Known for their healing properties the Noctiluca are desired by many healers. But only on the warmest of nights of the year will the otherwise quiet waters awaken with the life of the Noctiluca. Only the most skilled divers are able to collect them, are you one of them?
Playing Time: 30 Minutes
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Price: £33.99 RRP
For this Noctiluca review, a copy of the game was provided for free.
What is Noctiluca?
In Noticluca you will be competing against other divers to catch noctiluca – represented by the die, from the pool in the centre of the board. At the beginning of the game, the die are randomly placed in the spaces on the board. With 4 die being added to each of the inner spaces and 5 to the outer spaces. Additionally, surrounding the pool is the shoreline and this is where players will place their pawns when taking their turns.
Played across two rounds players will take turns to place their pawns on the shoreline. From here they will then choose a straight adjacent path across the pool and announce a number between 1 and 6. Following this, the player would then pick up all the die with the corresponding number from each of the spaces along the path they chose.
Once you’ve picked up your little colourful noctiluca you can try to add them to any jars that you have – of which you will start the game with two but can pick up more as you play. In order to place them you only need to match the space on the jar card with the same coloured die. If you’re unable to place any then you hand the remaining die to the next person so they can place them. And so on, until no more can be placed.
A round continues until all of the players pawns have been placed. The second round then starts in a similar manner by replacing the die again and plays out in the same way.
This obviously isn’t an in-depth look at how to play. However, should give you an idea of what to expect.
How do I win?
There are numerous ways in which to score points in Noctiluca. One of which is by completing jars. When you complete a jar by filling all the spaces with the corresponding die you can take the top point token that matches the colour on the jar. There are three different coloured point token stacks.
Furthermore, you can score points for holding a majority of one of the colour point tokens. If you hold the majority, you flip over any remaining tokens of the same colour and score a point for each.
At the beginning of the game, players secretly pick a favourite Noctiluca colour. At the end of the game you score a point of every matching Noctiluca space of delivered jars.
Finally, you can score one point for every two Noctiluca dice on jars you were unable to deliver.
Noctiluca is not only a fairly easy game to learn, but it’s also a quick and simple game to get setup and running. This makes it an accessible game for newcomers, but also means that if regular board game players are looking for something quick to play Noctiluca is a good option.
The bright colourful theme throughout the game looks great. Additionally, the components of the game are good quality and retain that cheerful and colourful look. Thematically, I really enjoyed what this board game offered.
I found Noctiluca to be a fun game with its ease of learning and quick gameplay. However, it might not offer the tactical depth of play that some may be looking for. Personally, I see it as more of a good game to play when you have a mixture of ages. That’s not to say that just adults or just children will enjoy it. More that it’s a good choice for potentially bridging that age gap and possible attention span.
Noctiluca also offers a solo variant for you to play. That being said, this is definitely a game to be played with others.
Whilst I enjoyed what I played, I’m not sure I see it making a regular appearance at the table. But just know that I typically prefer heavier more in-depth games anyway.