always just one good turn away from rushing out of last place.
Also, this exists directly from Critical Role themselves. If this doesn’t get you hyped, I don’t know what will.
It’s a game of constant action and there is rarely a moment where you’re not having to constantly revise your strategy around the ever-changing dire straits in which you find yourself entangled.
Finish that all off with the thematic Critical Role cherry on top, and you have the makings of a game that is fun and accessible not just for fans of Critical Role, but for any avid tabletop gamer.
Uk’otoa – $29.99 – Available Now
All sailors fear the tales of Uk’otoa, the all-seeing Great Leviathan beneath the sea. The worst has come to pass—the beast has you in its serpentine clutches. As the toothy maw of Uk’otoa ravages your ship, you’ll have to run, push, and sacrifice others to win!
Uk’otoa is the first official board game developed by the Darrington Press team! Brace yourself for a fast-paced, enthralling tactical game of semi-cooperative card play and thrilling nautical adventure from the world of Exandria.
- 3-5 players
- 30-45 minutes
- Ages 12+
Thanks for ….watching.