The sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and the beach is calling your name. Welcome to Maui, a game where players compete to create the most aesthetically pleasing beach setup while strategically placing their towels to score points. Maui is a game of relaxing beach vibes, colorful components, and easy-to-understand gameplay.
2-4 players, ages 8+
Playing time: 30 minutes
Designers: Frank Crittin, Grégoire Largey & Sébastien Pauchon
Artwork: Chris Quilliams
Publisher: Plan B Games
🏖️ In Maui, players create patterns on their beach board and strategically place their towels near the ocean or in the shade to score the most points. Each player has their own beach board with 13 towel spaces, seven rows, and eight umbrellas placed randomly at the start. Players randomly select six tiles and place them in the market rows, along with a sand dollar in each row.
🌊 On a turn, players take all the sand dollars from one market row or take a towel from the market, costing 0, 1, or 2 sand dollars. Players place the towel on their board, matching at least one pattern with the rightmost towel on their board. The more patterns you match, the more of your scoring markers advance on the scoreboard. If part of the towel is placed outside the board, a penalty is given.
☂️ Covering an umbrella with a towel earns bonuses such as advancing a scoring marker or receiving pearls.
🌴 The game ends when a player places a towel in the final column of their beach board, and the player with the most points from patterns, pearls, and leftover sand dollars wins.
💭 Maui is a visually stunning board game where players create pleasing patterns on their beach board and strategically place towels to score points. The components are colorful and make for an enchanting experience, and the rules are simple and easy to understand, making it an accessible game for players of all ages.
However, while the game is visually stunning, I found that the theme felt rather abstract, and the gameplay didn’t have much depth. There isn’t that much variety which makes the game repetitive after a few plays. At times, the game relies heavily on luck, which is frustrating at times, as you have to hope for the right tiles to be available to match your patterns.
💬 Despite these drawbacks, I still enjoyed playing Maui. The relaxing nature and relatively short playtime of 30 minutes make it a good option for quick game nights or as a warm-up game.
Overall, I’d recommend Maui as a visually stunning and accessible game, but I’d caution players looking for a more in-depth or less luck-based game. Despite its drawbacks, Maui is still an enjoyable game that I’d be happy to play again.