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Miaui Review

Review of: Miaui
Board Game Review by: :
AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps

Reviewed by:
On Sep 30, 2019
Last modified:Sep 30, 2019


We review Miaui, a hand management game published by Z-Man Games. In Miaui, players are trying to collect fish cards by playing numbered cards from their hand.

MiauiIts the purrfect time for the fishing festival. The competition is furr-midable at this year’s Miauian competition. It’ll take a clever diver to see all the paws-ibilities in the sea. Will it end in mew-sury, or will the tail of your fishing prowess be sung by cats throughout the land? Miaui is the cat-ch of the day!

Miaui is a hand management game for 3-6 players that takes about 25 mins to play. It’s best with 5 players.

Gameplay Overview:

In Miaui you’ll attempt to procure the best fish by playing number cards from their hand. Each player has a hand of cards numbered 1-12. The fish card stack is set in the center. In a round, the center lagoon board is filled with 3 fish of varying values. Players choose one of their cards, revealing them simultaneously. The two players with the highest numbers snag the bottom two fish, the one with the lowest gets the topmost.

But beware, you don’t want to snag any jellyfish (worth negative points, unless you can collect 3) and netting a seagull will mean losing a fish from your pile to the greedy blighter. Fish values vary as well, so the bottom-most card may not be the most valuable every round. A moving a tiki token designates the winner in the case of ties.

When all cards have been used the players add up their points – highest score wins!

Miaui Game Experience
The Cats of Miaui are trying to catch the best fish in the lagoon

Game Experience:

I mostly grabbed the copy of Miaui because of my youngest’s obsession with Moana and cats. Not only was it a hit with her, I’m was very pleased to find that aside from a unique theme and really, REALLY cute art, there’s a fun game here as well.

Miaui Seagull
Different fish at different levels, but that pesky seagull will steal your catch!

It’s VERY easy to teach—we grabbed random passing-through-the-game-room family members for several games over the course of a couple of days and always managed to explain Miaui in its entirety in about 5 mins. Games are quick but the variation of the fish each time keeps them from feeling repetitive.

At 3 players it’s kind of lackluster—everyone usually winds up with a fish, and the ‘competition’ is lost. At 4+ it shines—there’s more strategic planning going on, more side eyeing and careful card choosing. Players that rack up wins early may wind up shorted entirely at the end. Or a clever player may manage to pick up a fish every round.

The art is SUPER cute. If you know a cat-loving human, they’ll definitely find this appealing. Each of the characters are unique and even the fish are pretty adorable. Kids will find this aesthetic appealing as well.

Miaui Cards
Adorable variety of cats to play

The gameplay is also great for all ages—even the youngest fisherperson can throw down a card and luck into a fish (or thwart someone else’s efforts). There isn’t any reading required to play. The gameplay is simultaneous, avoiding downtime between turns.

The tie breaker mechanic can be somewhat confusing. There’s a ‘Kiti’ standee that changes places each turn to indicate which ways ties break, but sometimes counting off seems counter-intuitive, and remembering to move the token each time frequently gets lost in the shuffle. There is a ‘no fighting’ variant that removes the tiebreaker entirely, but no one gets the fish in that case.

Final Thoughts:

Miaui is a super cute hand management game. Simultaneous turns, easy to learn rules, and quick games will make this really appealing to families. More players are better when it comes to fishing in the lagoon, and I’d definitely leave out the tiebreaker on future plays. For those looking for something light and beautifully illustrated, Miaui is Paw-some!

Final Score: 4 Stars – Solid family fun with appealing art and easy to learn rules.

4 StarsHits:
• Simultaneous turns and language independence make this great for playing with kids
• Easy to explain and quick to play
• Different theme and detailed art

• Tiebreaker is somewhat confusing
• 3 player is lackluster at best

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