Rapa Nui

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Rapa Nui
Designer: Red Baron
Type: Geographical, Terrain
Countries: 104 (Extra-Large)
Board Info
Reviews Launch Game
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Rapa Nui is a turn-based terrain simulation game built on a contour map of Easter Island. Players fight for control of the stone statues on the island.

Distinctive features of this game include:

  • A high number of single-country continents, all held initially by neutral armies.
  • Off-road positions are capped at 7 armies. This keeps the board open when armies are small, but creates new choke points when armies get large.
  • High elevations are defensive positions.

Version 1.2 is the first public release of the board. The current setup mod provides a reasonable set of rules, but they may not be optimum for the game, and may change in the future. In particular, some additional experimentation with the abandon territories rule and with light fog should be tried. (It has already been determined that escalating cards aren't a good choice.) If you launch a game with custom rules, and you think it works better than the default rules, be sure to mention it in a review!

[edit] Gameplay

Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a South Pacific island known for its mysterious stone statues-- called moai in the native langauge-- which rest on stone platforms called ahu. Points are gained in this game primarily by capturing moai, each of which is worth a point. The ahu on which the moai rest are initially filled with neutral armies, so that the game starts without any ahu being held. This helps to give all players a fair start.

The geography of the island is dominated by three large volcanoes, Terevaka in the north central portion of the island, Puakatike in the east, and Rano Kau in the southwest. The steep hillsides and terrifying sea cliffs of these volcanoes make them hard to climb, so in the game they are made hard to attack. The only town on the island is Hanga Roa, on the western coast. A paved road and some unpaved trails may be traveled to access most of the island, but some sections can only be reached by traveling cross-country. The majority of the statues are along the coast.

Higher elevations are given a defensive advantage by adding one side to the defender's die for each level of elevation. The map color codes ten different elevation levels, numbered 0 to 9 from lowest to highest. To make it easier for players to compute the defensive advantage, all positions higher than sea level have the elevation level incorporated into their name. The defender's advantage can then be computed by subtracting the values in brackets. For example, when attacking from "[3] Mount Puhi Road" to "[1] Puhi Road North" the elevation level difference is 3-1=2, so the defender has a +2 dice advantage. This computation applies only to upward attacks; downward and level attacks use standard dice.

Positions which are not ahu and not on a road or trail are capped at 7 armies, which prevents the defensive high points from dominating the game. A player who possesses one of the three large volcanoes thus has a good defensive position, but these positions have the disadvantage of having low income and limited storage room for armies.

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