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  • craig duncton

Ninja Squad by backspindle games


‘The Evil Shogun of Aomori has been terrorising the local villagers for many years. A legendary team of Ninja have been recruited to end his tyranny for once and for all.’





3 words to describe this game: ninjas, stealth, hazards


Gameplay:


‘Ninja Squad begins as a Cooperative game (where players take the role of Ninja as they sneak across the rooftops to avoid detection and reach the Shogun’s Palace) but then becomes a Player versus Player game to see who can escape from the palace back to the safety of the Blue Forest first.


Midnight Raid - Cooperative Game - in the cooperative game all Ninja must reach the Shogun’s Palace before the Alarm tracker reaches its target number - this target varies depending on the number of players.


Dawn escape - Player vs Player game - in the player versus player game each Ninja should go out of their way to slow down the other Ninja, reach the Blue forest and claim the glory of defeating the evil Shogun.’




Components:


◦ 1 game board - 6 double sided playing boards and 1 double sided Shogun palace - these allows you to play the midnight raid and dawn escape. One is set at night and one is set in the day as the names suggest

◦ 4 Ninja miniatures - pretty cool plastic miniatures denoting each player position

◦ 60 movement cards - these cards remind me of Onitama in that you can only move in certain ways according to the cards you have face up

◦ 12 alarm cards - these denote what happens regarding the alarm system. It may result in an increase along the alarm tracker or affect your movement. If you are lucky, your turn might not trigger the alarm

◦ 12 Senjutsu cards - allowing certain bonuses or ways to slow down your opponent

◦ 30 Buki cards - contain weapons that you can use to your effect to change movements or swap positions with others, or cause fire etc

◦ 27 Lantern cubes (clear) - light is not a ninja’s friend. If you land on one of these, or move through one you have to collect the lantern cube. These will trigger extra guards.

◦ 18 Senjutsu/Buki cubes (red) - when you collect these, you are able to take a Senjutsu card or Buki card depending on which side of the board you are playing.

◦ 1 first player ninja star - cool first player marker

◦ 1 alarm tracker token - used in midnight raid to track the alarm

◦ 4 ninja star tokens - used in a four player game

◦ 4 fire tokens - cardboard tokens used to indicate fire

◦ 12 wana tokens - cardboard tokens used to set traps in Dawn escape

◦ 16 black meeples (guards) - these guards are stationary

◦ 8 red meeples (patrolling guards) - these guards move along their designated lines during the guard phase



Overall thoughts:


This is a well thought out game with good components which are entirely functional. It’s simple but enjoyable and is a family weight game but one that adults can get on board with and enjoy as much as the children. This is important as we feel quite strongly that we don’t like to dumb down games for our daughter. Everyone can play this game and enjoy it without having to change rules or leave things out. I really enjoy the cool mechanism for movement and it does feel like you are a ninja when you are zig zagging across the board. It’s the first game we have played where there is a cooperative element and then a competitive one. It means it’s not cut throat through the whole game and you can play just one side or the other depending on your preference. We enjoy playing both sides and they both offer little differences in gameplay which keeps the game pleasurable and exciting. The instructions for this one are really clear and easy to access. The game is quick to upset and clear down and I think this is likely the kind of game which would fly under the radar but that is definitely worth purchasing.

This copy was sent to me for review Howevet the opinions are my own.



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