Before I begin, I was sent a review copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. You can check out my video of this review below, and get your own copy here.
I have regularly enjoyed Steve Finn games, from Mining Colony, to Herbaceous to School of Sorcery. In all of them I have particularly enjoyed that his games tend to focus on one thing, and it does it very cleanly and simply, allowing pretty much anyone to play and learn the game with a limited amount of effort. I knew that I was getting a copy of Mining Colony, but I was very pleasantly surprised to also receive copies of Nanga Parbat, Butterfly Garden, and Biblios. So we can expect a few more videos to come!
In Nanga Parbat two players are competing to be the first to trap and trade various sets of animals. The earlier you claim the sets the more points you will earn. On each turn you will be able to claim a single animal from the board, however, you do not have free reign to take whatever you want. Rather you are limited to specific areas of the board based on what the previous player selected. As you claim animals they move onto your player board where they remain until you turn them in. Simple enough right?
However, there is one more thing that mixes it all up. As you trap animals you place them on the top portion of your board, and at any time you can move them to the bottom to activate a power. This will allow you to move the hiker-which activates other regions to trap from, swap meeples about, or swap animals about, all giving you more flexibility and you work towards setting up your camps on the mountain.
Once one player places out all their scoring cubes the game will end, and the high score wins. All told it should take under 30 minutes.
So what do I think?
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. This game is exceedingly clean, with a clear ruleset. It plays lightning fast, and does not take up a ton of space on the table. The way the hiker moves around from region to region keeps things interesting as you have a little bit of an extra layer of thought as to what animal you take any given turn. However, what makes the game work the most are the variable powers you can activate based on what animal you have captured.
The production is good, the meeples are adorable.
You might not be down with the idea of trapping animals, if so then I recommended many of Doctor Finn’s other games. I also wish that more had been done to teach about the Sherpa culture with this game. With the game being so light, there is not much that specifically ties it to the culture, and I wish that more could have been done here.
Bringing it all together
Nanga Parbat is a quick, light game that does what Dr. Finn does best. It focuses on a single mechanic and manages it cleanly and simply. The game is a fun 2 player experience, with a limited thematic immersion, and perhaps a missed opportunity to offer some insight into Sherpa culture. The production is strong, and if you are interested in the idea of trapping and collecting animals then this is a great option to pick up, especially at the price.
Not enough air up here to talk that much
* Extremely tight rule set, game is easy to learn, and quick to play
* Not a ton of thematic immersion, missed opportunity for some cultural learning
* Another fun Doctor Finn offering